Governance statement 2020-2021

  

Who are we?

We are local people, parents and staff who have volunteered to become school governors. 

What is our purpose?

The purpose of the governing body is to work with the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team to set, monitor and evaluate the school’s aims and policies.  We strive to provide the best possible education for the children through a rich and varied curriculum in a safe, nurturing and stimulating environment where all children can thrive and reach their full potential.

Overall aims of the Governing Body:

Ensuring that the school has a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction

Scrutinising pupil performance and ensuring that all are making expected or better than expected progress

Holding the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team to account for the school’s performance

Overseeing the appointment, development and management of staff to ensure consistent high quality teaching and wellbeing of staff

Overseeing the financial management of the school and making sure its money is well spent

Making decisions about the school buildings and ensuring they are properly maintained and that all health and safety requirements are met

Ensuring the safety of all including safeguarding of the children

Ensuring the needs of children with Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) are met

Supporting delivery of a compliant as well as broad, balanced and inspiring curriculum, and an engaging learning experience for all both in and outside the classroom

What are we responsible for?

Ensuring that the school has rigorous safeguarding procedures and policies in place and that the well-being of the children and staff is paramount

Holding the school to account for the educational standards it achieves and the quality of education it provides

Planning for the school’s future direction

Selection of a Headteacher

Performance management of the Headteacher

Ensuring effective financial management of the school, including setting the school’s budget and planning resources and staffing

Making sure the National Curriculum is taught

Deciding how the school can encourage pupils’ spiritual, moral and cultural development

Making sure the school provides for all its pupils, including those with additional needs

Investigating and dealing with formal school based complaints

Providing strategic guidance on key decisions for the school

Ensuring school, local authority and government policies which relate to schools and education are implemented and reviewed regularly 

Providing strategic guidance on communication with parents, the local community and other stakeholders

What is expected of school governors?

Attend regular and special meetings of the governing body, both Full Governing Body meetings and committee meetings (see below)

Visit the school to evaluate and feedback on different aspects of the school’s work, including safeguarding

Attend training courses where appropriate

At Brandlehow Primary School we also expect our school governors to demonstrate a commitment to improving education for all, our school vision and our ethos as a community school.  

Governance Arrangements

Brandlehow governing body has a scheme of delegation with the core work delegated to three committees: Resources; Curriculum and Achievement and Children, Families and Community.

The Full Governing Body meets three times a year with each committee meeting at least once termly.

The Resources Committee oversees finance (including scrutinising the budget), personnel HR, school premises and grounds, security, health and safety and safeguarding.

The Curriculum and Achievement Committee oversees the curriculum, progress and attainment, quality of teaching, assessment, provision for SEND (special educational needs and disability), children with EAL (English as an additional language) and PP (pupil premium) children, home learning and safeguarding.

The Children, Families and Community committee oversees safeguarding and child protection procedures, pupil admissions, attendance and punctuality, behaviour, engagement with parents, carers and the community, equality and diversity.

Pay is determined annually by the Full Governing Body.

The Headteacher’s performance is assessed by the Chairs and two other members of the governing body, with the help of an external advisor.

Attendance Record

The governing body has an excellent attendance record. All meetings this academic year have been quorate, which has meant all necessary decisions have been taken. See attendance records on school website for further details.

Assessment of effectiveness

Brandlehow Primary School governing body is comprised of dedicated individuals with a broad range of skills that enable us to perform our role effectively.

Each governor has opportunities to lead an area to enable the development of more detailed expertise on the governing body.  Individual ‘link’ governors have responsibility for safeguarding, e-safety, SEND, health and safety and finance, as well as different aspects of the curriculum.

We have good working relationships with the Headteacher and other school staff and our visits to the school are welcomed and encouraged.

We provide a strong mix of support and challenge, holding the school to account at governor meetings and interrogating performance data, targets, evaluation, budget setting and staff development to ensure that the school meets its overall objectives.

We visit the school regularly, attend events, have good relationships with staff and are committed to promoting high standards across all areas of school life.

