The Governing Body of the school writes an annual governance statement which describes how we have fulfilled our responsibilities during the year.
Every year the governors work to fulfil three strategic 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.
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
The Governing Body has a full programme of meetings and monitoring visits to the school which are carefully planned to ensure that we fulfil our statutory obligations as well as support and challenge the school to continuously improve.
Governor attendance at all meetings is very good, with meetings taking place either virtually or in-person. We have never had to cancel a meeting because it was not ‘quorate’ (the number of governors required to ensure that decisions can be made). This has enabled us to maintain our normal duties of supporting the school staff, monitoring the risk assessments for those attending school, approving the budget and considering strategic issues for the future.
During this year, we said goodbye to Gaynor Deal who stepped down from the Governing Body – we thank her for her contribution.
Governors review all policies on a rolling programme basis to ensure that all guidance is up to date. Special attention is paid to ensure that the school complies with the Department for Education mandatory policy list and the Local Authority recommendations.
There are a number of key documents that the governors look at regularly including:
- The School Improvement Plan identifies the key priorities for the staff and governors to work on each year. The key issues for the plan are decided by staff and governors at the end of the school year. Governors monitor progress through regular visits to the school and reports from school leaders to ensure the improvements take place. Some of the improvements as a result of this year’s plan include:
- Develop the teaching of spelling across the core subjects (English, Maths, RE & Science)
- Apply fluency skills in reasoning
- To understand how to live a healthy life with a sense of mutual belonging and critical thinking.
As you will have seen in a recent school newsletter, the Year 6 SATS results were excellent and above the provisional national data headlines across all subjects. We are extremely proud of the children for their resilience and determination to do well, despite the huge challenges we have all faced during the last two years. Thank you to them and to the parents and teachers that have supported them throughout. We know that they are all ready for the next stage of their learning journeys into secondary school.
In addition to the national results, recent in-house assessments have shown positive outcomes, with a high percentage of children achieving targets, particularly in maths and reading. In line with national reports, attainment in writing for some year groups has dropped. This information will be used to inform the school’s priority areas for improvement in 2022/23, closely aligned with the School Vision and Curriculum Intent.
- The Schools Financial Value Standard document is a tool which helps the governing body to manage the school’s budget wisely and properly. It contains 30 questions which the Resources Committee reviews with senior staff. The school is compliant in this area. Through careful management of the budget, St Augustine’s School remains in a stable financial position. This year saw a number of improvements to the fabric of the school including new furniture in Willow Class, replacement canopy over the hall exit, repairs to emergency lighting, additional glass wipe boards, bank of new iPads, new entry/sign in system installation, new laptops and a charging station in Key Stage 2 and installation of a new telephone system.
Governors have received training in a range of subjects including safeguarding, child protection and safer recruitment. Governors have been pleased to support the recent recruitment of two new teaching assistants and a new full-time teacher, Miss Matchett, who will join the school in September 2022.
This year has continued to present challenges for the school as it responded swiftly, safely and effectively to the COVID-19 pandemic with repeated changes to social distancing restrictions and updates to government advice. After nearly two years with hardly any cases and no school closures as a result of staff sickness, we were all challenged in March/April when almost the entire staff team caught Covid. Thanks to the professional commitment and dedication of the Headteacher and all staff, the school remained open and has continued to support all pupils in their learning journey. Staff have continued to assess the extent to which pupils’ educational attainment has been impacted by the pandemic and continue to deliver a number of targeted interventions to address any gaps in learning.
We remain extremely proud of the determination and commitment of both staff and parents in the St Augustine’s community to keep our children happy, healthy and learning.
In recent months, Governors have been concerned to learn that pupil attendance has dropped from around 96% to 92% and this is largely as a result of unauthorised absence. Research shows that missing even a few days of school can have a significant impact on children’s learning - this is particularly important given the recent disruption to education as a result of the pandemic. Children who miss a substantial amount of school fall behind their peers, struggle to catch up and poor attendance can also affect friendships and wellbeing. The Governors at St Augustine’s will be renewing our focus on pupil attendance as we approach the new school year and we ask all parents for their support in ensuring that children attend school during term time.
We wish all of you and your families well over the summer break and look forward to seeing you all again in September.
We hope this report gives you an insight into the work of the governing body. We value your support and interest. Please look out for updates from the governors in the school newsletter and feel free to talk to any of us. Contact details are also on the school’s website, or just ask in the school office.
Lynn Hainge, Chair of Governors, July 2022