Ofsted judge leadership & management by “evaluating the extent to which: those responsible for governance understand their role and carry this out effectively”Ofsted Framework September 2019
GovernorHub is where much of your governance work takes place (we didn’t call it a hub for nothing…), so it’s an important tool which can and should be used to demonstrate how your board is doing when your headteacher gets ‘the call’ (Ofsted).
There’s no need to print off reams of documents – but with a laptop handy, you can show an inspector how you know what’s going on at your school and demonstrate that your board understands the role it plays in improving outcomes for children and young people.
…..HELP! Where’s the School Improvement Plan?
First up – we recommend having a School Evidence folder and a Governor Evidence folder in your board’s documents area, as well as the usual academic year and meeting folders. Our help article on organising your documents section explains more about how to do this.
By keeping all of your ‘evidence’ in one place, it helps governors keep a focus on how they know where the school is in its improvement journey and how they know where the board is in its development.
You can then use some of the other features of GovernorHub to demonstrate that the board is driving improvement (in school and within the board itself), that members know their roles and responsibilities and that the board is up-to-date and in touch with the bigger picture in education.
You ‘arrive’ on the News Page when you first log into GovernorHub and it shows how governors are able to keep up-to-date with important education news from a variety of key sources – these can include updates from a local governor services team or a MAT central team. The GovernorHub blog and twitter feed on the page also keeps governors aware of key issues and updates in school governance.
Here you can demonstrate positive working relationships; that the board is working well as a team. You can show that governors are asking questions ahead of meetings and that they recognise the importance of the advice provided by the clerk/governance professional.
A clerk or governance professional can share minutes of all committee meetings so everyone knows what’s happening, regardless of their role or the board structure. You can also show that members are able to choose how frequently to be notified for each different committee in order to stay on top of their roles and responsibilities.
Governors can use the noticeboard share their learnings from courses and briefings – governance professionals can pass on information from their sources too. It can also be used to evidence conversations and discussions which happen outside of meetings or for instant feedback if a particular issue arises.
A commitment to keeping up-to-date with school news can be evidenced by linking to the school twitter feed and website on the GovernorHub noticeboard page.
Your board’s documents section on GovernorHub allows you to demonstrate that governors can quickly and easily find the relevant information and/or evidence to keep on track of their roles and responsibilities. Our help article explains more about our recommended way of organising files which includes creating evidence folders.
Minutes signed on GovernorHub (remote signing)
You can use meeting minutes to evidence courageous and challenging conversations and to show that governors have requested to see the evidence base behind any proposed improvement initiatives. The remote signing feature on GovernorHub will show that these meeting records have been approved and signed off.
Policy folder and download
Here you can demonstrate how policies are regularly managed and reviewed in line with statutory requirements.
Using the board’s calendar and meeting download, you demonstrate that the board is running regular, well-managed meetings that fit within the annual cycle. You can also download a record of attendance for each academic year which you can add to your website (a statutory requirement).
The DfE’s Competency framework requires that governors know and understand:
- the importance of high quality teaching to improve outcomes
- the importance of a broad and balanced curriculum
- statutory testing and assessment regimes
- how staff are recruited and how this compares to good recruitment and retention practices
- how school finances work and how the school compares to other similar organisations locally and nationally
- the board’s legal, regulatory and financial requirements
- the board’s duties as an employer
The training report download can evidence that appropriate training for the board is as a regular part of the annual cycle. It shows that your governors have the knowledge they need to succeed because they’re attending regular, relevant training sessions.
The constitution page on GovernorHub should be set and kept up-to-date to demonstrate the structure of the board and identify vacancies (useful for succession planning).
Here you can show your existing committee structure and how it is appropriate to the scale and complexity of your organisation.
Duties of holding an important public office
Boards can demonstrate transparency and openness by ensuring members confirm their declarations of interest and that they’ve read and understood Keeping Children Safe in Education on their personal profile pages on GovernorHub. This information is then readily available in download form.
The Code of Conduct board confirmation feature on GovernorHub can demonstrate that governors have signed up to a set of high expectations for conduct and behaviour on the board.
Roles and responsibilities
Members should be assigned roles (responsibilities) and committee memberships on GovernorHub and we recommend ‘role description‘ documents are also kept in the board’s documents area so governors understand what is required of them.
We also recommend a link to the Terms of Reference for each committee is added to the committee folder to make sure governors understand the purpose each smaller working group has within the wider organisation.
This document should be put in the Governor Evidence folder to demonstrate that the board undertakes regular self-review and aims to get the right people around the table. It also shows that members recognise their strengths and areas for development.
Self Evaluation: Healthcheck
The GovernorHub Healthcheck is a self-review tool which gives your board an opportunity to discuss and review its effectiveness against key elements from the latest Ofsted framework. It’s yet more evidence that the board is reflecting on its role in improving outcomes for children and young people.