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 2020 to July 2021

Message from the Chair of Governors

I think I can safely say that when I wrote last year’s report in summer 2020, no one believed that in the coming school year we would be experiencing two more lockdowns and the continued disruption to life that the on-going Covid 19 restrictions have placed on us all. The pandemic has intensified existing workload and wellbeing issues for our school community and led to new pressures and daily challenges for everyone.

Our school leadership has had to deal with the new day-to-day logistics of Covid testing and reporting, providing cover for short-notice staff absence due to need to isolate, dividing the whole school community into “bubbles”, the need for increased daily and weekly hygiene and cleaning routines and instituting staggered drop-off and collection times.  

Our teaching staff have had to re-plan and adapt lessons for the classroom and home learning, adapt to new ways of teaching through video clips and using virtual meetings,  provide support to parents and families with home learning and give feedback and assistance when needed,  assess and re-assess pupils after each lockdown in order to identify learning gaps and then provide tailored teaching to close those gaps, give support SEN pupils without the help of visits from external agencies and all the while continue to ensure the safeguarding of our children is given the highest priority.

The Governors, many of whom are also parents of school-age children, have been inspired and humbled by the concerted efforts of our school’s parents and families. You have devoted time and effort to support your children’s home learning, while many of you have juggled full-time working from home as well. We thank you for the enormous contributions you have made over these past eighteen months and the ways in which you have worked with the school to help our children to continue to enjoy learning and grow as confident, creative individuals.

Throughout all of this, our Headteacher, Mrs Futers has shown great fortitude and sensitivity in leading her staff through the issues this year has thrown at them, while tackling each challenge with her customary ingenuity and creativity. Teachers, teaching assistants, meal-time supervisors, premises and office staff – in fact our whole school community, has pulled together as a team to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our children in these uncertain times and have worked hard to give them the best learning experiences possible.  We are so proud of them all.

My fellow Governors and I have greatly missed being able to visit the school and engage with the children and staff. We hope that in the coming year restrictions will ease sufficiently so that we will be able to once again join the children in experiencing the buzz of learning in the classroom, the laughter at playtime and the thrill of their creativity and anticipation of new experiences.  That is what makes the role of being a Governor so rewarding!

I wish you all happy, healthy and safe summer

Tricia Waller

Chair of Governors

July 2021

The Governing Body make-up

There are 14 places on the Governing Board for DCINS. Governors are of 2 different categories: church foundation (8 places) and representative (6 places). Representative governors include parent, staff and one local authority governor.

The Governing Board currently has 10 members who comprise 5 Church Foundation governors, 3 parent governors, one staff governor and the Headteacher.  The Board is chaired by Mrs Patricia Waller, with Mr Oliver Thomas as vice-chair.

There are currently 4 vacancies (1 local authority governor and 3 Church Foundation Governors) and applications are always very welcome!   Governors come from all walks of life and bring their own skills and experiences to benefit the school. Governors are expected to undertake training and be an active member of the board. If you are interested in joining the Governing Board and want to find out more, please email the Chair at pwaller62r5@nsix.org.uk.

In accordance with DfE guidance, 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.

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

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 continued 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.

To do this we need to think and plan strategically and monitor outcomes. In December 2018 we adopted a Five Year Strategy which has 5 core aims:

  1. Ensure school’s Christian vision and ethos is fundamental and is reflected in all we do
  2. Ensure highest quality school leadership is maintained and developed through higher and middle leadership
  3. Striving for Best – highest quality teaching and learning with an aspirational and inspirational curriculum
  4. Further develop the school’s holistic approach to development of the individual child
  5. Promote healthy positive relationships with all members of the school community
  6. Ensure school’s continued sustainability in an academy dominated environment and continuing strong financial and pro-active budget management.

As governors, we review and discuss the school’s values and ethos.  We view safeguarding as being at our heart, and this is reflected in how the staff and pupils behave and interact.

Governors also have oversight of a variety of issues including pupil welfare, building and grounds maintenance, budgetry control and staff appointments.  It is important for the Governing Board to have people with the right mix of skills and experience, together with practical and creative talents so that we provide both challenge and support to the school leadership. 

Governors’ Action Plan for 2020-21

We achieve the core functions of governance and further the aims of our Five Year Strategic Plan by creating an Action Plan each year which will ensure we are proactive and strategic in our work.

Every year this plan is tailored to ensure that it addresses the areas which will help support the Governing Body Vision Statement and drive improvement. Actions are taken from the 5 Year Strategic Plan, previous Governors Action Plan and the School Improvement Development Plan.

