Governors Report

Vision Statement for the Governing Body  Vision Statement for Governing Body adopted 25 Sept 2018

Action Plan Governors Action Plan Oct 2019- July 2020

Five Year Strategic Plan DCINS FIVE YEAR STRATEGIC PLAN adopted 4 Dec 2018

Schools Financial Benchmarking Link

Governors Annual Report to Parents for Sept 2019 to July 2020

Message from the Chair of Governors

This school year has been truly extraordinary! In September no one, not least the Governors, could have imagined that we would be experiencing a global pandemic and contending with all the challenges that have come with it. 

On behalf of all the Governors, I would like to give very sincere thanks to our Headteacher Mrs Futers and all the teachers and staff of our school.  They have shown incredible perseverance and determination in continuing to do their absolute best for our children during a very difficult and stressful time.  The Governors have always recognised that the caring and committed attitude of our staff is what makes our school so distinctive and we are proud of all that they have planned and achieved during these last few months.  Many of them have worked, and are still working, over and above the call of duty, to ensure that our children receive care, support and learning provision.

The Governors would also like to take this opportunity to thank you – the parents and carers of our pupils, for the time, effort and patience you have put in to support your childrens’ learning while they have been at home. We also know that many of you have had the added pressure of juggling the demands of working from home and all the stresses that that involves.  

The Governors and senior leaders of our school will continue to work with our Headteacher to ensure that all sensible and proportionate control measures are put in place to reduce the risks of virus transmission to the lowest reasonably practicable level. We look forward to seeing all our pupils in school in September, but are fully aware that although there may be a return to many familiar routines and curriculum provision, some things will be very different and will continue to be so while we have to live with the necessary restrictions and protective measures associated with the COVID19 virus.   

Finally, I would like to personally thank my fellow Governors for their time, commitment and support over the last twelve months as they have worked to provide the best possible start to school life for each of our pupils. 

In the meantime I wish you all a safe and sunny summer.

Tricia Waller

Chair of Governors

July 2020

Governor Attendance

Governors collectively achieved 52 attendances out of a possible 62 which gives a 83.87% attendance rate for the year.

The Governing Body make-up

The Governing Board for DCINS has 14 places, but currently consists of 7 members who comprise  3 Church Foundation governors, 2 parent governors, 1 local authority governor, one staff governor and the Headteacher.  The Board is chaired by Mrs Patricia Waller.

There are 7 vacancies on the Board:

1 parent Governor

6 volunteers to become Church Foundation Governors

We are currently actively recruiting in our local community to fill these vacancies and applications are very welcome!

No matter whether you are a newly appointed Governor, or have several years of service, governance is a learning journey for us all. Being a Governor will expand your horizons and increase your skill base!  If you are interested in joining the Governing Board and want to find out more, please email the Chair at pwaller62r5@nsix.org.uk.

The Governing Board employs a professional clerk to organise meetings, take minutes and to help and advise the governors in their duties.

The function of the Governing Body

All Governing Boards have the same three core functions:

• setting the school’s vision, ethos and strategic direction

• holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils and for the performance management of its staff

• overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent

As a church school, the Board of Governors is also responsible for helping to uphold and promote the Christian ethos and strong values that makes our school so distinctive.

To help us keep focused on our task of strategic planning and decision making, the Governing Board created the following vision statement which was adopted in September 2018.

“We aspire to provide our children with the best possible start in life long learning, based on a firm Christian foundation in a safe environment.”

We will fulfil this vision as a governing body by:

  • leading by example
  • working to support, positively challenge and enable the Headteacher, senior leaders and staff to drive improvement and the highest levels of achievement and personal development.
  • adopting a robust and supportive approach, holding the senior leadership to account for all aspects of the school’s performance and recognising and celebrating achievements.

