Friday, 6 May 2011

Nfer Models of Governance: Key Findings

Key findings from Nfer Models of Governance report

Key principles and components of effective governance are more significant to the governance of schools than the type of model followed. The evidence indicates that an effective governing body can have a valuable impact on school improvement. The majority of governors felt that their governing bodies were effective and coordinators were also positive about the overall effectiveness of governing bodies.

The Nfer research evidence indicates that the stakeholder model is viewed as the most appropriate model of school governance, although this model was recognised as needing some improvements to ensure flexibility and fitness for purpose in the context of greater school autonomy.

The evidence shows that governors are currently principally fulfilling monitoring and supporting roles. Additionally, a minority of governors and coordinators felt that governing bodies were challenging headteachers or the senior leadership team, representing the views of the local community, providing strategic direction, and carrying out self¬evaluations.

Governors perceived the most important elements for ensuring effective governance to be a productive working relationship between the governing body and the senior leadership team, and an effective chair of governors and clerk to support the governing body.

Key to effective governance was perceived to be governors having a clear understanding of their role (and its limits) and an understanding of the strategic responsibilities of governing obdies. Critical to achieving strategic focus is the quality of the relationships between the headteacher, the chair of governors and the clerk. Governors cited size of the governing body as the least relevant element of an effective governing body.

Further ways identified by respondents to the survey for improving the effectiveness of school governance were better selection and recruitment processes, mandatory induction training (although it is appreciated that current funding pressures may affect the feasibility of this), and better understanding of data.

The majority of governors reported that the governing body took into account how to support all
children and young people in the local community. However, coordinators were less confident that governors were doing this.

Other key attributes for governors of the future were, firstly, having an interest in and commitment to the school. Secondly, the ability to recognise, particularly in the more autonomous schools of the future, what type of external guidance might be needed and to access the required support and/or training, if needed. Thirdly, the willingness to develop the skills and knowledge needed in order to provide strategic challenge, for example, by understanding how to interpret data.

The evidence suggests that further training to ensure all partners, including headteachers, understand the strategic responsibilities of governing bodies is needed. All parties would then be aware of the value of governing bodies challenging headteachers and the senior leadership team as part of a more strategic approach to governance.

The majority of governors who had accessed training and, in particular, face¬to¬face training, felt that it was useful. In addition, the clerk was considered to be a key source of support. Governors reported that they would welcome further support particularly in relation to new developments in education, governance self¬evaluation, specific issues (relevant to their role on the governing body), and the statutory requirements and legal responsibilities of governing bodies.

Coordinators identified key barriers to governors attending training as a lack of time, lack of support from employers, an unwillingness to travel and variable encouragement from schools.
Looking ahead, although governors and coordinators were unclear about the full impact of budget cuts, there was an expectation that there would be a decrease in local authority governor support services for schools. This potential change, along with greater school autonomy, was expected to result in schools seeking governor support services outside of their local authority from independent providers and consultants, resulting in greater competition amongst local authorities and other providers.

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

No comments:

Post a Comment