3 Governor effectiveness |
52. A key consideration in ensuring governor
effectiveness is the quality and availability of training. Whilst
some witnesses suggested that the requirement to undertake training
represented an additional burden on volunteer governors in terms
of "extra time, commitment, and [...] travelling to other
majority of evidence we heard was supportive of governors undertaking
ongoing training during their period of service. However, as
Pat Smart of the National College observed, "[training] is
fairly optional at the moment. What happens is in weaker governing
bodies it does not happen, and in stronger governing bodies it
does. It reinforces the dichotomy".
53. The National Governors' Association asserted
that "we know what constitutes effective governance",
adding that "there needs to be an emphasis on spreading effective
practice". The NGA also supported mandatory induction training
for governors, explaining that "one of the reasons why governance
is not taken as seriously as board governance is because we are
called 'governors'. We are not thought about as non-exec board
members; we do not have the same expectations placed upon us when
we are recruited that, for example, a magistrate would".
In support of a certain degree of mandatory training for school
governors, Cambridge Education, Islington, pointed out that
although [training and development] is currently
not mandatory, the development of governors through initial and
then targeted training is essential, to maximise the effectiveness
both of individuals and of the corporate body, as early as possible
within the standard 4 year term of office. The statutory responsibilities
of GBs (for safeguarding, staffing, finance etc.) which are set
out in other than the governance regulations, require more than
a casual understanding of the issues.
Cambridge Education recommended that "as a minimum,
the national induction course is mandatory within the first year
[of being a governor]".
54. The value of good induction training was
also raised by Ofsted, which commented that "good quality
induction of new governors was a feature of the outstanding governing
bodies in [Ofsted's Learning from the Best] survey".
Professor Chris James of the University of Bath asserted that
"induction should be mandatory" and "training for
chairs should be mandatory and monitored by Ofsted".
National Leader of Governance Ruth Agnew concluded that "the
government has stated its desire to raise the status of school
governing, but I believe this is not possible while training for
governors is optional. A mandatory induction module at the very
least would go some way both to raising the profile of the role
and better supporting the many school governor volunteers to effectively
contribute to improving our schools".
55. The Association of Teachers and Lecturers
suggested that "there should be a nationally agreed training
package covering the role of governors and the myriad legal, financial,
employment and education duties imposed on schools".
Bridget Sinclair of NCOGS argued that "it is not sufficient
for governors just to attend an odd event once a year, or something;
they really need access to a portfolio of training and support
and, ideally, substantial face-to-face support alongside other
However, the National Governors' Association
pointed out that "governors themselves often resist spending
school budgets on their own development. NGA has for years encouraged
schools to set aside a reasonable budget [for] governor training,
but to little avail". The NGA recommended that our inquiry
should prioritise making recommendations in this area.
56. Much of the evidence advocated training via
peer-support, with less experienced governors receiving mentoring
from those with more experience.
The National College for Teaching and Leadership has launched
a programme of National Leaders of Governance, to enable the most
effective chairs to use their skills and experience to support
other chairs. The programme is open to those with at least three
years' recent experience as a chair in a good or outstanding leadership
team who could commit between ten and twenty days a year to the
57. In oral evidence, the Minister told us that
the Government does not intend to make any training mandatory,
but will rely on the new Ofsted framework to provide a strong
incentive for all governing bodies to ensure that they are appropriately
skilled to do their job.
Witnesses acknowledged this new focus as helpful: as Nicola Cook
of Buckinghamshire County Council explained, Ofsted "is giving
quite helpful pointers to governors as to what they expect to
see [...] one of the things we will be doing is discussing with
the governors and the headteacher how we work and how we strengthen
governance. [...] that change of emphasis from Ofsted is a really
useful tool for us".
Mike Cladingbowl of Ofsted also advised that, from September 2013,
Ofsted will be asking specific questions of governors regarding
the amount and nature of training they are receiving, and how
this is affecting their ability to hold the school to account
58. The question of who will provide governor
training, in the light of local authority cuts to services, is
not clear. Andrew Thraves of GL Education suggested that the quality
of basic governor training is being further affected by the academies
programme as those schools are tending to spend their money on
FASNA (a national forum for self-governing schools, including
academies) expressed concern about the nature of training available
to governing bodies. It said
A whole range of providers is entering the market
place particularly targeting academy converters. Some of this
'training' and 'guidance' that we have seen, particularly that
emanating from professional firms (including 'legal firms') which
are commercial in approach is inaccurate, misleading or daunting
in the interpretation of governing body roles and responsibilities.
