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Annual Report 2019/20

Crudwell Church of England Primary School’s Governing Body Annual Report 2019/20

The purpose of this report is to inform all our stakeholders of the key actions of the Governing Body in the 2019/20 academic year and the impact of these on the school.  It also explains the remit of our Governing Body and its committees, along with the attendance record of governors.

This year’s Annual Report must start with recognition of the challenges that the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to the school and the community as a whole.  Despite these challenges the staff have continued to provide an education, with the help of parents and carers, for the children.  The roles and responsibilities of the Governing Body have not changed, but the manner in which they have been achieved has been very different from previous years.  It has certainly been a very challenging first year for our new Head teacher Mr Ben John.

The Governing Body has three core 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; and
  • overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure it receives value for money in expenditure.

Vision, Ethos and Strategic Direction

In the Autumn term, following consultation with pupils, parents/carers, staff and the community, a new vision was approved by the Governing Body for Crudwell School.  This vision is to ensure that everyone has “roots to grow and wings to fly”.

As with so much of what underpins Crudwell Church of England Primary School, the inspiration for this came from the Bible.  This vision feeds into the school values of Respect, Responsibility, Trust, Teamwork and Creativity.  By promoting these values in an environment where every child can reach their full potential, we aim to live up to the school motto: Learn, Create, Laugh, Grow.

The strategic plan was reviewed last year.  Every year an annual School Development Plan (SDP) is agreed by the governors to prioritise shorter-term improvements.  This year the focus areas for the SDP have been:

  1. To develop and embed the vision “roots to grow and wings to fly” throughout school.
  2. To inspire and embed a maths mastery approach across the whole school.  To raise levels of attainment and progress at KS2 in maths.
  3. To inspire and nurture pupils' love of reading from EYFS to Year 6.  To raise levels of attainment and progress at KS2 in reading.
  4. To work with subject leaders to address key issues for each subject:

the depth, breadth, and complexity of content choices; the rationale; how we sequence units or topics, the timetable and delivery model; and how accessible the curriculum is for pupil groups, such as pupils with special educational needs (SEN) or disabilities.

  1. To use the Governor Mark Framework as a tool for evaluation.

Holding the Head Teacher to Account

Before we can hold a Head Teacher to account, probably the most important duty for a Governing Body is to appoint a Head Teacher.  Due to the retirement of Mrs Hume at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year, we instigated a rigorous interview and appointment procedure, with the support of the Local Authority and the Diocese, which resulted in the appointment of Mr John, who started in September.

In holding the Head Teacher to account, the role of governors is sometimes described as being “a critical friend”.  We hope that Mr John has felt he has had friends to whom to turn within the Governing Body, in his first year at Crudwell.  Nevertheless, the scrutiny has continued.  In addition, there are 6 full Governing Body meetings every year, where all governors receive reports on pupil progress, attendance, staffing, teaching standards, committees, School Development Plan and safeguarding.  The governors can question the head on any of these matters.

Throughout the year the progress of the School Development Plan is monitored by the Governing Body.  Each focus area has a governor as well as a lead member of staff responsible for the area and regular reports are submitted to the full Governing Body meetings.

In between these full Governing Body meetings there are committee meetings.  At Crudwell we have 3 committees: Curriculum and Standards, Resources and Staffing.  The Head Teacher is a member of all 3 committees.  Covid-19 has brought many challenges for governors in their duties, as well as staff, pupils and parents/carers.  Throughout the pandemic, all full Governing Body meetings and committee meetings have continued via distance meeting media, allowing scrutiny to continue.

Minutes of all meetings provide strong evidence of governors holding the Head Teacher to account.

In addition there are three Governor Focus weeks each year, when governors spend time observing daily school life and communicate with the children and staff.  Governors use these visits to get to know the school better and as an opportunity to reflect on how the school is performing in relation to its vision and values.  Although physical visits have not been possible since March, on-line meetings with members of staff and monitoring of pupil progress have continued.

Financial Performance

As everyone is aware school budgets are becoming increasingly tight and the governor Resources Committee has worked very hard, alongside Mr John and the office staff, to manage this.  The children and school benefit enormously from the fundraising efforts of FOCS and the Governing Body would like to take this opportunity to thank all members of FOCS for their support and hard work and the support of parents, carers and the community in its fundraising.  The governors would also like to take this opportunity to thank the Lord Lucas Trust for their continuing support.