As a governing body we work together to support our Headteacher and her staff to provide the best possible start to the lives of our childen.  Our aim is to make our school a happy, caring environment where not only does everyone feel valued and safe, but our children are also supported and inspired to develop to their full potential personally,  academically and creatively.  We strive to ensure our school offers a broad and balanced curriculum. As Governors, we also become involved with a variety of issues including pupil welfare, policies, building and grounds maintenance, budgetry control and staff appointments. 

All Governors abide by the agreed Code of Conduct for the Governing Body which sets out the expectations and commitment required from Governors in order to properly carry out their work within the school. 

Governors’ Action Plan

We achieve the core functions of governance by creating an Action Plan to ensure that we are proactive and strategic in our work.

The Governors Action Plan for the past year included 7 action areas:

  • Maintaining Clear Focus and Strategic Direction – discussing priorities and targets for SIDP
  • Keeping our children safe – making sure Safeguarding is not just a policy but a way of life
  • Striving for Best by driving improved outcomes for our pupils especially for KS1
  • Curriculum Development – promoting a holistic approach and overseeing introduction of new RHSE provision
  • Getting to Grips with Data – getting equipped to understand and interpret data in order to drive progress/attainment
  • Monitor effectively – being able to undertake various monitoring activities
  • Drive effective financial planning and controls to ensure stability and sustainability and value for money

The work of the Governing Body

The Full Governing Body has met 7 times during the past academic year:

11 October and 13 December 2019,

14 February, 21st May, 3rd June, 15th June and 17 July 2020.

The Full Governor Meetings usually take place at school on a Friday morning, but due to the COVID19 restrictions, since 21st May meetings have taken place virtually and   governor meetings will probably continue to be held virtually until at least January 2021.

Additionally, there are three sub-committees:

Achievements and Standards Committee (chaired by Mrs Kelly Martin)

Resources Committee (chaired by Mrs Patricia Waller)

Church Foundation Committee (chaired by Howard Bailey) 

These usually meet once a term, but due to COVID19 restrictions, since March their work has been undertaken by the Full Governor meetings.

Safeguarding

The Governing Board has a statutory duty to ensure that the children and adults in our school are safe.   It is our responsibility to ensure that the school complies with all the regulations and requirements. The Governors take their Safeguarding role very seriously and we believe there is never room for complacency.   All governors are required to undertake safeguarding training.

Safeguarding not only includes ensuring the physical, mental and emotional health of our children, it also covers health and safety,  behaviour management, our school ethos,  what we teach as part of the curriculum,  recruitment procedures,  first aid, educational visits,  anti-bullying,  pupil attendance,  E safety, The Prevent Duty and the staff code of conduct.

At this school, we view safeguarding as our highest priority – it is not just a policy, it is a way of life.   Everyone in the school has a responsibility for safeguarding.  The Senior Designated Person is our Headteacher Mrs Futers and our Assistant Headteacher Mrs Cole and school secretary Mrs Playford are additional Designated Safeguarding Leads.  Annual Safeguarding training for all staff is provided by Norfolk County Council and staff receive regular Safeguarding briefings throughout the year to ensure procedures are consistently followed.

This school is recognised as having very high safeguarding standards which are maintained through the diligence and work of our Headteacher who models the behaviour she expects of her staff.  All staff, students and regular volunteers have an Enhanced DBS check before starting at our school and checks are made that any contractors, outside agencies etc have a DBS.

At each Full Governors Meeting, the Governors receive a Safeguarding report from the Headteacher which includes anonymised reports on matters concerning the welfare of all the children.

The Governor responsible for Safeguarding is the Chair of Governors, Mrs Waller. She monitors and checks the school’s procedures and practices, examines records and liaises regularly with the Designated Safeguarding Leads to get updates on safeguarding issues and ensure that safeguarding is effective and thorough and that our children are always assured of a safe and nurturing school environment.  

The school’s safeguarding practice is audited by Norfolk County Council and during the Autumn term the senior leadership team and Safeguarding Governor worked together to complete a comprehensive audit which was then shared with the governors.     