There is a lack of overall quality control for 'training' and
much of it is unfocused, not practical enough and even confusing.
59. A market of independent providers is established
and local authorities are increasingly competing with traded services
of their own.
The National Governors' Association voiced "concerns that
from next April, with the further rounds of local authority cuts,
that some governor support services will be reduced further or
The NGA added that "there are few quality alternatives"
to local authority provided training at present,
and Professor Chris Hill of the University of Bath commented that
"I do not think it is clear enough in the marketplace for
all governors to know where exactly they would need to go to get
the sort of training that they would necessarily need".
60. The National College for Teaching and Leadership,
along with the National Governors' Association, NCOGS and FASNA,
all provide training, along with a variety of other providers.
When asked how the quality of governor training could be assured
in future, the Minister answered:
I do not want to keep mentioning Ofsted, but it is
our sharpest tool in the box. Ofsted's criteria will mean that
all training has to be driven towards that. There is no point
in producing training if it is not going to cut the mustard. I
think this will help.
On being asked whether Ofsted would be resourced
to take on so much responsibility for maintaining and raising
standards in school governance, the Minister replied "Yes".
61. Too many governors have
not had suitable training. The Government says this can be encouraged
through Ofsted. Ofsted should report back in due course whether
their intervention is effective. If it is not, mandatory training
should be considered again. The Government should require schools
to offer training to every new governor. We welcome the Minister's
assurance that Ofsted will be resourced adequately in order to
undertake its increased role in helping to ensure effective governance
in schools. Further explanation is required as to how this will
62. We are concerned at suggestions
that few quality alternatives are emerging to the training traditionally
provided by local authorities. We recommend that Ofsted and the
DfE monitor the availability and quality of governor training
in the light of greater academisation of schools and reduction
of local authority services.
Inspection, self-assessment and
63. Ofsted data for 2010/11 showed that governance
judgments are consistently lower than those for school leadership
overall. The DfE
argued that "a clear and robust system of accountability
is as vital to driving up the quality of governing bodies as it
is to driving improvement in the quality of the schools they govern".
The DfE went on, "governing bodies provide a crucial layer
of school-focused accountability for pupil performance and education
standards. It is essential that they themselves are also subject
to scrutiny and a robust system of accountability based on clear
The majority of witnesses welcomed Ofsted's increased focus on
governance, although there were questions from some quarters as
to whether it was "realistic" to hold volunteers to
account to this extent.
The DfE "rejects any suggestion that [governors'] status
as volunteers should exempt them from public scrutiny", adding
that "high quality governance is essential to driving up
pupil and school performance, and weak governance needs to be
identified and addressed".
Witness Fergal Roche agreed, saying "governors have to be
very transparently the governors or directors; whatever
they get calledand stand up alongside the head and be seen".
64. Part of Ofsted's new approach is to provide
a clear description within its inspection framework of the role
and characteristics of high quality governance. Providing transparency
on this front, along with clear criteria against which governing
bodies can assess their performance, was welcomed by a large number
of witnesses to our inquiry. The National Governors' Association
said that the new Ofsted framework was "likely to have a
greater impact on improving governance than perhaps any other
measure any government has or could have taken".
The questions for Ofsted inspectors to ask governors
in the September 2012 framework are a good guide to the role of
governing bodies. These questions are more likely to focus professional
school leaders' attention properly on governance than anything
which has gone before. Any question correctly asked by an Ofsted
inspector of a governor should have previously been asked of the
head by the governing body.
65. According to Ofsted, where governance is
ineffective in a school judged as 'requires improvement' and is
graded three for leadership and management, inspectors should
include an external review of governance in their recommendations
These reviews will be commissioned by the school and led by a
National Leader of Governance (NLG), or an appropriately experienced
National Leader of Education (NLE), under the auspices of the
National College for Teaching and Leadership. HMI inspectors return
to a "requires improvement" school six weeks after a
review to see how the governing body has progressed with recommendations
from the review.
