Ofsted Tracker, Highlights & Insights

Welcome to SAfE’s latest Ofsted tracker, highlights and insights

This month along with Ofsted data, and inspection highlights we are asking:

How can Senior Leaders support governors in being fully prepared and knowledgeable to support a school during an inspection?’

Download Surrey’s May 2024 Inspection Tracker to find your school and access data by phase and cross-phase.

Ofsted Inspection Highlights for May 2024

  • This academic year there have been 89 inspections across Surrey Local Authority, this is the same as this time last year

  • 47% of inspections have been in maintained schools

  • 66% of inspections have been in Primary schools

  • 42% of inspections have been graded (S5)

  • Schools previously inspected in 2018/19 are in the Ofsted window

0
Number of Ofsted Inspections
0%
Percentage of published graded inspections
0%
Percentage of graded inspections
0%
Comparison to 2022/23
0%
Inspections in Primary Schools
0%
Inspections in Maintained Schools

*Data only references inspection in the 2023/24 academic year

*Data correct as of 09 May 2024, for published grades

*Data compares historic Ofsted outcomes, with graded (Section 5) outcomes since September 2021

How can Senior Leaders support governors in being fully prepared and knowledgeable to support a school during an inspection?’

Within this edition of OFSTED Insights, we examine how Senior Leaders can support governors in being organised, knowledgeable and ready for inspection enabling them to approach an OFSTED visit with confidence. We aim to do this by suggesting ways to support the building of deeper governor knowledge, provide examples of how a Governing Body can exemplify fulfilling their roles effectively and we highlight how SAfE Governor Services can provide focused OFSTED training sessions tailored to the specific circumstances of your school, so governors are clear on the inspection process, criteria and expectations.

Within this edition of OFSTED Insights, we examine how Senior Leaders can support governors in being organised, knowledgeable and ready for inspection enabling them to approach an OFSTED visit with confidence. We aim to do this by suggesting ways to support the building of deeper governor knowledge, provide examples of how a Governing Body can exemplify fulfilling their roles effectively and we highlight how SAfE Governor Services can provide focused OFSTED training sessions tailored to the specific circumstances of your school, so governors are clear on the inspection process, criteria and expectations.

The role of governors within an inspection process is an important part of the evidence gathered and a key contribution towards the overall judgement. Approaching an inspection might seem daunting to a Governing Body, especially where they have not had direct previous inspection experience or are new to the role. This can be exacerbated if schools are within challenging circumstances or for example, have a new or inexperienced Chair of Governors when an inspection is imminent. To support this, Senior leaders could start by demystifying the information around inspections, ensuring the Governing Body understand;

  • the rationale for when an inspection may happen,

  • the inspection process so that there is clarity over how the school is evaluated,

  • the role of governors during the OFSTED visit.

It is important to point out that the most effective way of governors being prepared is ensuring the Governing Board build up knowledge and expertise over time which allows for the ongoing development of a clear understanding of their individual schools’ strengths and areas for improvement, as well as the progress against these. This will enable governors to approach an inspection from a ‘business as usual perspective’ rather than attempting to work with hastily gathered information. It will also demonstrate how governors are in a state of readiness because they are consistently focused on their strategic aim of having high quality provision in place for all pupils.

Some keyways in which Senior Leaders can support the development of this include;

Developing effective communication systems; For example, sharing with the Chair of Governors how the school has planned out its monitoring, assessment and self-evaluation cycle across the year, will enable governor meeting agendas to be aligned with the most current school information. This provides them with the opportunity to ask well timed pertinent questions and see the progress being made against key priorities.

Check with the Chair of Governors that a well-planned governor induction process is in place, enabling governors to gain a clear understanding of the strategic scope of their roles and responsibilities and know their core functions.

Sharing key information in a meaningful way; linking the various kinds of information given to governors i.e. reports, presentations, feedback from external validation visits, survey outcomes etc to the schools’ key priorities so that governors can derive information from a variety of sources, giving them a multidimensional view of the school.

Working with both the Chair of Governors and the staff team to plan and structure governor monitoring visits. These provide an invaluable opportunity for governors to see the school in action, meet with key team members and confirm progress linked to key priorities. Governors can use this information in their discussion with an inspector as evidence. Senior Leaders can also utilise feedback from governor visits as a useful element of self-evaluation.

The discussion with the Inspector is the opportunity where governors can show they take a robust and rigorous approach to fulfilling their role. For example, inspectors will want to know how governors ensure the school finances are managed well, Senior Leaders having the SBM attending the relevant meeting to present the budget is a good demonstration of this.

Inspectors will scrutinise examples of meeting minutes to ascertain evidence of support and challenge by governors. For example, inspectors may ask questions around how governors review internal data to maintain the educational performance of groups such as disadvantaged pupils. Where for example, a Headteachers report has been presented, (providing valuable insights on pupil progress), Senior Leaders can support this by including the most recent relevant data. Having well written minutes which indicate that governors asked effective questions around discussions such as this demonstrate holding the Headteacher to account.

Inspectors will also want to examine how governors assure themselves that schools are meeting their statutory duties i.e. the Equality Act 2010, Prevent Duty and Safeguarding. Again, having these as set agenda items and a focus for a monitoring visit will enable both Senior Leaders and governors to demonstrate a consistency of rigour for these. It is worthwhile ensuring evidence of governors examining this is recorded in meeting minutes. During the discussion with governors, inspectors will explore this and use this information to triangulate with what is reported by Senior Leaders.

In terms of the documentation which governors need in readiness for an inspection, ensuring governors have the most recent SEF and SDP as part of the ongoing focus will mean they have these as a reference point for the inspection discussion. Senior Leaders may want to check with the Chair of Governors that a centralised governor evidence folder enables governors to access information quickly when needed. Some schools have created a ‘School on a page’ document as an aide memoire for the inspection meeting.

The timing of an inspection can be a limiting factor in governor availability, even with the option of attending virtually. It is worthwhile Senior Leaders clarifying if there is enough shared understanding of key information to enable the governors who can attend to demonstrate a strong knowledge of the school’s improvement journey including strengths and areas of improvement. This is particularly pertinent where there is a committee structure in place, and the Chairs of Committees cannot be present.

Lastly, access to training opportunities helps keep governors informed of current thinking and as such can support an effective board. There are a variety of options including podcasts, online training and face to face sessions many of which are often listed by the Clerk. SAfE can support training for governors who can sign up for our Governor Bulletin and can attend our training events and governor briefings, more information can be found here SAfE Governor Events or contact a member of the team on 01483 749954.

TESTIMONIAL

“Your visit last autumn was a catalyst for some of the transition we saw recognised today, and  prepared the team for the rigour of the inspection. As always – thank you for the insight, the feedback and the benefit of your knowledge and experience.”