School governors lack knowledge to challenge headteachers

The TES is reporting that a new report from Ofsted has found that many school governors lack sufficient knowledge to probe and challenge headteachers.

Many school governors lack the expertise needed to hold school leaders to account, according to a new Ofsted report. Weak governors often know little about pupil achievement or budget management at their schools, and therefore fail to challenge headteachers sufficiently, the report concludes.

“When inspectors judge the leadership and management of a school to be less than good, a common underlying weakness is the failure of governors to hold school leaders to account,” the report, published today, states.

Ofsted drew on evidence from 2,632 responses to a call for evidence, along with a close study of governance at 24 improving primary, secondary and special schools.

In another school, parent governors told inspectors that they only knew that teaching and learning were improving because their own children had told them so.

“On all of these boards, governors did not have enough knowledge about their roles and responsibilities,” the report states.

More at: Ofsted: School governors lack knowledge to challenge headteachers

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below or via Twitter. ~ Meena

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  1. Nairb1

    ‘Many school governors lack the expertise needed to hold school leaders to account, according to a new Ofsted report. ‘
    Surprise, surprise. Ask for willing volunteers and then ask them to do a professional job, what outcome should be expected?

  2. Simon Foster

    Narib1….. I completely agree, I have been a Governor for around 10 years or so. I think my ‘induction phase’ lasted around 3 years.

    It is not a job for the faint hearted, those without a business mind and a strong stomach as Ofsted are always commenting on what a poor job we do!

    The Governor Quality Mark is an extremely useful benchmarking tool.

  3. Agree with Simon. Also become unpopular when challenge the school so Gvnrs end up taking the quiet life and just talking about it out of meeting. Can become dysfunctional and unprofessional. But there are some great GBs with Heads who really want to learn and improve – often the high performing Heads who are already doing a great job though – so this widens the divide between top and bottom. With SGOSS we are currently offering a one-off huge price reduction on our GB Skills Audit which enhances significantly the NGA tool as it collates everything and requires no work to set up – and measures how good the management information is the Governors take their decisions on. Just £25+vat (normally £125+vat) but MUST register by 18th Dec and complete by end Feb – no catches – go to takes 2 mins to register. Merry Xmas all and what a great service Schools Improvement is – I read it every day at 0830!  Keep it going through 2017!

  4. This was my experience as a teacher-governor – that the majority of other governors could not hold the head to account because they hardly understood what was going on.  Not because of a lack of intelligence – it just took half the meeting for the head to explain his plans or the exam  results etc.
    Governors would then agree plans they hardly understood and then, at the next staff meeting announce that “Governors have asked me to….”

  5. northernteacher

    These people are unpaid individuals who give their time freely to help the school. They’ve got an interest in education and they provide support to the school. They tend to take their lead from the head. Often they are not education specialists, so it’s hardly surprising they lack the knowledge!

  6. Nairb1

    Every year I have a meeting with a senior HMI at which s/he outlines Ofsted priorities based on the outcomes of the previous year’s inspections. It changes yearnon year except for … improve governance. It’s time they got the message and had a re-think.

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