Preparing for Ofsted
4th November 2014
Clare Collins
NGA Lead Consultant
© NGA 2013
Welcome and introductions
© NGA 2013
NGA is a membership organisation
Representing the governors and trustees in all state funded schools in
Our aim to improve the effectiveness of governing boards by providing expert
and tailored information and advice, and challenge when appropriate
Standard governing body membership is £75
GOLD governing body membership is £260
and includes an advice line
© NGA 2013
Purpose of the session
At the end of the session governors should have an understanding of:
– What Ofsted expect from the governing body
– What ‘knowing your school’ means
– The criteria against which the governing body will be judged
– What to expect from the Ofsted visit
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‘without strong and effective governance,
our schools simply won’t be as good as they can be’
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HMCI and the Ofsted framework
Since September 2012, Sir Michael Wilshaw, HMCI, has changed – and
continues to fine tune - the Ofsted framework
There is more emphasis on governance in Ofsted inspections
– Expectations of governance are greater but reasonable
– External reviews are being recommended for schools where
governance is seen to be in need of strengthening
– All governors are expected to be familiar with their school’s Ofsted
data dashboard
– All governors need to know their school’s strengths and weaknesses
We do need to do improve governance
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Since September 2012, Ofsted has significantly
increased the focus on school governance
Proportion of all inspected schools receiving
recommendations regarding governance
Sept-Nov 12
Sept-Dec 11
Sept 10-July 11
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Quality governance
In all types of schools, high quality governance is characterised by a relentless
focus on the three core strategic functions:
Setting vision, ethos and strategic direction
Holding headteachers to account for teaching, achievement, behaviour and
safety, and challenging and strengthening their leadership;
Ensuring finances are managed well leading to probity, solvency and
effective use of resources
From DfE’s Governors’ Handbook, May 2013
In other words …
the DfE want all governing bodies to operate as non-executive boards
In order to do this well …
governors need to know their school
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In the best schools inspectors found governors
were very well informed
‘Regular meetings with the headteacher and presentations from staff inform governors'
understanding of the school and its work.’
‘The governing body seeks the views of parents, carers and pupils and uses the
information obtained to inform the school's self-evaluation and the school development
‘Governors have a good awareness of the school and a clear view of the strategic
direction of the school through regular visits, including to lessons and focus groups.’
‘Governors carry out their own monitoring of the school’s plans and use this to evaluate
how well all aspects are doing. They clearly understand how well pupils are progressing,
making it their business to probe the school about any concerns, should they arise.’
‘Outstanding quality of work undertaken by the governing body could clearly be seen in an
audit of the impact on pupils' learning of recent disruptions caused by inclement weather.
As a result of the audit, staff have now agreed a plan to make up any future lost learning
‘Governors are closely involved in self-evaluation procedures, ask penetrating questions
and expect and receive regular reports and presentations from staff to inform their strategic
decision making.’
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How do you as governors get to know your school?
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Key sources of information
Prospectus and website
SEF / data dashboard / RAISEonline
Strategy document with school vision / key priorities / KPIs / targets
School development plan
HT report and GB minutes
In year tracking data summary / quality of teaching
External consultant reports
Governor visits
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Visiting the school
Is the purpose of school visits clear?
– Getting to know the school
– Monitoring improvement priorities
Is there a policy and protocols which have been agreed and shared with
How do governors report on visits?
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Knowing the school
Too often governors don’t know what they don’t know …
Is the school self-evaluation fit for purpose and do all governors know the
key issues facing the school?
Is the headteacher’s termly report to the governing body focused on the
strategic plan’s key improvement priorities?
How does the governing body use the Ofsted and FFT data dashboards
and RAISEonline?
Does the governing body receive regular internal in year pupil progress
tracking data for all year groups, in an agreed format, and know which
groups of children are not progressing well?
Do governors know how the Pupil Premium is being spent and the expected
What does the governing body know about the quality of teaching, staff
performance and pay?
How do governors know what pupils, staff and parents think about the
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Ofsted and governance
Ofsted are looking at the effectiveness of governance including how well
1. Carry out their statutory duties, such as safeguarding, and understand the boundaries
of their role as governors
2. Ensure that they and the school promote tolerance of and respect for people of all
faiths (or those of no faith), cultures and lifestyles; and support and help, through their
words, actions and influence within the school and more widely in the community, to
prepare children and young people positively for life in modern Britain
3. Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction, including long-term
planning (for example, succession)
4. Contribute to the school’s self-evaluation and understand its strengths and
weaknesses, including the quality of teaching, and reviewing the impact of their own
5. Understand and take sufficient account of pupil data, particularly their understanding
and use of the school data dashboard
6. Assure themselves of the rigour of the assessment process
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7. Are aware of the impact of teaching on learning and progress in different subjects and
year groups
8. Provide challenge and hold the headteacher and other senior leaders to
account for improving the quality of teaching, pupils’ achievement and pupils’
behaviour and safety, including by using the data dashboard, other progress
data, examination outcomes and test results; or whether they hinder school
improvement by failing to tackle key concerns or developing their own skills
9. Use the pupil premium and other resources to overcome barriers to learning,
including reading, writing and mathematics
10. Ensure solvency and probity and that the financial resources made available to
the school are managed effectively
11. Are providing support for an effective headteacher
12. Monitor performance management systems and understand how the school makes
decisions about teachers’ salary progression , including the performance
management of the headteacher, to improve teaching, leadership and management
13. Engage with key stakeholders
14. Are transparent and accountable, including in terms of recruitment of staff,
governance structures, attendance at meetings, and contact with parents and carers.
Ofsted School Inspection Handbook, July 2014
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Look at the criteria and assess
whether your governing body is weak, sound or strong
One aspect you are confident you are strong in
One aspect you may need to review
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Are there any issues that our governing body
needs to address prior to our Ofsted visit?
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The Ofsted interview
1. The timing
– usually end of day one or beginning of day two
– make clear what suits you as volunteers
2. Who goes
3. What to take
4. Answering the questions
5. Expressing concerns
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Possible questions
1. What are the strengths and weaknesses in your school? How do you
2. What do you know about the quality of teaching? Do you observe lessons?
3. What is your school doing to narrow the gap? What does pupil premium
amount to? What is the expected impact of interventions this year?
4. Progress in English in key stage three is poor … what is the school doing
about this?
5. Is your curriculum broad and balanced and so preparing the children for life
in modern Britain?
6. How do governors monitor staff performance and make decisions on pay
7. Are parents happy with the school? How do you know?
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The Ofsted report
The feedback meeting
– What time / who goes / what to do and say / confidentiality
The draft report
– 24 hours to comment: chair must have sight of the draft and the
opportunity to comment (check accuracy of language used)
– Usually within three weeks
Evaluation and appeals
– Check details
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Next steps
Key issues …
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To be dealt with by whom?
Reviewing the session
We have covered:
– What Ofsted expect from the governing body
– What knowing your school means
– The criteria against which the governors body will be judged
– What to expect from the Ofsted visit
Any questions?
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Reviewing your governing board’s
Schools are expected to self evaluate and this should include governance
Knowing your strengths and weaknesses is the starting point for identifying
where to begin with developing the governing body
The discipline of a review / development / review cycle leads to incremental
When did you last review your GB’s effectiveness?
Are there any barriers to carrying out a review?
What are the options for a review?
Materials such as the APPG 20 Questions and the NGA evaluation framework
based on these, Governormark, GSET
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0121 237 3780
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