Thursday, 13 October 2011

National College: Improving Your School

As chair, you need to have a thorough understanding and knowledge of your school: its context, the characteristics of the area it serves and the children and families who make up the school’s intake.

The governing body sets the direction for the school and needs to know what the school does
well, where its strengths lie and where there is room for improvement. Important questions are:

-- How do we secure sustained improvement?

-- What are the main barriers to high performance and how do we overcome them?

-- How do we secure outstanding learning and teaching for every pupil?

-- What sort of academy or school do we need to become?

Effective monitoring and evaluation of the school’s performance is an essential part of school
improvement. As chair, you and your governor colleagues will want to ensure that the school
has a positive culture and effective processes relating to self-evaluation. You should ensure that
good quality and relevant information is available to governors. You all need a good understanding of the data and other sources of evidence that are available to you. These include:

-- exam results (SATs, GCSEs and A-levels)

-- the school self-evaluation form (SEF), which is no longer compulsory but still used in schools
for compiling performance information

-- results of lesson observations, work scrutiny and pupil interviews; the chair has an important role here in supporting the headteacher to establish a culture and process of self-evaluation

-- school development plan, which governors should have been involved in developing

-- Ofsted reports

-- Data on RAISEonline (the DfE data analysis tool) and school-level data

-- Headteacher reports to the governing body

-- Parent, student and staff surveys

-- School visits by governors


-- Is the headteacher’s report to your governing body structured around the priorities of the
school development plan?

-- Is your governing body involved in monitoring progress against the key objectives in the
school development plan?

-- Does your governing body have the skills to understand and question the data being

-- Does your governing body have access to independent advice on what the data means?

-- Did the governors speak to the Ofsted inspectors and receive a report from them?

-- Does your governing body receive RAISEonline reports, and do some governors have access
to the RAISEonline full report?

-- Does your governing body have progress data reported to it as well as attainment?

-- Does your governing body know which groups of children in the school are not doing as well
as they should, and why that might be?

-- How does your governing body seek views from parents?

-- How does your governing body seek views from students?

-- Do you have a protocol for school visits and does it make clear that the purpose of the
visit is linked to the priorities set by your governing body?

More information on using data effectively is available from

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