The Governing Body of the school writes an annual governance statement which describes how we have fulfilled our responsibilities during the year.
Every year the governors work to fulfil three strategic functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
- Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils.
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
The first half of this school year (September to March) comprised a full programme of meetings and monitoring visits to the school which are carefully planned to ensure that we fulfil our statutory obligations as well as support and challenged the school to continuously improve. Governor attendance at all meetings is good.
There have been some changes in the governing body this year. In December, we were sorry to lose the valuable services of Canon Lisa Barnett who moved to a parish in Horsham. We were pleased to welcome Gaynor Deal and Darren Wynne to the Governing Body, both of whom bring additional skills and knowledge to the Board.
There are a number of key documents that the governors look at regularly.
- The Self-Evaluation Form is the school’s own grading against the current Ofsted criteria. Each section is reviewed in turn over the year and the governors satisfy themselves that they have evidence to back up our current judgements and consider what is needed for further improvement. As part of this cycle, the school’s performance data is scrutinised to ensure that all pupils make good progress. Data is looked at by year groups, subjects and groups of pupils to check the school is doing all it can to help all achieve their potential. This year, governors have reviewed and updated the Self Evaluation Form to reflect the new OFSTED framework.
- The School Improvement Plan identifies the key priorities for the staff and governors to work on each year. The key issues for the plan are decided by staff and governors at the end of the school year. The governors monitor the progress through visits to the school and reports from school leaders to ensure the developments take place. Some of the improvements as a result of this year’s plan include:
- Increase attainment in Maths and English for all groups
- Further develop good mental health; developing responsible, respectful and active citizens
- Enhance the Quality of Education through the curriculum
- The Schools Financial Value Standard document is a tool which helps the governing body to manage the school’s budget wisely and properly. It contains 29 questions which the Resources Committee reviews with senior staff. The school is compliant in this area. Through careful management of the budget, St Augustine’s School remains in a stable financial position. This year (prior to lockdown) saw a number of improvements to the fabric of the school including the installation of a new fire alarm system, new flooring in the kitchen, replacement hall windows and a new door entry system.
We were also pleased to appoint a new teacher, Mrs Caiden, who will join the school in September 2020.
The second half of this school year has of course been very ‘different’ and, like everyone else, governors have had to adapt to the new ways of working in order to keep people healthy and conform to social distancing. We have continued to meet as usual as a whole governing body, but using virtual software links, which we have all found surprisingly efficient.
This has enabled us to carry out our normal duties of supporting the school staff, monitoring the risk assessments for those attending school, approving the budget and considering strategic issues for the future.
Of course, the major concern for everyone this year has been responding to the Covid-19 public health crisis. The result of the pandemic has been that many children have not been able to attend school and, even now, the school has not been able to open to all pupils. We know that many families have been able to maintain their children’s learning at home and that most children will be resilient to the disruption. For some pupils, bouncing back will be much harder, so governors will be pleased to see all children back in September.
Governors have been so impressed with the thoughtful and professional dedication of the entire staff team and headteacher during this extremely challenging period. They have provided full time education for children of key workers. They have provided work and resources and kept in touch with children learning at home. They have re-organised the school environment completely so that children have been able to return to school safely. They have offered support to families as and when needed. We are proud of the determination and commitment of both staff and parents in the St Augustine’s community to keep our children happy, healthy and learning.
We wish all of you and your families well over the summer break and look forward to welcoming you all back to school in September.
We hope this report gives you an insight into the work of the governing body. We value your support and interest. Please look out for updates from the governors in the school newsletter and feel free to talk to any of us. Contact details are also on the website, or just ask in the school office.
Lynn Hainge, Chair of Governors, July 2020