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Effective Governance - Overview

Background
This article aims to provide governing bodies with access to information and resources that will help them evaluate and improve their effectiveness.  The effectiveness of governance is closely correlated to standards of attainment at the school.  The effectiveness of the governing body forms a central part of the school inspection process.

Responsibilities
The governing body has a statutory duty to conduct the school with a view to promoting high standards of educational achievement, acting in a strategic manner to help direct the development of the school through effective management of its resources.

Roles and Actions
The governing body has considerable flexibility in its approach to achieving its responsibilities.  Whilst every governing body is different, it is likely that most will:

  • develop and review a range of written policies and procedures to address both statutory requirements and local priorities
  • delegate many of its responsibilities to committees and/or individual governors
  • contribute to and review the school development (improvement) plan and use this document as one of the key resources for setting priorities and monitoring impact
  • use a combination of reports, visits, results and other activities and information in monitoring the progress of the school

In addition to these activities, governing bodies may wish to consider adopting a more formal self-evaluation process that enables the governing body to more effectively evaluate their impact, strengths and weaknesses.  This potentially provides the facility to ensure that the governing body maximises its impact on the school.

Guidance
There are a range of resources that can provide background information to governing bodies on how to evaluate and improve their effectiveness.  The resources identified below can be accessed by following the links in Background Reading below:

  • School Governance: Making it Better is a report by OfSTED that focuses on the characteristics of governing bodies at schools causing concern.  In doing so, the report highlights the more common areas of weakness of governing bodies and makes recommendations on how any governing body might tackle these.
  • Work of School Governors is a second report by OfSTED that provides a more generic review of the effectiveness of school governance at schools, identifying where weaknesses tend to occur.
  • Governing Bodies and Effective Schools is a report from 1995 that identifies how governing bodies can be more effective.  Although certain aspects of the document may be out of date, it still provides good general guidance.

Good Practice
Buckinghamshire County Council's Governor Support has developed a useful self-evaluation tool for governing bodies.  The process involves identifying strengths and weaknesses of the governing body and developing a plan to address these through a set of 10 themes relating to the key areas of responsibility.  Follow the link in Web Links below for more information.

Related Topics
The following articles and publications are available via the Links in Background below and will provide additional information:

  • Annex 5 of the Guide to the Law for School Governors which outlines the statutory policies requried
  • Committees of the Governing Body - Overview
  • School Improvement - Overview


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Web links:
Bucks CC Self Evaluation Tool
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Background: Committees of the Governing Body - Overview
Governing Bodies and Effective Schools
School Governance: Making it Better
School improvement and development - Overview
Context:

Effective date: 03 February 2004
Posted date: 03 February 2004
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A new UK Government took office on 11 May. As a result the content on this site may not reflect current Government policy. All statutory guidance and legislation published on this site continues to reflect the current legal position unless indicated otherwise. To view the new Department for Education website, please go to http://www.education.gov.uk

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