Exclusive: 10 key findings from today's governors survey

Sharp drop in AS levels, increasing class sizes and less CPD revealed in Tes-NGA survey

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The annual survey of school governors by Tes and the National Governance Association (NGA) has revealed the effects of the funding squeeze and concerns about careers advice, but also surprising results about teacher recruitment.

Here are 10 charts that show some of the key findings of the survey, in which more than 5,300 governors took part.

The effect of decoupling AS levels from A levels

The last year has witnessed a dramatic fall in the number of sixth forms offering AS levels, following the decison to decouple them from A levels.

In 2016, 45 per cent of sixth form governors said their institution was offering AS levels. This year, the figure has almost halved, to just 23 per cent.

Emma Knights, chief executive of the NGA, said she had been concerned about this for some time, and added: "It's a narrowing of the curriculum if you only start off with three subjects, and you don't start off with four in year 12. So often, young people change their minds about which they want to take at A level."

Governors are unhappy with the removal of levels

Only 17 per cent of governors agreed or strongly agreed that the removal of national curriculum levels had been a positive change. 41 per cent said they either disagreed or strongly disagreed.

Most governors  36 per cent – said they had developed their own progress measure independently, while 20 per cent said local schools had worked together to do this.

17 per cent bought into a developed system, while 8 per cent of governors said they were still using national curriculum levels.

Funding pressures will affect the quality of education

The survey painted a gloomy picture about funding, although it was conducted before Justine Greening announced an extra £1.3 billion for schools over the next two years.

Only 20 per cent of governors agreed, or strongly agreed, that funding pressures could be managed without any adverse impact on the quality of education provided.

An overwhelming 72 per cent thought the opposite.

Most types of careers advice are being offered less

Surprise results on teacher recruitment

The biggest surprise from the survey was the fewer governors reported difficulties attracting good candidate for vacant posts.

The overall fall was small – just 1 percentage point – when it came to headteacher posts, but a more substantial 6 percentage points for other senior staff posts, and 4 percentage points for teachers.

We will wait to see whether this really does signal an easing of the recruitment crisis.


The funding squeeze has already had an impact

Whether it is class sizes, CPD, or the curriculum offer, significant numbers of governors say their schools have already had to make savings because of financial pressures.

More cuts were anticipated in the two years to come, but it remains to be seen how the education secretary's funding announcement will change this.


Other findings

  • 64 per cent of members of academy committees agreed that their multi-academy trust adds value to the work of the academy. Only 11 per cent disagreed.
  • The vast majority of multi-academy trusts plan to expand. 82 per cent of governors in MATs said they would; only 4 per cent answered "no".
  • There was a big drop in governors saying every pupil takes part in daily collective worship - from 57 per cent in 2016 to 42 per cent in 2017, although this fall may be due to a slight re-wording of the question asked.
  • There is increasing confidence that the governing body's systems would prevent or reveal any financial mismanagement. The proportion of governors strongly agreeing this was the case has risen steadily over time, from 38 per cent in 2012 to 50 per cent in 2017.


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