Governance Statement

In accordance with the Government’s requirement for all governing bodies, the 3 core strategic functions of the Writtle Infant School Governing Body are:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  2. Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;
  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

The role of the Governing Body is to give Strategic direction to the School, provide constructive challenge in constantly endeavouring to raise standards and ensure finances are well managed.

The Governing Body of Writtle Infant School was reconstituted in 2015 in accordance with Government requirements and is made up of 3 staff governors (including the Headteacher), 4 elected Parent Governors, 1 Local Authority Governor and 4 Co-opted Governors. Co-opted governors are appointed by the Governing Body and are people who, in the opinion of the Governing Body, have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school.

The full Governing Body meets once each term, we also have a number of committees to consider different aspects of the school in detail. At Writtle Infant School we have a Finance & Premises Committee, which focuses on finance, premises and some personnel matters; a Curriculum Committee (for teaching and learning), a Pay Committee and a Personnel Committee. When urgent matters dictate we hold occasional extraordinary meetings to deal with them. We also have committees that meet if required to consider pupil discipline and staffing matters.

Governors conduct regular monitoring visits to the school and at least termly attend curriculum related school assemblies. All governors jointly attend in-house CPD sessions at the school, when school improvement and other key issues are discussed and regularly attend Local Authority CPD courses.

There is a list of Governors with the number of courses attended below. Please click here to see a list of each Governor’s current responsibilities.

During the year we have had some Governor movement. Of our Co-opted Governors, Mrs Rhian Fisk stood down and our longest serving Governor of Mrs Lynne Oscroft retired, having served as a Governor for more than 32 years. From Parent Governors, Mrs Sarah Steel and Mr Nick Hoffman stood down. We thank them all for their invaluable service and support. In their place we welcomed two new co-opted Governors: Mrs Marianne Parish, who has considerable financial knowledge of the school and Mrs Tracey Wilson. She and our new Parent Governor, Mrs Ruth Leverett, both have extensive teaching experience. The qualities of all three new members will be invaluable.

The Governing Body is committed to:

  • Safeguarding and promoting the welfare and safety, and the spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of children and young people;
  • Promoting equality of opportunity and community cohesion where the diversity of different backgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and positively valued;
  • The fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and mutual respect and tolerance for those with different faiths and beliefs;
  • Expecting all staff, volunteers and other workers to share this commitment.

Governors place great value on safeguarding and equality. We have a Nominated Governor for Safeguarding (Mrs. Bobbie Charlick) who gives a termly report to the governors about all such matters where applicable. The Chair and Mrs Charlick carry out and record termly monitoring checks on process and follow up of all safeguarding incidents, including DBS monitoring.

The Governing Body has again had a very busy year. Our Headteacher, Mrs. Helen Castell, is now well established and we continue to move forward in excellent manner, generally exceeding National standards. In spite of financial restrictions, by diligent management, we have managed to fund release of our Deputy Headteacher Mrs. Tracey Wilson for two non-teaching days per week. This enables her to take a greater management role, to the benefit of our supervision structure, without disadvantaging teaching in any way.

We continue to focus on regularly updating the School Development Plan to actively promote continuous school improvement. Our last OFSTED inspection in December 2017 gave the school a ‘Good’ rating. This outcome was due to the hard work and efforts of staff, pupils and the Governing Body. We continue to maintain and improve on that high standard for the future.

We continue to work with the Junior School to improve transition between the two Schools.

During the last year we have trialled merging the Curriculum Committee with the Full Governing Body meeting, as we found that separate meetings were duplicating the process. This is working well and we will continue with this arrangement for the time being. We continue to progress the introduction of the new curriculum and governors analyse key data giving the results of pupil achievement and progress, so that we can ensure that the school is on track to fulfil its ambitious targets for all pupils. We also pay particular attention to our “vulnerable groups” of children and focus on how wisely the Pupil Premium and Sports Premium Grant is being spent by the school and what impact this has on their outcomes, ensuring continuity of the benefits provided and concentrating on closing the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged children.

The Finance and Premises Committee looks at the maintenance and development of the school premises, and makes decisions about how the school should use the budget.

Mr Bray is our Health and Safety Governor and he carries out termly checks of the premises with Mrs Castell and Mr Turner, the school’s site manager.

