Governance Statement

Alsager Highfields Foundation Primary School

Governance Statement

September 2017 – July 2018


Governance arrangements

The Governing Body of Alsager Highfields Foundation Primary School was re-constituted in April 2015 and is now made up of:

  •  2 teacher Governors (including the Head teacher)
  •  5 elected Parent Governors
  •  1 Local Authority Governor
  •  2 Foundation Governors
  •  5 Co-opted Governors.

Co-opted Governors are appointed by the Governing Body for their skills or qualities which contribute to effective governance and success of the school. The full Governing Body meets once every term. In addition we have two committees, which are established to discharge the Governors’ responsibilities as effectively as possible; these also meet termly or as required.

These committees are:

  • Resources (monitoring finance, pay issues, health & safety, and buildings)
  • Curriculum and Assessment (resources, issues and policies regarding teaching and learning)

Special committees which meet when required have also been appointed: Head Teacher performance management, admissions, pay, pupil discipline, and appeals.

Attendance record of Governors

There is usually very good attendance at Governor meetings. We have never cancelled a meeting because we were not quorate.

The work of our committees and the Governing Body    

A consequence of the Ofsted inspection in 2017 has been the implementation of a challenging School Improvement programme and as a result of this, the Governors has appointed a new School Improvement Partner to support us this year. We began the year with a Strategy Meeting where we cast a critical eye on all our structures and procedures, making a strategic decision to spend less time in meetings and more time in school. We reduced the number of our committees to two: a Resources committee and a Curriculum and Assessment committee, with a temporary working party to oversee progress on the School Development Plan, and Governor monitoring activities. We decided to start using the online storage system Governorhub which has also helped us to ensure that our meetings are more focused and streamlined, making better use of Governor time. We also discussed our school vision, encapsulated in “mighty trees from small acorns do grow” and how this should translate into and underpin our School Development Plan (SDP).

We reviewed the constitution of these new committees, formalising new terms of reference, electing Chairs. We also approved the Delegation planner, reviewed link governor roles and re-elected the Chair and Vice Chairs of the Governing Body. We have also appointed Governors to co-opted positions so that the Governing Body retains their skills and training. We have reviewed and approved policies as required. The Governors have ensured that Pupil Premium spending and Sports Premium spending is discussed at all meetings of the Governing Body; this will enable us to challenge its value for money, and the progress of our Pupil Premium children regularly. In addition, a group of Governors and the Head redesigned the Head Teacher’s report so that it provides the Governors with the necessary information they require.

The Governors have played a vital role in validating the implementation of the school’s improvement plan. We provided support to the Head Teacher over the year whilst challenging the leadership team in our goal to improve the outcomes for our children.

The Resources Committee monitored school expenditure throughout the year and set a new school budget for 2018/19. We completed the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) assessment and received good assurance (highest category). Finances have proved very tight this year so the Governors were forced to carefully review all projects requiring additional expenditure. As improving outcomes and raising educational standards is at the heart of our SDP, we have taken the strategic decision to invest in staff CDP and to maintain smaller classes wherever possible. This committee reviewed the costs of current and future staffing arrangements.

We also reviewed the appraisal process of the staff, ensuring that it was a rigorous and robust process, contributing to improving outcomes; we were responsible for the Head’s Performance Management review supported by our SIP.

In addition we monitor the Health and Safety of the school buildings and grounds, visiting the school and doing walks of the premises with the site manager and Bursar. The Committee ensured that necessary inspections and assessments were carried out, and also reviewed several of the school’s health-and-safety-related policies. Health and safety throughout the school was recently audited by Cheshire East, receiving grade 5 for hygiene.

This year, the school has seen an increase in the number of safeguarding issues arising which has been of particular concern for our Governors (the Governor with particular responsibility for Safeguarding is Mr. David Spall) and to ensure that this area continues to be monitored satisfactorily we have decided to have a small group of Governors responsible for it.

The Curriculum and Assessment Committee regularly received accurate and meaningful data on the progress of our pupils which enabled the Governors to challenge the Head Teacher regularly on measures taken to improve pupil progress. The Governors were particularly concerned by the development of vulnerable groups of children, including those eligible for the Pupil Premium Grant, and have requested an in-depth analysis of this area. Governors considered the impact of the provision received by our children – not only on their academic development but also on their social and personal development. The Governors also challenged the leadership on the progress of the higher achieving children to ensure that they fulfil their potential.

This Committee reviewed and updated a number of key school policies. It also received the reports from the two SEND Governors who support the work of the SENCO and act as a critical friend. Together they continually work to improve the opportunities for these children and their families.

Link Governors have also visited school this year, meeting with subject coordinators to discuss their plans for raising standards over the year and other pertinent issues; they have also undertaken learning walks, book scrutinies with staff, health and safety visits, reporting back to the Governing Body. A number of Governors have participated in internal and external training.

Future plans for the Governors      

  • We will begin the year with a Strategy Meeting to formulate our plans for monitoring and validating the School Development Plan to improve outcomes for all our children.
  • The Governors will participate in forming the new School Development Plan, and will continue to rigorously monitor its implementation, tracking the progress of our all pupils especially the vulnerable groups.
  • The Governors will continue to evaluate their working practices. We will evaluate the results of our Skills Audit and use it to target new Governors with specific skills.
  • We will arrange to have an independent Safeguarding audit in school to highlight any deficit.
  • We have adopted a New-Governor-Induction Policy which we will implement this year.
  • We will continue to ensure that the GDPR regulations have been implemented and are working satisfactorily.

How you can contact and support the Governing Body

Governors always welcome suggestions, feedback and ideas from parents. Please contact the Chair of Governors, Mrs. Suzanne Ellis, via the school office.