Every year the Resources Committee carries out benchmarking using government collated data to compare our financial and academic performance in all areas against similar schools by size, locality and environment.  Crudwell School continues to come out favourably in these checks.  The pupil premium grant is money from central government to support the learning of vulnerable or socially disadvantaged pupils.  The full Pupil Premium Report, explaining how more about the grant itself and how it is spent at our school, is available on the school website under Policies and Useful Documents.

The Hobbes Alliance, a grouping of local village schools, continues to bring financial benefits in group cost savings and shared recommendations across the Alliance.

The next year will bring a small reduction in numbers at the school which will have a financial impact if not addressed.  Consequently, the Governing Body has been pro-active in setting up a Marketing Group to raise the profile of the School and highlight the availability of places.  However, we do appreciate personal recommendations which are always the best advert for any school.

The Governing Body

Your Governing Body consists of unpaid volunteers who strive to support the school in creating a happy, friendly and successful environment, where children have the opportunity to reach their full potential and leave the school as confident and caring citizens.  Biopics and pictures of all the governors can be found in the Governor Zone of the school website.  Our names and pictures are also displayed in the school foyer.

Changes to the Governing Body

This year the Governing Body had a new leadership team with Leon Horton, taking over as Chair of Governors (CoG) and Gail Stevens as Vice Chair; both have already been voted in unanimously by the full Governing Body for next year as well.  Mark Hills has also been nominated to stand in if CoG and Vice CoG are both unavailable. A Strategic Leadership Group has also been formed which consists of the chairs of the  committees, CoG, HT and Assistant HT which has been key in making decisions around the Covid-19 pandemic and is also designed to drive forward the vision of the school.

In the current year we have said goodbye to Harry Barlow who served as a governor for over 9 years including 4 years as an extremely effective Chair of Governors.  Charlotte Bullock also left the governors after two 4-year terms including many years as the vice-chair.  We have also said goodbye to Foundation Governor Louise Breen and to our Clerk to Governors Mrs Susanne Alway.  We would like to thank Harry, Charlotte, Louise and Susanne very much for all the time and support they gave to our school and wish them all the very best for the future.

This year we have welcomed Rob James as a Foundation Governor and Charlotte Wix and Alan Rice-Smith as two new Co-Opted Governors and Sian Nickson as the new Clerk to the Governors.  One Foundation Governor position is currently vacant which will be filled by the Crudwell Parochial Church Council recommendation, on behalf of the Diocese, and an election for a new Staff Governor will be held in the Autumn term.

Attendance record of governors

The full Governing Body meets six times a year.  The committees meet regularly, usually between four and six times a year.  This record shows the attendance of governors at meetings in the last year.  (6/6 = attended six out of the six meetings held)

Name 

Category of Governor 

Full Governing Body 

Curriculum and Standards 

Staffing 

Resources 

Harry Barlow 

Co-opted

2/2 

0/1 

1/1

Mike Bird 

Co-opted

6/6

 8/8

Louise Breen 

Foundation

3/6

4/4

Charlotte Bullock 

Parent (Vice Chair) 

2/2

-

2/2

Ian Churchill 

Local Authority 

5/6

3/8

Mark Hills 

Parent 

6/6

2/2

2/2

8/8

Leon Horton 

Parent (Chair)

6/6

3/4

3/4

7/8

Rob James

Rob James

3/6

-

-

4/8

Ben John

Head Teacher

6/6

4/4

4/4

8/8

Jo Lee 

Staff 

6/6

3/4

Alan Rice-Smith

Co-opted (Appointed Dec 2019)

3/4

-

2/2

-

Kate Smith 

Co-opted 

5/6

3/4

Gail Stevens 

Co-opted (Vice Chair)

6/6

4/4

4/4

Charlotte Wix

Co-opted (Appointed Dec 2019)

4/4

3/3

-

-

 

We are very fortunate that each governor brings with them their own skills set and is committed to working hard for the good of the school, its pupils and staff.

The governors would like to express their appreciation for the many different ways in which parents and carers contribute to enhancing the children’s experience at our school, especially in the light of all the challenges that Covid-19 has brought with home schooling.  The Governing Body would also like to thank the staff for all their hard work and dedication throughout the year particularly over the last 4 months.

If you have any queries about this report, or are interested in becoming a governor, please contact us via our clerk (clerk@crudwell.wilts.sch.uk), the Governor Box, located outside the school office, or please come and speak to one of us.


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