Ofsted needs to recognise the role of governors in its new framework

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!

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  1. So governors who let their head teacher spend their time working to improve another school, should get a praise letter from OFSTED?

    If I was a teacher in such a school I would be thinking, “I am working all the hours possible to do my job as a teacher. My head teacher is paid 5 times what I am earning and has enough spare time to spend it in another school so that he can get a pat on the back from OFSTED. Something is wrong here. Why is my head teacher not working in OUR school? And the governors who do not know who I am, and have no concept of how hard my job is, have let the head teacher swan around elsewhere and think they should get praise letters from OFSTED for allowing this to happen.”

    Governors who allow this to happen should be shown the door, not given a letter of commendation. Head teachers who spend their time in another school should have their pay cut proportionately.

  2. Turn round. In which direction? One Head turnied a ‘good” school into a ‘requires improvement’ one for leadership and pupil outcomes, and wangled a raise, to take him over and above the PM’s salary.

  3. Turn round. In which direction? One Head turned a ‘good” school into a ‘requires improvement’ one for leadership and pupil outcomes, and wangled a raise, to take him over and above the PM’s salary.