66. A pilot of the external reviews was completed
by the National College in early 2013 and its findings were written
up during the course of our inquiry. DfE said initial feedback
from schools was very positive,
and written evidence received subsequently from the National College
indicated that schools welcomed the reviews, claiming that they
would impact positively on outcomes for pupils. Schools supported
the continued use of external reviews, albeit with certain modifications.
Of particular interest was the fact that schools are tending to
use the Ofsted criteria for good governance to undertake self-assessments
to identify areas for improvementsomething
which appeared as an important theme in this inquiry, with many
witnesses suggesting that compulsory self-assessment, or skills
audits, should become a requirement of all governing bodies. The
All-Party Parliamentary Group on Education Governance and Leadership's
"20 questions for governing bodies" was cited by several
witnessesincluding the Ministeras being another
very useful tool in self-assessment.
Frank Newhofer, a governor, told us, "it is certainly part
and parcel of the annual regime of a good governing body to engage
in such self-evaluation and there are good systems and processes
around for doing that".
The "20 questions" are now employed in the "supported
self review" element of the National College's external reviews
of governance. They are also referred to in the new Governors'
Handbook, along with links to National College guidance on evaluating
governing body effectiveness and to the Wellcome Trust's draft
Recommended Code of Governance for Schools.
Emma Knights of the NGA highlighted as particularly effective
the National College's Chairs' Development Programme which encourages
"diagnostic" reviews of chairsa 360 degree appraisal
process which garners the views of other governing body members
on the performance of the chair.
Fergal Roche, a serving governor, had been through a similar process
and felt that its strength lay in the fact that the chair "has
to account for weakness".
67. Some support and challenge to governing bodies
has traditionally been provided by local authorities. The National
Governors' Association claimed that "despite reductions in
local authority support teams supporting governors, there are
concerns that school-to-school support has not developed in the
way that we would have hoped to fill those gaps". Although
the National College's external reviews are welcome, they do not
target better performing schools that may also benefit from peer
challenge. Similarly, several witnesses argued that the fact Ofsted
will not necessarily inspect high performing schools for lengthy
periods, is "a weakness in their framework".
Neil Calvert, headteacher of Long Eaton School in Derbyshire explained
The question about schooltoschool support
is quite an interesting one, because it tends to happen with the
strong and the weak [...]. There is a danger at the moment with
less advice from local authorities that "good" and "outstanding"
schools in particular, especially with the inspection regime being
such that it may be quite a while until they next get inspected,
are at risk of not necessarily having that level of challenge
for the governing body. Certainly my own school is looking to
put in place an informal arrangement with the governing body of
another similar kind of school to have some kind of peer review
and exchange of governors. There is a need for that, because
there is the possibility that those schools may only get picked
up in terms of weaker governance at a point when, for example,
there is a risk assessment by Ofsted. That does not pick up weak
governance; it picks up the effects of weak governance a year
or two down the line when standards start to dip or complaints
come in, and young people have already been affected.
68. Ofsted's written evidence acknowledged this
point, saying that "some previously good or outstanding schools
decline because governors have taken their eye off the ball".
The solution offered by the DfE was that any school can request
an external review from the open market at a cost of around £900-£1300.
It also pointed to a range of training and support available to
governing bodies, including self-assessment tools, which should
encourage governing bodies to be more reflective about their own
performance and take action where required.
69. Poor performance by governing
bodies should be challenged at the earliest opportunity. We support
the obligation placed on schools that "require improvement"
to undertake an external review of governance.
70. We recommend that governing
bodies be strongly encouraged in guidance from DfE, Ofsted and
the National College to participate in peer-to-peer governance
reviews and to undertake self-assessment and skills audits, using
tools such as the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Education Governance
and Leadership's 20 questions and other resources identified in
the new Governors' Handbook.
Ofsted's Data Dashboard
71. The primary purpose of governors
is to ensure the quality of education provision in schools. Governors
need the ability to use data to identify where the quality of
teaching is affecting school performancefor better or worse.
This will become increasingly important with the introduction
of performance related pay for teachers.
