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Governors' question bank

Last updated on 21 May 2019
Ref: 35162
School types: All · School phases: All
One of your key responsibilities is to hold senior leaders to account for the running of the school. You can do this by asking challenging questions in meetings and on school visits. See examples of questions and what to look for in answers to help you do this.

Questions to ask about ...

Pupil outcomes

Pupil health and wellbeing

Finance and resources

Different curriculum subjects

Top tips for asking good questions

Understand the subject first. Read up on the issue to:

    • Get familiar with the jargon – our glossaries can help
    • Be aware of any statutory requirements your school needs to meet
    • Find out how the issue normally works in practice

A good question: 

    • Is open – you shouldn't be able to answer with a yes or no
    • Usually starts with 'what', 'why' or 'how' 
    • Isn't leading, and doesn't have one specific answer in mind
    • Focuses on the strategic impact of the item in question, not on day-to-day operational concerns
    • Is challenging, but not negative or antagonistic
Once you've got an answer, drill down. Ask follow-up questions like:
    • Why do you think that?
    • How do you know that?
    • What evidence do you have?

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