Reviews of Governance

When the current Ofsted School Inspection Framework was introduced in September 2012, it introduced the potential for the inspection report to include a recommendation for an external review of governance.

Sometimes governing bodies choose to commission an external review when they haven’t received such a recommendation because they want to evaluate their effectiveness. For some schools this is part of their preparation for an Ofsted inspection.

What is an External Review of Governance?

The Department for Education has detailed guidance on its website about the nature of a review. The exact details however will vary, depending on who is commissioned to conduct the review and what is agreed between them and the individual school. Charges will also vary, but the DfE guidance suggests costs are likely to be between £1000 and £1500.

When are Reviews of Governance Recommended by Ofsted?

The current Ofsted School Inspection Handbook (January 2015) says:

“Where governance is judged to be ineffective, inspectors should include an external review of governance in their recommendations for improvement. The form of words to be used in the report under ‘What the school should do to improve further’ is:

‘An external review of governance should be undertaken in order to assess how this aspect of leadership and management may be improved.’

It is for the school to decide how this review will take place, and to commission and pay for it. Such reviews aim to be developmental and do not represent a further inspection. Full details on what might be the form and nature of such reviews can be found on the following link:

… The review’s impact will be assessed and reported on by inspectors conducting subsequent monitoring visits and the next section 5 inspection. If the governing body has not undertaken a review by the time of the next section 8 or section 5 inspection, inspectors may take account of this when evaluating the progress made by the school”

Who Can Conduct a Review of Governance?

Reviews are available from a number of individuals and organisations, but the DfE guidance states: “we recommend that reviews are conducted by those with recent successful experience of leading governance and school improvement.”


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