Headlines: June 26th, 2001

OFSTED has produced new guidance to help school governors fulfil their full potential. The information will also be of interest to college governors, now that OFSTED inspects all 16-19 education too.While praising the public-spirited nature of volunteers who contribute to the effective running of their local schools, OFSTED also realises that at the core of some of its most damning reports is weak leadership from the school’s governing body.

School Governance – Making it Better, describes how governors of one group of schools, those in special measures, have improved their work.

The report outlines the causes and characteristics of ineffective governance and describes some of the ways governors can be more effective. The findings about achieving good governance apply to all schools.

It sets out how successful governors give constructive support to school improvement, have a proper say in how the school is to move forward, have a clear view about the school’s priorities, are well informed about the impact of developments, know how well the school is performing, and ask pertinent questions of the school’s senior managers.

It recommends well defined working procedures. Individual governors perform best when they are clear exactly what is expected of them and how their contribution fits into the role of the governing body as a whole.

School Governance – Making it Better (ref HMI 281) is available at www.ofsted.gov.uk.