Last reviewed on 13 May 2019
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 35104

Get clarity on how to hold school leaders to account while supporting them to reach their targets, and see how this works in practice.

Our associate expert Keith Clover, a national leader of governance, helped us write this article.

Challenge and support: what it means

Challenge and support are intertwined. It’s about pushing for improvement and setting aspirational targets, and then supporting leaders to achieve them.

A key part of your role is challenging your headteacher and school leaders. They’ll expect you to ask hard questions and hold them to account.

But you should be challenging what they’re doing in their role, rather than them as individuals – don’t make it personal.

Ask what the problems are and what they need to succeed, then really listen to them and do all you can to get that support in place.

Challenge: in practice

Challenge involves asking questions, but it shouldn't feel like an interrogation. Think carefully about:

For example,