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Ofsted inspection

Inspection of local authority school improvement services

Key themes for local authority governor services from 2013/2014 school improvement inspections


This paper takes a forensic look into the local authority school improvement (LASI) inspections conducted by Ofsted. In particular, it focuses on governor services and challenges to governors in England.

Research overview

The report draws primarily from three sources:

  • the Ofsted LASI inspection reports
  • the focused school improvement (FSI) letters
  • key interviews conducted with school improvement officials and heads of governor services from across a number of relevant local authorities

It covers:

  • The ‘Trojan Horse’ affair, drawing upon the Clarke and Kershaw reports to highlight common themes between other local authorities and Birmingham City Council.
  • Key themes from LASI inspections that have already taken place and looks to see what Ofsted were looking for when they went into these local authorities.

Key findings

In order to ensure that incidents like Trojan Horse are identified and addressed quickly and appropriately, it is imperative that governor services are seen as an integral part of school improvement. The report concludes that in order to have ‘effective’ governor services, each local authority must, as a minimum, be competent in four key areas:

  1. Local authorities should have a clear strategic plan in place that outlines the local authority’s aims and objectives.
  2. Local authorities should have a comprehensive and timely method for collecting data on school performance and third-party educational providers.
  3. The local authority should have effective procedures to intervene in schools that are not meeting the expectations of Ofsted, the Department for Education and the local authority, as outlined in the strategic plan.
  4. Both elected members and governor services need to ensure that the available resources are deployed effectively to fulfil these tasks and that governors, of all schools, are aware of what services and challenge they can expect from their local authority.

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