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Ofsted and Governors – Ensuring Good Governance

Are they ready?

Strong and effective governance is essential for good schools. Governors have always been a focus for inspection but they are coming under even more scrutiny and a poor judgement about governance can affect the judgement about leadership and the overall judgement about the school.

Do they know what they should know?

There is always the possibility that as frameworks are revised, governing bodies do not keep up with the changes and may be caught out by thinking they are fulfilling their responsibilities when they are not. They should at least know about the criteria for governance contained within the latest Handbook and have an idea about where they stand in relation to them.

It is very easy for governors to become overwhelmed by too much irrelevant information and it is vital for them to have clarity about what they should be doing and what they actually are doing – and closing the gap if there is a difference.

In many schools, Ofsted are judging governing bodies as not effective or confident about their role in supporting and challenging the leadership to ensure all pupils receive the best possible education.

There are three overarching aspects for governors to consider:

  1. Do we know what is expected of us? (this includes the aspects we should have broad or detailed knowledge about).
  2. Do we have the right skills on the governing body?
  3. Are we carrying out our responsibilities effectively?

These three key areas need to be further developed so that governors are clear about the range of knowledge and the level of detail required for them to be confident that they are effective both individually and collectively.

How can they find out?

Conducting a survey is an effective way for governors to undertake a self review in order to ask and answer these questions. From this they will be able to identify areas of strength and weakness and be able to plan for development in a manageable way.

Developing a Survey

In producing a survey, there are some important areas to consider before you start:

  • What information do you want to obtain from the survey?
  • How will the information be used and interpreted?
  • Will the survey be on paper, on-line or a combination of both?
  • How will the surveys be distributed to governors?
  • How will the survey results be interpreted – including any actions to be taken as a result of the findings?

We have been leaders in carrying out a wide variety of school surveys for several years. If you would like to use our standard governor survey or would like us to customise a survey for your school please phone us on 0800 788 0444 or email

The fee for a governor survey is £250 (+VAT).

We are also able to undertake governor training either as part of a survey (based on the results) or separately. Costs are dependent upon a number of factors. For a discussion about your requirements please use the contact details above.

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