An experienced advisor will review your school’s governance structure and monitoring arrangements. They will spend time in your school or trust; meeting with governors, directors, and leadership teams, as well as reviewing your key governance documentation. You will be provided with a report containing recommendations for changes or improvements that may further benefit your governance structures.

A lack of effective review of governance can mean that weaknesses in governance can remain unnoticed over long periods of time. Two thirds of schools surveyed by Ofsted in 2017 had not engaged in any self-evaluation of governance and had not identified any weaknesses until an Ofsted inspection judged the school to be less than good.

Regular reviews of governance are good practice for any governing body; be it for a maintained school, an academy or a Multi-Academy Trust. As accounts, controls, safeguarding, data protection, and health and safety accountability structures are regularly reviewed by an independent, the accountability structures around the school’s wider governance should be as well. An external review of governance looks at how well your school’s governing body is working. It provides the governing board with an experienced external perspective on how governance is working in the school; providing assurance to the governing body and a list of actions that the school could take to improve its governance further.

Tailored to your needs, a review of governance will support you in identifying what the governing board does well, what needs improving, and recommend specific actions for improvement.

What does a review of governance entail?

The reviewer will contact the school to make introductions and agree a schedule for the day. Reviews are based on trust and mutual respect. They are tailored to the needs of the governing board, but typically:

  • The reviewer will draw up review trails using information such as the school’s Ofsted report, annual training record, and school website.
  • The reviewer will visit the school to meet with the headteacher, chair and vice chair, the clerk, and other governors including staff and parents. During the school visit, the reviewer will scrutinise evidence such as governing board minutes and agendas, governor visit reports, the school’s strategy, the school development plan, the terms of reference for committees, statutory policy and website compliance and any other governance documents that are available.
  • The reviewer will write a report for the school with clear areas of risk and specific recommendations for improvements that could be implemented by the governing body and the school to improve governance.

What are the common issues raised by Ofsted about governance?

  • Over reliance on information from the headteacher.
  • Lack of strategic or systematic visits to school.
  • Lack of engagement with school development planning.
  • Lack of engagement in monitoring.
  • Lack of challenge and failing to hold head teachers to account.
  • Governors not being ambitious about expectations.
  • Limited understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the school.

To discuss your needs, contact us on 0345 200 8600 or email us at