The Headteacher and Chairs meet regularly to monitor safeguarding and to share and review any concerns.

Copies of non-confidential meeting minutes are available from the school office.

Key Governor contribution 2020-2021

The academic year 2020-21 was another exceptional year for Brandlehow School, owing to the ongoing impact of the global COVID 19 pandemic and the ongoing building work to expand the school.

The pressures on schools across the country were unprecedented and Brandlehow was no exception. The school operated under Covid restrictions for the entire academic year, with full school attendance in the Autumn Term; part-closure in the Spring Term (with on-site attendance for key-worker children and remote provision for all others) and full-school attendance in the Summer Term. For the entire academic year the school closely followed Government and Local Authority guidance and put appropriate procedures in place to mitigate the risk of the spread of COVID 19. Alongside this the school was supporting the children and families who had been particularly affected by the pandemic.  These circumstances placed enormous pressure on the school and the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). As such, the role of governors was focused on support, strategic guidance and counsel for the Headteacher and SLT during this unprecedented time.  

From September – December 2020:

This term saw the return to full school opening for the first time since the first national lockdown in March 2019. We provided support and guidance on the risk assessments associated with the return to school for staff and pupils and the implementation of Government guidance.

We provided support and challenge to the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team around the well-being of the children and the staff following lockdowns and the challenges associated with return to full school opening, including the impact of the pandemic and lockdowns on the mental health and academic attainment of the children.

We visited the school where possible under the restrictions. Where it was not possible to come into school in person, meeting with staff and observation of school activities took place online via Microsoft Teams.

We continued to help oversee the implementation of the School Development Plan, bearing in mind the ongoing impact of the pandemic.

We supported the Headteacher in ongoing strategic decisions around the major building programme to expand the school (and the transition to the new classrooms once they were ready), the delivery of which was impacted by resource and supply issues owing to the COVID 19 pandemic.

From January – March 2021:

We provided strategic guidance, counsel and support to the Headteacher and Senior Leadership Team in planning and managing the part-closure of the school during the national lockdown from January – March 2021, including the provision of remote teaching for the majority of pupils and the provision of safe, on-site education for vulnerable children and the children of key workers (according to the Government guidance).

From March 2021 – August 2021:

We provided support and guidance on the risk assessments associated with the full return to school for staff and pupils during a global pandemic, following the Government and Local Authority guidelines for mitigation of risk.

Ongoing throughout the academic year:

We continued to advise on how best to communicate with parents, carers and the school community around the actions taken by the school throughout the pandemic.

We oversaw the financial management of the school during the pandemic and provided guidance and support on the financial impact and subsequent budget requirements.

We continued all meetings of the Full Governing Body and committee meetings remotely online.

We continued to visit the school to oversee aspects including health & safety, risk assessment and safeguarding, closely following Government guidance on social distancing.

We supported the Headteacher in the recruitment of new staff members for positions as needed throughout the year.

We welcomed new governors and associate governors to the governing body.  

Actions and to further develop

Continue to support the Headteacher and SLT throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in particular with regard to:

·         The wellbeing of all children and staff

·         Safeguarding

·         Educational attainment for all children (including SEND and vulnerable children), in particular any catch-up needed as result of lockdowns

·         Health & safety and risk assessment

Continue to visit the school, as far as possible under current restrictions, and challenge the school leaders on various aspects of the School Development Plan, now incorporated into the School Strategic Plan

Continue to oversee the financial management of the school.

Support and monitor the school in maximising the use of the new school buildings, including the Grove Hall, the Nicholls Hall and improved outside spaces for the benefit of the school and its community.

Keep the consideration of academisation and links with other schools under review, with their implications for Brandlehow.

Further Information

For further information about Brandlehow Primary School governing body please visit the school website:

https://www.brandlehowschool.org.uk/Governors/Members/

Contact the governing body

Jean Nicholls and Bridget Smith are the joint Chairs of the governing body. They can be contacted via the school office, or email: info@brandlehow.wandsworth.sch.uk or leave a written message with the school office.