In the light of the additional workload that Covid restrictions brought, the governors tried to be pragmatic in their selection of areas on which to focus.   

The Governors Action Plan for the past year had 6 action areas:

  • Maintaining Clear Focus and Strategic Direction – assessing priorities and discussing targets for SIDP
  • Keeping our children safe – making sure the whole school community knows and understands that Safeguarding is the first priority and ensuring that safeguarding is effective and thorough and that our children are assured of a safe and nurturing school environment.
  • Covid19 Safety and Contingency Planning – keeping the school as Covid secure as possible for all pupils and staff and including remote learning provision
  • Getting Back on Track – identifying learning gaps/weaknesses and measures put in place to enable pupils to make progress
  • Monitor Mental Health & Wellbeing – wellbeing and mental health of both pupils and staff is supported and the work/life balance of HT & SLT promotes their wellbeing
  • Ensure Financial stability and sustainability – drive effective financial planning and controls to ensure a balanced budget and value for money

The work of the Governing Body in the past year

The Full Governing Body has met 6 times during the past academic year:

2 October and 11 December 2020,

12 February, 26th March, 21st May, and 16 July 2021.

The Full Governor Meetings usually take place at school on a Friday morning, but due to the COVID19 restrictions, all meetings have been held virtually.

Additionally, there are three sub-committees which all met virtually this school year:

Achievements and Standards Committee (chaired by Mrs Patricia Waller) met twice

Resources Committee (chaired by Mrs Patricia Waller)  met 3 times

Church Foundation Committee (chaired by Howard Bailey)  met twice

Safeguarding

The Governing Board has a statutory duty to ensure that the children and adults in our school are safe and to promote their welfare.   It is the responsibility of the Governors to ensure that the school complies with all the regulations and requirements. The key DfE document is Keeping Children Safe in Education (2020).  The Governors take their Safeguarding role very seriously and we promote a culture that views safeguarding as the responsibility of everyone in the school community.  By law, each school must have a named Governor responsible for Safeguarding. At DCINS the governor is Mrs Patricia Waller, who is the Chair of Governors.

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,  on-line safety, the Prevent Duty and the staff code of conduct.

For the purposes of safeguarding, the Senior Designated Person is our Headteacher Mrs Futers and we have two additional Designated Safeguarding Leads: Assistant Headteacher Mrs Chloe Cole and school secretary Mrs Lisa Playford.

At this school, we view safeguarding as our highest priority – it cannot be just a policy, it has to be lived as a way of life. 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 and all governors have an Enhanced DBS check before starting at our school and checks are made that any contractors, outside agencies etc have a DBS.

The expectation that everyone in our school community takes responsibility for safeguarding is highlighted by the fact that we provide annual safeguarding refresher training for all staff and governors. This is provided by Norfolk County Council. In addition, staff receive regular safeguarding briefings throughout the year to flag up any changes to the statutory guidance and to ensure that procedures are consistently followed.

At each Full Governors Meeting, the Governors receive a Safeguarding report from the Headteacher which includes data on attendance figures, anonymised reports on matters concerning the welfare of all the children including referrals and work with external agencies.  Additionally, the Safeguarding Governor will report to the Governing Board on various aspects, such as monitoring and checking the school’s procedures and records. The Safeguarding Governor also met with the Designated Safeguarding Leads to get updates on safeguarding issues and discuss topics covered in the Norfolk County Council Safeguarding Governor Compliance Checklist.  and ensure that safeguarding is effective and thorough and that our children are always assured of a safe and nurturing school environment.  

In October, a Safeguarding/Wellbeing survey was undertaken which showed that most

children felt safe and knew an adult they could talk to about their fears or worries, but that children had spent a greatly increased amount of time gaming during lockdown and while

not at school during the summer.

During the Autumn term an on-line Safeguarding reporting and recording system

(CPOMS) was introduced which documents all safeguarding and pupil welfare information

in one resource. This replaced the paper-based system and is accessible by staff at all

levels.  This action was in accordance with Priority 1 of the School Improvement Development Plan (SIDP).  The reporting and sharing of safeguarding concerns and incidents has been

made faster and more efficient because reports are automatically shared with the Designated Safeguarding Leads. Whole school training was provided for all staff who found the on-line system easy to use and navigate. CPOMS is now well embedded in our school and staff are confident in its use and can monitor follow-up actions as required.

