Businesses to help govern

BUSINESSES should order staff to become governors at their local schools.

That’s the view of the Ofsted chief inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, who said more professionalism is needed among school governors. He also believes some governors should be paid for their work.

He made the comments as he announced that every primary and secondary school in England will be handed an annual report card detailing their exam results and attendance rates.

The one-page overview will be made available to the public, meaning it can be used by parents to compare schools.

The move comes amid concerns by Ofsted that governors need more information to hold their schools to account.

Sir Michael warned that some school governors are not up to scratch and would rather spend time “looking at the quality of lunches and not enough on maths and English”.

In a hard-hitting speech, he argued that there needs to be a “professional approach” amongst some governing bodies, particularly in the most challenging schools. He said: “Of course there will always be a place for the volunteer and those from the community who want to support their local school. That will always be the case. But where there is a lack of capacity and where there are few volunteers without the necessary skills, we need to consider radical solutions.

“I have said it before and I will say it again, we should not rule out payment to governors with the necessary expertise to challenge and support schools with a long legacy of under-performance.”

Sir Michael said he wanted to “issue a challenge” to the public and private sectors to encourage their best people to get involved in school governance.

“For example, all large and medium-sized companies could insist that their senior and middle managers join the governing bodies of local schools. I believe Rolls-Royce strongly encourage their managers to do this.”

The new report card - the School Data Dashboard - will give information on how well a school is performing in test and exam results, as well as attendance, compared with other similar schools.

Ofsted said it will publish the documents, updated annually, for more than 20,000 state primary and secondary schools.

Sir Michael said governors should have access to the right information to understand and challenge their school, with no excuses for those that fail to do so.