Effective Practice

Here you will find effective practice from a range of sources, that may help you with your journey to become an excellent governing body.

National model policies

Charging for school activities – Welsh Government

Disciplinary and dismissal procedures for school staff – Welsh Government

Online safety, includes social media – SWGfL

School complaints procedures – Welsh Government

School toilets – Welsh Government

Sex Education – Welsh Government

Substance misuse – Welsh Government

Whistleblowing – Welsh Government


Ysgol Gynradd Bontnewydd, Gwynedd – Supporting governors to fulfil their role more effectively

Llansannor C.I.W. Primary School, Vale of Glamorgan – Strong leadership and strategic plans for school improvement

Gwaunmeisgyn Primary School, Rhondda Cynon Taff – Improving the leadership structure using best practice

Ysgol Emmanual, Denbighshire – Governing body effectively holds school to account

Glasllwch Primary School, Newport – Using distributed leadership to drive improvement

Penllergaer Primary School, Swansea – Motivational leadership drives up standards

Pupil participation: a best practice guide

Estyn Inspection Reports – Leadership – Excellent

Barry Island Primary School, Vale of Glamorgan The governors support the school very well under the successful leadership of an effective chair and vice-chair of governors. They undertake their responsibilities conscientiously and take a strong interest in the day-to-day life of the school. They have a detailed knowledge of the school’s current priorities and a good understanding of its performance compared with that of other schools. They participate fully in the school’s self-evaluation processes. The governing body is an effective critical friend, it supports the school successfully and sets challenging targets for improvement.

Bishop Gore Secondary School, Swansea Governors have a clear understanding of their responsibilities and undertake the role of critical friend very well. They have a comprehensive understanding of pupil attainment data and monitor the allocation of the school budget carefully. Governors play a strong role in setting the school’s strategic direction and are highly effective in the challenge and support they provide.

Bishop of Llandaff CIW High School,Cardiff The governing body has a clear understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for development. It makes very good use of the skills and experience of individual members to contribute to the school’s strategic agenda. Governors monitor the school’s progress towards achieving its goals and provide very robust challenge on all matters. A wide range of stakeholders, including senior leaders, teaching staff, members of the student congress and representatives from the governing body, make valuable contributions to the school improvement plan. It is ambitious and comprehensive.

Bryntirion Comprehensive, Bridgend Governors understand their roles well, and provide a clear sense of direction for the school. They know its strengths and weaknesses, the departments and subjects that perform well and those that are not performing to the high standards required. The standards committee provides effective challenge to departments. Governors understand and use data very well to effectively support and challenge the school on its performance.

Cefn Hengoed Secondary School, Swansea The governing body provides extremely effective leadership. The governing body carries out its responsibilities successfully and gives full consideration to its statutory duties and relevant guidance. The governors are experienced, know the school exceptionally well and are supportive. They act as outstanding critical friends that continuously challenge, as well as playing a key role in setting the strategic direction for the school.

Cwmfelinfach Primary, Caerphilly The governing body provides a strong level of support for the school and challenges school leaders appropriately. Members of the governing body undertake learning walks regularly and are beginning to provide useful feedback on their findings to school staff. They have a secure understanding of the school’s performance relative to that of other similar schools. The governing body is an active, reassuring partner in judging the school’s progress and strategic priorities. Governors have a sound oversight of the improvement plan’s implementation through regular summary reports on progress from the headteacher. However, their role in self-evaluation is at an early stage of development.

Cwrt Sart Comprehensive School, Neath Port Talbot The very effective governing body strikes a skilful balance between support and challenge. Governors are a very visible presence in the school. They are passionate about Cwrt Sart but are also very conscious of their obligation to secure continuing improvement. They discharge this duty and achieve this balance with skill and integrity.

Elfed High School, Flintshire Governors have a clear understanding of their roles and are actively involved in setting the strategic direction of the school. Governors are well informed about the performance of pupils, strengths of the school and the areas in need of further development.

Fitzalan High School, Cardiff Governors have a comprehensive understanding of the school. They work in close partnership with the headteacher to set the school’s strategic direction and use their wide range of experiences and expertise well to support and challenge the school.

Gaer Primary School Newport The members of the governing body undertake their roles very conscientiously and look actively for ways to expand and develop their effectiveness. They embrace new initiatives and respond positively to change. They have an excellent understanding of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement. The dialogue between themselves and with the senior leadership of the school is very purposeful and productive. The governing body monitors the school’s self-evaluation processes very effectively. They undertake regular learning walks with pupils to discuss areas of the curriculum, standards of work and the latest developments in learning, for example the digital competency framework. This ensures that they challenge the school successfully to improve standards and ensure provision of high quality.