The Governing Board is overseeing the introduction of  the ‘Jigsaw’ PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) resource in the next academic year, to provide children with opportunities to discuss important issues such as bullying and emotional well -being.

COVID19 Health and Safety

During these unprecedented times, the school’s Senior Leadership Team and Governors worked together to protect the health and safety of all the school community by carrying out Covid19 Health and Safety risk assessments and following advice from the Department for Education and the Norfolk County Council.

Through the lockdown our Headteacher has worked tirelessly to plan new hygiene routines and create self contained “bubbles” of staff and pupils in school, so that care can be provided for our vulnerable pupils and children of key workers. She has also ensured that families have received phone calls from the school to keep in contact and to provide support and assistance where necessary.

Throughout this period communications from the Headteacher and Governors  have been issued to parents updating them on the school’s approach and plans, as well as outlining safeguarding steps and measures implemented in line with both the Government’s and Local Authority ’s guidelines.

The Governors will continue to work closely with our Headteacher and senior leaders to support them so that all sensible and proportionate control measures are put in place to reduce the risks of virus transmission to the lowest reasonably practicable level and to promote the health and safety of our school community.

The School Improvement Development Plan

The role of the governing body is to act strategically to help raise standards of teaching and learning, by monitoring and evaluating progress towards the priorities and targets set in the School Improvement & Development plan (SIDP).

In October, the senior leadership team. staff and governors met to review last year’s plan and devise one for 2019-20 to further the school’s continued improvement and development. The plan was informed by the recommendations made in Ofsted’s report resulting from their most recent visit in January 2019. Four priorities were set with each priority assigned objectives, actions  and success criteria.

The priorities were:

  1. Leadership and Management (developing Subject Leaders and Curriciulum Management)
  2. Teaching, Learning & Assessment (including Intervention and Marking)
  3. Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare (Pupil voice, School council, Curriculum Leaders, Librarians, Children’s Discussion, Collective Worship, Mental Health)
  4. Improving outcomes for all pupils including specific groups and SEND pupils

A summary of our School Improvement Development Plan is on the school website under the “All About Us” tab.

The Achievements and Standards Committee monitors the progress towards the SIDP targets by analysing school data and reviewing reports from outside agencies. The Committee then reports its findings to the Full Governors Meetings.

Despite the interruption brought about by the COVID19 restrictions, a considerable amount of work was done in developing the role of staff as Subject Leaders so that they took ownership of the teaching of their subject across each year group.  Curriculum intent, implementation and impact statements were written and published on the school’s website and descriptions of learning in each subject were also created. PSHE provision was created and planned and RE provision was shared with the Diocese.

Five Bitesize Improvement Focus’ (BIF) were implemented centring on Shared Writing, Differentiation and Challenge, Speaking and Listening, Handwriting and Maths.

PITA (Point in time assessment) was also used across the school to assess pupils and identify limiting areas. New tracking grids were introduced to direct intervention provision and a school-wide marking policy was introduced which included verbal feedback to ensure it was accessible to all pupils.  Pupil voice was heard through School Council meetings with staff and governors, the creation of Librarians and Eco- warriors and pupils’ participation in the planning and impact of Collective Worship. Mental Health training took place for all staff and classes had planned and regular  “Mindfulness Moments”.   Sadly, due to the Covid19 restrictions, no data has been available to support the evidence of the implementation of these measures, but governors who visited the school during the Autumn and Spring term monitored and witnessed some of these provisions for themselves and were able to report back to the Governing Body. 

Finance

Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure money is well spent is one of the core roles of the Governing Body. The Governors monitor the school’s financial situation throughout the year and one Governor is specifically appointed to work with the Finance Officer, Headteacher and the LA financial auditor to review the budget.

The financial climate this year has been difficult for schools across the country but application will be made to the Government for reimbursement of the additional expenses incurred due to the COVID19 pandemic.

