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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
  • monitor & evaluate 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 objective
  • 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. So, for example, in May, the focus would be 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.

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. Each year group is spoken to collectively, without a teacher present, so pupils can speak freely. A report is then produced for the HT, and this forms part of the data used to inform the following 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.

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. 

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