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 2 staff governors (including the Headteacher), 4 elected Parent Governors, 1 Local Authority Governor and 5 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) and a Pay and 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.

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 Governing Body has again had a very busy year, with the appointment of our new Headteacher Mrs. Helen Castell who joined the school in September 2015 after the retirement of Mrs. Eileen Thomas – our long serving, popular and well respected Headteacher. During the transition period Mrs. Tracey Wilson stepped up to the plate and took the reins of Acting Headteacher in most excellent manner.

We continue to focus on regularly updating the School Development Plan to actively promote continuous school improvement, our OFSTED inspection in January 2014 gave the school a ‘Good’ rating. This outcome was due to the hard work and efforts of staff, pupils and the Governing Body. The OFSTED report has many positive comments, with many elements judged ‘outstanding’ in respect of all participants, both pupils and school team; 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.

At full governing body meetings 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 be sure that the school is on track to fulfill 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.

The Finance & Premises Committee looks at the maintenance and development of the school premises, and makes decisions about how the school should use the budget. We also have a Pay & Personnel Committee which meets once per term.

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 summer term, the Finance & Premises Committee approved the 2016/17 budget plan for the school; the school is in a healthy position financially and we are pleased to report that we can afford to run all our classes with qualified and dedicated teachers. Teaching Assistants ensure we give the best possible support to all our pupils with adequate training to ensure they are adding value to pupils’ education.

One of the roles for the governors is constantly reviewing and agreeing school policies, of which there are many, this year we have considered a number of key policies, including Behaviour Management, the new Prevent Policy and Safeguarding. Our new Attendance Policy, as a result of legislation changes that no longer allow schools to authorise term time holidays, is working 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 on target, which is key to OFSTED reports.

Policies, Minutes of Governing Body and Committee meetings are public documents. Policies can be found here, alternatively you can ask to inspect them and the minutes of all meetings at the school office.

In line with Government requirements the improved catering arrangements in conjunction with the Junior school to provide free school meals for all Foundation and Key Stage 1 children in the school, is now securely in place and is working well and has proved a great benefit to children and their families.

Works carried out this year, overseen by our Site Manager, have included:

  • The ramp to Ducklings Nursery required substantial repair and we were compelled to spend in excess of £11,000 on what was almost total replacement. When that was finished, as you may know, an arson attack in January left the Pre-school building severely damaged. It was a distressing time for the Staff, the children and Mrs. Homer, the Pre-school Principle. With initial help from the Junior School and then relocating the children into our main School building the Pre-school was repaired under the insurance, with significant help from our ever willing and helpful parents. As ever WISPA helped with that, as they do on so many other projects.Distressing though it was, it now looks fabulous and the children are safely back. A positive is that the Pre-school children now continue to eat alongside the Infants, which is proving a great help with transition. A further plus is we have upgraded the CCTV system with state of the art HD cameras and we are now considering connecting Ducklings building to the main School fire alarm; if the system can take it.
  • In March 2015 we resolved that the ICT curriculum resources were inadequate making it necessary to dispose of our outdated equipment, which needed significant re-investment. We have now successfully installed 16 laptops with trolley, 16 PCs, 16 i-pads with docking station and an HD TV in each classroom, significantly improving ICT learning across the curriculum. We expect the equipment will be in use virtually all the time and the long awaited BT higher speed Broadband has now arrived, so we are up and running.
  • Replaced garden fencing and front fencing;
  • Two classrooms re-decorated;
  • Field gate replaced;
  • Playground has been re-marked.

After all that, I am pleased to say our 2016-17 budget still shows a reasonable level of carry forward to take us into next year, all thanks to the prudent and shrewd management of our Headteacher and Mrs Capps.
Future works:

  • Redecorate two classrooms over the summer break and Entrance Hall in October half term;
  • Restore the pond and surrounding area;
  • Provision of a suitable external enclosure to house loose equipment to reduce congestion in the hall and avoid accidents;
  • Restore / replace the outdoor climbing equipment if funds are available.
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 20.05.2019   Governing Body
Mrs Rhian Fisk Co-opted 02.10.2014 01.10.2018 Governing Body
Mrs Joan Gentle Local Authority 28.05.2013 28.05.2017   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 Alison Marks Parent 09.02.2015 08.02.2019 17.03.2016 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 Governing Body
Mrs Sarah Steel Parent 19.03.2015 18.03.2019 Parent Vote
Mr Mick Townley Co-opted 06.10.2014 05.10.2018 17.03.2016 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
3 meetings +
4 extraordinary
Finance & premises
4 meetings
2 meetings – 1 combined with FGB
Pay & personnel
3 meetings
Number of CPD –
courses /conferences attended
Ralph Bray 7/7 4/4 2/2 n/a Moving from good to Outstanding; Wellbeing; Complaints & Concerns; Data Handling; Monitoring & Evaluation
Natalie Booker 6/7 n/a n/a n/a Staff – separately listed
Bobbie Charlick 4/7 n/a n/a 1/2 Update for experienced governors
Helen Castell (Headteacher) 7/7 4/4 2/2 3/3 Staff – separately listed
Rhian Fisk 7/7 n/a 2/2 n/a Staff – separately listed
Joan Gentle 7/7 4/4 n/a 3/3 Safeguarding; Moving from good to Outstanding; Wellbeing; Complaints & Concerns;
Christopher Harland (joined in year) 1/4 n/a n/a n/a
Nick Hoffman 5/7 3/4 n/a n/a
Alison Marks (resigned in year) 0/1 n/a 0/2 n/a
Karen Marsh (joined in year) 1/1 n/a n/a n/a
Lynne Oscroft 5/7 4/4 n/a 3/3 Safeguarding; Moving from good to Outstanding; Update for Experienced Governors
Sarah Steel 6/7 n/a 2/2 0/1 Governors Induction; Moving from good to Outstanding; Supporting Senior Leadership Team; Overview of finance & HR
Mick Townley (resigned in year) 1/2 1/2 n/a 1/2
  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
Ralph Bray None Governor Writtle Junior School stood down from WJS
31st August 2016
Partner of Mrs. Joan Gentle
Natalie Booker None None None
Bobbie Charlick None None None
Helen Castell (Headteacher) None None None
Rhian Fisk None (Staff co-opted) None None
Joan Gentle None Governor Writtle Junior School stood down from WJS
11th December 2016
Partner of Mr. Ralph Bray
Christopher Harland None None None
Nick Hoffman None None None
Dismas Joseph None None None
Karen Marsh None None None
Lynne Oscroft None Governor Writtle Junior School None
Sarah Steel None None None
Marianne Parish None None None
Tracey Wilson None (Staff co-opted) None None
  • 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

    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. Karen Littlechild

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