A Very Challenging Role, How can the Council ensure that school governors provide effective challenge for their schools?

A Scrutiny Inquiry into role of school governors was completed by councillors in January 2016.  Councillors will now get together with the Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Lifelong Learning and officers from Education on the 25 September to look at the impact and progress made with this piece of work.

The original inquiry concluded that:

The role of school governors has changed significantly over recent years, with governors playing an increasingly
important part in the management of schools, and school improvement. In many schools, governing bodies have
responded to this change, seeking new ways of ensuring they adapt to changing demands, but in others, old ways of
working remain and need to be updated. Roles can become fixed with a lack of questioning and clarity about those roles,  and relationships can become too ‘cosy’ which can impact on the capacity to challenge schools sufficiently.

Each governing body has a different dynamic, just as each school is unique, and this report aims to point out general principles of good practice which the panel recommends that governors are encouraged to consider. Just as schools have moved to become self-improving and peer-supporting, governing bodies must similarly look at how they can continually improve in their ability to challenge schools. This is important not just because their schools must always be inspection-ready, and governors are part of the Leadership and Management element of the inspection by Estyn, but because an effective governing body aims to ensure that the school is doing the best it can to improve outcomes for learners. In order to do this, governors need to feel confident and supported, with access to information.

In forming the conclusions and making our recommendations councillor listened carefully to governors, council officers, clerks to governing bodies, ERW, Estyn and the Cabinet Member for Education. They have also looked at good practice elsewhere and considered the findings of other research such as the Hill Review.

The impact report will be available on the councils website one week prior to the meeting – link

Members of the public are welcome to attend and observe scrutiny meetings.  If you would like further information about any scrutiny meeting you can contact the scrutiny team on scrutiny@swansea.gov.uk or visit our webpage at www.swansea.gov.uk/scrutiny

pic courtesy www.thewhocarestrust.org.uk

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