Reviews of Governance of Catholic Voluntary Aided schools and academies in the Nottingham Diocese

The NRCDES is now able to offer external reviews of governance for all voluntary aided schools or academies within the Diocese.

External reviews of governance were first established in 2012 under a pilot scheme developed by the National College of School Leadership.

A review of governance looks at how well a school’s governance arrangements are working. Typically an organisation or individual familiar with good governance in schools and independent from the Governing Body will work with the school to identify areas where improvements could be made to the effectiveness of the Governing Body.

External reviews are becoming increasingly commonplace. Governing Bodies are now advised that it would be prudent to commission an external review periodically as part of the cycle of self-appraisal. An external review provides formal scrutiny, verification and validation of the assessment of the effectiveness of governance arrangements developed through the self-appraisal process.

An external review is always offered as support to the Governing Body to improve and develop governance, and not as an additional inspection. It will help the Governing Body to identify priorities for improvement, and provide support on what steps to take.

It aims to help the Governing Body to be:
• more skilled, focused and effective
• more aware of the freedoms that it has to work in different ways
• clear in its vision for the school or academy and how, together with the school leadership team, it can achieve this
• confident that it has a clear delineation of roles and responsibilities
• confident that it has an effective governance structure that meets the needs of the school or academy

Our Approach
Governance arrangements within Catholic Voluntary Aided schools and Voluntary academies are markedly different than those within the Maintained sector and few of the traditional providers of external reviews have a strong grasp of these differences. The NRCDES has therefore produced a Review of Governance Toolkit specifically designed for use within Catholic schools and we are offering a review of governance to our schools using the Toolkit and undertaken by a reviewer who is experienced in the governance arrangements within Catholic schools and academies.

In addition to the standard review of governance model a NRCDES review will also therefore consider;
• How the Foundation Governors are complying with their Canonical responsibilities
• How the governors are supporting the development of the distinctive Catholic ethos within the school
And, will include discussions with senior leaders and governors and where possible observation of a Governing Body meeting.

Outcomes and costs
At the end of the review the school will be provided  with a report which will include an assessment of the strengths of the governance arrangements, areas requiring attention, a set of recommended actions and the actions expected to be included in the Governing Body’s post review action plan.

The charge for a standard review of a single stand-alone Voluntary Aided school or Academy will be £1500. This will cover all NRCDES costs and all reviewer fees and expenses. Any requests for post review follow activity with the reviewer would be negotiated separately between the reviewer and the school.

NRCDES will also carry out reviews of governance across all academies within a Catholic Academy Trust but these would be subject to separate discussions over costs.

For further information or to arrange a review of governance please contact: Neil Weightman ( 01332 293833 ext 211)