72. The best governing bodies are already adept
at accessing and interpreting data, but, as the NCSL commented:
Too often, governors lack the information they need
to hold the Executive accountable for standards. There may be
an awareness of key exam data, such as the level 4 or five GCSE
benchmarks, but there is too often not enough additional information
to allow governors to drill beneath the headlines, identifying
for example, the strengths and weaknesses of different subject
departments or how well students are making progress given their
73. Ofsted's 2011/12 Annual Report identified
that "specific weaknesses in governance include an over-reliance
on information from the headteacher. Where governance is not effective,
a lack of transparency and accurate information restricts the
ability of the governing body to monitor the school's work robustly".
74. The DfE, along with partners such as the
NGA, NAHT and ASCL, is undertaking a range of work to improve
the data available to governors, in more user-friendly formats.
Of particular note is Ofsted's new Data Dashboard, which was launched
during our inquiry and generally welcomed by the majority of witnesses.
At its launch, Sir Michael Wilshaw said that the arrival of the
dashboard meant there would be "no excuses" for governors
who did not understand and challenge their school robustly in
future. In oral
evidence, the Minister, Lord Nash, told us
I think the dashboard is a big step forward. It is
useful for parents and it is something that many governors will
know already. Many governors will be well beyond that, but it
will be helpful to some governors. Obviously, all governors need
to understand RAISEonline, and it is quite complicated. We are
working with Ofsted to simplify the RAISE summary report, and
we are working in the Department for Education on a whole new
data warehouse for all our data, so that the next generation of
the RAISE equivalent is more user-friendly [...] So the dashboard
is helpful, but it is only one step.
75. Similarly, Dr Bridget Sinclair of NCOGS welcomed
the Dashboard, but warned that
It gives that high-level story about the data and
trends over time, which will be a very quick and easy way for
governors to begin their journey into delving into unpicking the
data. But it must not become the be-all and end-all of data.
It certainly is the beginning and will begin to raise questions,
because even if that data dashboard is showing favourable trends,
there could be deeper underlying stories that need to be explored.
We certainly would not want that to become the exclusive source
of data, and RAISEonline and further dipping into year-on-year
in-house data is incredibly important, because the data dashboard
is still looking at the end-of-year summative data, rather than
76. Several witnesses called for improved guidance
and training for governing bodies in interrogating data. Andrew
Thraves of GL Education described the English school system as
"data rich but data interpretation poor",
and Michael Jeans of The Haberdashers' Company added, "the
questions to ask are absolutely crucial; the data alone do not
do anything. It comes to training governors".
77. Many witnesses, including Mark Taylor of
Cambridge Education, Islington, believed there were "dangers
in letting governors make up the questions themselves" and
this guidance would be best developed nationally.
In oral evidence, Anne Jackson of the DfE explained that the Department
was talking to partners about developing a set of questions that
governors could use to interrogate data, including RAISEonline
and the Data Dashboard. She also mentioned that the new Governors'
Handbook (the replacement for The Governors' Guide to the Law)
would contain a suggested headline set of questions that every
governing body could use to interrogate data.
The Handbook, which has since been published, contains a small
number of generic questions and links to NGA guides to help governors
make the most of the data held in RAISEonline.
78. The importance of good data
in user-friendly formats for governing bodies cannot be overstated.
We welcome Ofsted's Data Dashboard and support the DfE's work
to develop questions that governing bodies can use to interrogate
data effectively. The generic questions in the new Governors'
Handbook are helpful, but will not in themselves provide sufficient
assistance to governing bodies in interrogating complex data.
We look forward to DfE publishing further questions.
Information, advice and guidance
for governing bodies and the role of the clerk
79. The importance of high quality, dedicated
support for governing bodies was a strong theme during our inquiry.
Reflecting the views of many witnesses, written evidence from
a serving governor explained that "I have witnessed many
governors meetings and indeed other boards where the papers are
unclear, lack consistency in presentation, certainly don't make
clear what the decision if any should be, and are often tabled
at the meeting".
80. A good clerk ensures that the governing body
operates properly within legal frameworks, prepares and presents
vital data, and provides professional support. Written evidence
from NCOGS stated that a clerk "needs to be independent of
the school and not a member of the school staff", and advocated
"the establishment of a National Association to act as guardian
of professional standards as well as being a source of support
81. Evidence showed the role of the clerk to
be "hugely important"
and a large proportion of witnesses favoured making the role of
clerk a professional post, "akin to company secretaries".
