In accordance with the Government’s requirement for all governing bodies, the three core strategic functions of West Earlham Infant and Nursery School Governing Board are:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and of its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
The constitution of the Governing Board remains unchanged. The group consists of the Headteacher, one Staff Governor, three elected Parent Governors, one Local Authority Governor and six co-opted Governors. Co-opted Governors are those who have the essential skills and commitment to the school in order to ensure effective governance to support the school’s ongoing success. They bring skills from the world of education, finance, the arts, and management, all of which are valuable resources for the school. This year, we have been joined by another co-opted Governor who brings a wealth of experience from her previous administration role in the school. An Associate Governor also serves on the board, in addition to the membership stated in the constitution.
The Full Governing Board has continued to meet each term and held an additional meeting in September. Two committees also meet termly to focus more directly on specific aspects of school life. These are the School Development Committee who consider the curriculum and other aspects of teaching and learning, whilst the Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee focuses on staffing, premises, health and safety and finance. Each committee feeds into full Governing Board meetings, making recommendations to the wider group. Papers of both committees are available to all members and some Governors attend both committees in order to keep fully informed. All documents are centrally stored and accessed via Governor Hub, an electronic platform to which all Governors have full access. Governors have specific areas of responsibility which are matched to areas of the School Improvement Development Plan, as well as statutory functions.
The Chair of Governors meets with the Headteacher on a regular basis, in addition to the meetings mentioned above.
Attendance Record of Governors
Our Governors continue to demonstrate a high level of commitment to their role, and meeting attendance figures are available in a separate document on the school website. This ensures that all essential decisions continue to be made in a timely manner.
Governors have worked to support the school through what has been a very challenging year as a result of the ongoing pandemic. The usual patterns of meetings and monitoring has been retained by moving to virtual meeting platforms, ensuring the work of governance continues.
Summary of areas of work undertaken by Committees and Full Board meetings
This year has become quite unprecedented with the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the entire country. A major piece of work for the Governing Board has been to ensure that all required Covid-secure measures were put in place to keep the school open and running, as expected by government. Governors were required to accept the important risk assessment, meticulously planned to protect all staff and pupils, ensuring education could be delivered as normally as possible. This involved the governors working closely with the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership team, including attendance at additional meetings. Governors wish to thank the staff for all their hard work and commitment during this challenging period.
Governors have continued to review their obligations and approve policies linked to safeguarding, attendance, finance, Health and Safety and Human Resources and Pay. We assess the review cycle of the policies on an annual basis and/or when required.
Governors approved the school annual budget. We give thanks to the School Business Manager and Mrs Mardell for continuing to deliver a sustainable budget despite increasing pressure resulting from financial constraints: funding levels decreasing while costs continue increasing. As governors, we feel the three-year budget plan will stand the school and community in good stead, to achieve their aspirations and maintain high standard across the school into the future.
The Governing Board supported the school in taking over the operation of an onsite outreach room, referred to as The Roost, which was formerly used by Sure Start. This has increased the schools, capacity to offer support for parents and families through the provision of, for example speech and language activities, and parent cafes, all of which are vital to involve the community in the delivery of the fantastic education delivered by the school. We hope to be able to further evolve this remit as we come out of the requirements of Covid.
With the situation our school community has faced this year, we are pleased families are committed to the efforts the school places on attendance. Our success in ensuring all children come to school regularly is fantastic, and for governors, identifies the link between the work of the staff and how well regarded it is within the local community.
The School Development Committee continued to monitor the growing number of children with special education needs and disability entering the school, and to assess the learning entry level data of pupils in order to monitor the progress as pupils grow and adapt into school life. The school community faces many challenges and the Family Support Worker continues to bridge gaps between our families and those of the wider community. The governors supported the development of nurture principles in school, believing them be pivotal to the success of the children in school. To this end, the governors endorsed additional staffing, enabling the school to meet the high-level needs of some children.
Despite the school closure in March, the governors also continued to be involved in a 2-year review of the curriculum, ensuring that it remains inclusive and relevant to the needs of all children in our community.
The Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee carried out regular monitoring of the budget, including a three-year plan. This year was particularly challenging, with the government funding of Teachers’ Pension and Pay Grants being uncertain for much of this period.
The committee worked with the school to improve both the security of the main entrance to the school, as well as providing an enhanced library area for the children.
The Wellbeing of staff and consideration of their workload has been an ever-present feature of meetings.
Governors were looking forward to being in school in March 2020 for a “Governors in School Day”, which would have been an opportunity for an in depth, focused monitoring, particularly in the area of children’s emotional development, curriculum and staff wellbeing. Sadly, this was cancelled due to the pandemic.
At the end of the academic year we saw two experienced governors’ step down: Pam Turnbull and Sarah Grenville had both supported the school for a number of years, in both serving as Governor and Chair of Governors during their membership. We thank them for all their word and dedication. This has left behind a void, but we are slowly building capacity again, and now have just two vacancies: 1 Co-opted Governor and 1 Parent Governor.
The governing board will continue to develop its working practices across school with the following priorities:
- Developing a strong Governing Board ensuring effective training, mentoring and succession planning. This includes the induction of a new Chair.
- Effectiveness of ourselves as Governors and further development of our role in order that we may best support the school.
- Continuing financial oversight in line with SFVS (Schools Financial Value Standards) to ensure financial sustainability.
- To support the nurture principles and the continued development of speech and language provision across the school.
- Supporting the development of a high quality, broad and balanced curriculum that meets the needs of our children and our community, including Relationships and Sex Education.
How to contact the Governing Board
We are always open to suggestions, feedback and ideas from parents and carers.
Please contact us via the school office.
You can find out more about Governors on the school website.
How you can contact the Governing Board
We welcome suggestions, feedback and ideas especially from parents and carers; please contact the Chair of Governors via the school office.