Early in the 2017 summer term, the Finance and Premises Committee approved the 2017/18 budget plan for the school. The school is in a sound financial position and we are pleased to report that we can afford to run all our classes with qualified and dedicated teachers. We are able to support an adequate number of well trained Teaching Assistants, ensuring we give the best possible support to all our pupils and adding value to their education.

We are constantly reviewing and agreeing school policies, of which there are many. As part of our continuous Policies Review Programme we have considered a number of key policies this year, including Anti Bullying, Behaviour Management, Child Protection, Concerns and Complaints, Data Protection, the Prevent Action Plan, Special Education Needs and Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE). Our Attendance Policy, as a result of legislation changes that no longer allow schools to authorise term time holidays, continues to work effectively. The Governing Body recognised the problem that may cause for some parents, but we are very pleased that as a consequence of the support and understanding of parents, attendance figures at the school are close to our target and hopefully will be in line with National figures when they are published.

All policies and minutes of Governing Body and Committee meetings are public documents. You can ask to inspect any of them by calling at the school office, or you can download policies from our website.

Works carried out during the year include:

  • The pond area was cleared as promised and is now being used by both the school and Duckling Nursery pupils.
  • A local club volunteered to clear the garden area
  • An HD screen was installed in the Staff Room for staff training sessions
  • A new server unit was installed to overcome computer delays.
  • Two classrooms and the entrance hall were re-decorated.
  • New blinds were fitted in classrooms.
  • A fireproof metal cabinet was installed for retention of secure documents.

After all that, I am pleased to say our 2017/18 Budget still shows a reasonable level of carry forward to take us into next year, thanks to the prudent and shrewd management of our Headteacher and Mrs. Capps.

Future works:

  • Removal of the outdoor climbing and play castle equipment, which are now a health and safety hazard.
  • Install new soft paving where outdoor climbing and play castle equipment is currently located.
  • A continued programme of redecoration.
  • If funds can run to it, we would like to provide an external enclosure to house loose equipment, to reduce congestion in the Hall and avoid accidents.
Governor Category Date of appointment Term of office Date stepped down
if applicable
By whom appointed
Mr Ralph Bray Co-opted 01.04.2015 31.03.2019   Governing Body
Mrs Natalie Booker Staff 20.03.2014 19.03.2018   Governing Body
Mrs Helen Castell Headteacher 01.09.2015 Ex officio   Ex officio
Mrs Bobbie Charlick Co-opted 20.05.2015 19.05.2019   Governing Body
Mrs Rhian Fisk Co-opted 02.10.2014 01.10.2018 17.11.2016 Governing Body
Mrs Joan Gentle Local Authority 28.05.2017 27.05.2021   Local Authority
Mr Christopher Harland Parent 19.05.2016 18.05.2020   Parent Vote
Mr Nick Hoffman Parent 31.10.2014 31.10.2018   Parent Vote
Mr Dismas Joseph Parent 17.03.2016 16.03.2020   Parent Vote
Mrs. Ruth Leverett Parent 21.02.2017 20.02.2021   Parent Vote
Mrs Karen Marsh Co-opted 07.07.2016 06.07.2020   Governing Body
Mrs Lynne Oscroft Co-opted 31.08.2012 31.08.2016  31.08.2016 Governing Body
Mrs. Marianne Parish Co-opted 01.09.2016 31.08.2020 Governing Body
Mrs Sarah Steel Parent 19.03.2015 18.03.2019  09.11.2016 Parent Vote
Mrs. Tracey Wilson Co-opted 01.12.2016 30.11.2020 Governing Body

Governors have excellent attendance at meetings and we have never cancelled a meeting because it was not “quorate” (the number of governors needed to ensure that legal decisions can be made). See details of individual governors’ attendance at meetings below.

