On 4th April 2014 Ofsted published the revised subsidiary guidance. There weren’t many changes and certainly no drastic ones. However, one change did make governors sit up and take notice. Paragraph 100 under Governance now reads as follows.
- Inspectors will increasingly encounter different models of governance, such as those associated with federated arrangements, free schools and academy chains. Inspectors should ensure that they clearly understand the governance arrangements for a school and that they identify and engage with the right people.
There ensued a lot of discussion on Twitter about who these “right people” were. Were they the trustees of the academy? Were these the members of the local governing body (which is not a “governing” body but more like an advisory board with delegated powers)? I tweeted and asked Ofsted to clarify. I received an email today (11th April 2014) and I am copying the relevant extract below.
Inspectors should ensure that they clearly understand the governance arrangements for a school and that they identify and engage with the right people (i.e. those responsible for the governance of the school) so that they are able to evaluate securely, as part of the leadership and management judgement, the extent to which governors both challenge and support the school and hold senior staff, including the head teacher, to account for the achievement of the pupils. Inspectors will always seek to meet with governors, or members of the school’s local board, committee or other authority where schools are combined in managed groups, federations or chains, during the course of the inspection.
So, Ofsted will seek to meet “those responsible for governance“. In maintained schools and single convertors this is of course the governing board. The email states that in the case of managed groups, federations or chains the inspectors are expected to meet members of the school’s local board, committee. I have replied to the email saying that that I have taken their reply to mean that the inspectors will meet members of the “advisory” board. I shall let you know if I hear that that isn’t the case. For what it’s worth, I think this does make sense. Although the local board has delegated powers, it does have these powers and therefore is perhaps best placed to answer questions the inspectors may have.
So, there you have it. You can now judge for yourself if you are one of the “right” people!
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