Effective Practice

Here you will find effective practice from a range of sources, that may help you with your journey to become an excellent governing body.


Digital Governing Body Self-Evaluation Tool

The e-toolkit enables you to review the way your governing body works to identify strengths and areas for improvement. This is an innovative provision based around Estyn’s inspection framework which will help your governing body improve its knowledge and efficiency in a streamlined way. Key documents can be uploaded easily and shared with governor members. Sections of the toolkit can be completed at any time, that suits the governing body. The annual fee is £42.43 plus VAT.

Please complete this form to start your self-evaluation process and access this tool



National model policies

Charging for school activities – Welsh Government School toilets – Welsh Government

Disciplinary and dismissal procedures for school staff – Welsh Government Online safety, includes social media – SWGfL

School complaints procedures – Welsh Government Substance misuse – Welsh Government

Whistleblowing – Welsh Government School attendance policy: templates for schools – Welsh Government


Estyn

Rhos Street School, Denbighshire – Creating a strategic framework Pupil participation: a best practice guide

Llansannor C.I.W. Primary School, Vale of Glamorgan – Strong leadership and strategic plans for school improvement Trinant Primary School, Caerphilly – Governing body help strengthen school improvement

Glasllwch Primary School, Newport – Using distributed leadership to drive improvement Ysgol Gynradd Bontnewydd, Gwynedd – Supporting governors to fulfil their role more effectively


Estyn Inspection Reports – Leadership (Governors) – from September 2022


Casllwchwr Primary School, Swansea (2023)
The governing body is well informed and effective in its role in supporting the school. Members use their skills and expertise to ask professional questions and provide valuable guidance to school leaders and staff. They undertake a variety of relevant monitoring and evaluation though their sub-committees’ activities and have sound knowledge of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement. They value the work of the whole staff and are particularly proud of the role they play in supporting the needs of the local community. Governors make appropriate arrangements for healthy eating and drinking and support leaders to manage finances effectively in line with the school’s priorities. With the support of the headteacher, they monitor the budget prudently and support staff to ensure that they have high quality resources to best meet the needs of learners.


Coed Glas Primary School, Cardiff (2023)
The governing body is well informed and effective in its role in supporting the school. Members use their wide range of skills and expertise to provide valuable support, guidance and challenge to school leaders and staff. They value the work of the whole staff and are particularly proud of the inclusive nature of the school and the role it plays in supporting the needs of the local community. Governors make appropriate arrangements for healthy eating and drinking and support leaders to manage finances effectively in line with the school’s priorities.


Gwyrosydd Primary, Swansea (2023)
Governors understand the school’s strengths and challenges well. They are aware of the impact periods of uncertainty around leadership are having on the school. Governors work well with the acting headteacher, for example through supporting the development of an extended senior leadership team. They are beginning to resume their roles as part of staff teams that are developing areas of the curriculum. Governors understand the school’s main developmental priorities and why they are a focus for improvement. They are aware of the school’s financial position and plan ahead their spending priorities. They understand their statutory duties for ensuring healthy eating and drinking and, as a result, made changes to the school’s tuckshop.


Llandeilo Primary, Carmarthenshire (2023)
Governors have a secure understanding of the schools’ strengths and areas for development. They take an active role in school life and self-evaluation and challenge the school to ensure provision is robust. For example, governors challenge the school on provision to develop higher order reading skills and challenge for more able pupils. Governors actively support senior leaders to discharge their responsibilities and ensure staff development and well-being is a priority. For example, governors take a lead on ensuring that all statutory policies are reviewed and ratified, which allows senior leaders time to focus on developing teaching and learning. Governors monitor spending robustly and prioritise provision for pupils. Governors ensure that the school complies with heathy food and drink legislation. Governors work with school leaders to ensure a robust safeguarding culture.


Monmouth Comprehensive School, Monmouthshire (2023)
Governors are very supportive of the school and provide suitably robust challenge to all leaders. They are proud members of the school community and carry out their duties diligently, making a positive contribution to the strategic direction of the school. They are committed to ensuring that the school promotes healthy eating and drinking appropriately.