An audit of the the Single Central Record (which logs details of all pre-employment checks including DBS checks) was carried out  in March by the Safeguarding Governor and findings reported to Governors.

As part of our Safeguarding function, Governors also have a duty to protect the wellbeing

of our Headteacher and staff. The Chair of Governors liaised frequently with our

Headteacher to provide support and a listening ear, plus governors shared information

with staff about ways to support their mental and physical health.  Governors recognise that

a happy, healthy staff team are essential to a happy, healthy school.

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).

On Monday 19th October, the senior leadership team together with staff and governors all met virtually to discuss improvement and development priorities and plan for 2020-21. 

There are 4 priority areas, each with their own objectives, actions and success criteria.

  1. Leadership and Management

1.1 Implement new on-line safeguarding system

1.2 Curriculum development:

–-revise curriculum to address learning gaps,

– provide quality remote learning that is sequenced, meaningful and balanced

– review current R.E. curriculum and provision in preparation for application  for RE Quality Mark.

   – review the reading scheme to match the phonics provision

– use Covid catch-up funding to support pupils with gaps in learning

– Subject leads will support teachers to plan effective lessons and analyse assessment to ensure good progress is being made by all pupils

  1. Quality of Education
    1. Teaching & Learning Plan 6 week focused learning blocks for Handwriting in KS1, Speaking  & Listening in EYFS, Handwriting in EYFS and Maths across the whole school.
    1. Assessment

–  will be done to establish baselines and track progress

–  Moderation ( judgements and checks by teachers and leaders to assess  accuracy of what pupils understand, know and can do and how well other teachers have assessed these pupils)

– introduction of Target Teaching approach to provide support & challenge to   pupils at all levels

2.3 Speech and Language

.- Staff will be trained to develop knowledge of speech & language across the school

– Senior teacher to support staff and organise group/individual sessions to pupils assessed as needing speech and language support

  1. Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare

3.1 To respond to pupil voice on their school experiences, particularly during Covid-19.

3.2 Children are able to discuss and debate in a considered way; they are able to hold a thoughtful conversation about environmental and ethical issues.

3:3 Develop and adapt children’s role in planning and monitoring collective worship.

3.4 Develop positive mental health for children and staff, especially as a direct response to Covid-19.

  1. Improving outcomes for all pupils including specific groups and SEND pupils

Year 2: Attainment shows accelerated progress in Writing and Reading.

Year 1: More children make at least expected progress from their starting points

Reception: Number of children achieving a good level of development meets the national standard

Nursery: More children achieve a good level of development

Disadvantaged pupils are identified and provision/extension is provided.

SEND children: level of need/compound vulnerabilities identified, provision is adapted to support individual children’s need and progress is monitored and compared with children from similar starting points.

A fuller representation of the 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 from internal and external sources and reviewing reports from Subject Leads and Senior teaching staff. The Committee then reports its findings to the Full Governors Meetings.

Governors recognise that the disruption brought about by two further lockdowns during this academic year has been significant and has meant that curriculum plans have had to be revised and then revised again.

However a marked improvement in the quality and content of remote learning provision evidenced the hard work put in by all teaching staff to help make learning from home more effective by being sequenced and aligned with in-school learning. The expansion of the Tapestry provision to Key Stage 1 has facilitated improved home-school communication during lockdowns or individual pupil isolation periods enabling pupil work to be uploaded for teachers to review and give feedback and/or any assistance required. 

The application for RE Quality Mark has been accompanied by reviews of the RE curriculum provision across the school.  

A new reading scheme “Bug Club” was purchased in Autumn. This provided books to help scaffold the school’s reading scheme and ensure progression. The resource also provided e-books and phonics activities which were introduced in January during the third lockdown.

In the Autumn term 7 small out-of-hours Covid catch-up groups were created to support pupils with learning gaps in Maths and Reading. The groups were staffed by teachers and TAs and kept within year bubbles. New groups were formed during Summer 1 term. The groups have been well attended and staff report the amount of parental support has been encouraging. 

The focused learning blocks had to be revised due to lockdowns, but 2 were implemented: Speaking & Listening in EYFS, and Reading across the whole school.

Baseline assessments were carried out in the Autumn and again after the Spring lockdown.

The new Target Teaching approach which replaced intervention groups, was successfully introduced in Summer 1, having been delayed due to the lockdowns. The Target Teaching focused on spellings in KS1 and fine motor skills in EYFS.

