Leading effective governance
Paul Bennett
Director – Primary School Leadership
n executive agency of the
Department for Education
Overview of the session
National College for School Leadership
Key functions and priorities for governing bodies
Training for chairs of governors
National Leaders of Governance
Reviews of governance
Aims of the National College
• Enable leaders to lead school and system improvement in
partnership with each other
• Maintain the supply of high quality leaders for our schools and
children’s centres and support leaders in identifying and developing
the next generation
• Improve the quality of leadership and, in particular, support leaders
in improving teaching and closing achievement gaps for all groups
“School leadership is second only to classroom teaching as an
influence on pupil learning”
Leithwood et al, 2008
“Student achievement in a school almost never exceeds the quality
of its leadership and management and improvements in
performance almost never occur in the absence of good
Fenton Whelan, Lessons Learned, 2009
The major challenge:
Achieving high standards for all
Variation across schools: almost
one third judged inadequate or
satisfactory in latest Ofsted
inspection (fig.1).
Variation within schools: accounts for
more than two thirds of the total variation
in the English system and well above the
international average (fig.2). OECD 2009
Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Variation within schools
Variation between schools
Drawing on the capacity of great teachers and
leaders to drive wide-scale success:
Across schools:
“school-to-school support structures will become increasingly common and their effectiveness
will be a critical determinant of school improvement.” Ofsted annual report 2010/11
Chains of Schools: The improvement in 5 A*Cs between 2009-2011 for sponsored chains of 3
or more academies was 15.0 percentage points
(pp) compared to 12.2 and 11.0 pp for
standalone and chains of 2 academies,
respectively. Sponsored chains of 3 or more now
include nearly 350 academies
National Support Schools are achieving well
above average rates of improvement in their client
schools at both primary and secondary level:
Federations: It is those federations led by
effective schools – with a focus on supporting
improvement in other schools – that had by far
the greatest impact on pupil outcomes when
compared with other schools: A Study of the
impact of federation on student outcomes, National
College, 2011
Role of Teaching Schools
As well as offering training and support for their alliance themselves,
Teaching Schools will identify and co-ordinate expertise from their alliance,
using the best leaders and teachers to:
play a greater role in training new entrants to the profession
2. lead peer-to-peer professional and leadership development
3. identify and develop leadership potential
provide support for other schools
designate and broker Specialist Leaders
of Education (SLEs)
6 engage in research and development
“I see a very strong relationship between governorship and
leadership and expect the College to take a key role in supporting
chairs of governing bodies to make sure that they have the skills,
knowledge and confidence to undertake their role. Chairs of
governing bodies must be able to provide strategic direction; as a
‘critical friend’ to the headteacher and ensure accountability.”
Michael Gove, Secretary of State
To read the remit letter, please visit our website
There is growing consensus that
high quality governance is crucial
• To making the most of the time and energy of hundreds of
thousands of dedicated volunteers;
• As a key part of the system for holding head teachers to
account for continued progress on education standards;
• To realising the benefits of new Academy freedoms.