Radnor Valley Primary School, Powys (2023)
The governing body is highly effective in its support for the school. Governors are regularly involved in self-evaluation processes, undertaking monitoring activities in partnership with the headteacher, teachers and pupils. They have a good understanding of the school’s priorities for improvement and are beginning to challenge leaders successfully as a critical friend and suggest changes to better support the needs of learners. The partnership work between governors and pupils is a strength of the school. Governors make time to gather pupils’ opinions on the life of the school and their learning experiences and support them when change is needed. The headteacher and governors monitor spending plans and their impact efficiently. The school allocates its grant funding effectively to ensure equity of experience for all pupils. For example, the school uses the pupil development grant to put in place a range of measures to address the impact of poverty, such as the use of additional staff to support learning through intervention groups.


Spittal VC Primary, Pembrokeshire (2023)
The input of governors, through sub-committees and the full governing body, creates positive improvements across the school. The governors are supportive of the school and hold the senior leadership team to account as critical friends. The headteacher and senior teacher inform governors accurately about pupils’ learning and they consider how to improve provision thoughtfully. This includes funding wordless books to develop storytelling and outdoor clothing. Governors promote effective practices to ensure that pupils eat and drink healthily and leaders advise parents on the importance of nutritious food in their lunchboxes. Governors monitor the budget regularly and ensure that decisions on expenditure align with the school’s priorities for improvement, such as developing adult support within the classroom for pupils with additional needs.


St Paul’s C.I.W. Primary, Cardiff (2023)
The governing body knows the school well and provides effective support and challenge for school leaders. Governors have an effective understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development. For example, they know that the strong shared values and inclusive ethos of the school is a strength, and they monitor the impact of interventions on pupil progress. The governing body has appropriate committees in place to meet the needs of the school and its statutory obligations. Governors have a good understanding of the school’s finances, which allows them to keep track of spending and make decisions that contribute to improving provision for pupils. Governors are proactive and know the school community well. For example, they meet with parents to discuss the school’s revised relationships and sexuality education (RSE) curriculum and, as a result, answer parents’ questions and concerns successfully. Governors ensure a strong culture of safeguarding in the school and promote healthy eating and drinking effectively.


Ysgol Caer Elen, Pembrokeshire (2023)
The governing body is experienced and loyal and protects the school’s interests carefully. Members have a full understanding of the role of the school in providing Welsh-medium provision for its community. They have comprehensive knowledge of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement and a secure understanding of the school’s improvement priorities. They use this information effectively to challenge the senior leadership team on a number of important issues. They have useful links to specific areas of learning and experience and use their expertise to act as critical friends to middle leaders. The governing body takes responsibility for ensuring appropriate arrangements for eating and drinking healthily.


Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Llangynwyd, Bridgend (2023)
The governing body provides strong support for all of the school’s work. Under the robust guidance of the chair and vice chair, the governing body is very knowledgeable about the school’s strengths and areas for improvement. They have a good grasp of the main priorities and play a key role in setting the school’s strategic direction. Throughout, they operate effective in their role as a critical friend and challenge senior and middle leaders on important issues, where appropriate. They fulfil their statutory role of promoting healthy eating and drinking effectively.


Ysgol Maes Owen, Conwy (2023)
Governors know the school well and their regular input creates systematic improvements throughout the school. They are supportive of the headteacher and hold her and other senior leaders to account as critical friends. The headteacher informs governors about pupils’ learning regularly and advises them realistically on how to improve provision, such as creating a library and nurture areas to promote pupils’ learning and well-being. Governors develop a sound first-hand understanding of the school’s activities. Alongside teachers, they undertake learning walks and discuss pupils’ work to measure its quality. This promotes a valuable understanding of the school’s current work. Governors monitor the budget carefully. They ensure that spending decisions, over well-planned timescales, are in line with the school’s priorities for improvement, such as investments in digital hardware, outdoor equipment and reading resources.


Estyn Inspection Reports – Leadership (Governors)


Barry Island Primary School, Vale of Glamorgan (2020)
Governors understand their roles and responsibilities well. They conduct effective termly and sub-committee meetings. They link, according to their strengths, to specific curriculum areas. For example, governors responsible for literacy or wellbeing foster useful links with the relevant school staff to monitor the development of their areas of responsibility. As a result most governors have a good understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses. They are very supportive of the school and contribute successfully to the self-evaluation process through looking at pupils’ work, taking part in learning walks and through interviews with curriculum leaders. Leaders and governors monitor the budget effectively and ensure that the school secures value for money. They make prudent decisions to ensure that financial planning conforms to regulations and meets the needs of the school.