The Resources Committee monitor and oversee spending and plan how specific funds, such as the Sports and PE Premium and Pupil Premium are used. The reports on these funds are published on the school’s website under the Governors section. 

Substantial repairs to the pitched roofs on the school building are taking place this year and these works are also monitored by the Resources Committee.

We are pleased to confirm that Budget Revision 1 was agreed by the Full Governing Board on 15th July with a small surplus going forward.

The Governors recognise that the commitment and diligence of our Finance Officer Mrs Dorcas Olley has been instrumental in keeping the school’s spending on track.

Monitoring

The Governing Board monitors the management and performance of the school through various monitoring activities which are set out in the Monitoring Plan.

This includes visiting the school, meeting with staff and pupils and volunteers. Governors have also undertaken lesson observations, conducted “booklooks” and learning walks. Governors have also requested Subject Leaders to give presentations to the Governing Board on what and how their subject is taught as part of the broad and balanced curriculum. This gives the governors the opportunity to ask questions and be able to understand how differentiation and progression is achieved. 

The SenCo meets with the SEND governor to report on how all pupils are provided with necessary support and intervention to enable them to achieve their fullest potential.  Governors also examine data from different sources to challenge the Senior Leadership team on pupil progress/achievement and on specific disadvantaged groups.

A panel selected from the governing body also undertakes the performance management of the Headteacher. They are assisted in this task by an external professional from VNET.

Attendance and Safeguarding audits and checks are undertaken and the  Safeguarding Governor meets with the Designated Safeguarding Leads.  Inspections are carried out by the Governor responsible for Health and Safety to ensure the school is compliant with all regulations.

The Finance Governor takes part in the Budget Setting and Revision processes.  Governors examine the spend analysis of the Pupil and Sports Premiums and review its impact.

Policies and Procedures

At Full Governor and Committee meetings, the Governors review the school’s policies and procedures on a rolling three year programme to ensure that they are compliant with current guidance. Some policies like the Safeguarding policy, are reviewed annually. Copies of the policies are published on the school’s website.

Since March, the Covid19 pandemic has necessitated the frequent review and revision of the school’s Risk Assessment by the Headteacher and Governors. 

As a voluntary aided church school, the Governing Board are responsible for setting the school’s admission criteria in consultation with the staff and the Diocese and local authority.

Professional Development Training

This school has a high level of expertise within the staff and governors and we are committed to continued professional development as one of the means of driving improvement in standards.

The expectation is that Governors take part in a number of training courses during their term of office including annual Safeguarding training. Some training equips them to undertake specific roles and duties, while other training contributes to the skill base of the Governing Board. Courses have included school finance, Prevent duty, performance management, curriculum cultivation, preparation for safe re-opening in September and Covid19 Briefings.

Governors expect and encourage all staff to undertake training and have been pleased with the amount of training achieved by them online during the last few months.

The school community

The Governors recognise the huge contribution made by the wider school community, including our wonderful PTA, to ensuring that our school makes a significant and positive impact on the lives of our children. Their help, involvement and enthusiasm make such a difference to school life.

We appreciate all that the learning support staff, catering team, and our cleaning and care-taking teams have been doing under very difficult conditions during the months of the COVID19 pandemic.

Governors also thank our volunteers, parents, grandparents and carers who, until the COVID19 restrictions, were coming into school on a regular basis to support the learning and development of our pupils. We hope that they will be able to return to school at some point in the next academic year.

What next?

When school returns in September, some things will be very different and will continue to be so while we have to live with the necessary restrictions and protective measures associated with the COVID19 virus.

However, the Governors can assure you that the ethos and values of our school will remain the same.

In accordance with our school vision, encapsulated by the biblical text from Matthew 19v14 ‘Jesus said let the little children come to me and do not hinder them for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these’  we will continue to work to support and nurture each individual to be safe, to enable them to achieve as highly as they can, and to enjoy their time at our school.