Governance Statement

Alsager Highfields Foundation Primary School

Governance Statement

September 2018 – July 2019

Governance arrangements

The Governing Body of Alsager Highfields Community 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 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      

Following the Ofsted inspection in 2017 we have continued to implement a challenging School Improvement programme supported by our School Improvement Partner. We began the year with a Strategy Meeting where we reviewed our structures and procedures, taking the strategic decision to continue with our two-committee structure (Resources committee and a Curriculum and Assessment committee). We reviewed the work of the Governing Body over the previous year and discussed goals for the year. We also discussed our school vision, encapsulated in “mighty trees from small acorns grow” which the Governors overwhelmingly feel is appropriate and relevant, 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 approved the Delegation planner, reviewed link governor roles and re-elected the Chair and Vice Chairs of the Governing Body. We 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 monitor the progress of our Pupil Premium children regularly. We have also appointed two new parent governors and one new co-opted governor with a background in primary school education.

The Resources Committee monitored school expenditure throughout the year and set a new school budget for 2019/20. We completed the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) assessment and received good assurance (highest category). This year has proved very challenging as finances have been tight forcing Governors to carefully review all costs. In order to ensure that our school continues to maintain sound financial footing in the years to come, a staffing restructure was unavoidable.

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 School Business Manager. 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 committee also reviews and updates relevant school policies.

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). In order to ensure that safe-guarding continues to be monitored satisfactorily we have decided to have a second Governor to share the responsibility.

The Curriculum and Assessment Committee regularly received accurate and meaningful data on the progress of our pupils and the Governors challenged the Head Teacher regularly on measures taken to improve pupil progress. The School Improvement Partner gave an independent presentation of the school data for the whole Governing Body. The Governors were particularly concerned by the development of vulnerable groups of children, including those eligible for the Pupil Premium Grant, and are regularly updated on the steps taken to improve the outcomes of these children. 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. This year Cheshire East carried out an audit of our SEND provision, and found that we had areas of great strength. Our team will, however, continue to improve our skills in the coming year to improve the opportunities for our SEND children and their families, ensuring that the children get the best provision and opportunities available.

Link Governors have also visited school this year, meeting subject coordinators and undertaking learning walks, book scrutinies with staff, health and safety visits, all of which are reported back to the Governing Body. Governors have participated in internal and external training.

Future plans for the Governors        

  • We will begin the academic 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 deficits.
  • We will continue to ensure that communication with parents and stakeholders improves.

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.