Bedwas Infant School, Caerphilly (2020)
The governing body is highly supportive of the school. Many governors undertake monitoring activities that enable them to engage fully in discussion, particularly about pupils’ wellbeing. This ensures that governors have a very good understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development, enabling them to challenge the school successfully to improve standards and ensure provision of high quality.


Cardiff High School, Cardiff (2019)
Governors know and understand the school’s strengths and areas for improvement well. They support the headteacher and the senior leadership team effectively to deliver their vision for the school. They have the knowledge and expertise to challenge leaders to continually reflect and improve all aspects of the school’s work, when necessary.


Clwyd Primary School, Swansea (2022)
The governing body understands and discharges its duties effectively. Governors have a secure understanding of the school’s improvement priorities and the rationale behind these. They understand their role in supporting the school to implement its improvement strategy. The chair of governors is in charge of the adjoining children’s centre and this promotes positive collaborative working with the pre-school setting. Governors contribute appropriately to monitoring activity and this helps them to keep up to date with the school’s progress in implementing improvement work. They ensure that the school has appropriate arrangements to promote healthy eating and drinking.


Cowbridge Comprehensive School, Vale of Glamorgan (2019)
Governors play an important role in setting the school’s strategic vision. They have a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and improvement priorities, and offer valuable support and challenge to leaders.


Glasllwch Primary School, Newport (2019)
Leaders, staff, governors and pupils have key roles within the school’s self-evaluation processes. Leaders have grouped staff and governors into teams based on the six areas of learning in the new curriculum for Wales. A notable feature of the school improvement process is the way in which staff collaborate with learners, parents, governors and staff from other local schools and colleges, for example as the lead school for the Pupil Participation Learning Network. This supports the school well as a highly effective learning organisation. Governors use an effective system to identify the skills of individual governors that enables each governor to use their particular skills very well in support of the school. For example, governors use their specific expertise to improve provision in Welsh, the DCF and coding skills. They provide purposeful challenge to school leaders, where needed, for example, when ensuring that health and safety is a high priority and taking part in regular health and safety checks.


Nant y Parc Primary School, Caerphilly (2019)
Governors know the school well and play a key role in ensuring an effective strategic direction for the school. Their strategic input into self-evaluation procedures is highly effective. Learning walks and regular visits to school by governors have enhanced their knowledge of the school, based on first-hand knowledge. The headteacher and senior leaders provide regular, detailed reports and presentations to governors, outlining the work of the school. As a result, the governing body has a thorough understanding of the school’s performance, enabling it to act as an effective critical friend. The headteacher and governing body manage the school’s budget rigorously and purchase resources effectively to enrich the curriculum and to raise pupils’ standards.


Oakfield Primary School, Cardiff (2019)
The governing body is very supportive of the school and governors undertake their responsibilities conscientiously. They regularly undertake monitoring and evaluation tasks and, as a result, they have a very good understanding of the school’s main strengths and areas for improvement. There is an excellent balance between support and challenge in the way governors undertake their role as critical friends and hold senior leaders to account. The headteacher and governors manage the school’s budget well. They make efficient funding decisions in order to respond to the school’s needs. The school makes very effective use of additional funding, for example, to increase resources, such as ICT equipment, and to improve the outdoor areas, which impact positively on pupils’ skills and wellbeing.


Penllergaer Primary School, Swansea (2019)
Governors contribute positively to the life and work of the school. They regularly visit the school to undertake supportive activities, for example to consider pupils’ progress in developing their digital skills to create databases. This work provides governors with a secure understanding of the school’s strengths and areas it is working to improve. Governors keep progress against improvement priorities under review. They provide the school’s leaders with a good balance of support and challenge.


Pontnewydd Primary School, Torfaen (2022)
Senior leaders and governors at Pontnewydd Primary School provide clear strategic direction for the development of the school. They work successfully with parents, pupils and staff to set the school’s vision, evaluate the quality of provision and plan and deliver improvements.The role of the governing body in supporting and challenging the work of the school is highly effective. Governors bring a wide range of knowledge, skills and experience, which they use well to support the school. For example, one governor provided chaplaincy support to pupils and staff as they dealt with the impact of the pandemic. As a result of frequent engagement with staff through their link governor work and regular visits to the school, governors have a clear understanding of the quality of provision and the challenges that the school faces. They support the school to manage and deploy its resources effectively, including the use of the pupil development grant. They work with leaders to ensure that suitable policies and procedures are in in place to promote the importance of healthy eating and drinking among pupils.


