Sunderland school governors to get report cards

Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw

Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw

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NEW report cards to help governors hold schools to account have been welcomed on Wearside.

Ofsted announced this week that it will publish an annual one-page public overview for every primary and secondary school in England, amid concerns that governors need more information.

The watchdog’s chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, warned that some school governors are not up to scratch.

He said the new School Data Dashboard would give information on how well a school is performing in test and exam results, as well as attendance, compared with similar schools.

Ofsted said it would publish the documents, updated annually, for more than 20,000 state primary and secondary schools.

Jim Clarke, secretary of Sunderland City Governors’ Association, said: “Normally, if you have good headteacher and governor relationships, like we have in schools across Sunderland, this information will be regularly provided.

“But in places where this might not be the case, these reports are a good way of ensuring every governor has the relevant information.”

Mr Clarke, who has more than 20 years’ experience as a school governor, said any extra communication between all parties is good. At the launch of the School Data Dashboard, Sir Michael said governors needed to understand and challenge their school, with no excuses for those who fail to do so.

He said: “Many governors know their school well already. But for those that don’t, there are now no excuses. Inspectors will be very critical of governing bodies who, despite the Dashboard, still don’t know their school well enough.

“Good governors focus on the big issues: the quality of teaching, the progress and achievement of their pupils and the culture which supports this.

“The best governing boards get the balance right between support and challenge.

“They ask the right questions, whatever school they’re in – maintained schools, in individual academies and, especially, in academy chains, where focused governance has brought about the greatest improvements.”

Sir Michael said that in the 6,000 schools considered less than good by Ofsted, there are usually issues with their leadership, including governors’ performance.

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