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Ofsted inspection: link governors
What will inspectors look for when meeting with link governors? Inspectors do not assess link roles individually. However, the link governors that Ofsted inspectors meet with should be prepared to talk about their role and what they have learnt about their area.
- Ofsted will not address specific link roles
- Inspectors' discussion with governors and staff
- Key knowledge that inspectors will look for
- Link governors in an Ofsted report
- The role of the link governor
Consultation on the Ofsted framework
Ofsted launched a consultation on the 2019 inspection framework on 16 January 2019. The consultation closes on 5 April 2019.
Read our summary of what’s changing in the new Ofsted framework.
We'll be updating our articles on Ofsted inspection once the outcome of the consultation is published.
Ofsted will not address specific link roles
Link governors are not mentioned in Ofsted's School Inspection Handbook
We contacted one of our associate education experts, Gulshan Kayembe, for help answering this question.
She pointed out that inspectors will not ask to meet governors on the basis of their link role, nor will they assess or report on individual link roles, such as numeracy, literacy or science. Link governors are not mentioned in Ofsted's School Inspection Handbook.
Nevertheless, Gulshan told us that inspectors may still ask those governors they meet about any link roles they have. Inspectors may also look for evidence in governing body documentation, such as minutes and visit reports, that the link governors are involved and active.
Gulshan added that Ofsted expects governors to find out about the school independently, rather than relying only on the information given by the headteacher. Having link governors is one way of showing how the governing body does this.
How is governance evaluated under the new framework?
Another article from The Key explains how governance is evaluated under the Common Inspection Framework, in force from September 2015.
Inspectors' discussion with governors and staff
During the inspection process, inspectors will ask to meet one or two governors to informally discuss their knowledge of the school and involvement in securing its improvement.
Gulshan said that link governors asked to do this should use the opportunity to describe how their role enables them to monitor the work of the school more directly.
For example, they might mention that the role allows them to:
Get into school to see how things are going
Look at the department’s data
Discuss with teachers and heads of department how well they feel teaching is going
Hold discussions with pupils
Report back to the governing body on their findings
Champion issues in governing body meetings
Gulshan also explained that inspectors might ask middle leaders about any link governors which relate to their subject area and how the relationship works.
She added that link governors should also be able to discuss any concerns they have relating to their area.
What questions could inspectors ask governors?
The Key has another article that includes lots of suggested questions that inspectors might ask governors.
It includes a downloadable KeyDoc, which lists the questions and provides space for you to note how you could answer each one, to help you prepare for inspection.
Key knowledge that inspectors will look for
Gulshan suggested that governors demonstrate knowledge of the following when meeting inspectors:
Whether provision is good and what needs to be improved
The quality of teaching, how performance management is used, what is being done to recognise and reward good teachers, and what is being done to tackle underperformance
Data and the comparative performance of the school in relation to similar schools
What teachers and pupils think of the area
How the pupil premium is being used
How the PE sport premium is being used (primary)
While inspectors will assess the governing body's overall knowledge of the school, Gulshan said that they will also appreciate hearing about how the above points relate to a link governor's specific areas.
Link governors in an Ofsted report
Leadership and management at Collingwood College in Surrey was graded as 'outstanding' in its May 2013 inspection.
Strong links between governors and subject leaders mean that governors are acutely aware of the impact of actions taken
In terms of governance, page 6 of the inspection report says:
Governor committees have recently been reorganised to bring about even sharper monitoring of the key priorities identified in the college development plan. For example, strong links between governors and subject leaders mean that governors are acutely aware of the impact of actions taken to raise achievement and tackle any underperformance.
You can access the inspection report at the following link:
The role of the link governor
Gulshan Kayembe is an independent consultant who has experience of inspecting schools. As a consultant, she provides mentoring for senior leaders and has worked as an external adviser on headteachers’ performance management.
This article was written in response to a question from a parent governor at a medium-size secondary school in the west Midlands.
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