Governance Statement

Annual Governance Statement for

the Federated Governing Body of Ottershaw Church of England Infant & Junior Schools

September 2015

In accordance with the Government’s requirement for all governing bodies, the 3 core strategic functions of the Governing Body are:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;

  2. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;

  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

Governance arrangements

The Federated Governing Body of Ottershaw Church of England Infant and Junior Schools was re-constituted in 2015 and is now made up of:

  • 2 staff governors (including the Headteacher)

  • 2 elected Parent Governors

  • 4 Foundation Governors from Christ Church and Guildford Diocese

  • 1 Local Authority Governor

  • 7 Co-opted governors. Co-opted governors are appointed by the governing body and are people who, in the opinion of the governing body, have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school: on our governing body 5 of the Co-opted governors are parents, 1 is a staff member and the remaining seat is vacant following a resignation last summer.

Please see ‘Meet the Governors’ for a list of Governors.

 

As a governing body for both schools, we meet once each term, with an additional planning meeting in September. We also have a number of committees to consider different aspects of the school in detail. At Ottershaw we have;

  • Resources Committee, which meets termly and focuses on finance, premises and some personnel matters;

  • Standards and Pupil Welfare Committee, which also meets termly and focuses on teaching, learning, performance and assessment, and also safeguarding and Special Educational Needs;

  • Pay Committee, which meets annually to consider recommendations for performance related pay.

We also have committees that meet if required to consider pupil discipline and staffing matters.

 

As well as standing on committees, we have nominated governors who focus their work on Maths, Literacy, SEND, EYFS, Science, ICT, RE, PE who regularly meet staff to review progress.

Attendance record of governors

Governors have good attendance at meetings and we have never cancelled a meeting because it was not “quorate” (the number of governors needed to ensure that legal decisions can be made).

Please see ‘Meet the Governors’ for governor attendance at meetings.

The work that we have done on our committees and in the governing body

The 2014-15 school year was an exciting one at Ottershaw C of E Schools, of renewal and re-energising.

We started the year with a new Head Teacher in role and it was excellent to take the opportunity to together review our Vision and Values as a school community. We re-confirmed our Vision, refreshed our Values and Mrs Hastings and the staff made sure the Values we all agreed were referenced and focused on throughout the school year.

We have made a number of significant changes within the governing body: to personnel by way of a new Chair and Vice Chair, and new committee structures and nominated governors for key subject areas. We completed the process to reconstitute the governing body to make it more effective, reducing in size to 16 members. 2 new parent governors joined, there has also been 1 resignation from the governing body and one parent governor who came to the end of their term of office.

 

Our main focus has been on improvements highlighted by our 2013 Ofsted inspections at both schools, namely standards, of the quality of teaching, pupil progress and attainment. We are looking towards the next Ofsted inspection in the Autumn term.

 

The Standards Committee has met each half term over the last year, spending much time evaluating the results of pupil achievement and rate of progress, so that we can be sure that the school is on track to fulfil its ambitious improvement targets for all pupils. Discussions have centred on improvements in the progress of all groups, on the impact of improvements in Quality of Teaching and the difference made by other teaching interventions like ‘booster groups’: these are a key element of how the Pupil Premium funding received by the schools is being spent, so we have monitored what impact these have had on the outcomes of disadvantaged groups. We have also examined how we can mobilise the middle leader roles in our schools effectively to sustain and embed these improvements.

Performance management has been used to address one of our main challenges; to secure and sustain improvements in Quality of Teaching and accelerate the changes for all pupils.

We have been supported by the ‘Focused Schools Support’ service provided by Surrey County Council and their scrutiny of the work of the school and the senior leadership team and the role of governance in the leadership and management of the school has been a source of challenge for our senior leadership team and for governors.

 

The governing body has obligations in relation to keeping children safe and we have a Nominated Governor for Safeguarding (Mrs Howse) who regularly meets with staff to review this. We review these aspects in the ‘pupil welfare’ part of our Standards & Pupil Welfare Committee meetings and they are shared with the Full Governing Body. We have made sure that our policy position is up-to-date after recent significant changes in legislation.

 

The Resources Committee looks at the maintenance and development of the school premises, and makes decisions about how the schools should use their budgets. Mr Pearson, the Committee Chair, has carried out termly checks of the premises with our site managers. In April we agreed a budget plan for both the infant and junior schools for 2015/16. Both schools have a small budget surplus of funds built up from the past, but recorded in-year deficits in 2015.

There are a number of significant building projects that were completed this year (some of which partly funded by the local authority):

  • The fence line at the infants has been relocated giving more outside teaching space

  • Office space at the junior school has been reconfigured more appropriately

  • The long awaited permanent replacement for our junior school boilers has been worked on through the summer and will be ready for this autumn as the cold weather approaches.

  • Work has been completed this year on the infant school kitchen to bring it up to date and meet new standards for ventilation, involving some complex works. Free school meals for all Reception and Infant children have been served all year.

 

Governors also held meetings of the Pay Committee and a Head Teacher Performance Review Committee.

 

Governors supported the Headteacher, senior leadership and staff through a SIAMS Inspection of the Infant School in October 2014. The outcome was very encouraging and the distinctiveness and effectiveness of the Infants as a Church of England school was graded as ‘Good’ and the commitment of the governors to sustain the Christian ethos was clearly recognised.

 

Minutes of governing body and committee meetings are public documents – you can ask at the junior school office if you would like to see any of the minutes of our meetings which can be inspected at school.

 

Full Governing Body training has been completed for safeguarding, financial management and on the governor portal, which has helped increase governing body effectiveness. Individual governors continue to progress their own development and training to ensure they are informed in their roles.

 

One of the roles for the governors is reviewing and agreeing school policies, and this year we have updated and ratified a number of key policies.

Future plans for the governors

The Governing Body is looking forward to working on the new school improvement priorities which we agreed in July and shared with all parents in September. We will work to understand and embed the new pupil progress monitoring system this year that replaces levels. We will continue to focus on improvements in the quality of teaching and pupil progress across all groups.

We welcome the opportunity to take the Ofsted inspectors through our progress when they visit in the Autumn term.

We will work on resolving funding issues with nursery places this year.

 How you can contact the governing body We will repeat our survey of parents and pupils this year. We will continue to publish our termly Gazette to keep you informed and we will repeat our ‘meet the Governors’ Coffee morning mid-year and at the end of the school year. We always welcome suggestions, feedback and ideas from parents. Please contact the Chair of Governors, Mr Bailes, via the school office. You can see the full list of governors; their attendance at meetings and more information about what we do, on the Governors’ page of the school website.

Jeremy Bailes, Chair of Governors, September 2015