Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Impact and effectiveness of school governance

This article presents the views of governors and coordinators of governors’ services on the impact and effectiveness of school governance. It reports on the impact of the school governing body on school improvement and school accountability to the local community, the key features of effective governance, and how governing bodies are currently assessing and evaluating their effectiveness.

Impact of the governing body on school improvement

The Schools White Paper (DfE, 2010) outlines the shift towards greater school autonomy in respect to school improvement and school accountability to the local community. These requirements place a greater focus on governing bodies to support schools in fulfilling their statutory duties.
Just over three¬quarters (77 per cent) of governors either strongly agreed or agreed that there was evidence that their ‘governing body has an impact on school improvement’. Moreover, the majority of coordinators also strongly agreed or agreed with this statement (76 per cent; 47 respondents). Further analysis revealed that governors on governing bodies which were rated as ‘outstanding’ were statistically significantly more likely to strongly agree that there is evidence that their governing body has an impact on school improvement (52 per cent), compared to those judged as ‘good’ or ‘satisfactory’ (34 and 25 per cent respectively).

Interviewees in all nine case¬study areas were in agreement that governing bodies could have a significant impact on school improvement. Coordinators felt that while the actions of many governing bodies or the quality of governance can have an impact on school improvement, it was variable across the schools they support. Impact could be evidenced by, for example, the extent to which governing bodies were involved in drawing up and monitoring school development plans. The extent to which governing bodies adequately examined and addressed school priorities, consulted the local community and used the school improvement partners effectively were also key criteria. Interviewees highlighted the challenges faced by governing bodies in ensuring they had an impact on school improvement. One coordinator, for example, noted:

If the headteacher is weak and if the senior leadership team is poor and the quality of the teaching is poor, you can have the best governing body in the world but I’m not sure they are going to actually impact on standards. Unless they go down the road of putting pressure on the headteacher to shape up or ship out.

The review evidence supports this view and highlights the close relationship between the quality of governing bodies and school performance where governing bodies are effective and challenging in their scrutiny and monitoring role, and schools are better placed to achieve their statutory duties (Balarin et al., 2008). Where schools were graded as ‘inadequate’ during Ofsted inspections, senior leaders were reported to have not been effectively challenged and held to account by governing bodies found that the ‘lack of a capable governing body is not a neutral absence for a school; it is a substantial disadvantage’, emphasising the significance of the role of the governing body.

The full Nfer Report by Tami McCrone,Clare Southcott and Nalia George can be found below

No comments:

Post a Comment