Annual Statement from the Governing Body for the 2015/16 Academic Year
This report follows on from previous years’ statements which remain on the federation website.
Restructuring of federation leadership team:
With both schools continuing to grow, governors discussed the need to invest further in distributed leadership across the federation. It was agreed that the federation needed two Assistant Headteachers, one to be responsible for inclusion to meet the emotional needs of the children and one to be responsible for assessment and curriculum. Governors believe this will significantly improve leadership capacity and professional development. With effect from 1st September 2016, Mrs Rachel Wellington has been appointed Assistant Headteacher for Inclusion and Mrs Anne-Marie Jordan Assistant Headteacher for Assessment and Curriculum. As the federation is likely to continue to increase in size, governors will continue to keep the leadership structure under review.
Governors were in attendance at the Inset day in January, when the federation values and aims were reviewed. Following input from the federation council, who consulted with their classes, a one page summary document was produced which is available on the website.
Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools’ Report (SIAMS) February 2016:
The five yearly inspection of the infant school as a church school, which took place on 16th February, graded the school as Good overall, but with the effectiveness of the leadership and management of the school graded Outstanding. The full report is available on the federation website and the following points are some of the areas praised:
- Strong links between core Christian values and children’s learning and well-being put the Christian ethos at the centre of the life of the school
- The leadership and commitment of the executive headteacher has led to improved standards, especially the attainment of vulnerable pupils
- The strong links with St Leonard’s and St Paul’s churches impact positively on pupils and promote the Christian character of the community
- The core values underpin everything that is done in school and they are the foundation of the school vision.
Healthy Schools Status:
In March this year the federation’s application to renew Healthy School Status was approved by the Quality Assurance Group. The following points for congratulation were made:
- How your school provides the leadership to create a positive environment that promotes health and wellbeing
- A full and comprehensive account of your school’s approach to addressing health and well-being, especially that of your pupils in challenging circumstances
- The impressive way in which your indoor and outdoor environment promotes health and well being
- The wide range of opportunities for children to develop essential life skills, responsibility, self-confidence and self-esteem
- How your school clearly signposts children to appropriate services.
The full report is available on the federation website. The governing body is very aware of the rising number of children who have mental health issues and is currently looking at ways in which support can be increased for both children and staff.
Following requests from a number of parents who had expressed concern at the cost of buying a new uniform when children move into Year 3, governors consulted with parents on a single federation uniform. All parents were invited to complete the consultation and governors were in attendance at each parents’ evening in both schools during the consultation period to hear parents’ views. There was an overwhelming response in favour of a single uniform. Governors amended the proposed uniform in response to parental feedback. The new uniform is to be phased in over three years so that no parent has to replace clothes unnecessarily. Governors wrote to parents following the decisions made at the full governing body meeting at the end of the consultation period and were also available to meet with parents.
Sharing good practice:
- During this academic year the schools have been visited by a number of other schools to see our good practice, for example in the federation’s learning environment and Early Years provision.
- The chair of governors was made a National Federation Champion by the National Governors’ Association. This extends the work she has been doing for a number of years, supporting schools in Hampshire as they consider and work towards federating.
- She has also been appointed an associate staff member of the Diocesan Education Team where she is involved in reviewing training and support for schools and providing mentoring and coaching for new chairs of governors, clergy, foundation governors and headteachers. This supports people new to their roles and strengthens governance in church schools.
- Mrs Bax is also a member of the working group that is looking at the issues and options that face Winchester Diocese in the changing education landscape.
- Good networking such as this allows us to see and benefit from good practice in other establishments as well as sharing our own.
This has been completely renewed this year and feedback has been very positive. In addition to the documents that governors must make available, the public pages of the governor section now include descriptions of the roles and responsibilities of governors and a child friendly document called ‘What governors do’, which was created with the federation council.
Governor Monitoring and Standards:
Governors have changed the way they monitor progress this year in an effort to reach a better understanding of how the federation is developing and progressing. Governors have looked in pairs at each area of the Raising Attainment Plan and reported back to the whole Governing Body on the journeys that they have seen undertaken by staff and children. This has involved both staff and governors giving up extra time through the year but the result has been a much better understanding of the role middle managers play in the running of the school and a much clearer picture of the learning journey that children are taking both within year groups and across the federation as a whole. Throughout this process governors have effectively held both senior and middle leaders to account for both attainment and progress.
