A way to focus your school-governing thoughts, shown here in haiku form* ….


  • What is our main aim?
  • Where are we up to so far?
  • What’s holding us back?


  • How will we fix this?
  • Are there any hindrances?
  • Have we help on hand?


  • Is this plan the best?
  • Is there an alternative?
  • Is a tweak needed?


  • Strategic approach?
  • Self-evaluation?
  • School Development Plan?


  • Know how we’re doing
  • Know evidence for Ofsted
  • Let wider world know


  • * A haiku poem
  • Has seventeen syllables
  • Set out on three lines

See below for more information on WHISK  in non-haiku format.

WHISK is a way to focus your school-governing activities, requiring no actual kitchen equipment. It is a little acronym, with three items for each letter:

W (What, where, why not?)

  • What are the main things your GB needs to be focussing on as the priorities for your school? (eg attendance, progress in maths, boys’ writing)
  • Whereabouts are you now in your journey towards achieving this?
  • Why do you consider you are not there yet? In what ways are you not there yet?

H (the “how”)

  • How will you get to where you want to be? What are the first steps?
  • What are the hindrances and hazards? (eg funding, people, national policy?)
  • What help / external support is available to you?

I (Is this the best way? ….. double-checking)

  • Is this plan the only way to achieve your goal?
  • Is it the best way?
  • Is there any improvement that can be made to your plan?


  • Strategic approach
  • Your assessment needs to be part of the school’s self evaluation process
  • and should feed into the School Development Plan

K (Knowledge and dissemination)

  • Knowledge of how you are doing – your self-review of GB effectiveness
  • Knowledge by external agencies (OK, I mean Ofsted) of how you are doing. What evidence will you be able to provide?
  • Knowledge by the wider world of the lessons you have learnt or the success you have achieved (eg publishing an account of your work online, sharing good practice with other governing bodies, contributing to research)

With your WHISK, you make some BISTO as concocted by Shena Lewington

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