I am a governor for a local primary school, and was interested to read this, a Government Review on strengthening school governance. Here are a few quotes:
Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls said:
Governing bodies are the largest volunteer group in the country and have a proud tradition of serving their communities. No one can doubt their long-term commitment to improving the lives of children and I value having people prepared to invest their time and experience in our schools.
Schools Minister Jim Knight said:
A consistent theme from research is that the most effective governors take a strategic role in guiding and supporting the school’s work and challenging headteachers to take their schools on to the next level … There is clear evidence that there is a relationship between good governance and pupils’ achievements, the quality of teaching, as well as the quality of leadership and management.
To support the working group, the Department is today also publishing a summary of what some of the research evidence tells us about school governance. Findings relevant to the review include:
Latest figures suggest that there are approximately between 235,000-350,000 school governors in England with 11% of posts vacant. Vacancies are particularly evident in inner city areas.
Some research has found that particular groups are under-represented as governors, including black and minority groups, disabled people, young people, lone parents, those with low incomes, those who are unemployed and business people.
A recent survey of head teachers revealed much variation in the perceived effectiveness of governing bodies – approximately one in five were described as ‘very effective’ but a similar proportion as ‘ineffective’;
In schools which are judged by Ofsted to be ‘inadequate’, governing bodies failed to hold leaders to account for its overall effectiveness and did not adequately monitor the school to know its strengths and weaknesses; and
A recent study of governing bodies that had joined together in a federation demonstrated significantly higher proportion of pupils gaining five A* to Gs GCSEs and a higher contextual value added score.