To help governors and trustees best utilise evidence-based resources in decision making and in supporting and challenging the executive leader, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) has produced a free guide.

Using external evidence can help governing boards to improve practice by consulting a wider range of sources before making decisions. For example, NGA’s recent ‘spotlight on disadvantage’ research discovered that the schools with the best progress for pupil premium children are making evidence-driven decisions, but that many schools are too inward-looking.

Emma Knights, chief executive at the National Governance Association, said:

“We applaud the Education Endowment Foundation for acknowledging the vital role that governing boards play in supporting disadvantaged pupils across England, and welcome today’s new resource. It will help those governing make evidence-informed decisions in the interests of vulnerable pupils.

Governing boards must work with senior leaders to find effective ways to spend the pupil premium in order to reduce the identified educational, social, emotional and economic barriers which stop eligible pupils learning as much in the classroom as other children who are better positioned to gain from good teaching. A range of sources, including the EEF toolkit, must be used to draw up a pupil premium spending plan grounded in robust evidence.”

EEF’s new Guide to becoming an evidence-informed school governor and trustee is designed to offer a quick way into the high-quality evidence the EEF makes freely available to all schools.

It offers practical next steps and tips for further reading framed around three key questions for governors and trustees to ask:

  • How well are pupils achieving in your school?
  • How effectively is your school spending its money?
  • How does your school support effective teaching and learning?

It recommends thinking of evidence as offering “best bets” – valuable starting points for a better-informed discussion in your governing board about how your school can improve.

The guide – which is free to read and download from the EEF’s website here https://eef.li/GovernorGuide – also includes key questions to ask before schools think about buying in a programme.

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