Education CommitteeFurther written evidence submitted by Ofsted

I was grateful for the opportunity to appear before the Education Committee as part of your inquiry into the role of school governing bodies. I hope the session was helpful to you.

We touched briefly on whether senior leaders, as part of their National Professional Qualification for Headship, should receive training on working effectively with governors. As you know, the NPQH course has been discontinued. However, the main consideration about whether or not training on governance should be part of a new senior leader’s induction process is the quality of that material, and what the training would be attempting to achieve. For instance, it might range from a straightforward update on the role of governors, to more complex work related to how well governors can be supported by headteachers to interpret data, or contribute towards the development and implementation of a school’s action plan. Either way, it is the quality of the training that matters most.

I also said that I would provide you with some further background on Ofsted’s involvement with Warning Notices. Under section 60 of the 2006 Education and Inspections Act, it is stipulated that if a local authority serves a standards and performance warning notice to a school, it is required to forward a copy of that notice to Ofsted.

If the governing body of the school chooses to appeal against the warning notice, then likewise, they must copy their appeal to Ofsted. Ofsted then assumes a quasi-judicial role in that an assigned investigating officer weighs up the evidence that underpins the grounds on which the local authority served the notice. Equally, they weigh up the evidence provided by the school to support the view that the notice has been inappropriately served.

During this process, the investigating officer may ask for additional evidence from one or both parties. Where this is the case, Ofsted takes care to ensure that additional evidence provided by one party is shared with the other to ensure transparency. Once Ofsted’s investigating officer is in receipt of all the evidence, a conclusion is reached whereby either the warning notice is confirmed and the appeal rejected, or the appeal is accepted and the warning notice is not upheld. In all cases, the evidence is reviewed by Ofsted’s lawyers and the final conclusion is signed off by one of Ofsted’s directors.

March 2013

Prepared 3rd July 2013