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Latest Governing Body News

Please find below a copy of the governing body development plan for 2018-2019.  We have ambitious plans for strengthening and improving the work of the governing body in order for us to be able to fulfill our role successfully.  We are also working with a National Leader of Governance and various Local Authority services, such as the Leeds Governor Support Services and Leeds Customer Relations.  As a team, we are committed to personal development and team development. 

Spring term 2019

Reflections on the Spring Term and looking ahead, Vicky Crane, Chair of Governors

Since being appointed in December, it has been my pleasure to work alongside a dedicated team of governors and senior leaders.

In January, I started working with the Vice Chair, Committee Chairs and Headteacher to set out a clear governor action plan for the year ahead and this was agreed at the Full Governing Body meeting (my first as Chair of Governors) on 23rd Jan 2019.   You can find a link to the plan at the top of this page.  We realised that our plan was ambitious and therefore enlisted the support of a National Leader of Governance to help us achieve our goals and to support us to develop as a team and build our effectiveness.  We want to ensure we are a strong and skilled team, able to carry out our duties successfully, impact positively on school improvement and ensure there is a clear strategic direction. 

We have carried out a skills audit which is helping us to ensure individual governors and the governing body as a whole have access to appropriate training.  We are lucky to have a wide range of skills and experience amongst the current governors and in the near future, we hope to appoint three more co-opted governors with specific specialisms to complement the existing team.  In addition, the skills audit has helped us to consider the make-up of different committees and review the areas of school each governor is linked to.  Governors have attended two evening training sessions, one with the National Leader of Governance and the other with the Local Authority School Improvement Adviser.  As Chair of Governors, I also attended the school’s training on GDPR carried out by the school’s Data Protection Officer.  Our two new governors are attending induction training with the Local Authority Governor Services team this term and have already attended initial in-house training delivered by the Deputy Headteacher.

Extract from School Improvement Adviser report 7th March

The ASIA made the following observations (during an evening training session with a focus on Ofsted):

·        Governors are clear about their role in challenging and supporting school leaders. They are now operating in a strategic rather than an operational role.

·        Governors demonstrated a good understanding of the strengths and areas needing improvement at the school.

·        Newly appointed governors are accessing relevant training and support. The induction programme is ensuring that they fully understand their roles and responsibilities and have the skills and knowledge that they need to ably fulfil the role.

·        Governors have high expectations for pupils and a high ambition for the school.

·        Governors asked pertinent and challenging questions. They are well prepared and have taken time to understand the information that they are being asked to consider.

·        The structures of governance are now open, transparent and accountable. The increase in the number of governors who have no other connection with the school has brought an impartial external view.

January was also a time to meet parents.  The Headteacher and governor representatives attended two parent forums.  Several parents also had the opportunity to speak to the PSA (Parent Staff Association) and we were grateful for their support at the event (please see their website pages for more information).  We hope that regular meetings with parents and stakeholder surveys will help us to gather views on how we are performing as a school and collect ideas for ways in which the school could be improved.  The results of the parental questionnaire (completed during the parent forum meeting) were overwhelmingly positive and the suggestions about fundraising ideas will be used in the future (particularly as we intend to set up a working party on this issue).  Parents did want to see improvements to communication and throughout the year we will be seeking to strengthen this with parents, such as publishing termly updates regarding the ongoing work of the governing body on the school website and contributing to the newsletters sent home.  As part of our work to improve communication, one of our governors and the Vice Chair have completed a full audit of the school website.  We have also been working on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of communication between governors, including implementing a new system for sharing electronic documents.

During the spring term, governors have carried out a number of monitoring visits.  These visits enable us to gather information and provide an opportunity for two-way dialogue – meetings provide a direct conduit between individual members of staff and the governing body. 

To monitor – meetings help governors to understand what the current picture is in the school and what progress is being made towards a particular goal.

To support – governors bring a wide range of expertise into the school that can be very helpful to members of staff.  Professional dialogue can be very helpful to leaders in reflecting on actions and can support forward thinking. 

To challenge – governors are responsible for the quality of education being provided and will challenge colleagues to ensure the school is the very best it can be. Governors will help leaders to reflect on any barriers to achieving the goals set out.

Monitoring visits have included a focus on: reviewing pupil data and end of key stage outcomes with the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher, reviewing the impact of pupil premium funding and the strategies being used to support this group of pupils, PE and sports, school council, attendance, Special Educational Needs, Early Years, PSHE (Personal, Social and Health and Economic Education), and Relationship and Sex Education. 

In addition to governor monitoring, we also receive reports and audits from a wide range of external educational professionals, including:

·        Several visits by the School Improvement Adviser and a teaching and learning review carried out by the Local Authority School Improvement team;

·        Audits completed by SEND Local Authority officers;

·        Safeguarding audits by Local Authority officers;

·        A Health and Safety review by Local Authority officers;

·        Various financial support meetings;

·        Reports from Specialist Leaders in Education and National Leaders in Education who have been providing training and support for teachers and leaders.

Our governing body team have also worked closely with the Headteacher, HR and Finance to ensure we improve the management of school finances and move the school towards a balanced budget from its current severe deficit position. 

Governors have also attended Full Governing Body Meetings and Committee meetings according to their areas of responsibility.  At these meetings, a number of school policies have been reviewed and updated.  Governors have received reports from the Headteacher of termly actions and have continued to monitor the development of the school via the school Self Evaluation Form and the School Improvement Plan.  Various colleagues have presented at the meetings, including input from the School Business Manager.

Several governors have been part of interview panels which are a regular part of our work in ensuring the school has high-quality people in the right roles in the school.

The Headteacher Performance Review panel also met with the Headteacher and the Local Authority School Improvement Adviser in January to set Headteacher performance targets for the year and we meet again in April to review progress. 

The governing body team have all contributed significantly to the work of the governing body this term and I would like to thank them for their continued voluntary service.

Vicky Crane, Chair of Governors

 

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