The Standards Committee has met five times this year in part to review the monitoring but also to hear reports on pupil progress in this first year after Levels, feedback on policies to improve attendance and reports on the impact of Pupil Premium and Sports Premium expenditure amongst many other things. Pupil Premium and Sports Premium reports can be found on the school website in the Key Information section.
The presentation of detailed progress reports by senior leaders at Standards Committee meetings has enabled governors to more analyse and effectively hold the school to account for the attainment and progress of pupils and examining the relative development of vulnerable groups compared with the whole cohort.
Early Years and Key Stage 1 children and staff have worked exceptionally hard this year and we are delighted with our end of year results. 60% of our Early Years’ children achieved a Good Level of Development; 85% of our children in Year 1 passed their Phonics test, which is above both Hampshire and the National results; in Year 2, 82% of our children achieved the Reading standard, 75% achieved the writing standard and 82% achieved the Maths standard, again above both Hampshire and National results.
As you will have seen from the national press, the new Key Stage 2 SATs have caused considerable controversy this year. We are delighted with the enthusiasm, energy and positive approach our whole year 6 team, children and staff alike, took in approaching them. The National picture is one of shock, with standards appearing to fall from 80% combined to 53% combined. This is not the case. The standards are much harder this year and we have had very limited time (18 months) to implement a curriculum which should take 4 years to cover! We are therefore delighted that our initial results are 59% combined, with the possibility of being higher when certain papers have been remarked. More importantly, our children have shown real character and passion, neither of which are measured in SAT scores but are fundamental for life!
The Federated School Council has moved from strength to strength this year. This is because it is valued by the senior leadership team and when the children are consulted they take their responsibilities very seriously. One pupil contributed to a group discussion on the behaviour policy by stating “.....but if we do that we will be going against our values of love and respect for others”. Examples of areas Council looked at included behaviour, how learning can be made fun and issues around lunch and break time. A file of evidence is being compiled.
One of the achievements of the council this year was to raise money to sponsor a loo. This was with a toilet twinning charity which helps the world’s poorest people to have the basic essentials in life such as a toilet, clean water and hygiene education. The loo the federation sponsored is in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
At the end of year celebration council meeting, council members reported to governors about the council’s activities during the year. Governors were very impressed with how articulately all the children spoke and how they had clearly enjoyed their time as councillors and worked together as a team. Every councillor was presented with a certificate thanking them for their service to the schools. Mr Britt was thanked for his dedication to the school council. Miss Pinniger will be leading a new team of school councillors next year and has a number of innovative ideas which will continue to move the federation council forwards.
Appointment of new governors:
Prior to the appointment of new parent and co-opted governors this year, governors used their skills’ audit to inform the advertisements for the posts. The co-opted post was advertised on SGOSS, detailing the financial skills required and the parent governor post in the federation newsletter, detailing the skills needed. Information packs were provided for interested applicants and prospective governors met with the chair and vice chair of governors. Both posts were filled appropriately. In order to strengthen the finance and resources committee further, another co-opted governor with excellent business skills has been appointed.
Training and Induction
The Development and Training Governor (DTG) was appointed at the beginning of the academic year and has carried out a full review of training and induction for Governors.
The training year runs from March and for the year running up to March 2016 governors took part in 58 “learning experiences”. These included courses run by Hampshire Governor Services, our Primary Phase Inspector and Winchester Diocese and online training provided by local and national organisations and the College of Policing. All of these experiences enable governors to understand the expectations, responsibilities and pressures faced by the federation and give governors the knowledge required to be effective in helping the federation achieve its aims.
As reported already we have had three new governors starting this year and the induction process set up by the DTG has been well tested and is now embedded. This process is carefully designed to ensure all governors joining the governing body quickly receive the information that they need, along with the networks, to make them feel welcome and enable them to be effective governors very quickly.
We record individual governor’s strengths by asking questions which feed into our Skills Audit. This ensures that we know what our skills strengths and weaknesses are and arrange training to build on this. We used this document to decide which skills we needed this year when the vacancies arose.