School leaders who help other institutions “turn around” are to be recognised as “exceptional” with a letter from Ofsted, it was announced on Monday when the inspectorate’s Common Inspection Framework was launched.
Headteachers have already discussed the ins and outs of this change, which will also see a copy of the letter going to the secretary of state and be featured in Ofsted’s annual report, but the role of governors have not been addressed.
I attended the announcement this week in Westminster and, during the question and answer session, I asked if a similar letter would be sent to the chair of governors. The answer was “no”.
Sir Michael’s response was: “It is the head who makes the difference… the letter will go to only the head.”
This answer disappointed governors who were present at the event and those following it on Twitter.
Ofsted needs to recognise and appreciate that it is the governing body who release the headteacher to work with other schools. If the headteacher is putting his or her reputation on the line by helping a school in difficulty, the governing body is also taking a massive risk by releasing them.
The governing body must weigh up the pros and cons of releasing the headteacher. If the governing body decides to risk its own school getting into difficulties by releasing the headteacher, then a letter of appreciation for their courage is not too much to ask given that if the school does get into difficulties it is the governing body who will likely be blamed!