Hitherfield Primary School and Children's Centre

Governance Statement

Hitherfield Annual Governance Statement 2016-17

What is this? The Department for Education suggests that schools make a document each year to explain what their governing board has done. We’ve made it short, since the Hitherfield Herald keeps you up-to-date with the governors’ activities during the year. This isn’t “new” information, just a useful summary in one place.

What is the “Governing Board”? UK schools have school governors. These are unpaid volunteers who appoint the Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher and work with them to provide strategic leadership and accountability. The individual governors are members of a Governing Board. At Hitherfield the governing board has 14 members, which includes 4 Governors elected by parents, 1 appointed by the Local Authority, the Headteacher, 1 other member of staff elected by the staff, and 7 people who have been “co-opted” (selected) by the Governing Board because they have skills or experience that can help the school. You can see attendance records of the individual governors in the table below.

So what did the Governing Board do in 2016-17? As a full board, we meet 6 times a year (once each half-term), and every governor also belongs to at least one of the two main committees: Resources Committee and the Learning and Personal Development Committee. These committees also meet 6 times a year. The Resources Committee focuses on the school’s financial performance, premises, personnel and safeguarding matters, and reviews policies about safety and legal compliance. The Learning and Personal Development (or LAPD) Committee focuses on pupil progress and achievement, as well as outcomes for and well-being of the wider school community; it also reviews policies about teaching, learning and the curriculum.

The 3 sections below explain what we’ve done this year for each of the key responsibilities we have.

Strategic direction. The Hitherfield vision and values were created in 2014 with help from the governors. Since then we have been making sure that policies across the school reflect the vision and values. In 2015 we wrote a “Strategic Plan” to focus on longer-term objectives, like remaining a school of choice for the local community, developing more pupil enrichment activities, and becoming a beacon of healthy lifestyles. Each objective has governors working with school staff, doing things like surveying parents or talking to other schools to learn about their best practices. Some of this work has already had observable effects – for instance, we were awarded the “Governor Mark” certification in 2017. Other areas are just starting to produce results – see for example the revamped section of the website listing all of the clubs on offer with information about how to join. One of the big challenges we’ve faced in the last years was the decision of how to respond to the government push towards academisation. We’ve had a series of meetings and consultations and for now we are confident about the strong position that Hitherfield has as an independent maintained community school. 

Holding the school to account. This often means asking tough questions! This year we spent a lot of time talking about the KS1 and KS2 pupil outcomes, which were in line with national averages but below our expectation at the end of the 2015-16 year (that was a tough year given radical changes to the tests that were recently introduced). There is a lot of data for governors to look at (always anonymous, without children’s names), including test scores in different areas of the curriculum and teachers’ evaluations and projections throughout the year. In the LAPD committee we look at this data many different ways to see whether any group (like a gender or ethnic group) is not making as much progress as other groups. If they are not, we want to know what the school is doing about it. The goal is always to make sure Hitherfield is delivering the best possible outcomes for all children. The performance targets for 2016-17 were ambitious and we were so pleased to see that outcomes at the end of the year were excellent, with children at Hitherfield, including those receiving the Pupil Premium, doing much better than their peers nationally and in Lambeth at the end of Year 6.

Financial well-being of the school. Everyone who follows the news knows that there is a lot of pressure on school budgets. This is particularly true at Hitherfield where we have a higher-than-average proportion of pupils with special educational needs. To the great credit of the school’s management team, with oversight from governors on the Resources Committee, we continue to run a small surplus. We were able to undertake a number of building works over the summer and, as families who use the grounds will know very well, our premises are among the best in the area.

Attendance Record of Governors 2016-17

Name

Type

Term of office ends

Roles & Responsibilities

Full GB

Resources

LAPD

Christopher Ashley-Jones

Staff (Headteacher)

N/A

Executive

Headteacher, Resources and LAPD Committees

 

6/6

 

6/6

 

6/6

Michael Ball

Co-opted Governor

29/6/19

Resources, LAPD and Headteacher Appraisal Committee

 

3/6

 

3/6

 

2/6

Antonia Beamish

Parent Governor

23/5/21

Not appointed to committees in 2016-17

2/2

 

n/a

0/1

Tessa Crilly

Co-opted Governor

29/6/19

Chair, LAPD Committee

6/6

 

n/a

 

6/6

Phyllis Dunipace

Co-opted Governor

29/6/19

Resources, Pay and Headteacher Appraisal Committees

 

5/6

 

5/6

 

n/a

Michael Elliott

Co-opted Governor

29/6/19

Resources and LAPD Committees

Health & Safety Link Governor

 

4/6

 

5/6

 

1/1

Simon Hooberman

LA Governor

31/8/18

Chair of GB,

Resources, LAPD and Pay Committees, Safeguarding / Child Protection Link Governor

 

6/6

 

 

5/6

 

 

3/6

Heather Kappes

Parent Governor

30/11/19

Vice-Chair of GB,

LAPD Committee,

5/6

 

n/a

 

5/6

Dominic Leary

Co-opted

29/6/19

LAPD Committee

2/6

n/a

3/6

Graham Lee

Co-opted Governor

29/6/19

Chair, Resources Committee and on Headteacher Appraisal and Pay Committee,

Vulnerable Children (Inclusion) Governor

 

6/6

 

6/6

 

n/a

Luke Parker

Staff Governor

18/9/20

LAPD Committee

6/6

n/a

6/6

Philip Raines

Parent Governor

24/10/20

LAPD Committee

5/5

n/a

4/4

Mike Short

Parent Governor

9/10/20

Resources Committee

5/5

4/4

n/a

Nicola Yarlett

Co-opted Governor

29/6/19

Resources Committee

3/6

 

4/6

 

2/6

 

Attendance Record of Associate Members 2016-17

Phyllis Hayden

Associate Member

31/12/19

Children’s Centre manager, Associate Member of Resources Committee

n/a

5/6

n/a

Julia Patrick

Associate Member

29/5/18

Associate Member of full GB and LAPD and Resources Committees, Training & Skills Governor

5/5

 

4/5

 

4/5

Jacinta Waters

Associate Member

02/12/17

Head of School, Associate Member of full GB and LAPD and Resources Committees

6/6

 

4/6

 

5/6

Arlette Wells

Associate Member

5/7/20

School Business Manager,

Associate Member of full GB and Resources Committee

n/a

 

6/6

 

n/a

Phoebe Zady

Associate Member

29/6/19

Member of Staff (Maternity Leave), Associate Member of full GB and Resources Committee

On sabbatical then resigned

On sabbatical then resigned

On sabbatical then resigned

In sum, we are confident that the Governing Board was effective in 2016-17. We know this because of the outstanding pupil achievement demonstrated at the end of the year (and the continuing trajectory of improvement in achievement), because of the healthy state of the budget, and because of the wonderful community feeling around the school, staff, families, and pupils. It is evidence like this that earned us the “Governor Mark” award in 2017, and that have external people like Lambeth’s School Improvement Advisor agreeing with our self-evaluation of “Outstanding” leadership and governance. Moving forward into the 2017-18 school year, our Board has a healthy mix of very experienced members and new voices (Mike Short, Philip Raines, and Antonia Beamish joined us as new parent governors during the 2016-17 year) and we will continue serving the Hitherfield community to provide the best possible educational experience for the pupils here. We welcome your thoughts about how to do that, at any time. 

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