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Evaluation article: Know your strengths Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectation Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence Evaluation article: HR and the successful school: A case study Evaluation article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress Evaluation article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review Evaluation article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement Evaluation article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement Evaluation article: Transforming a failing school Evaluation article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision Evaluation article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - January 2016 Evaluation article: Managing uncertainty Evaluation article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - September 2016 Evaluation article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection Evaluation article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty Evaluation article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders Evaluation article: The governing body as a critical friend Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectations Evaluation article: The exam post-mortem Evaluation article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility Evaluation article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model Evaluation article: Effective leadership builds effective teams Evaluation article: Baseline assessment and SEND Evaluation article: Making performance management count in school improvement Evaluation article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust Evaluation article: Case study from Carlton Bolling College: Ensuring high-quality governance Evaluation article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation Evaluation article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser? Evaluation article: Headteachers’ appraisal Evaluation article: Making CPD work harder Evaluation article: Using the Framework for governance Evaluation article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard Evaluation article: The government's Prevent guidance Evaluation article: Improving provision for the most able Evaluation article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare Evaluation article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools? Evaluation article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment Evaluation article: Raising boys’ achievement Evaluation article: National standards of excellence for headteachers Evaluation article: Governors and the inspection interview Evaluation article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation Evaluation article: CPD: Less measurement and more development Evaluation article: Challenging 
the most able Evaluation article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability Evaluation article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom Evaluation article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons Evaluation article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance Evaluation article: Four steps to school improvement Evaluation article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership Evaluation article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision Evaluation article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence Evaluation article: Getting personal  with CPD Evaluation article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process Evaluation article: Parent View — an update Evaluation article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach Evaluation article: Effective parental engagement

Evaluation article: Know your strengths

Can you make inspection an enriching learning process that is actually good for your school? Heather Clements of Best Practice Network offers some advice. 

Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectation

In this article, Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectation in their schools. 

Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence

Tony Powell outlines a step-by-step approach to support schools in achieving the accolade of ‘outstanding’ as defined by Ofsted.

Evaluation article: HR and the successful school: A case study

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling College, gives a personal viewpoint of the benefits of bringing in the experts.

Evaluation article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress

Steve Burnage discusses engaging with good practice in the leadership of teaching and learning.

Evaluation article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review

Tony Powell reports on the findings of the final Rochford Review.

Evaluation article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement

A high-performing leadership team is at the centre of any school improvement mission. But how do you go about creating an excellent SLT? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network asks…

Evaluation article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement

Adrian Kneeshaw of Carlton Bolling school gives advice on how to focus school spending on improvement planning.

Evaluation article: Transforming a failing school

Matt Bromley offers some advice on turning around an underperforming school in a short space of time while laying down the foundations for sustainable improvement.

Evaluation article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision

Tony Powell explains how inspectors gather evidence and make judgements on the quality of alternative and specially resourced provision.

Evaluation article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing

With concerns about mental health rising, what can schools do to help their pupils? Suzanne O’Connell outlines the advice available from the National Children’s Bureau and how it might be…

Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - January 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Evaluation article: Managing uncertainty

If you are struggling with a sense of uncertainty, be reassured: you are not alone. 2016 has been a year of upheaval, with the promise of big changes on the…

Evaluation article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique

Tony Powell provides guidance on how to use discussion with pupils as a tool for self-evaluation.

Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - September 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Evaluation article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection

Tony Powell looks at how to use the feedback from your inspection in school improvement planning.

Evaluation article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty

How can an expanding multi-academy trust ensure that school improvement doesn’t become a casualty of change? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network looks at the issue and offers some guidance.

Evaluation article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders

Adrian Kneeshaw looks at how leadership is important to the success of the school, and how to lead effectively.

Evaluation article: The governing body as a critical friend

In his second article on the headteacher and governor relationship, Tony Powell defines what is meant by a ‘critical friend’.

Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectations

Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectations in their schools.

Evaluation article: The exam post-mortem

Matt Bromley considers how schools can learn from exam performance data and build this into school improvement.

Evaluation article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility

With new safeguarding guidance released, it’s time to check your arrangements and update your staff.

Evaluation article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model

This article outlines the Ofsted methodology for determining whether a school is ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

Evaluation article: Effective leadership builds effective teams

Steve Burnage offers advice on motivating staff, getting the best from them and building effective teams.

Evaluation article: Baseline assessment and SEND

Suzanne O’Connell looks at a report on baseline assessment in primary schools and it’s affect on identifying children with SEND.

Evaluation article: Making performance management count in school improvement

What do you need to do to make performance management a watertight process that makes a real contribution to school improvement? Keith Wright has some suggestions.

Evaluation article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust

Tony Stephens, of the Co-operative Academies Trust, looks at what is the best type of multi-academy trust for a school to join or establish.

Evaluation article: Case study from Carlton Bolling College: Ensuring high-quality governance

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling, gives a personal take on renewing a failing governing body having designed and built one from scratch.

