A word from the Governors

Ofsted January 2019 said

The Headteacher and the Governors have ensured that safeguarding processes and procedures meet requirements. The Headteacher and the Governors have targeted Pupil Premium funding to ensure that pupils have effective support in class.

Message from the Chair of Governors

Dear parents/carers and friends,

This has been an exceptionally challenging and busy year for staff, parents and children alike, and it is good to look back at some of the positive outcomes.

You may remember that the DfE Regional Director approved our application to convert to become an academy on 23rd March, and since then governors have been working with our school leadership, the local authority and Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT) to ensure that the conversion process is as smooth as possible.

We are currently looking at a proposed conversion date of Wednesday 1st November 2023. We would then become an academy within the Diocese of Norwich Education and Academies Trust (DNEAT). On conversion, the school’s name will alter slightly to recognise its new status. In May the governors agreed that it will be called Dereham Church of England Infant and Nursery Academy or DCEINA. There is still a lot of administrative and legal paperwork to be done, so the conversion date may change, but we will be sure to update you further when school resumes for the Autumn term.

However, while our status may change, what will not change is our school’s very distinctive Christian ethos and the caring way in which the whole school community works together to make this a place where our children want to come to school and want to learn. But most of all, this school is a place where everyone feels safe and feels valued.

The priority of our Governing Body continues to be to ensure that our children are equipped with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to achieve their best possible potential, while also providing them with a foundation of Christian values.

Last year, the governors identified the need for improvement in the standards of teaching and learning within certain key areas of the curriculum. Phonics and KS1 reading results were a particular focus. An ability to read and understand age-appropriate texts is vital in enabling children to succeed in their learning. A new synthetic phonics programme (Essential Letters and Sounds or ELS) was introduced in September and the school was accepted as a partner with the Wensum Hub, which provided support to help improve the teaching of phonics and reading.

To assist the school leaders and governors in continuing this drive for improvement, governors proposed the formation of a School Improvement Group. Representatives from the Local Authority and DNEAT are working with the Headteacher and Chair of Governors to provide specific support to enhance curriculum leadership and to overhaul the whole school curriculum provision. This is a massive task which will carry on into the new academic year. The School Improvement Group will continue its work up until the school converts to academy status in the Autumn term and we then join DNEAT.

The results of the Phonics tests completed in June this year were very encouraging:

Yr1 pass rate was 74.5%, a vast improvement from last year when it was 36%

This is a remarkable turnaround in just one year and evidences all the hard work that the Senior Leadership team and staff have put into the new Phonics scheme.

In addition to this, the current Good Level of Development for Reception is 51%, which is on par with last year.

End of key stage data this year were:

Reading 57.8% expected standard and 20% at greater depth standard

Writing 48.9% expected standard and 8.9% at greater depth standard

Maths 64.5% expected standard and 22.2% at greater depth standard

These results are an improvement on last year and reflect how hard the staff have worked over the last twelve months to raise the quality of teaching and learning.

As this academic year draws to a close, we look forward to the start of a new phase in the life of our school as the date of conversion to academy status approaches. This heralds a new beginning, but one which holds many exciting opportunities for the school, its staff and all the pupils and their families.

Yours in Christ,

Patricia Waller

On behalf of the Board of Governors

If you would like to be a governor, or have a concern or a point of view to share please let us know. We can be contacted via the School Office or by email at office@dereham.norfolk.sch.uk.