Gladestry C.I.W. School, Powys Governors support the school effectively. They have a thorough understanding of the performance of pupils and how this compares with that of pupils in similar schools. They carry out a notable number of visits to classes to monitor lessons and to look at pupils’ work. As a result, they have a thorough understanding of the
standards pupils achieve. They undertake their responsibilities conscientiously and have a strong interest in the day-to-day life of the school, for example by participating in lessons alongside the children during an open day held every spring.

Hendredenny Park Primary, Caerphilly Governors are very supportive of the school and fulfil their statutory duties well. They visit the school regularly to observe lessons, meet with groups of pupils and review their books. Consequently, governors have a clear grasp of the school’s strengths and areas for improvement. They ask challenging questions routinely and make suggestions about the deployment of staff, for instance to maximise the expertise of learning support assistants across the school. Consequently, these staffing arrangements have been highly beneficial for pupils.

Heronsbridge School, Bridgend The governing body is very supportive of the school, as illustrated by its active role in fund raising. Governors’ knowledge of the school is enhanced by their involvement in varied sub-committees and their active link roles with individual subject areas. They receive appropriate school performance data and other management information regularly. They are developing their role in monitoring curriculum delivery and make lesson observations to inform this. However, they do not challenge the school enough to improve pupils’ outcomes, policies and practice.

Kitchener Primary School, Cardiff The governing body has a very effective oversight of the school and carries out its duties very successfully. Governors are knowledgeable and supportive of the school’s work and its performance. They are fully involved in decision-making and provide a clear strategic direction. The chair of governors is particularly well informed and proactive and takes a leading role in moving the school forward.

Pontarddulais Comprehensive School, Swansea The governing body holds the school strongly to account. It provides a high level of both challenge and support. The governing body has reviewed beneficially their committee structure in order to streamline and sharpen their robust scrutiny. Alongside the link governor role, this allows them to acquire a clear understanding of the school’s work.

Severn Primary School, Cardiff Governors are knowledgeable about the school and provide highly effective support and challenge in relation to pupils’ performance and school improvement. Embedded in the work of the school is a clear commitment to addressing local and national priorities. There is a considerable focus on ensuring high standards of literacy and numeracy and reducing the impact of poverty on pupils’ attainment. The school has already begun to consider its readiness for curriculum reform.

Stanwell School, Vale of Glamorgan The governing body performs its role with integrity and care. Governors ensure that leaders at the school keep them well informed about strategic school priorities and the progress being made against school aims, as well as day-to-day matters where relevant. The governing body is developing its role of critical friend steadily, challenging the school where appropriate and using the skills of members to support leaders and managers at the school in pursuit of a shared vision of excellence.

St Christophers Special School, Wrexham Governors are well informed about the work of the school. They fulfil their statutory duties well and provide very effective support and challenge for the leadership team. They set challenging performance management targets for all members of the leadership team. Governors are linked with specific areas of the school and make termly visits to monitor the progress of strategic plans and evaluate progress made with whole school priorities. They observe lessons alongside members of the leadership team, scrutinise pupils’ work and review information in pupils’ statements of special educational needs to monitor the quality of provision.

St Joseph’s RC High School, Newport The leadership provided by the governing body is exceptional. Governors have a very good understanding of their roles. They know the school very well and monitor, evaluate and review the life of the school and their own contribution. They provide rigorous and enthusiastic challenge and support. They contribute significantly to setting priorities for the school improvement plan. They monitor the impact of budgetary expenditure against pupil outcomes extensively.

Y Pant Comprehensive, Rhondda Cynon Taff Governors know the school well. They challenge leadership decisions and performance outcomes rigorously to help to set the strategic direction of the school.

Ysgol Bryngwyn, Carmarthenshire Governance of the federation is a significant strength. Governors have a detailed understanding of both schools’ performance and provide high levels of support and challenge to the federation. They make an effective contribution to the federation’s self-evaluation and improvement planning processes. The experience and expertise of governors are used well to support many aspects of the federation’s provision. Individual governors are linked to subject areas and other specific aspects of the schools’ provision, and this provides middle leaders with valuable support.

Ysgol Cefn Coch, Gwynedd A strong feature is the way in which the headteacher has developed the role of the governing body during recent years. He has ensured that they have a sound understanding of the school’s performance and procedures through a programme of visits and relevant observations. An effective example of this is the challenging and rigorous way in which the governors consider pupils’ standards and progress. The governing body is a very supportive group that provides constructive support to the leadership team and shares professional, valuable expertise in specific areas. Its regular strategic input into the school’s self-evaluation arrangements is effective.

Ysgol Cynwyd Sant, Bridgend The governing body plays a key part in ensuring a clear strategic direction for the school. Members are very supportive of the school’s work and undertake their responsibilities effectively. They visit the school regularly to undertake monitoring activities and to discuss provision and standards with leaders and staff. As a result, they have a secure knowledge of the school’s strengths and priorities for improvement. This enables them to challenge the school and hold it to account for its performance effectively. A good example is the way in which members of the governing body challenge the school about standards of numeracy, and ensure that specific procedures are in place to respond to this. By mentoring new governors, they ensure that all members contribute effectively in meetings and to the self-evaluation programme.