The importance of fostering and encouraging speech and language across the school has been addressed by having a Senior teacher to co-ordinate training and provision and to support staff.  Whole school training was provided in order to upskill staff in supporting pupils with spoken language and TAs were given additional training in provision of remedial support.  

A survey of pupils regarding their well-being and safety was completed in Autumn and a new School Council was elected and helped create a video for prospective parents. Classes appoint Echo Warriors who raise awareness of environmental issues by switching off lights when not needed or ensuring items are recycled where possible.

Awareness of Mental health and wellbeing has been highlighted and has become a whole-school effort.  The Jigsaw PHSE resources assisted in supporting pupils with talking and sharing about experiences and concerns when they returned to school after both lockdowns. Governors and the Senior Leadership team shared support line information and other wellbeing resources with staff and mental health first aid training was provided to 25 members of staff in January. The Headteacher completed SLT Mental Health Champion training in March.

Outcomes for all our children have been encouraging, especially taking into account the amount of disruption to their learning they have all experienced over the last 18 months. Final data presented to the governors showed that reading and writing were areas of learning that required more support, with some cohorts with a higher percentage of SEN and Disadvantaged pupils having been particularly affected following the lockdown. Target teaching was implemented to support children to progress with reading and writing. Additionally, significant progress has been made in Maths and evidenced the cumulative value of the daily Maths Meetings initiative that the school has been promoting over the last two years.

Many children in Nursery and Reception started with very low or no Good Levels of Development, but the end of year data shows significant improvement in literacy areas of learning in Nursery and all pupils made at least expected progress in numbers and space, shape and measure. Our Reception children showed good progress in Reading, Writing and Numbers, with some achieving Mastery or Greater depth in these subjects. However, in both Nursery and Reception, speaking and listening has been identified as a limiting factor which impacts on children’s attainment ability. To address this, a comprehensive range of support measures has been implemented and this will be continued to scaffold the children’s future progress

COVID19 Health and Safety

In September the school was well prepared to re-open with all the necessary measures and cleaning procedure in place to mitigate the risks associated with Covid19.  The Headteacher and 2 Governors formed a Working Party which followed the guidance from the Department for Education and reviewed the many Health & Safety Risk Assessment documents issued by Norfolk County Council.  These included

Main Risk Assessment, Supplementary Risk Assessment for Lockdown, Management of Cases Risk Assessment, Lateral Flow Devices Risk Assessment, and Summary Risk Assessment.

The Health & Safety working party met regularly to oversee the stringent Covid-19 measures and ensure their effectiveness.  Reports were fed back to the Full Governor meetings.

Staff and pupils continue to be separated into self contained “bubbles” in school and playtimes, lunchtime and drop-off and collection times were all staggered to minimise contact with other groups.

During lockdowns, when the school was open for vulnerable pupils and children of key workers and the staff provided care and reassurance to all. Places were offered to all children with a social worker, but not all were accepted.  Staff were organised on a rota to either work in school with year group bubbles or work at home to provide remote learning. Remote learning provision was shared with families daily on Tapestry.

The school also ensured that families received regular phone calls from the school to keep in contact and to provide support and assistance where necessary.

School staff began Lateral Flow testing in January and the Headteacher acted as the Co-ordinator for the testing, collating and reporting the results twice weekly.

The work involved in dealing with the paperwork, oversight of staff testing, providing cover for short notice staff absence and ensuring all adhered to the strict Covid protection measures added hugely to the burden on our Headteacher. The Governors offer their thanks and admiration to her tireless work and positivity throughout this year. It has been a marathon effort.

The Governors will continue to work closely with our Headteacher and senior leaders

in the coming year, 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, safety and wellbeing of our school community.

Curriculum

During the year staff worked on revising, and then re-revising(!) the curriculum, in order to support all children in recovery of lost learning after lockdowns. The focus was on assessing learning gaps and adapting future planning to ensure all areas were covered.  Quizzes were used to assess pupils’ knowledge, understanding and skills. Staff also reviewed their curriculum plans to ensure that they could be implemented in a Covid-safe way

The need to provide remote learning also had to be factored into the planning, and how this could be done to support families isolating at home.  The Tapestry scheme was expanded to all year groups and this was used as the platform for families to access the remote learning resources provided by the school.  A template was created for staff to plan daily learning, which included writing, maths, phonics and a theme. Provision consisted of pre-recorded videos, resources and learning activities. The home learning followed a structured sequence and was aligned to the learning provided in school. Individually tailored work packs were devised for SEN, Disadvantaged pupils with resources (whiteboard & pen, counting beads etc ) for maths and other activities 

The curriculum events at school have included World Book Day in April, Science week in June (which was planned to coincide with National Climate Change week), Number Day in May, and World Music Day and Colour Day in June.  Sports days were organised in Covid-safe bubbles, so that each year held their Sports day event on a separate day.

