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 & Personnel Committee, which focuses on finance, premises and personnel matters and a Pay 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 external 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 to bring our membership up to the full strength of four Parent Governors, with the election of our new Parent Governor Mrs. Suzy Newman, who has extensive teaching qualities and experience, which 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.

Our Governor responsible for looked after children, children with medical needs and vulnerable children is Mrs. Gentle.

Our Governor responsible for children with special education needs and inclusion is Mr. Bray.

Mrs. Booker and Mr. Bray are our joint Health and Safety Governors and Mr. Bray carries out termly health and safety checks of the premises with Mrs. Castell and Mr. Turner, the school’s site manager.

Mrs. Booker is also our Governor responsible for mental health needs and mindfulness.

The Governing Body has again had a very busy year and we continue to move forward in excellent manner, generally exceeding National standards in all subjects. In spite of financial restrictions, by diligent management, we still manage to fund release of our Deputy Headteacher Mrs. Tracey Wilson for two non-teaching days per week 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 most recent 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. The OFSTED report, published on our web site, has many positive comments in respect of all participants, both pupils and the 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.

During the last year we have continued with our trial of merging the Curriculum Committee with the Full Governing Body meeting to streamline the process, as we found separate meetings were duplicating the process, this continues to work well. 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 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, Premises and Personnel Committee, in consultation with the Headteacher, looks at the maintenance and development of the school premises and makes decisions about how the school should use the budget and make best use of staff allocation.

Early in the 2018 summer term, the Finance and Premises Committee approved the 2018/19 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, ensuring they are adding value to pupils’ education.

We are constantly reviewing and agreeing school policies, of which there are many and we have a continuous Policies Review Programme this year. Among many others, we have considered a number of key policies, including Anti Bullying, Behaviour Management, Child Protection, Concerns and Complaints, Data Protection, the Prevent Action Plan, Special Education Needs and Safeguarding (Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Policy. Our Attendance Policy, continues to be in line with legislation changes that does not allow schools to authorise term time holidays. As with previous years, this policy works effectively to the benefit of the children. 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.

Policies, 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 have included:

  • Redecoration of the hall, hall ceiling and main corridor over the 2017 summer break.
  • Installation of a keypad entry system to allow Ducklings access out of school hours.
  • Removal of the outdoor climbing and play castle equipment which, due to age, were a health and safety hazard.
  • Installation of new soft paving where outdoor climbing and play castle equipment was located.
  • A group of parents helped to tidy the pond, following the renovation work by Essex & Suffolk Water last year.

Governors are pleased to report our 2018/19 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 our Finance Manager Mrs. Capps.

Future planned works:

  • A continued programme of redecoration.
  • Remodelling of Foundation Stage outside learning area.
  • If grant funding can be sourced, the installation of a “Wellbeing” outside room in the Playground.
  • 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
Mrs Natalie Booker Staff 20.03.2014 19.03.2018   Governing Body
Mr Ralph Bray Co-opted 01.04.2015 31.03.2019   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 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 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. Suzy Newman Parent 29.10.2017 28.10.2021 Parent vote
Mrs. Marianne Parish Co-opted 01.09.2016 31.08.2020 Governing Body
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.

Governors,
n/a = not on that committee
Governing Body
meetings attended
Finance, Premises & Personnel
Committee
meetings attended
Pay Committee meetings attended
Natalie Booker (Staff) 3/3 n/a n/a
Ralph Bray (Co-opted) 3/3 (Chair) 4/4 (Vice Chair) n/a
Helen Castell (Headteacher) 3/3 4/4 n/a
Bobbie Charlick (Co-opted) 3/3 1/4 1/2
Joan Gentle (Local Authority) 3/3 (Joint Vice Chair) 4/4 (Chair) 2/2 (Vice Chair)
Christopher Harland (Parent) 1/3 0/4 n/a
Dismas Joseph (Parent) 2/3 (Joint Vice Chair) n/a 1/2
Ruth Leverett (Parent) 3/3 n/a 2/2
Karen Marsh (Co-opted) 3/3 0/4 1/2
Suzy Newman (Parent) 3/3 n/a n/a
Marianne Parish (Co-opted) 3/3 3/4 2/2 (Chair)
Tracey Wilson (Deputy Headteacher, Co-opted) 3/3 4/4 n/a
  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
Joan Gentle None None Partner of Mr. Ralph Bray
Christopher Harland 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
Tracey Wilson None None Member of staff

The above Governance arrangements should include at least the following information:

  • details of the structure and responsibilities of the governing body and its committees
  • information about each governor, including their:
    • full name, date of appointment, term of office, date they stepped down (where applicable) and who appointed them (in accordance with the governing body’s instrument of government)
    • business and financial interests
    • governance roles in other educational institutions
    • any material interests arising from relationships between governors or relationships between governors and school staff (including spouses, partners and close relatives)
    • attendance record at governing body and committee meetings over the last academic year.
  • 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

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