Addressing the fallout from a poor school evaluation

All through school

What was the issue addressed?
I was appointed as Chair of Governors of a school in a low Estyn category. The senior staff were in denial and governors felt that they had not been properly advised about issues in the school.

What happened?
A new Headteacher was appointed who had a totally different outlook. We reviewed the Post-inspection Action Plan (PIAP) with a new & experienced Challenge Advisor. Progress against the PIAP was carefully monitored.

What lessons were learnt?
School now has a better reputation in the Community and has verified high standards of Wellbeing. Staff have a pupil focus that has resulted in all pupils being valued. KS4 Examination results have recovered.

The governing body relies on the headteacher and senior staff to provide the information they need to fulfil their critical friend role, that said, the school performance data should also help to indicate the strengths and weaknesses at the school. It is important to check that all the relevant members of the governing body attended mandatory training on understanding school data? Maybe a refresher course is a good idea for all governors.

Whilst the data is important, it is equally important to look at the contextual information. This is where the governing body and their role as the critical friend is crucial. Governors need to ask those questions to get the story behind the data in order to make an informed decision as to what strategies the school should have in place, and to agree the school development priorities. Examples of questions can be found below:

  • What is the overall attainment reached by the end of each key stage?
  • What are the attainment and standards reached in each year groups, class and subjects and for individual pupils compared to their predicted outcomes and the national average (if available)?
  • How do these results compare with our targets?
  • Are some individuals and groups of pupils doing better than others? If so, why and what strategies are in place to sustain and share good practice and bring about improvements?
  • Are pupils making better or worse than expected rates of progress by the end of their time in school and in the intervening years?

Governors Cymru Services has suite of resources that can help the governing body in this area:

Have you ever had cause to doubt the judgement of your school’s leadership on the issues relating to the quality of provision? If so, what did you and/or the governing body do about those concerns?
What do you think would be the challenges and opportunities of implementing a PIAP?

Have your say…
Have you had experiences similar to these?
What do you think about the situation described?


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