RE maintains a priority status within the curriculum and learning was planned as a block in one week in each half term. Visits to St Nicholas Church were arranged for all year groups.  

This year the Governing Board has overseen the introduction of This provides a wide range of learning opportunities and develops our children’s knowledge and understanding about relationships in order to help keep them safe and be happy and healthy.

It is a statutory requirement that now makes relationships and health education compulsory in primary schools. As part of the new requirement RSHE and PSHE (Personal, Social and Health Education) are to be included in the curriculum as a subject in its own right. Due to the lockdowns, the introduction of the RSHE (Relationships, Sex and Health Education) curriculum was delayed until the Summer term. It provides a wide range of learning opportunities and develops children’s knowledge and understanding about relationships in order to help keep them safe and be happy and healthy.  All learning is tailored so that it is age appropriate.

The school uses the Jigsaw resource to support the curriculum and aims to work in partnership with parents/carers to ensure that appropriate relationship and health information is provided to our children.  The key concepts that children learn in Jigsaw are inner strength, self-esteem and resilience. These are really important as they help keep children safe and it helps them make healthy decisions later in life.   As a Church School, we are allowed to teach the health and relationships education from our distinctive faith perspective so we can include the Christian view of loving and caring relationships, and inclusivity.

Finance

The school’s financial situation is monitored by the Governors throughout the year with reports being made to Full Governor Meetings by the Headteacher.  A governor with finance or accounting experience/skills is also specifically appointed to work with the Finance Officer, Headteacher and the LA financial auditor to review the budget.

The Resources Committee oversee the school’s spending and plan how funds such as the Sports and PE Premium and Pupil Premium and Covid Catch-up monies are used.

The reports on these funds are published on the school’s website under the Governors section. 

The Governing Board acknowledge that while the school’s financial situation has been difficult, it is becoming more critical as the number of children on roll has fallen.

Unfortunately, this is beyond our control and the falling birth rate and its resulting impact on pupil numbers is a major cause for concern across the country and not least in Norfolk and Dereham in particular.

Governors have the unhappy duty of warning parents that the next couple of years will be extremely difficult for the school financially.   Budget Revision 1, which took place in June, was a difficult and intense meeting.  The amount of government funding to the school is falling because of the decreasing number of pupils. Bearing in mind that we have 180 places in our infant school, and our expected pupil numbers in the coming three years are 144,139 and 136, it is critical that we monitor the school budget even more closely in the coming months and years.

It is because of the stringent management of funds by our Headteacher and Finance Officer, that we will have a small surplus this year and next. However the forecast is for a deficit in 2023-24.

The surplus has been achieved through a reduction in expenditure on staffing.  Several changes are planned, including the Headteacher reducing working in school from 5 to 4 days a week and KS1 classes being re-organised. The Governors confirm that Budget Revision 1 was agreed by the Full Governing Board on 22nd June but there is need for further measures in order to eliminate the expected future deficit.

Fundraising events/initiatives to support the school budget have included a Number Day, joining Easyfundraising (a cashback system), a Mystery trail at Half Term, a jumble sale and the possibility of letting the school premises to local groups or clubs at weekends or in the evenings.   The introduction of Breakfast and After-School clubs will produce an additional income stream for the school.

Following the repairs to the flat and pitched roofs on the school building, this year the Governors have been overseeing plans to replace 13 of the wooden windows which are all in poor states of repair. Quotes have been sought and compared and a supplier selected. However problems in obtaining planning permission, together with issues experienced by the supplier in sourcing the materials (due to factory shut-downs because of Covid) mean that the new windows will probably not be in place until sometime next year.

The Governors wish to thank our Headteacher and our Finance Officer for their excellent efforts and imagination and resourcefulness in identifying how reductions in expenditure could be achieved and thereby making the budget more sustainable.

Monitoring

Sadly, due to the Covid19 restrictions, governors have been unable to visit the classrooms or conduct in-person monitoring, but in the Autumn and Summer terms the Achievements and Standards Committee has received data reports from the senior leadership team regarding pupil progress and achievement. Governors have also conducted RE book looks and viewed videos of lessons. Subject Leaders have also attended governor meetings to talk about their subjects, the curriculum and how it is taught.  Governors also examined remote learning resources and received reports on the home learning experiences of families.

