While not a statutory requirement, the Department recommends that the governing body draws up a policy on governor visits to the school. This policy should take the following into account:

  • Governors do not have any rights of access to the school.
  • Visits should be undertaken as part of a strategic programme to:
    • improve governor knowledge of the school, its staff, needs, priorities, strengths and weaknesses
    • monitor and assess the priorities as outlined in the development plan
    • assist the governing body in fulfilling its statutory duties.
  • Before visiting the school the governor(s) should:
    • inform the school of the visit and seek approval of the arrangements
    • ensure that they are familiar with health and safety procedures including what to do in the event of a fire.
  • After visiting the school the governor(s) should:
    • complete a visit report outlining the objectives and results of the visit
    • report back to the committee or governing body as appropriate
    • provide constructive feedback as appropriate.

It is important that governors remember the purpose of governor visits is not to assess the quality of teaching provision or to pursue issues that relate to the day-to-day management of the school other than as agreed with the headteacher or SMT.

A manual for governing bodies and their clerks, is published by the Information for School & College Governors. It includes suggestions for a suitable school visits policy and a protocol for governor visits. You can order an updated version from the ISCG website .

The document Policy and protocol for governor visits is based on the 2003 edition of the manual and is available to download.