Ysgol Dyffryn Ogwen, Gwynedd The governing body are undertaking their role as critical friends fully. As a body, they have a variety of experience and expertise that intertwine well and enable them to challenge and support the school. There is an appropriate structure of committees. They receive regular and useful information about the school’s standards and provision and take a robust role in setting the school’s strategic direction. They have a comprehensive and thorough awareness of the school’s performance in comparison with similar schools and they share the same vision as the senior management team, namely to offer the best education to pupils in the local area. There are beneficial links with departmental leaders. As a result, they are also aware of departments’ contribution to meeting the school’s priorities.

Ysgol Gyfun Gŵyr, Swansea Governors have a sound understanding of their roles and play an important part in setting a clear strategic direction for the school. Through a structure of sub-committees, they offer valuable guidance to the school on various strategic developments and whole-school policies. There are strong links between governors and senior leaders and they play an active part in monitoring performance. On the basis of the very detailed reports that they receive from the headteacher, governors have a clear understanding of the school’s performance data and standards. As a result, the curriculum sub-committee holds middle managers to account very effectively for the overall performance of their departments. The governing body is an important part of the target-setting process for raising standards further.

Ysgol Gymraeg Brynsierfel, Carmarthenshire Governors have a very sound understanding of the school’s performance. They take responsibility for various aspects of curricular areas and priorities for improvement. By working successfully with the senior management team, and by observing lessons, scrutinising books and conducting relevant learning walks, they play an active role in the school’s self-evaluation and monitoring procedures. They use this information very effectively to make decisions that set a purposeful strategic direction for the school’s work. A strong example of this is the way in which governors challenge positively and make suggestions about progress in standards and the
over-use of worksheets. The governing body promotes the pupils’ voice effectively by supporting their aspirations. They also support the school’s plans and arrangements to ensure that all pupils are given an equal opportunity to undertake different activities. The headteacher and governors manage the school’s budget tightly, although they have faced a difficult financial situation recently. They make efficient funding
decisions in order to respond to the school’s needs. The budget for implementing the school’s priorities for improvement has been earmarked clearly. The school uses a range of grants very successfully, including the pupil development grant, to raise standards of literacy and mathematics, and to develop pupils’ wellbeing highly effectively.

Ysgol Gymraeg Ifor Hael, Newport Governors have a comprehensive understanding of the school’s strengths and areas that need to be developed further. They update their knowledge regularly by attending relevant training. They are very supportive of the school’s work and co-operate closely with leaders to ensure that it has a clear strategic direction. Through regular meetings and frequent visits to the school, they hold the school to account successfully in maintaining standards and ensuring high-quality provision.

Ysgol Gynradd Cae Top, Gwynedd The school receives good support from governors. They have an increasing understanding of the school’s strengths and of the areas that need to be developed further. The school’s thorough system for monitoring data ensures that they are well informed about the school’s performance over time in comparison with that in other schools. Visits to classes enable them to reach a more certain judgement about pupils’ standards of work and attainment and to challenge and question leaders about the school’s performance. However, the governing body’s strategic role in the self-evaluation and planning for improvement process has not developed fully.

Ysgol Morfa Nefyn, Gwynedd Governors have a probing understanding of the school’s strengths and of the areas that need to be developed further. Members of the governing body have used their expertise very effectively to contribute to leading and supporting provision for numeracy and literacy. This ensures a very robust strategic direction for the school and has an excellent effect on pupils’ attainment. The monitoring plan that has been adopted recently has enabled governors to observe teaching more systematically. It has ensured all governors’ commitment to the evaluation process as they reach a more certain judgement about pupils’ standards of work and attainment.

Ysgol Pencae, Cardiff The governing body know the school very well. They are extremely knowledgeable about the school’s performance, and make very effective use of data and direct evidence in order to contribute significantly to setting the school’s strategic direction. They are very analytical and the chair uses his expertise and individuals’ strengths effectively in order to support and challenge the headteacher and staff thoroughly when appropriate. Governors visit the school regularly in order to observe lessons, discuss with pupils and scrutinise books. This ensures that they have an excellent understanding of the school’s strengths, areas that need to be changed, in addition to beneficial opportunities to monitor and evaluate improvement.

Central South Consortium

Cyfarthfa High School – Effective Governing Body Structures to Enhance School Leadership

Parc Primary School – The Effective Co-operation of the Governing Body, Senior Leadership Team and Wider Staff

Effective Practice in Central South Wales Schools

Contact Us

01443 844532 support@governors.cymru
Sam MacNamara 07943 887275 Jane Morris 07957 969708