Update from the Governors -
Governor Update JANUARY 2018
With the start of the New Year, it seemed an opportune time to give you an update from the schools Governing Body:
We have had a busy 2017, not least with the Ofsted inspection in July. I have noted some key points that we have focused on below:
· Ofsted Inspection - we were very pleased with the continuing ‘Good’ rating and general feedback received from the inspector. The inspection has enabled us to focus on very clear objectives as a school over the next twelve months.
· Academy Status - we have continued to review the options open to the school regrading academy status (or not), and have not made any firm decisions, however have agreed that for 2017/18 our objective for the Governing Body is: ‘To agree, as a Governing Body, on the future direction and structure of the school to ensure the best outcomes for the pupils of Great Paxton CE School’.
As a reminder, the backdrop for this came from a Government edict at the beginning of 2016 that all schools should be an Academy by 2020; whilst this was later moved away from, we had started to look at the options open to Great Paxton School, and continue to do so.
· Funding - funding for the school continues to be a focus, and whilst we have again managed to deliver a balanced budget for 2016/17 and project to do so for 2017/18, it is becoming more challenging to do this and balance the upkeep of the school, investment in tools to deliver an ever changing curriculum and ensure we continue to have the right staff structure in place. Disappointingly, Cambridgeshire continues to receive less funding for its schools than the majority of other areas within the country.
You will hopefully have seen that we have two parent governor posts vacant; if you are interested, I would encourage you to apply and if you would like to know more about what is involved, please contact myself or go via the school office and I will be happy to talk through in more detail.
Chair of Governors
With Christmas fast approaching, I wanted to give you an update from the school Governors looking at some of the areas we have been working on over recent months.
Firstly, we welcome a number of new Governors – Luke Marks and Sarah Thompson join as Parent Governors and Melanie is joining as a Foundation Governor, replacing Bob Hacking who after many years of service to the school is stepping down.
Two key area of focus have been the school energy project that was completed in 2015 which is now delivering savings as well as a warmer, brighter and greener environment and our early years settings which since September includes the pre-school.
In addition to this, the governing body has been reviewing the opportunities that converting to an academy may offer. As you may be aware, earlier in the year the government indicated that it wanted all schools to convert to academy status by 2020. Whilst there has subsequently been some change in this stance, it is our view that we want to be in control of any change that the school makes. As a result, we have started to look at, review and engage with potential academy options and partners. We are hoping to have final presentations in January, after which we will begin appropriate consultation with everyone on the future options and opportunities for the school. I have added a link below to the government site that gives more information on academy status:
I look forward to updating you all in the New Year, and hope that you all have a very merry Christmas and enjoy the forthcoming school festive production!
Chair of Governors
As we start a new school year, I just wanted to bring you an update from the Governing Body. Below are some the key areas that we have been involved with and worked on over the last year and will be focussing on in the new school year:
We are really pleased to see the SATS results and letter from the County Council that demonstrates the great progress our children in KS1-KS2 have made in reading, writing and mathematics, as well as positive improvements for our early years children; thank you to all our dedicated team for your commitment and of course to our amazing pupils! We look forward to building on these results this year!
Committees and Visits
Outside of our regular meetings, we also meet as committees. These committees focus on specific areas that include the curriculum, finance, church school status, general running and health and safety within school. Regular Governor visits also take place and last year included looking at our early years (EYFS) provision, safeguarding and the presentation of work across the school. We will be scheduling this year’s visits at our first meeting at the end of September.
Governing Body Structure
Last year we also had to look at the structure of the Governing body, as there is a legal requirement for us to ‘reconstitute’ in line with new guidelines. This we have completed, and so from September a new structure will be in place with a Governing body of 13. This is a reduction on the previous size and is more in line with the size of our school.
Church School Inspection
We had our church school inspection last year (SIAMS) and were pleased, given the significant changes in inspection criteria, to achieve a rating of ‘good’. Thank you to the school team for all your hard work and effort in demonstrating to the inspector the great work that goes on and culture and ethos that we have, and of course to our children and parents for their input into the visit.
Hopefully you will have seen the information that was circulated regarding the upgrade that took place this summer. As part of the pilot for this, we have been really lucky to be involved in this county council initiative. It has allowed us to upgrade our aging boilers, poor lighting and also reduce our overall energy usage. If any new parents would like to find out more about this initiave, please ask at the school office and we can supply the information.
Hopefully the above gives you a flavour of what we have been involved with over the last year. As Governors, we are here to oversee the running of the school and to provide challenge to the Head and team. We have seen our school continue to develop and improve and look forward to the challenges of the new school year ahead.
Guy Fairbairn – Chair of Governors