Evaluation article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation

David Birch explains how capturing the views of students can sharpen school self-evaluation and have a positive impact on your school improvement strategies.

Evaluation article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser?

Frank Norris offers advice on how to choose the most appropriate school improvement partner to work with your school.

Evaluation article: Headteachers’ appraisal

David Birch outlines best practice in the management of the headteacher appraisal process and offers advice for headteachers on how to make the most of appraisal in their own professional development.

Evaluation article: Making CPD work harder

Professional development is a crucial factor in school improvement and improving pupil outcomes, but it could work harder, says Keith Wright.

Evaluation article: Using the Framework for governance

Tony Powell looks at how the Framework for governance can be used to clarify the strategic direction of your school.

Evaluation article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard

There is a new inspection dashboard to go with Ofsted's new Common inspection framework. Tony Powell explains how it can be used.

Evaluation article: The government's Prevent guidance

Suzanne O'Connell considers the guidance available regarding Prevent and school leaders' responsibilities.

Evaluation article: Improving provision for the most able

Ofsted reports are making it clear. The DfE wants to see secondary schools challenging their most able students. In this article, Suzanne O’Connell summarises the criticisms and recommendations from ‘The…

Evaluation article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare

Tony Powell looks at the new key area ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ under the new Ofsted inspection framework.

Evaluation article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools?

The mental health of children and young people is at the top of the agenda at the moment. Increased anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders are bringing some schools to crisis…

Evaluation article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment

Tony Powell interprets government guidance on assessment to help schools support self-evaluation.

Evaluation article: Raising boys’ achievement

John Viner looks at research into boys’ underachievement and reviews some successful strategies.

Evaluation article: National standards of excellence for headteachers

Tony Powell looks at the revised national standards for headteachers and how they should be used by schools.

Evaluation article: Governors and the inspection interview

Tony Powell discusses how to prepare governors in advance for an inspection interview.

Evaluation article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation

John Viner explores ways to develop a culture of continual improvement in teaching through lesson observation.

Evaluation article: CPD: Less measurement and more development

How can schools translate CPD into genuine improvement for staff? Keith Wright asked leaders to share their views, and discovered an emerging consensus about which approaches work best.

Evaluation article: Challenging 
the most able

Tony Powell looks at how to identify the most able pupils, and the key factors that enable the brightest pupils to achieve.

Evaluation article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability

Tony Powell looks at how the teachers’ standards can be used to evaluate performance and support improvement.

Evaluation article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom

Since January 2014 there has been increased emphasis on the behaviour of pupils. In this article, Jim Donnelly offers advice on managing behaviour around the school.

Evaluation article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons

David Birch offers advice on effective classroom management and argues that effective practice relies on a combination of the consistent application of agreed policy and the development of awareness and…

Evaluation article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance

This is statutory guidance, which means that schools and colleges (including academies and free schools) must have regard to it. It contains what schools should do and what they must…

Evaluation article: Four steps to school improvement

School improvement is a complex recipe that takes time to perfect. Keith Wright looks at some of the key barriers to school improvement and suggests strategies and systems to overcome…

Evaluation article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership

Louise Wingrove gives practical advice on how to become a leader your team will want to follow.

Evaluation article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision

Given that whole-school literacy is central to raising standards of achievement in schools and that it is a key focus for Ofsted, David Birch outlines some of the actions schools…

Evaluation article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence

Teachers are good at gathering evidence of pupil progress, but many find it difficult to do the same with regard to their own professional development.  Keith Wright looks at the…

Evaluation article: Getting personal with CPD

Less than a fifth of teachers in England’s schools think their continuing profession development (CPD) is any good, according to a recent survey. One of the keys to unlocking the…

Evaluation article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process

Performance appraisal is crucial to school improvement, but many schools are still without a rigorous and transparent way of carrying it out, says Keith Wright. Here, he analyses the challenges…

Evaluation article: Parent View — an update

Jenny Townsend looks at the importance of Parent View in achieving an outstanding rating in inspection, and how comments from parents are used by Ofsted.

Evaluation article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach

Jenny Townsend explores how parental engagement can contribute to school improvement and in particular the role this can play in raising pupil achievement levels.

Evaluation article: Effective parental engagement

Ofsted’s Parent View means that parents have a direct influence on the decision to inspect. Jenny Townsend examines why this matters to schools.

Evaluation article: Governors and the inspection interview

Published: Thursday, 16 April 2015

Tony Powell discusses how to prepare governors in advance for an inspection interview.

Summary

  • The Ofsted handbook instructs inspectors to arrange a meeting with the chair of governors and as many governors as possible.
  • There is a separate section on governance in the inspection report and this can help in preparing governors for the interview.
  • It is important to prepare in advance what the governing body wants to say and to prepare samples of evidence in a file.
  • Outcomes for pupils are the main focus for the inspection, grouped under academic achievement, behaviour and safety, and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

The Ofsted handbook instructs inspectors to arrange a meeting ‘with the Chair of Governors and as many governors as possible’. This can be stressful for governors since the great majority are employed outside of education and therefore are unfamiliar with, for example, some of the technical language. It is important to prepare in advance what the governing body wants to say and to prepare samples of evidence. This supportive evidence should be gathered during the normal course of the governing cycle, and the clerk should compile it into a file. This can be taken to the interview and given to the inspectors at the end.

