Governors report for the Autumn Term 2017
After her appointment last November, we looked forward to working with Mrs Gaskell in this new school year. We also waited most of last year for Ofsted to come back to see us as part of their routine visits, but they obviously wanted to see other schools before us! Today, we know that we will be meeting them soon; perhaps, even before Christmas!
For any Head working in a new school, these first few weeks are crucial in getting to know their school community –the pupils and their families, the staff and governors. Mrs Gaskell has looked forward with great enthusiasm for the job she wants to do. However, the job today is not quite the job she was expecting to do. At the end of last term, we found out that our Year 6 SAT results were not as good as we thought they would be. She has had to take over a situation, which was not of her making, and try to improve that situation as quickly as she can. She is already working very hard to improve future results by introducing new techniques for teaching and assessment for learning. All of the staff have risen to the challenge of change and are trying their best.
Governors have been busy as well! As “critical friends”, we have to hold the Head to account for the work of the school and its success. Two of us, with the school adviser, helped to set the Head’s targets for her Performance Management this school year. They are very challenging targets, which we are reviewing in January and June. I am involved in the regular meetings with the LA to evaluate progress, and Mrs Faulkner has been involved in appointing new staff. Mrs Harrison has a regular spot in the week to work, with the Deputy Head, on essential aspects of Safeguarding. Ms Meredith has been in to do her Health & Safety checks around the buildings and outdoor areas.
The next thing we did was to monitor and evaluate the plans for improvement, made by the Senior Leadership team. We have been in to look at the changes in the classroom which reflect the new emphasis on child-centred learning, and the big push to improve Maths teaching and learning this term. We have talked to staff and pupils about the new ways of working and received some very positive feedback from them. We have observed the staff training meetings on assessment for the new Maths materials. We are also planning to do our part in monitoring books and more learning walks from the beginning of next term. We have looked carefully at the plans (provision maps) to make sure that everything is in place for those children who need specialised support.
Governors have to ensure that money is spent wisely for the benefit of all pupils. We have spent quite a lot of money this term from our building fund to put up a canopy in the KS1 area to help with outdoor learning and plan to extend this across the Yr2 and Yr3 area. We have used funds to improve the area around the back gate, with new signage, handrails and plans to replace the path to the back steps. Other money has been used to replace the elderly whiteboards in each classroom and we have bought the materials for the new Maths scheme and started to replace worn out books in the Early Years. Most of our Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) is used to pay for extra staff who support a range of pupils, who need more help with their learning. It is also used to provide new opportunities for learning experiences, like Forest school, or to support Breakfast Club.
Along with Mrs Gaskell, we have welcomed Sarah Bliss as a Year 3 teacher this term but we have to say goodbye and to Will Thorndyke who is leaving us this term. We thank him and wish him well.
Chair of Governors
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