n/a = not on that committee
Full governing body
meetings attended
Finance & premises
meetings attended
Personnel meetings attended Pay meetings attended CPD courses & training
Natalie Booker 3/3 3/4 n/a n/a
  • School Improvement Plan
  • High Level TA course
  • EpiPen, epilepsy and Brittle asthma training
  • Finance, Budgets and Financial Monitoring
  • E-Safety run in-house by Childline
  • Training on Bug Club
  • Safeguarding
  • Understanding Finance – Full day
  • Partnership IT training
Ralph Bray 3/3 4/4 n/a n/a
  • School Improvement Plan
  • Supporting the Needs of the Most Able
  • Performance Management of H/T
  • Governors Role in Holding Their School to Account
  • E-Safety run in-house by Childline
  • Safer Recruitment (Refresher course)
  • Data Protection (GDP Regulations 2016)
Helen Castell (Headteacher) 3/3 4/4 3/3 n/a
  • School Improvement Plan
  • Educational Visits training
  • EpiPen, epilepsy and Brittle asthma training
  • Changes in ECHP funding
  • Peer to peer review training
  • Training on Foundation Stage at Woodcroft Nursery
  • Safeguarding updates
  • Critical incidents on school trips
  • Disciplinary procedures
  • Data Protection (GDP Regulations 2016)
  • Training on Bug Club
Bobbie Charlick 2/3 n/a 2/2 2/3
  • School Improvement Plan
  • Safeguarding
  • Safer Recruitment
Joan Gentle 3/3 4/4 3/3 4/4
  • School Improvement Plan
  • Supporting the Needs of the Most Able
  • Performance Management of H/T
  • Governors Role in Holding their School to Account
  • E-Safety run in-house by Childline
Christopher Harland  2/3 2/4 n/a n/a
  • School Improvement Plan
  • Governors Role in Holding their School to Account
  • Finance, Budgets & Financial Monitoring
Nick Hoffman 0/2 3/4 n/a n/a
Dismas Joseph 2/3 n/a 3/3 4/4
Ruth Leverett 2/2 n/a n/a n/a  
Karen Marsh  1/3 n/a 2/3 2/4
  • School Improvement Plan
  • Induction for New Governors (2 of 3 sessions)
  • Governors Role in Holding their School to Account
Marianne Parish 3/3 4/4 2/2 3/3
  • Governors Role in Holding their School to Account
  • Safeguarding (in-house)
Sarah Steel n/a n/a 1/1 1/1
  • School Improvement Plan
Tracey Wilson 3/3 3/3 n/a n/a
  • School Improvement Plan
  • General subject updates
  • Mastery in Maths
  • Safety in gymnastics
  • Speech and Language
  • Child Protection Training
  • EpiPen, epilepsy and Brittle asthma training
  • Attended a mental health conference
  • Raise Online training
  • Governors Role in Holding Their School to Account
  • Finance, Budgets and Financial Monitoring
  • E-Safety run in-house by Childline
  • Several maths courses including Bar modelling and cascaded to all teachers
  • Zonal proximity – mind set for autistic children
  Relevant business and
pecuniary interests
Governance roles in other
educational institutions
Relevant material interests arising
from relationships between governors or relationships between governors and school staff
Natalie Booker None None Member of staff
Ralph Bray None None Partner of Mrs. Joan Gentle
Helen Castell (Headteacher) None None Member of staff
Bobbie Charlick None None None
Rhian Fisk (stood down November 2016) None None Member of staff
Joan Gentle None Governor Writtle Junior School (stood down December 2016) Partner of Mr. Ralph Bray
Christopher Harland Works for Huto Trading Ltd None None
Nick Hoffman (stood down July 2017) None None None
Dismas Joseph None None None
Ruth Leverett None None None
Karen Marsh None None None
Suzy Newman Husband works for Capita SIMS and is Customer Service Manager for Writtle Infant School None None
Marianne Parish None None None
Sarah Steel (stood down November 2016) None None None
Tracey Wilson None None Member of staff
  • Contact our governors

    We always welcome suggestions, feedback and ideas from parents. Please contact the Chair of Governors, Mr Bray, via the school office on 01245 420963.
    Governing Body

    Chair of Governors
    Mr. Ralph Bray (co-opted)

    Local Authority Governor
    Mrs. Joan Gentle

    Parent Governors
    Mr. Dismas Joseph
    Mr. Chris Harland
    Mrs. Ruth Leverett
    Mrs. Suzy Newman

    Headteacher Governor
    Mrs. Helen Castell

    Staff Governor
    Mrs. Natalie Booker

    Co-opted Governors
    Mrs. Marianne Parish
    Mrs. Bobbie Charlick
    Mrs. Tracey Wilson
    Mrs. Karen Marsh

    Clerk to Governing Body
    Mrs. Yvonne Fitzgibbon

All content © 2006 - 2018 Writtle Infant School. Paper copies and translations of all information are available free of charge, on request. Please read our privacy notice.