Areas explored in the interview

There is a separate section on governance in the inspection report and, during the course of the interview, inspectors will have the following broad questions in mind.

  • Does the governing body understand its role?
  • Does it collectively have the expertise to carry out this role?
  • Does the governing body set the strategic direction for the school?
  • Do governors challenge and support senior leaders?
  • Does the governing body have an accurate understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses?
  • How does the governing body monitor and evaluate, and what evidence does it have to support its judgements?
  • Does the school meet all statutory requirements, especially relating to safeguarding and promoting fundamental British values?
  • Does the governing body manage resources effectively, particularly pupil premium funding?

Some of these questions may be addressed directly, for example, inspectors may ask whether the governing body has carried out a skills audit and whether governors attend external training. Mostly the answers will be determined by exploring aspects of the school’s work, as discussed in the rest of this article.

Outcomes for pupils

The outcomes for pupils are the main focus for the inspection. The outcomes are grouped under academic achievement, behaviour and safety, and spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

Pupils’ achievement

Governors are not expected to be data analysts, but they should know enough to understand the analyses of the school’s performance presented by senior leaders, particularly the following:

  • Data dashboard – particularly the results for disadvantaged pupils
  • RAISEonline – note the pages marked with a large G at the top
  • DfE performance tables – especially the information on comparisons with similar schools.

Inspectors will expect governors to understand:

  • how overall attainment compares with national averages
  • how the attainment of groups of pupils compares with the national averages for these groups
  • the attainment gaps between groups in the school and national averages
  • the attainment in subjects compared with national averages and major differences between subjects
  • overall progress (value added) in comparison with the national median
  • progress (value added) in subjects
  • expected and better than expected progress figures in English and mathematics
  • the progress of different groups
  • trends in performance (attainment and progress) over the last three years; in particular, trends in the performance of pupil premium pupils linked to the use of the pupil premium grant.

Brief notes of all of these points can be prepared in advance and taken into the interview.

Behaviour and safety

It would be helpful if one of the governors is able to speak knowledgeably about safeguarding. Other areas for questioning might include attendance and the level of exclusions.

  • Are the pupils safe in the school?
  • Do they feel safe?
  • How do you know?

Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC)

SMSC is not a major focus because it is not a key area, but inspectors must reach an overall judgement. However, SMSC has become more important because of the emphasis on fundamental British values.

Educational provision

Analysis of outcomes is only the first stage in the process, since standards can only be raised through improvements in one or all of the aspects of educational provision, viz teaching, curriculum and care, guidance and support. The inspection focus will be very much on the quality of teaching, but note that curriculum is also one of the criteria for evaluating leadership and management and this has also increased in importance.

Governors evaluating teaching

Teaching is evaluated over time using a range of evidence, and this is the approach that should be adopted by the governing body. In general, therefore, if pupils’ achievement is good, i.e. if pupils make better than expected progress, then it is logical to conclude that this is the result of good teaching.

Governors should be able to explain their knowledge of the quality of teaching in three main areas.

They should understand the methods the school uses to evaluate teaching. These should include analysis of progress, scrutiny of planning and pupils’ work, learning walks, discussions with pupils, lesson observations and appraisal.

They should know the strengths in teaching and areas for improvement, especially any identified in the improvement plan.

They should know about differences between subjects and stages, and key governors should know about individuals about whom there are concerns.

Appraisal/performance management

Inspectors will explore how levels of pay are linked to the quality of teaching. Governors do not need to know the details of individual teacher’s appraisals, but they should be aware of outcomes, such as if some staff were not progressed to the upper pay spine.

The governing body has direct responsibility for the headteacher’s objectives and appraisal through the appointed governors. Inspectors will want to establish that the objectives are directly linked to improvements in outcomes for pupils. Since this is a confidential process, the chair of governors should agree with the headteacher what they can reveal to Ofsted.

Additional information

Inspectors will give governors the opportunity to offer evidence not covered through the formal questions. This is the opportunity to consult your own list of points and explain them. The headteacher will give inspectors most of the evidence to illustrate leadership and management, such as the self-evaluation statement and school improvement plan. Inspectors will also ask for evidence to highlight the work of the governing body, so it is helpful to prepare this in advance, linking it to the main judgements inspectors have to make from the evaluation schedule.

Toolkit

Use the following items in the toolkit to help you to put the ideas in this article into practice (available online for Premium Plus subscribers only):

About the author

Tony Powell is an experienced Additional Inspector and LA adviser. He writes extensively on education management, but his main work is supporting schools to develop systems for self-evaluation, school improvement and continuing professional development.

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