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Diocese of West Yorkshire
 

The Work of the Governing Body at Gargrave Primary School.

 The role of the governing board is a strategic one, its key functions are to:

  • set the aims and objectives for the school
  • set the policies for achieving those aims and objectives
  • set the targets for achieving those aims and objectives
  • monitor and evaluate the progress the school is making towards the achievement of its aims and objectives
  • be a source of challenge and support to the head teacher (a critical friend)

So, how does the governing board go about achieving these critical functions?

The governors meet as a whole board approximately once a month and whilst all meetings have set agenda items, for example, the Head Teacher's report, some will have an agenda with a particular focus, depending on the point in the year that it takes place. For example, in May, the main focus is to look at the following year's budget.

A key matter for discussion is always the performance of the school, both in terms of the outcomes for children and the use of the budget available to the head teacher. Governors hold the head teacher to account for the results produced by the pupils, the deployment of the staff and for how money is spent.

An important role for most of our governors is to act as a “Link governor”, either with a class or for a specific subject. This role is an important part of monitoring, as it means that governors spend time, at least once a term, in the school, either with a class, or looking at a specific subject right across the school. Feedback from these visits is then given to the head teacher, (HT), in the form of a confidential report. This gives the head teacher another source of information in addition to her own observations to see what is taking place across the school. This information is also fed back to the GB, either directly by the link governors, or indirectly via the HT's report.

Before undertaking a visit, governors refer to the areas for development in that year's School Improvement Plan (SIP) and these form the main focus of the visit. It allows governors to see first hand how the SIP is being implemented. An example of this in action was the focus on the implementation of a new behaviour policy in the Academic year 2014-15. When governors went into classes they looked to see the way this was being used to enhance learning, to ensure it was used consistently and that children understood it. This feedback, coupled with other governor visits to speak with all year groups specifically about behaviour, as well as the HT's own and staff observations helped to shape and refine the policy and its implementation.

In the Academic year 2015-16 Governors have been looking at the teaching of Phonics in EYFS and KS1, as this has been an area of focus and reorganisation this year.  In 2017 the Chair of Governors observed the administration of the Phonics screening test and produced a confidential monitoring report on it. This provides the school with evidence of compliance with Department of Education guide lines on test administration.  Governors also assist as extra invigilators in the National Tests (SATs). The Chair of Governors observes the whole process of administration each year and then a confidential report is produced to provide evidence of the school's compliance with National guide lines on test administration.

During a governor visit the link governors speak to pupils and staff, and sometimes this can highlight particular issues to the HT. For example; in 2015, Beech class had a lack of storage for PE bags and they were causing a bit of an obstruction in the cloakroom area. This was brought to the HT's attention in the Governor's report, and a new trolley for the storage of PE and swimming kit was brought in to solve the problem.

In addition, every Summer term, a small group of governors go into school and undertake Pupil conferencing. This is to collect information about the pupils' opinions on a range of subjects, relating to changes that may have been made to school/curriculum in that particular academic year, areas they might like to change/improve, how they feel about the way the school is run. In 2017 a sample of children from each year group was consulted about writing, maths, reading, trips, e-safety, safety at school and marking and feedback. A report was then produced for the HT, and this will form part of the data used to inform the following year's School Improvement Plan, (SIP), as well as helping to provide evidence of performance of the school against the current year's SIP.  Other information sources used in the development of the SIP include; responses to the parental questionnaire (also sent out in the Summer term), data from KS1, KS2 and phonics screening tests, SIAMs and Ofsted report findings and feedback from staff.

In the Spring term of 2017 the governing body introduced separate additional consultations with the parents/carers of pupils who attract Pupil Premium Funding and parents/carers who have children identified as having a Special Educational Need. This will also help to ensure that the school is utilising resources effectively.

A small group of governors also performance manage the HT, setting targets at the beginning of the year (which are linked to the SIP) and monitoring progress against these.

All governors undertake training as appropriate across the year.

 

September 2017 has seen the start of a collaboration with Kirkby-in-Malhamdale VA school, with Mrs Peel becoming the Executive Headteacher across both schools.

A Joint Strategic Development Committee (JSDC), has been formed by drawing 3 governors from each governing body to oversee this collaboration, with a view to the schools forming a federation in the future.

A federation is a more formal type of collaboration, where a shared executive headteacher leads two (or more), schools, but the schools are overseen by a single governing body. This is a more secure and efficient way of leading and governing multiple schools.

The governing bodies of both schools will work hard to ensure that we develop good systems and protocols to efficiently share the Executive Headteacher's time, and govern both schools effectively. We want to build a collaboration which will empower and develop the staff at both schools and lead to continued improvements in outcomes for all our children.

 

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