In oral evidence, the Minister said that this was something the
DfE was looking at.
The NGA and the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives are
finalising a project which explores the feasibility of establishing
a system for organising and developing governing body clerks as
competent and recognised professional advisers.
82. Witness Frank Newhofer stressed the need
for some sort of quality assurance in the recruitment of clerks
"to make sure that clerks are as good as possible".
SGOSS believed itself to be well-placed to assist with this. The
Minister, Lord Nash, acknowledged that "SGOSS have been very
successful at recruiting governors. Most clerking at the moment
is done through local authorities or through academy chains, but
we are keen to encourage other providers if they come forward".
83. An effective clerk is vital
to the success of a governing body. The evidence clearly indicates
that this should be a professional rolesimilar to a company
secretary. We recommend that the Government act upon the findings
of the project by the National Governors' Association and the
Society of Local Authority Chief Executives relating to clerks.
84. The School Governors' One
Stop Shop (SGOSS) has been funded for a further two years to recruit
governors. We believe that SGOSS may be ideally placed to take
on a role in recruiting clerks and we recommend that the Government
consider how to facilitate this.
85. The DfE has rewritten The Governors' Guide
to the Law into a "shorter, more concise, plain English
handbook for all governors". Many witnesses said that the
original Governors' Guide was an invaluable document, and
they expressed concern that critical detail has been left out
of the new version.
Darren Northcott of NASUWT described the Governors' Guide
as "a unique document", adding that "you would
struggle to find something as concise and accessible as that".
Nicola Cook of Buckinghamshire County Council said:
I completely understand the Department is endeavouring
to introduce more freedoms for governing bodies. There is a danger
that we get to a tipping point where we reduce so much guidance
and prescription for them that they are going to be in a position
where governing bodies could end up reinventing the wheel in isolation.
[...] The Governors' Guide to the Law [...] was
a really useful document and not just for governors but for clerks
to governors. There is a danger that we are swinging too far the
86. Dr Bridget Sinclair of NCOGS advised that
"the clerk still needs to have that detailed procedural guidance
and information [...] otherwise they are going to have to go and
refer to guidance and legislation to remind themselves of the
detail". Dr Sinclair concluded "that is not very practical
87. In oral evidence, the Minister justified
the new handbook saying "if you have a handbook that is too
long and too full of legal duties, you will frighten everybody".
The National College supported this view, saying that
the current governor manual is an unread document
that may fulfil statutory purpose but fails to inspire governors
to focus on what should be their key role. [The government] should
replace it with a simple easily navigable online alternative,
providing genuine support and training.
Anne Jackson of DfE added "we are continuing
to talk to the National Governors Association and our other stakeholders
about the handbook, in particular the way it links through to
more detailed guidance, which is typically what the clerk would
need. Governors themselves do not need it up front".
88. Since we finished taking evidence, the new
Governors' Handbook has been published. Emma Knights of the NGA
has been reported as saying that the new Handbook was "a
missed opportunity" to help governors provide strong strategic
leadership and that, in trying to simplify the guidance, the DfE
had produced a guide which would only be of use to new governors.
Ms Knights added "the first section is a useful introduction
for new governors outlining their strategic role and the ways
in which governors get to know their schools. There is, however,
little for the more experienced governing bodies on the most effective
89. Our inquiry has shown the
importance of high quality information and guidance for governing
bodiesparticularly for clerks. We share the concern of
the National Governors' Association that the new Governors' Handbook
appears to be aimed only at new governors. The new Handbook has
lost much of what was valuable to experienced governors and clerks
in the predecessor guide. The Government should work with the
NGA to rectify this.
Arrangements for tackling underperformance
and failure of governing bodies
90. Local authorities and the Secretary of State
have powers to intervene where governance is failing. Local authorities
can issue a Warning Notice to a maintained school. Where this
Notice is not complied withor where Ofsted has judged the
school to require special measures or significant improvementthe
local authority or Secretary of State may intervene directly and
impose an Interim Executive Board (IEB) to replace the governing
body. A maintained school's budget may also be suspended by the
local authority. In academies, the Secretary of State can give
an academy a warning notice which, if not complied with, can result
in the Secretary of State invoking a range of powers, including
terminating the Funding Agreement to ensure a change in the Trust
controlling the academy.
