Note: the January 2012 Ofsted schedule was superseded by the September 2012 schedule. Information below may therefore be out of date.
The revised Ofsted evaluation schedule now includes the judgements on “Governance” within the Leadership & Management strand. Documents for inspectors give further guidance on how to report on this aspect of their findings. (Find more documents for inspectors)
For your reference only, here are selected extracts from the January 2012 L&M grade descriptors:
Outstanding: All leaders and managers, including the governing body, are highly ambitious for the school and lead by example. They base their actions on a deep and accurate understanding of the school’s performance and of staff and pupils’ skills and attributes. Key leaders focus relentlessly on improving teaching and learning, resulting in teaching that is likely to be outstanding and at least consistently good. ….
Good: Key leaders and managers, including the governing body, consistently communicate high expectations and ambition. They model good practice and demonstrably work to monitor, improve and support teaching, encouraging the enthusiasm of staff and channelling their efforts and skills to good effect. ….
Satisfactory: The headteacher and most other key leaders, including the governing body, provide a concerted approach to school improvement. Planned actions by leaders and managers have improved the quality of teaching so that very little is inadequate. Most, but not all, staff and pupils are fully committed to the drive and ambition demonstrated by key leaders. Capacity to improve is demonstrated by a trend of sustained improvement in achievement, behaviour and safety, although a few significant weaknesses remain. Essential systems are embedded sufficiently to enable the school to continue improving and do not depend solely on only one or two senior leaders. …..
Inadequate: Capacity for further improvement is limited because current leaders and managers have been ineffective in securing essential improvements since the last inspection. ….
What does Outstanding L & M look like? Examples of Ofsted descriptions from January 2102 inspections in primary schools, which include explicit references to the GB knowing, supporting, challenging and working effectively with the school.
Ofsted’s “Subsidiary Guidance for Inspectors” (pages 18 & 21) says:
The quality of leadership and management of the school
67. The evaluation schedule sets out the key features of leadership and management and, in particular, a greater focus on improving teaching and how leaders and managers are helping pupils to overcome specific barriers to learning. The following guidance focuses on selected aspects of inspecting leadership and management.
(P 21) Governance
In assessing the role and impact of the governing body, take account of how well the governing body:
- knows the school
- supports and strengthens school leadership
- provides challenge to school leaders, particularly with regard to improving the quality of teaching
- works efficiently with the school.
Sources of evidence about the effectiveness of the governing body include:
- a discussion with one or more members of the governing body
- minutes of governing body meetings
- references to the work of the governing body as part of more general discussions with key staff, for example, the headteacher; the special educational needs coordinator; the child-protection officer; staff with links to particular governing body committees; or governors with designated responsibilities
- discussions with other members of staff and, where relevant, pupils about the impact of the governing body on the work of the school.
See also references to the GB in the guidance below, particularly Item 74:
(Page 20) Capacity to improve
71. Capacity to improve will be reflected across all levels of leadership and management: headteacher and senior leaders; middle leaders and the governing body. Inspectors must consider:
- the school’s self-evaluation and how it responds to this evaluation through successful implementation of improvement plans
- the intrinsic capacity of all leaders to steer improvement and promote effective monitoring and robust evaluation to gauge impact
- any track record of improvements in important areas (achievement; quality of teaching; behaviour and safety; and promotion of pupils’ SMSC development) sustained over time.
Inspectors will need to consider whether capacity for improvement is adequate in schools that:
- are in receipt of extensive external support simply to produce satisfactory outcomes
- have not resolved the areas for improvement identified at their previous inspection
- have judgements on achievement and behaviour and safety that are no better than satisfactory and that were satisfactory at the last inspection
- have limited capacity for improvement in middle leadership.
72. Inspectors will need to exercise their professional judgement in assessing these issues in relation to the circumstances of different schools. For example, inspectors may take account of major changes in the nature of the school’s intake, significant staffing issues or other factors that may help explain these situations.
73. However, where senior staff and, where relevant, key members of the governing body, have had responsibility since the last inspection (and before) and the school’s circumstances have remained constant, inspectors will need to probe deeply into any reasons put forward for the apparent lack of improvement.
74. Good intentions, even when set out in well-written plans, backed only by unsupported assertions, passionately stated promises and an aspirational outlook, or a recent change of headteacher following a period of poor leadership, do not in themselves provide sufficient proof of the capacity to achieve improvement.
- See also General guidance for inspectors on conducting inspections.
- What might Ofsted ask you? This refers to exemplar questions to governors from the previous schedule but may still be of use when preparing for an inspection or self evaluating the GB.