THE GOVERNING BOARD
Our Governing Board consists of twelve volunteers. Their role is to support and challenge the Headteacher, to help set the vision and strategic direction of the school and to ensure that our school is the very best it could be.
Register of Business Interests
This is a statutory document for the Governing Board to ensure that governors not only act impartially, but are also seen to act impartially. The governing body have a responsibility to avoid any conflict between their business and personal interests and affairs and those of the school. There is a legal duty on all governors to declare an interest likely to lead to questions of bias when considering any item of business at a meeting and for the governor concerned to withdraw, if necessary, whilst the matter is considered.
Governors are required to complete a ‘Declaration of Business Interests’ on appointment and this declaration is reviewed annually. These are maintained as a Register of Business/ Pecuniary Interests. Additionally, as an item on the agenda of every Governing Body and committee meeting, Governors are required to state whether they have any such interests.
The register enables governors to demonstrate that in spending public money they do not benefit personally from decisions, which they make.
FULL GOVERNING BOARD MEETING DATES 2019/20
July 2019 FGB Minutes
These are the members of our governing body.
John Collins-appointing body: Foundation/Trust
Chair of Governors
“ After retiring as a Secondary Headteacher in London I moved to Stone 10 years ago. I’m the Stone PCC Foundation Governor and have been privileged to be Chair of Governors since November 2011. After a long career in secondary education it has been an absolute joy to be able to offer my time and support to a fantastic primary school, which Wittersham certainly is.”
Jo Dadson-Parent Governor
‘Originally from Ireland, I have lived in England for 15 years and I now live in Appledore, I have 2 daughters at Wittersham, one in year 3 and one in year 1. I enjoy being active in my community. My aim is to make a positive contribution to the school to help it be the best that it can be. Just like any other parent I want the best for my children and for them to have a good education to help support them in whatever future they decide’.
Lucy Avena-Teacher Governor
Donna Clifton- CDBE Appledore PCC Foundation Governor
Reverend Judy Darkins-Ex-Officio Foundation Governor
The Reverend Judy Darkins lives in The Rectory in Wittersham and has responsibility for Wittersham and Ebony Churches. Before ordination she worked in social work and education welfare. She was a Foundation Governor in the primary school of her last parish for eight years and strongly believes that both church and school should be integral parts of the whole community.
Sue Mash-CDBE Wittersham PCC Foundation Governor
Sue has been a Wittersham resident since 1987. She was a past treasurer of the WSA during the late 80s/early 90s. Her three daughters all attended Wittersham School. “My passion is for equal education for every child irrespective of their ability”
Jennifer Maynard-CDBE Foundation Governor
Vice-Chair of Governors
Jennifer is a Governor representing the Diocese, a retired Primary School Teacher who has lived in Wittersham since 1990. She is also Secretary to the Parochial Church Council and Assistant Organist/Choir Leader. She is a keen amateur musician who helps with the school band, and volunteers one afternoon a week at the school.
Oliver Walker-Foundation Governor
Oliver is a Foundation Governor and believes in providing all children with the opportunity to benefit from a strong educational experience within a cohesive local community. He has two children currently at the school with a third due to start this year. Oliver is a partner at an international law firm based in the City.
Vacancy – Foundation Governor
Vacancy – LEA Governor
Claire Frost – Headteacher / Teacher Governor
Mrs Jane Phillips is the Clerk to the Governing Body
Governors have a wide range of responsibilities, which include:
Ensuring that the school meets its legal responsibilities
Setting the school budget
Making decisions about the school building and premises
Setting school policies
Appointing staff and making decisions about current staffing
Looking at how well groups of pupils are performing and ensuring action is taken if there are any concerns
As Governors we are accountable to:
Pupils, Parents and the Local Community
The LEA, which funds the school
The Foundation Trust (The Church)
The Governing Body uses the ‘Circle Model’ of Governance functioning under the Model terms of Reference provided by ‘The Education People’. We hold a Full Governing Body meeting each term and at these meetings we receive reports from the Headteacher on the progress made on the School Improvement Plan and on the progress pupils are making towards the school targets. Our role at these meetings is to hold the school to account and to both support and challenge the school.
In addition a Finance committee is assigned to strategically monitor the financial management of the school on behalf of the Governing Body. The committee is also assigned to consider any changes to the pay of members of staff on the Leadership team and to make such recommendations to the Governing Body.
Jennifer Maynard (Vice-Chair)
Oliver Walker (Chair)
Across the year there are a range of monitoring visits. These not only focus on aspects identified as requiring improvement through the school improvement plan, but also on a wide range of school activities.
These governors focus on specific areas in their role as Link Governors:
Jo Dadson – Health & Safety
John Collins – EYFS, SEND & Pupil Premium Champion
Revd. Judy Darkins – OPAL project
Jennifer Maynard – Safeguarding
Governors are linked to the following subjects:
John Collins- EYFS & Art
Jennifer Maynard- Maths & Geography
Sue Mash – Science
Oliver Walker – History & Music
HOW WE MONITOR THE WORK OF THE SCHOOL
1.HEADTEACHER REPORTS TO THE FGB
The FGB meetings take place termly and the Headteacher provides written and verbal reports in alternate terms. The written reports are circulated to governors in advance of the meeting providing the opportunity for governors to send the head any questions they might have. The questions are then answered at the meeting and recorded in the minutes. This is to ensure that the governors are holding the headteacher to account.
2.VISITS TO MONITOR PROGRESS AGAINST THE SCHOOL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
One governor will accompany the Headteacher on a learning walk (Terms2-6) in order to monitor progress against the SDP priorities. After the visit the governor will write up a report to send to the Headteacher to check for factual accuracy before it is circulated to all governors.
