Tag Archives: Ruth Agnew

5 top tips for bringing challenge | Ruth Agnew

I read a really interesting line in an Ofsted report this week. It says “Governors have confused asking questions with exercising challenge”. The reason I think this is interesting is that I have a long-held belief that Ofsted *sometimes* does exactly that: confuses governors asking questions with governors exercising challenge. To the point that governing bodies are asking their clerks to highlight governors’ questions in red or put them in italics or in bold. Don’t pretend you don’t do this. I read lots of minutes. I know. I even came across minutes recently where the clerk regularly wrote…

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Planning for success(ion) | Ruth Agnew

I have never yet known a school appoint a headteacher who said as part of the appointment process “go on then, if no-one else will do it I will”, and yet I come across lots of schools where that kind of comment is made during the appointment process for the chair of governors.

When I conduct external reviews of governance I consistently find little or no evidence of any kind of succession planning. You may or may not agree with the National Governance’s Association’s recommendation that chairs shouldn’t be in post for more than six years continuously in the same school, but common sense…

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Why I’m Moving On… | Ruth Agnew

Thanks to the brilliant @sdupp on twitter for permission to use this

I’ve given a lot of thought to succession planning for chairs since I became aware of the NGA’s policy that no chair of governors should remain in post continuously in the same school for more than six years. (Why six? I’ve not yet had a satisfactory answer to that). It’s over two years since I wrote a blog post arguing in favour of chairs’ terms of office being limited, though I’ve yet to be convinced that six years is the magic number.

In any case I was getting to a time when it had to become personal and, at the end…

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It’s the end of the school governance world as we know it… | Ruth Agnew

“This is the way the world ends” says the poem*, “not with a bang but a whimper”. I’m hearing the whimpering of the school governance system I’ve known all my working life at the moment, and I’m mourning its passing, and hoping we can carry forward the best bits into a new system. We have to if we’re going to do the best for the children and young people in our multi-academy trusts in the future.

Why am I being so melodramatic? Well the government’s agenda is clear. ‘The era of the standalone school is coming to an end’ reads the Regional Schools Commissioners’ slide. And, while there are…

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Seven steps to avoiding an external review of governance | Ruth Agnew

Introduction

Ofsted introduced external reviews of governance into the inspection framework in autumn 2012. The September 2015 School Inspection Handbook requires inspectors to recommend a review in any school where in their judgement ‘governance is weak’, so we’re likely to see more, not fewer, taking place in forthcoming terms.

I was among the first to be trained and to train others in how to undertake these reviews, and have recently been involved in updating the national guidance. Since September 2012 I’ve undertaken 41 reviews in a wide range of contexts and here are my top tips on…

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Ten ways to improve your headteacher’s report | Ruth Agnew

It seems at the moment that everywhere I go I get asked for good examples of headteachers’ reports. Sadly – sorry headteachers – I see more bad examples than good. Here are some of the things that I think are wrong and suggestions for improving the practice in your school.

#1 remember what it’s for

It’s not a statutory requirement that there’s a termly report to governors from the headteacher. That surprises heads and governors sometimes. We’re so used to having it that we don’t always sit back and ask the question: “what’s the point of it?”. The 2002 Education Act says: “The head teacher…

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The Proponents of Courage: Inspiration from the Birmingham Governors’ Conference | Ruth Agnew

Last Saturday I had the privilege of contributing to the Birmingham Governors’ Conference: Stronger Governance – Stronger Schools. It was a very enjoyable event with around 160 governors (and headteachers) in attendance. There were inevitably a few mentions of Trojan Horse, but they were few and far between – Birmingham governors are understandably sick of the term, and still feel aggrieved about the unbalanced press coverage they received.

But the day was about looking forward, and I wanted to share a few thoughts about the input from the City Council Chief Executive Mark Rogers…

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