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Governor questions - working without levels

(14 Posts)
Effjay Thu 25-Jun-15 21:08:09

I'm a parent governor and I need to provide a short report at the next governing body meeting on 'working without levels'. I'm meeting with the Head teacher and one of the teaching staff next week to discuss this. It's the first year of implementation in the school and it has been used in Years 1,3,4 and 5. KS1 and KS2 SATS have been measured using the old level system. I need to write an informed report and show evidence of challenge. Does anyone have any experience of this as a teacher? What would parents want to know? I've got a few ideas but would love to from Mnetters smile

AsBrightAsAJewel Thu 25-Jun-15 21:44:42

One school's information for parents and another
The big question is how are teachers and SLTs tracking progress? Only the school staff can answer that question for you. Some have bought in commercial programmes, some have devised in-house spreadheets, others have done nothing (!)
As a governor you and your colleagues need to know what the school is doing to implement an assessment and tracking system and how they are using that data to monitor progress of cohorts and vulnerable groups and to set rigorous targets. OFSTED will want to know the governors have a real handle on how far the school has got with this.

DanFmDorking Thu 25-Jun-15 22:36:42

er, writing from my understanding of what you’ve posted -

STOP RIGHT THERE

It is not for a Governor to write this report.
The Head (or their nominee) reports to the Governing Body.
They write it.

This is the problem ...
We are doing this ...
This is the result ...
In the future ...

If information is to go to parents then it goes from the Head and the Head signs it.

I’m pleased to see the phrase ‘evidence of challenge’. You could ask the Head - Could the results be better next year? is this way cost effective? are disadvantaged children improving better than average children? are the teachers embracing this change? is assessment of progress rigorous?

admission Thu 25-Jun-15 22:44:05

I think that you need to consider what your role as a governor is. It is not to report back on how the school has introduced "not working with levels". That is for the school SLT to do, they should be explaining how the system is set up and how it is working and most importantly how they can say with confidence that they can track pupils progress.
Your role, as a link governor I assume, is to ensure that the school are introducing this and that the relevant paperwork is in place, so that appropriate objectives / targets can be set for the future especially around the vulnerable groups.

BetsyBoop Fri 26-Jun-15 08:18:30

I was going to write a big long reply - but admission said exactly what I would have said!
(I'm the governor who chairs our "standards and effectiveness" committee - so effectively the "link" governor role that admission mentions)

Effjay Fri 26-Jun-15 20:26:08

Sorry, I need to provide a bit of clarification. Our governing body has recently re-structured itself, under the guidance of a professional adviser in governing body matters. The way we now operate is that there are a number of 'Lead Governors' for the main areas. This has replaced the old committee format, where we had a Premises, Finance, Pupil Progress, Admissions committees and so on. The Lead Governors take on the responsibility of each of the areas previously covered by committee. My Lead governor role is Pupil Progress. We have a template report that we use in order to report back to the FGB, which has replaced the committee reports. The report is about showing evidence of challenge, not reporting on what's happening - you're all right, that is absolutely the Head's responsibility. This is the way our governing body has voted to operate, which we believe is a more efficient way (for us) to govern effectively.

Therefore, my request was for questions that challenge the Head on this topic and apologies for not making that clearer in the OP.

Millymollymama Fri 26-Jun-15 21:05:59

Except that you cannot actually do it, Effjay. I know how you have restructured. We have the same system of lead governors but we have kept committees. I don't see how you can work effectively without then!

However, we challenge in a different way because we concentrate on the different strands of the school development (improvement) plan and that contains a section on pupil progress and currently we are focussing on writing. Your topic is far too big and impossible for you to do because you are not a professional and have not had the training on this topic. Do you know what tracking system you use? Do you know if the criteria have been agreed for success yet? The Government has yet to publish all the required standards so I don't see how you can write this. Everyone else is correct, it is up to the Head to do this as part of their report to Governors and for you to go on a training course to find out what your role is.

Effjay Fri 26-Jun-15 21:39:05

aargh, I've been on many training courses, I do understand what a governors role is

DanFmDorking Fri 26-Jun-15 22:07:00

Effjay - thanks for that - yep - understood.

I’ve done a couple of Google searches and I’ll post the links rather than ‘copy ‘n’ paste’

The common message is to ask the school:-

a) “What has been the impact on pupil achievement of xyz?”
b) “How do we know it was worth spending the ££ spent on xyz?”

See here, here and here.

It is important that the minutes record that the questions are being asked (although not necessarily the name of the Governor) and the answers!

I hope this helps.

Trebushay Fri 26-Jun-15 22:16:25

Your 'challenge' is how are you measuring progress so we know the pupils are on target to meet age related expectations.

Millymollymama Sat 27-Jun-15 00:12:57

To answer your question : you should ask to see the progress monitoring data which must show what percentage of pupils are making expected progress, those who are not making expected progress and those who are exceeding expected progress. You should ask how this is measured and what strategies are employed to ensure all children make expected progress or better. You should ask if teaching needs to improve to ensure all children make expected progress or better and you should go over all the progress data (hopefully via a something like Target tracker) to see where the school pupils are making less progress than they should. You need to challenge the data for each year group, any gender differences in achievement that are evident from the data,the progress of pupil premium and SEND children, and in what subjects is there less good progress. Once you have worked out where the children are not making enough progress and you have challenged the Head on this, you will then need to write a school development plan to focus on the areas of greatest weakness. You will then need to monitor it and challenge what the Head tells you is being done to address the areas of poor performance you have challenged them to improve.

Pupil progress is a vast area of work for a governing body. How you will do it on your own is mind boggling. You have taken on, single handedly, the most important aspect of being a governor. If you still had a committee, other Governors could do progress in Numeracy, Literacy, (reading, writing, etc) Pupil Premium and SEND, etc. You appear to be challenging on the whole lot which, whatever your governing body might think, is not an effective way to work. The topic you have got is simply too big and too important for one person.

Millymollymama Sat 27-Jun-15 00:15:20

Oh yes. I forgot to mention, my former job was training governors. Aaaah to what you are trying to do!!!!

Effjay Tue 30-Jun-15 20:22:25

Folks, thanks for your helpful posts. I had my meeting today and used your info and suggestions and had a really constructive meeting with the Head. I feel I can now show evidence of good challenge in my report on this area.

DanFmDorking Tue 30-Jun-15 23:01:19

Well done!

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