3.SEN & PUPIL PREMIUM
John Collins is the link governor and will meet with the SENCO to discuss SEN provision and will meet with the Headteacher to discuss allocation of the Pupil premium and its impact. He will report back to the FGB meeting after each visit.
Jennifer Maynard is the link governor and will meet with the Headteacher to check safeguarding compliance and will report back to the FGB.
5.HEALTH & SAFETY
Jo Dadson is the link governor and meets with the Headteacher annually to go through the compliance checklist
6.PUPIL & PARENT VOICE
As part of learning walks governors will talk to and question pupils. The Chair and one other governor undertake an annual Pupil Conference with members of the school council and report back the pupil responses to the FGB.
Governors undertake an annual Parent survey through questionnaires sent out to every parent. Following collation of the responses a feedback letter is sent to all parents.
A pupil questionnaire is given to Year 6 pupils in advance of their move to secondary education. This provides useful feedback of their whole school experience .
Minutes of all FGB meetings are published on the school website (excluding confidential items).
As well as scrutinising pupil books on our learning walks sample surveys will be carried out by the Chair & Vice Chair
8.QUALITY OF TEACHING
At the Term 3 FGB meeting the Headteacher provides an anonomysed report on the performance management of staff.
The Headteacher reports back to the FGB on any judgements of the Quality Of Teaching arising out of both her monitoring and any carried out by an external advisor.
Following the school’s Pupil Progress tracking schedule the data is provided to governors for discussion at FGB meetings.
The Term 6 FGB discusses the outcomes of the statutory assessments.
10.MEETINGS WITH STAFF
Link governors meet with their subject leaders annually and complete a report, based on a common format, for circulation to all governors for any follow up discussion at a FGB meeting. Subject leaders are advised of the questions they will be asked in advance of these meetings.
Revd. Judy Darkins
Revd. Tricia Fogden
Policies, both statutory and non-statutory are included in a Policy review schedule, which is regularly updated. Some policy reviews are either delegated to the Headteacher or to specific committees, and others to the FGB. Irrespective all reviews are updated according to their review dates and reported at FGB meetings. The updated schedule is then circulated with the minutes of the meeting.
The Finance committee carries this out and a budget monitoring report is distributed and discussed at each FGB meeting. The committee also monitors how both the pupil and sports premium monies are being used.
13.HEADTEACHER PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT
The cycle runs from September to Septembe . Two Governors supported by an External Advisor form the committee. Progress on objectives throughout the year is addressed through the SDP progress reports and the Headteacher reports to governors.
14.REPORTS FROM IA & OTHER ADVISORS
A summary of these reports are discussed at FGB meetings
15.WEEKLY MEETINGS WITH HEADTEACHER BY CHAIR OF GOVERNORS
INFORMATION FOR NEW GOVERNORS
Our Role & Responsibilities
- To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- To hold the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and for the performance management of staff
- To oversee the financial performance of the school and to make sure that the money is well spent
Since Wittersham is a CoE VA School Foundation Governors must have a majority on the board since it is their primary duty to see that the school remains a church school with all that implies.
We are there as a critical friend and are there to support and to challenge but are not responsible for the day to day running of the school nor to interfere with the work of the Headteacher and staff.
I LEA Governor
2 Parent Governors
I Ex-Officio (Vicar of Wittersham)
6 Foundation Governors
Term of Office
The normal term is for 4 years however this is not contractual and some governors do need to step down before their term of office is completed.
We have adopted the Circle Model of Governance structure meaning that all of the work of the Governing Board, apart from Finance, is carried out at the FGB meetings. There is a separate Finance committee.
There are 6 FGB meetings /year which are held on Thursdays commencing at 6.30pm and generally last for 1 ½ hours.
The Finance committee holds three meetings /year which commence at 5.30 pm, lasting one hour, and are scheduled to run on the same evenings as the appropriate FGB meetings. At present 5 governors volunteer to sit on this committee.
Some Board memebers act as link governors either to subjects or to fulfil statutory responsibilities (Safeguarding, Health & Safety, Special Educational Needs). These are additional voluntary roles.
As part of our annual monitoring plan to check on the progress of the action points on the School Development Plan we visit the school to accompany the Headteacher on a ‘learning walk’ to see the school at work, always a very enjoyable experience. Governors complete a simple report template after their visit. It is an expectation that all governors take part in these planned visits but how many they are able to do is determined simply by their availability. We do try to ‘spread the load ‘ but would hope that everyone is able to make two visits across the year. These visits last for no more than one hour.
Training and Development
Each governor will have their own skill set and we regularly carry out a Skills Audit to ensure that across our members we have all the skills necessary to be an effective Board. KCC do run Induction courses for new governors but attending one of these is not a pre-requisite of joining the Board.
The school subscribes to both the National Governors Association (NGA) and to Governor Hub at KCC. Both of these provide online training modules, which governors can complete in their own time and for their own needs. On average completion of a module takes around 50 minutes.
The school is part of the Tenterden Rural Alliance (TRA), which organises one or two training sessions on ‘Hot Topics’ for governors across the academic year. These take place at Homewood school and run from 6pm for 2 hours. Although we do encourage as many of our Board to attend as possible this again is entirely voluntary.
We are responsible for ensuring that the school delivers the curriculum as laid down by Parliament, that the school operates under proper financial guidelines and that all policies, as directed by the DfES and Ofsted, are in place, monitored and regularly reviewed. (In most cases we do adopt the Model policies, with minor tweaks, produced by KCC).
Governors are accountable as a group rather than individually as all decisions are taken collectively.