Rogerstone Primary School, Newport (2020)
Members of the governing body know the school well and undertake their roles effectively. Governors have valuable professional expertise and a varied range of interests, which they use purposefully to support the school. Governors have a sound knowledge of the school’s performance data and its strengths and areas for development. Individual governors support the school’s activities effectively. For example, they undertake regular learning walks and hold meetings with pupils to gather information about the impact of school initiatives. As a result, governors challenge the leadership team effectively as critical friends and hold the school suitably to account for its performance.


St. Philip Evans Primary School, Cardiff (2019)
Governors have a very good understanding of the school’s work and discharge their responsibilities productively. They participate effectively in setting the school’s strategic priorities and in monitoring progress against improvement targets. They undertake high quality monitoring and evaluation tasks, and hence have a very good understanding of the school’s main strengths and areas for improvement. There is an effective balance between support and challenge in the way governors discharge their role in holding the senior leaders to account.


Trinant Primary School, Powys (2019)
Members of the governing body are enthusiastic, supportive and take a detailed interest in the work of the school. They are very knowledgeable about the school’s strengths and improvement priorities. Their role in self-evaluation is well developed and allows them to contribute effectively to the school’s strategic decision-making. For instance, the member of the governing body identified as the ‘self-evaluation champion’, visits the school each month to work with staff to monitor the progress of the school’s improvement priorities. The governing body takes an active role in formulating school improvement actions and is involved directly in working with senior leaders to write aspects of the school development plan.


Ynysowen Primary School, Merthyr Tydfil (2019)
An excellent feature is the way the governing body provides constructive support, challenge and valuable professional expertise for the school. Governors have an exceptional understanding of the school’s performance, guidance and finances. They visit the school regularly and support both pupils and teachers to monitor and focus on the school’s priorities and progress. They receive exemplary reports from the headteacher about the development and progress of the schools’ plans for improvement. They know the school exceptionally well and their strategic input into all areas of school life is highly effective. Another innovative practice of the governing body’s work is that it has established a forum for governing bodies from other local schools to share and work collaboratively on good practice.


Ysgol Bryn Derw, Newport (2020)
The governing body consists of highly committed members with a variety of relevant skills and experience. The school benefits greatly from their contribution. They provide extremely effective support and challenge for the school. In addition to full governing body and sub-committee meetings, governors take part in beneficial quality assurance activities, including learning walks and work scrutiny and projects such as looking at transport issues. This project resulted in training for taxi drivers. Governors have a clear understanding of national priorities, and the work that the school is doing in relation to these, including the curriculum for Wales and the ALN Act. Headteacher reports to the governing body are strategic and highly informative, with a clear focus on data. Governors provide robust challenge.


Ysgol Brynrefail, Gwynedd (2020)
Members of the governing body are very experienced, and their expertise is used effectively to support and challenge the school. Through the hard-working committees and their valuable link meetings with departments, governors have a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement. They play a prominent part in setting a strategic direction for the school and continue to challenge the school in order to improve the few areas in which there is underperformance. They conduct an annual review of their work in order to ensure that they contribute beneficially to the school’s work.


Ysgol Gynradd Talsarnau, Gwynedd (2020)
The school is supported very well by the governors. They also play an active part in comprehensive self-evaluation procedures, which enable them to identify the school’s strengths and most areas for improvement effectively. Their practice of monitoring and gathering evidence of the quality of provision and pupils’ achievement helps them to form a clear and accurate judgement on the standard of pupils’ work and their attainment. As a result, governors’ strategic role as critical friends is developing very successfully and enables them to challenge the school about its performance conscientiously and effectively.


Ysgol Tregarth, Gwynedd (2020)
The governing body is very supportive of the school’s work. Through effective co-operation with staff and discussing examples of pupils’ work, governors have a good understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement. They use this information thoroughly to make decisions when setting a strategic direction for the school’s work. This enables them to hold the school to account and help to set a clear strategic direction to develop the school as a very effective learning community.


Ysgol y Foryd, Conwy (2019)
The governing body is highly supportive of the school. Many governors undertake monitoring activities that enable them to engage fully in discussion, particularly about pupils’ wellbeing. Teachers or small groups of teaching assistants regularly join governing body meetings and share aspects of their work. This ensures that governors have a very good understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development, enabling them to challenge the school successfully to improve standards and ensure provision of high quality.

Contact Us

01443 844532 / 029 2075 3685 [email protected]
Sam MacNamara – 07943 887275 / Jane Morris – 07957 969708