91. As the Association of School and Colleges
Leaders asserted, "inadequate governors can place a whole
school at risk",
but our evidence suggested that, where governance is weak or failing,
the measures available to intervene are not being used effectively
in all local authority areas. Ofsted's 2012 Annual Report found
that, since 2007, almost half of local authorities had not put
in place any Interim Executive Boards and 70 local authorities
had not issued any warning notices. The National College reported
that some of its members had had experience of IEBs and found
that it could take a long time to establish themup to two
years in some cases. Its members were also concerned that IEBs
were not being used where academies were failing.
The National College has called on Ofsted to recommend IEBs explicitly
when placing schools in special measures, with time limits for
the IEB's implementation (the National College suggested six weeks).
The DfE acknowledged time lags in imposing IEBs as an issue, but
merely said that this was "the sort of issue that the Department
would pick up in our discussions with local authorities".
92. Urgency in implementing
Interim Executive Boards is critical to address serious failings
of governance in schools. Given that urgency, the absence of
time limits for the implementation of IEBs is indefensible and
should be rectified forthwith. We recommend that if, after an
inspection, Ofsted considers that a governing body should be replaced
by an IEB, Ofsted should use its power and responsibility to say
93. Local authority witnesses to our inquiry
felt that local authorities' powers to intervene were adequate,
but that there was a "culture issue"
with local authorities not making use of them. Nicola Cook of
Buckinghamshire County Council suggested that the fact Ofsted
will now undertake inspections of local authority improvement
services will incentivise local authorities to make better use
of the powers they hold to challenge poor governance.
94. Interestingly, Ofsted felt that local authorities'
powers to issue warning notices and impose IEBs are "circumscribed",
which may account in part for their under-use. Mike Cladingbowl
of Ofsted explained that
there are circumstances in which they may [issue
warning notices] and circumstances in which they may not and they
need to follow proper processes [...] there are questions that
might usefully be looked at around the ease with which these things
can be issued and whether the circumstances around their issue
might need altering.
The Minister told the Committee that the DfE is "thinking
about" this challenge.
95. The Secretary of State has a responsibility
to intervene where standards are falling. Mike Cladingbowl of
Ofsted acknowledged that there was a specific problem in some
converter academies that are "flying solo", away from
any sort of central support such as a sponsor or a local authority.
However, he believed that Ofsted's inspection of local authority
school improvement functions should show how well local authorities
will be able to support all schools in future.
Local authority witnesses, Mark Taylor and Nicola Cook, agreed
that the local authority's role as children's champion would be
important in such instances. However, Mark Taylor still voiced
"some concerns, potentially, about the internal mechanisms
around governance within academies".
Nicola Cook added that
Sir Michael Wilshaw, when he was before this Committee,
was making it very clear that local authorities do not have the
power of intervention in academies, but his expectation is that
they would be expressing concerns to the Department. The concern
there is that, if there is that loss of local intelligence and
the local authorities are relying on publicly published data,
then, clearly, they are old data and no up-to-date. Again, it
is about that local authority's relationships with its academies
and whether information is being shared.
96. Darren Northcott of the NASUWT added "we
have come across examples where academies have simply refused
to co-operate with a local authority trying to find out basic
information about the governance of a particular academy, and
that is quite a profound issue that is worth exploring in a bit
97. With less frequent Ofsted inspections for
better performing schools, there was some concern that falling
standards will not be identified until too late. DfE sees a continuing
role for local authorities in monitoring ongoing performance.
It argued that local authorities will have sufficient capacity
to perform this role as school improvement services are funded
based on the number of academies in the area, making the amount
of resources available "proportionate".