Governors monitor the management and performance of the school through other various activities including:  

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. 

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. 

Governors forming the Health & Safety working party ensure the school is compliant with all regulations including the guidance relating to Covid19 measures.  

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.

Governors work with the Headteacher and Finance Officer to complete the annual Schools Financial Value Standards questionnaire which is then submitted to Norfolk County Council.

The chair of governors had regular phone or Zoom calls with the Headteacher  throughout each term in order to promote wellbeing and morale and offer any necessary support and assurance.  

Governors monitor the school website to ensure it is up-to-date and informative and meets all the statutory responsibilities and promotes the school.

Governors on the Resources Committee also monitor the school’s CGPR compliance by receiving reports from the Headteacher and the school’s GDPR provider.

Policies and Procedures

One of the many duties of Governors is to review the school’s policies and procedures not only to ensure they are compliant with current legislation or statutory guidance, but also that they reflect the Christian values and ethos of our school.

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.

Policies are reviewed at Full Governor meetings and also by the three Committees, who then refer them to Full Governor meetings for final approval.  Most policies are reviewed on a three year rolling programme, but some are reviewed annually, including the Safeguarding policy.

During the Covid 19 pandemic, governors forming the Health & Safety working party have had to review the various Covid Risk Assessments and related documents on a very regular basis – at one time, the documents needed reviewing every couple of weeks!

New policies reviewed by the Governors this year included the Remote Learning policy,  the Breakfast and After School Club policy and the RHSE policy.

Professional Development Training

Governors recognise the importance of continued professional development in the form of training and upskilling of individuals, and of the resulting benefits to the whole school community. Enabling staff to hone their knowledge, skills and working practices is one of the prime ways of driving improvement and enhance the quality of teaching.  Our Headteacher is very supportive of staff training initiatives and leads by example in ensuring that her own professional development is updated and her knowledge updated.

Governors therefore expect and encourage all staff to undertake training and while the

majority of training undertaken has necessarily had to be in the form of virtual meetings, seminars or on-line learning, Governors have been pleased with the amount of training achieved by staff during the past year.  The Full Governor meetings receive reports from the Headteacher on what training has been undertaken and by whom.  Training has included whole-school Safeguarding, RHSE curriculum, Mental Health First Aid, GDPR,

Training is also one of the duties of all Governors. On appointment or election, individual governors are expected to undertake introductory training including Safeguarding, but they are also expected to continue with training and development throughout their terms of office. Some training equips them to undertake specific roles and duties, while other training contributes to the skill base of the Governing Board. Training has included:  Monitoring RSE & Health Education in Church schools, the Governing Board’s role in Wellbeing and retention of Senior Staff, Working with your DSL, Understanding Data in Primary Schools, Working in Partnership with Senior Leaders, Speech and Language, Pupil Wellbeing, Statutory Duties of Governors and the Norfolk Agreed RE Syllabus, Wellbeing – how to support and promote it.

In addition to training, governors attended a variety of forums, briefings and seminars run by VNET(Viscount Norfolk Education Trust), NGA (National Governance Assoication) and NGN (Norfolk Governors Network).

The school community

It is a fact that our caring school community, including our pro-active PTA, are one of the elements that make DCINS so distinctive. Governors thank everyone for their contribution to the life of our school and the difference it makes to our children. 

We understand the pressures and stresses that have been borne by the teachers, learning support staff, catering team and our cleaning and care-taking teams over this past year. 

Governors also thank our volunteers, parents, grandparents and carers who, for the majority of this year have been unable to come into school as they used to. However, in Summer 1, a small number of regular volunteers were able to return – to the enjoyment of pupils and volunteers alike.   Governors hope that next year, the school will be able to welcome back all volunteers and parents again!

What next?

Who knows?!  It will depend on what happens over the summer and what guidance the DfE issues as to whether the school will be able to open “as normal” or whether we will have to live with some protective measures in place for the foreseeable future.  

But what the Governors can predict is that we, together with our Headteacher, staff and all the school community, will be working to maintain our very distinctive Christian ethos and school values of friendship, trust, love, happiness, peace, courage and last, but not least HOPE

As a whole school community we want to make our school a place where our children come, not because they must, but because they want to. A place where every child feels safe, listened to, included and enabled.

“Love never fails. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres”

                                                                             1 Corinthians 13 v8 & 7 (NIV)