Our work to improve governance is
based on 5 core objectives
1. Sharpen
A new approach to governance by Ofsted and a
robust response from DfE on underperformance
2. Promote reconstitution
Less central prescription on representation
allowing stronger local focus on skills
3. Liberate and
A review of all rules and regulations to cut
prescription while equipping governing bodies with
good performance data
4. Support and
5. Clarify our
An expanded NLG and National College training
offer, and better information so all governors
understand their role
A vision for the role of governance and the core
functions of a governing body, and a compelling
case for change
2. Promote re-constitution
All governing bodies need the skills
to carry out their demanding functions
• Governing bodies / Academy Trusts
best placed to determine
appropriate constitution
• New constitution regulations
from Sept 2012 for maintained
• Size can undermine effectiveness
and productivity
• Number of governors
stipulated in regulations
reduced from 9 to 7
• Representation is key but can be
secured e.g. via Parents’ Forums
• DfE funding to SGOSS who
help recruit highly skilled new
governors – new project to
map how professional skills
map into governing body
• Recruitment and training should
focus on where skills are missing
OFSTED inspection of governance
1. Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
2. Contribute to the school’s self-evaluation and understand its strengths and
3. Support and strengthen school leadership
4. Use performance management systems, including the performance
management of the headteacher, to improve teaching, leadership and
5. Ensure solvency and probity and that the financial resources made available
to the school are managed effectively
6. Operate in such a way that statutory duties are met and priorities are
7. Engage with key stakeholders
8. Use the pupil premium and other resources to overcome barriers to
Governing Body effectiveness
Research and practice (from a range of sectors) tells us there are eight key
ingredients to ensure governing bodies fulfil their role well:
The right people round the table;
Understanding the role & responsibilities;
Good chairing;
Professional clerking;
Good relationships based on trust;
Knowing the school – the data, the staff, the parents, the children, the
Committed to asking challenging questions;
Confident to have courageous conversations in the interests of the children
and young people.
National Governors’ Association
National College,
Chairs of Governors development module
Designed to develop chairs’ knowledge, skills and understanding
• the role of the chair
• effective governance
• improving the school
Pilot delivery undertaken April to September 2012
Module now available nationally via 12 licensed organisations
Leadership development training - licensees
National Leaders of Governance (NLG)
• A designation for system leaders in governance
• Highly effective chairs of governors who use their skills and
experience to support chairs in other schools and academies
• Purpose is to increase leadership capacity to help raise standards
so that improvements can be sustained
• First cohort NLGs were designated in April 2012 and are being
Who can be an NLG?
• Three years’ experience as a chair in the last five years, and still be
a governor
• Demonstrate how their leadership of the governing body has
contributed to school improvement
• Part of a good leadership team, and in a school with good and
improving standards
• Supported by their headteacher and governing body
• Able to commit 10 – 20 days per year and prepared to travel when
What qualities are expected
of an NLG?
Excellent leadership skills
Understanding of governance in a changing educational landscape
Consistent and appropriate support and challenge leading to improved
school performance
Excellent interpersonal skills, including the ability to develop a
successful team and a strong working relationship with the headteacher
Activity that drives school improvement
Ability to use and analyse data to support school improvement
What might an NLG do?
• Raising school performance:
• raising standards and leading improvement
• understanding and interpreting school data including RAISEonline
• Providing support and challenge for the headteacher:
• providing more effective support and challenge to the headteacher
• developing the chairs’ relationship with the headteacher
• Governance process:
• developing the chairs’ leadership, effectiveness and confidence
• mentoring a chair to provide support through a particular process
National Leaders of Governance
System leadership
Supporting other schools
Engaging in national policy
72 NLGs designated in spring 2012 (from 123 applications)
62% primary, 32% secondary, 6% special
one third with an education background, two-thirds non-education
75% of available NLGs are currently deployed
Typical deployments are to schools in an Ofsted category where governance
is weak
Aiming for a further 100 NLGs designated by March 2013
Recruitment round for cohort 2 just closed
Cohort 3 recruitment round early 2013
Reviews of Governance after an
Ofsted inspection
• Ofsted and the National College are piloting external reviews of
governance during Autumn 2012
• Recommended for schools judged to be ‘requiring improvement’
following HMI-led inspections in Autumn 2012, and where governance
is deemed to be ineffective
• In the pilot, the review will be supported by NLG or NLE
• A supported self-review will help the school explore options for
improving governance.
Key messages for
Chairs of Governors
1. Provide support and challenge;
2. Be open to new ways of collaborating with other schools;
3. Investing in your own development may be just what the school
4. Be proactive in the changing landscape rather than a victim.
“People of accomplishment rarely
let things happen to them. They
went out and happened to things.”
Leonardo Da Vinci

PB slides for Hertfordshire Gov Conf