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 consists of the Headteacher, one Staff Governor, two elected Parent Governors, one Local Authority Governor and seven 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. Associate Governors may also be invited to join the board, to provide specific expertise and support.
The Full Governing Board meets on a monthly basis, covering all aspects of governance. For 2021-2022, the board agreed not to operate separate committees but to work to a Circle Model of governance. Some of the benefits of this model include fewer meetings, all governors have up to date info regarding the school, avoids duplications and makes the best use of governor skills. Governors have specific areas of responsibility that link to the core purposes, statutory requirements and school improvement priorities. All documents are centrally stored and accessed via Governor Hub, an electronic platform to which all Governors have full access.
The Chair of Governors meets with the Headteacher on a regular basis, in addition to the meetings mentioned above.
Chair of Governors report 2020-2021
The Full Governing Board continued to meet termly and held an additional meeting in September 2020. Two committees also met termly, to focus more directly on specific aspects of school life. The School Development Committee considered the curriculum and other aspects of teaching and learning, whilst the Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee focused on staffing, premises, health and safety and finance. Each committee reported to the full Governing Board, making recommendations to the wider governing body. Papers of both committees were made available to all members and some governors attended both committees 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 continued to have specific areas of responsibility linked to areas of the School Improvement Development Plan, as well as statutory functions.
The Chair of Governors continued to meet with the Head teacher on a regular basis, in addition to the meetings mentioned above.
Attendance Record of Governors
Our Governors continued to demonstrate a high level of commitment to their role, and meeting attendance figures are available below. All important decisions continued to be made in a timely manner.
Governors have worked to support the school, through what was a very challenging year, because of the ongoing pandemic. The usual patterns of meetings and monitoring were retained, by moving to virtual meeting platforms, ensuring the work of governance continued.
Summary of areas of work undertaken by Committees and Full Board meetings
A major piece of work for the Governing Board was to ensure that all required Covid-secure measures were in place, to keep the school open and education delivered as normally as possible. Governors monitored, using the Covid19 risk assessment. The risk assessment was written and discussed regularly at FGB meetings. Governors wish to thank the staff for all their hard work and commitment during this challenging period.
Governors continued to review their statutory duties and approve policies linked to Safeguarding, Attendance, Finance, Health and Safety, Human Resources and Pay. Governors also assessed the review cycle of policies on an annual basis and/or when required.
Governors approved the school annual budget and thanked 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. Governors felt the three-year budget plan will stand the school and community in good stead, to achieve their aspirations and maintain high standards across the school and into the future.
The Governing Board continues to be aware of the challenges staff have faced in supporting children with very low starting points, compounded by the impact of the pandemic; which has affected other agencies’ ability to deliver services e.g health visiting and speech therapy. Governors continue to recognise the additional work school carries out to support children’s social and emotional health, speech and language and literacy skills. They are also aware of the part school plays, in identifying children who may have undiagnosed health conditions such as cerebral palsy. The school has continued to play an important in the community, supporting children and families in the best way possible. This has sometimes impacted on workload, which the Governing Board recognise.
Despite the national lockdown between January-March 2021, the governors were pleased families worked with school so that attendance continued to be good. Our success in ensuring all children come to school regularly, is to be celebrated and for governors, identifies the link between the work of the staff and how well regarded the school 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. Governors also reviewed the learning entry level data of pupils, in order to monitor the progress, as pupils grow and adapt into school life. The governors were made aware of the important role the Family Support Worker has in bridging gaps between our families and the wider community. The governors supported the development of nurture principles in school, believing them be pivotal in supporting children’s social, emotional development. To this end, the governors endorsed additional staffing, enabling the school to meet the high-level needs of some children.
The board continued to develop its monitoring schedule linking closely with the priorities across the School Improvement and Development Plan and linking with some clear areas, Children, Staff, and Community. The board split into mini teams to focus on the monitoring of the priorities to assess areas of development from these three core purposes.
The importance of safeguarding continued to be a primary focus, as always. The volume of children the school had safeguarding concerns about and subsequently acted upon, required governors to ensure they always had a clear oversight of proceedings. The safeguarding governor came into school in the spring and summer term and received regular updates from the Head teacher and other school staff.
The Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee carried out regular monitoring of the budget, including a three-year plan. It was, at times, a challenge to achieve some of the financial targets set. Areas of spending related to SEND and Catch Up, were a particular focus during the year. The committee continued to maintain its capital commitments and plans were followed to keep the premises in good order, meeting our financial and health and safety responsibilities.
The Wellbeing of staff and consideration of their workload was an ever-present feature of meetings.
At the end of the academic year, we saw another experienced governor step down: Keith Cognell had supported the school for several years, both serving as Governor and Vice Chair of Governors during his membership. We thanked him for all his work and dedication. We were able to recruit a new Co-Opted governor with a vast amount of experience in both education and governance, which will certainly serve to strengthen the board for the future. The board had 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.
- Adapt our approach to meetings by changing to the Circle model and removing the committee structure. The aim is to make the board meetings more focused and informative for all members.
- 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.
- To support the increase in children with additional needs, by ensuring that SEND provision meets the needs of children that need it.
- 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.
Governors Attendance 2020-2021
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.
We have a vacancy for a Parent Governor - see link for details Parent Gov letter Sept 21