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A question for Governors and/or others who know about these things

(8 Posts)
ElephantsChild Mon 12-Sep-11 09:03:10

If a parent isn?t happy about exam results what can they do about it. I?m not talking specifically about my PFB but generally across the school.
We are a leafy suburb school and we get good results but I am starting to realise that it is not due to teaching but due to the type of families we have and also tutoring. Coursework results are lower than exam results and dragging down overall grades. Pieces often come back moderated as less than the teacher?s grade.

What can a parent do? The SMT must know that things are not right but they don?t seem to be addressing it. I know that if I try to raise it with the Head Teacher then it will get brushed under the carpet. I tried having a quiet word with one parent-governor and he said that they don?t scrutinise the results. The Head Teacher waves some results at them, tells the Governors how fantastically the school is doing and they lap it up. No subcommittee looks at the nitty-gritty of actual v predicted, or at specific department?s underperformance, or the detail of coursework v exam.

Is it the Governors job to look at exam results and hold the Head Teacher to account. If not them, then who?

admission Mon 12-Sep-11 12:57:20

Governors are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the school and that would definitely include setting appropriate targets for pupil progress.
The problem comes when as you rightly say the head waves a piece of paper with good results on it and the governing body is not doing the job that it is supposed to be of being a "critical friend" to the school and headteacher.
It is for the school to present appropriate facts and figures to the governing body or a commitee. In my school we have a meeting this term which is dedicated to a review of all pupil progress targets and results, including individual department figures.
In your particular case I am afraid that the governing body is not asking the right questions, they are obviously more interested in nodding appropriately rather than questioning issues.

Kez100 Mon 12-Sep-11 13:08:37

We, as Governors, also spend a considerable amount of time on target setting, and then actual results versus predicted and versus the targets. We look at subject level as well as girls versus boys, SEN, and free school meals results data. Two of us are statisticians, so our SLT don't get away with anything!

Most years, the results give something which can be used positively as a press headline. If 5 A*-C is a bit weak then they find a couple of students who have managed 10 A* across the board and they become headlines, or maybe the 5A*-C not inc E and M is good - so they pick that to release to the press.

Governors, however, should get under these figures and question them. We very certainly do.

Abgirl Mon 12-Sep-11 13:09:07

Yes, this is difficult. I would try approaching the Chair of Governors with your concerns - I'm a chair and would expect this to definitely be covered in detail at one of the sub-committees (and by the full governing body actually). However as well as challenging their schools, governors also have a duty to support them so it's not always an easy balance to get right.

If you don't feel their response is satisfactory you could try talking to the Local authority or expressing your concerns to Ofsted - parents have a right to contact ofsted directly if they want to. Both the LA and ofsted hold the head teacher to account.

Have you thought about becoming a governor yourself? Then you could be the person asking the awkward questions.

IndigoBell Mon 12-Sep-11 14:30:12

The govs can and should question the HT about the results.

They can also ask what is being done to raise standards.

But besides that there is not a lot else the govs can do.

If the HT is bad (and it sounds like she is), then questioning by some govs won't change anything......

The govs can't actually make the HT, or the school, do anything.

ElephantsChild Mon 12-Sep-11 20:12:41

I did think about being a Governor at one time but realised that it was a lot of responsibility without actually being given the power to do anything. Can't be doing with that.

Talker2010 Mon 12-Sep-11 20:46:25

www.education.gov.uk/performancetables/

The governors are responsible for scrutinising exam results

Look up your school on this website

Pay attention to the Contextual Value Added ... for KS4 this should be 1000 or better

If this is a really low score ask the Chair of Govs specifically about it

ElephantsChild Mon 12-Sep-11 22:33:16

Thanks Talker2010. The CVA for KS2->KS4 is respectable. It is KS4->KS5, when it gets really important, that it is noticeable that they start going backwards.

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