"Form S3 is completed by or on behalf of the appropriate authority for the school to indicate the extent to which it meets the requirements placed on it by statute. If completed on paper, Form S3 is returned to the registered inspector.
Form S4 is completed by the headteacher and is used to summarise the school's self-evaluation. If completed on paper, Form S4 is returned to the registered inspector"
While it is vital that the governing body knows what is in S4 and is able to cite the school's strengths and weaknesses (or more correctly areas identified for improvement), it is form S3 that the governing body should be most familiar with. Governing bodies have a statutory requirement to ensure that certain policies and procedures are in place in school. For example a racial equality and sex education policies to name but two. A full list of responsibilities is set out in the Guide to the Law for School Governors. It is in form S3 that these responsibilities are accounted for.
Guidance notes on completing forms S3 and S4 are available on the OFSTED web site.
If you are a Sandwell governor the latest training programme should have been posted to you. If you've not yet received a copy there are details on the Sandwell governor's web site. Another good source of training information as well as a great place to meet other governors online is GovernorNet.
For the academic year that ended in July our governing body agreed to produce the report and hold the AGM during the last week of the summer term. That way the end of the academic year was drawn nicely to a close and governors felt a sense of ownership for their report. More importantly parents could ask questions of the present governing body. I think this worked well for us so we'll be sticking to it again this year.
- To provide a strategic view
- To act as a critical friend
- To ensure accountability
More about these roles in a later piece. But last night was out main accountability event.
The key to a successful AGM is to strike a balance been formality and informality. It's a necessarily formal affair because apart from being a constitutional responsibility of the governing body it's also the main opportunity to set out what the elected governors have done for the school on behalf of the parents. But past experience has shown that anything that's too formal tends to keep parents away. Not everyone likes attending committee meetings.
This year I thought I'd adopt an informal agenda that introduced what being a governor was all about (we're constantly on the look out for recruitment opportunities as it's vital to get parents engaged in the management of the school) as well as provide a forum for discussion around the report itself.
- Introduction to members of the Governing Body
- What does the Governing Body do for the School?
- About the Annual Parents Meeting
- The Governors Report to Parents
- Questions from Parents about the School, the Governing Body or the Annual Report to Parents
Clearly the success of the AGM is ultimately down to the engagement of parents but it pays to be well prepared. This year we combined the AGM with a viewing of the fabulous video that the year 6 children have been working on to promote the school. The video really was very good and some day I hope we can make it available through the web. This combined with wine and food ensured we had a reasonable turn out. Next year we'll definitely try to combine the AGM with another event that'll draw in the parents.
Whatever you do for your AGM I hope you find it rewarding and that everyone gets something out of it. I found the following web sites to be really useful when preparing for our AGM:
- DFES Annual Parents' Meeting
- DFES Consultation on Annual Parents' Meetings
- DFES Annual Parents' Meeting Consultation - Summary of Responses
DFES = UK government's Department for Education and Skills
Let me know how your governor's AGM went.
If you are a governor, would like to become a governor, or would like to find out about what governors do then please get in touch.