Poole Borough Council: helping scrutiny drive school improvement

Posted on 14/04/2016 by Su Turner. Tags:

CfGS can: Run support programmes helping  authorities to better understand and align scrutiny and school improvement, delivering a positive impact on the local education system.

Who: In response to a critical Ofsted inspection CfGS was asked to help the Borough of Poole scrutiny committee to better challenge leadership, evaluate needs and resources and ensure the authority was getting value for money.  CfGS drew up a comprehensive support programme, tailored to the area and the needs of the committee, which would cover:

  • Exploring the role of local authority in education, oversight of schools and school performance;
  • Better understanding the stakeholders working to improve education in Poole and how they could be working together;
  • Defining and exploring the role that Poole’s scrutiny committee could play in school improvement;
  • Supporting councillors to develop the right skills and techniques to challenge and scrutinise more effectively.

Outcome:  Improvements to the way the committee functioned began as soon as the development started, with a much greater clarity of focus for the councillors about what they needed to do to have an impact on school improvement. A year on from starting the initial development work (January 2016) a number of clear outcomes have emerged:

  • Councillors have built effective working relationships with education sector professionals including schools in their patch;
  • Councillors improved their questioning skills which enabled them to provide more robust challenge to the leadership, allowing for a more in-depth engagement;
  • The Scrutiny Committee is now more pro-active rather than reactive;
  • Participation rates of scrutiny committee members has improved greatly: more councillors are speaking up and engaging on key matters.

The Chair of the Scrutiny Committee, Councillor John Challinor said that the sessions: “helped him improve his leadership skills and steer his committee more successfully. Scrutiny is in a better place now as a consequence of the training by CfGS”

If you would like CfGS to support your scrutiny committee to help drive school improvement please get in touch by emailing info@cfgs.org.uk or call 020 3866 5100.


About the Author: Su Turner

CfGS has a wealth of experience in supporting the governance and scrutiny of safeguarding, children’s services and education, for more information please contact us by emailing: info@cfgs.org.uk. This page was originally authored by Su Turner, formerly Director of Children and Young People, who left CfGS in April 2017.