However, many witnesses to the inquiry argued that this role will
become increasingly difficult for local authorities to maintain
as central services are dismantled due to budget restrictions
and lessening demand for services. As Emma Knights of the NGA
explained, "there is a slight issue now, with local authority
services being pared back, about whether they will have the intelligence
that they had in the past; it may make things slower rather than
98. In oral evidence, we heard that the DfE and
Education Funding Agency (EFA) have systems in place to monitor
the HR and financial health of schoolsindicators that can
illustrate where weaknesses are appearing in a school. For example,
the Academies Financial Handbookwhich contains statutory
and regulatory guidance with which the academies must complyprovides
under section 2.2 that the board of trustees of the Academy Trust
must approve a balanced budget for the financial year, and must
submit this to the EFA in a form and by a date specified by the
EFA. Any significant changes to budget plans must be notified
to the EFA. In addition, Academy Trusts are required by law (as
companies and charitable trusts) to produce and submit annual
accounts setting out their actual financial performance for the
previous year. These are submitted to the EFA acting on behalf
of the Secretary of State as charitable regulator. The DfE provided
further detail on this subject in its written evidence.
99. Responding to questions posed by us, the
Academies Commission observed that "should academisation
take off in the primary sector and academy status become the dominant
(or total) mode across the school system, it appears unlikely
that any of the designated sections at the DfE [...] could have
capacity to carry out scrutiny and intervention. At present levels
of academisation, it is feasible for the Office of the School
Commissioner to monitor attainment (although we believe that more
'local' information could be provided by local authorities to
100. We recommend that the Government
investigate the reasons why so many local authorities, and the
Secretary of State, have historically been reluctant to use their
powers of intervention where school governance has become a concern.
Any unnecessary restrictions on the use of these powers should
be lifted so that they can be used more effectively.
101. Local authorities continue
to have an important role in the monitoring and challenge of school
performance between Ofsted inspections. Ofsted's inspections of
local authority school improvement functions will be an important
gauge of how feasible it is for local authorities to continue
to undertake this role. There is a need for greater clarity on
the role of local authorities in school improvement within the
new school landscape and in the context of reductions to budgets.
We recommend that this be addressed by the DfE as a matter of
86 Ev w4, para 3, see also
Ev w22, para 31 Back
Q20 (Emma Knights) Back
Ev 98, para 3.2 Back
Ev 99, para 3.5 Back
Ev 67, para 12 Back
Ev 85, paras 3.2.5-6 Back
Ev w66, para 2.2 Back
Ev w80, para 19 Back
Ev 71, para 3.4 Back
See for example Ev w22, para 31 Back
Ev 109, page 9. See also Ev w3, para 10 Back
Ev w121, para 3 Back
See for example Nicola Cook, Q161 Back
Ev 71, para 3.6 Back
Ibid., para 3.5 Back
Ev 58, para 35 Back
Ev 55, para 5 Back
Ev 56, para 16 Back
Ev w19 Back
Ev 58-9, para 40 Back
Ev 70, para 2.2 Back
Ev 70, footnote to para 2.2 Back
Subsidiary guidance supporting the inspection of maintained
schools and academies, Ofsted, 28 February 2013 Back
Q219, Anne Jackson Back
Ev w136 Back
See for example Q20 (Fergal Roche), Q220 (Lord Nash) Back
Governors' Handbook, para 1.6.2 Back
Q3 (Emma Knights) Back
Q3 (Fergal Roche) Back
Ev w3, para 15, see also Q64 (Chris Hill) Back
Ev 68, para 19 Back
Q220 (Anne Jackson) Back
Ev 111, pages 12-13 Back
Ev 68, para 21 Back
See for example Q106 (Pat Smart and Bridget Sinclair) Back
Chief Inspector raises the stakes for school governance,
Ofsted press release, 27 Feb 2013 Back
Q155 (Michael Jeans) Back
Q155 (Mark Taylor) Back
Governors' Handbook, para 1.4.3 Back
Ev w8, para 5 Back
Ev 88, para 2.3 Back
Q15 (Emma Knights) Back
Ev 57 Back
Q159 (Darren Northcott) Back
Ev 112 Back
Legal guide a 'missed opportunity' says school governors' leader,
Children and Young People Now, 16 May 2013 Back
Ev w21, para 12 Back
Ev 109, page 9 Back
Ev 78, para 4 Back
Q174 (Mark Taylor) Back
Q173 (Nicola Cook) Back
Q93 (Mike Cladingbowl) Back
Q175 (Mark Taylor) Back
Q175 (Nicola Cook) Back
Q45 (Emma Knights) Back
Ev 123 Back
Academies Commission responses to Committee questions, June 2013