Being a Critical Friend


1. Governors know their school well

Governors are not strangers to their school. They visit the school when it is in session and take time to speak with staff and pupils, to get first hand knowledge of their perspective.

2. The Governing Body challenges and supports the school

Governors can demonstrate challenge in their minutes from committee and full governing body meetings. Governors understand that challenge is about knowing the school better and asking the “why” and “what if” questions that pupils cannot ask. Governors support the work of the school and balance this with challenge to drive standards forward.

3. The Governing Body monitors and evaluates the work of the school

Governor monitoring plans are closely matched to the school’s priorities for improvement. Governors understand that it is not their job to directly monitor teaching or learning, though passive monitoring is recognised as a vital part of their work. Visits to school do form a vital part of governor monitoring. Governors decide which major decisions will be evaluated and this is part of the regular work programme.

4. The Governing Body has a good understanding of the school’s strengths and weaknesses

Governors have a balanced view of their school brought about through involvement in and understanding of the self evaluation process: they know the school’s strengths both in terms of standards and other aspects of its work. This is balanced with an informed view of those areas of the school’s work, including standards, where improvement is needed.

5. Governors respect confidentiality

Governors understand collective responsibility and the need to stand by corporate decisions. Governors fully understand why confidentiality must be maintained in order to protect staff, pupils and the interests of the school.

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