Governance Statement

Academic year ending July 2022

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.

Governance arrangements

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 the Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee, and the Pay Committee. When urgent matters dictate we hold occasional extraordinary meetings to deal with those other matters. We also have committees that meet if required to consider pupil discipline and staffing matters.

Our strategic focus is to govern our School to provide the best possible education, wellbeing, pastoral care and safeguarding for each and every child and to achieve the best for our children. To help us accomplish this we encourage all our parents and carers and the local community to continue to work with us to promote our School. We want all our children to be happy, confident and knowledgeable and make informed decisions, whilst enjoying independent learning and feel valued in a safe and positive environment.

Governors’ primary role is that of critical friends to challenge the schools teaching and learning, monitor the strategic direction of the school, oversee the safeguarding, wellbeing and welfare of pupils and staff and ensure finances are properly managed. As Governors we compare value for money by benchmarking our school against similar schools. We monitor the central Sports Premium and Pupil Premium expenditure and review the provision of classroom support and Special Education Needs Welfare.

Governors conduct regular monitoring visits to the school and at least termly attend curriculum related school assemblies, all governors jointly attend in-house continuing professional development sessions (CPD), when school improvement and other key issues are discussed and we regularly attend external CPD courses.   The Pandemic was a challenging time but we did not let that deter us, we monitored school activates via “Zoom” when we were unable to visit in person and we were one of the first Governing Bodies to return in person when Government regulations allowed.   

There is a list of Governors with the number of courses attended at the end of this statement.

We continue to support and nurture our Key Values, developing school improvement and reviewing school policies.

We had some changes to Governor Membership during the last year – We said goodbye to Mrs. Natalie Booker as a staff governor and immediately welcomed her back as a co-opted Governor and we welcomed the return of Mrs Rhian Fisk as a Staff Governor, a post she has previously occupied. 

Safeguarding

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.

All Governors have received Safeguarding and PREVENT policy training.   Regular annual staff safeguarding training, which all Governors attend, takes place in early September.

Wellbeing is included as a priority in our School Improvement Plan.   Measures are taken to promote staff wellbeing, particularly in these difficult times, and we continue to ensure that any communications with staff outside of working hours is avoided to support a positive work-life balance.

Governors are united in thanking the Headteacher, and all staff, for their outstanding efforts in maintaining a positive and comprehensive educational offer during these exceptionally difficult times.

Governors place great importance on safeguarding and equality.    We have a Nominated Safeguarding Governor in Mrs. Bobbie Charlick, who constantly monitors the wellbeing of staff and pupils and gives a termly report to Governors on all safeguarding and equality issues.  The Chair and Mrs. Charlick have carried out and recorded termly checks of DBS procedures throughout the School, together with monitoring all safeguarding incidents and ensure all such incidents are followed up to a satisfactory conclusion.

All volunteers and helpers in the school are DBS checked and attend safeguarding training by the Headteacher.

Governors’ special duties

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 Mrs Burton.

Mr. Bray is our Health and Safety Governor.   Termly health and safety checks of the premises have been carried out by Mrs. Castell and Mr. Turner, the school’s site manager, they report their finding to Governors at the termly governor meetings. Since Governors have been permitted to return to school Mr Bray now accompanies them.

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

It was a challenging start to the new academic year due to ongoing difficulties caused by the pandemic and the impact on staffing and pupils, with the difficulties faced in delivering a remote learning offer.   In due course Schools will be expected to manage Covid in line with other illnesses. It is becoming clear that Ofsted will now expect‘a business-as-usual approach’

Covid-19: The Headteacher provided regular updates on the evolving situation with Covid-19 as directed by Government and Local Authority guidance.   We thank our hardworking Headteacher and staff for the extensive arrangements and risk assessments they have undertaken that enabled full school reopening, Parents were comprehensively updated on all Covid-19 arrangements and any subsequent issues via ParentMail.

It has continued to be a challenging period for staff over the past year, with some experiencing more disruption than others due to their personal circumstances.   All staff are receiving support during this challenging period and careful consideration has been given to capacity, workload, and welfare.  We thank our Headteacher and senior leadership team in going above and beyond in providing support to those who have needed it.

The Governors echo the Headteacher’s thanks to staff for their commitment and flexibility shown during the pandemic, particularly as supply staff have been in such short supply.

Recent work and future objectives

In spite of financial restrictions, compounded by the Covid-19 effect, by diligent management, we still manage to fund release of our Deputy Headteacher Mrs. Tracey Wilson for two non-teaching days per week to continue 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.

The previous OFSTED cycle indicated that the next inspection was due from December 2021 onwards however due to the Covid-19 effect that did not happen but we remain prepared for an inspection at any time.   OFSTED paused full inspections until January 2021, they nevertheless carried out remote monitoring in order to review the use of catch-up funding and schools implementation of the recovery curriculum to ensure it is well spent.   Inspections are now proceeding as normal.

We work with the Junior School to improve transition between the two Schools. Towards the end of their time in the Infant School pupils are invited to spend time in the Junior School taking part in lessons and activities to ensure an easy transition to their new school in September.

The new curriculum is now embedded and the Headteacher provides termly updated data reports, governors analyse key data showing 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 are pleased to see that in spite of the pandemic, at end of Key Stage 1, based on Teacher assessment, our school’s maths exceeded provisional National by 18%, writing by 9% and reading by 13%.   When combined reading, writing and maths exceeded provisional National by 6%.  Our target for 2022-23 is to continue to improve.

The Headteacher provides updates on the ongoing development of the curriculum in the context of the OFSTED inspection framework and plans are in place to evidence full coverage and progress, whilst retaining creative elements and ensuring that planning remains engaging.  

We also pay particular attention to our vulnerable groups of children and focus on how prudently the Pupil Premium and Sports 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.

In the 2022 summer term, the Finance and Premises Committee approved the 2022/23 budget plan for the school and the school is in a sound financial position.   We are pleased to report that notwithstanding the constraints of the Covid-19 crisis we can still run all our classes with qualified and dedicated teachers and we give our thanks for the efforts of our Headteacher and all staff in stepping up to the plate when needed to fill any gaps caused by temporary staff shortages in isolating due to Covid-19. 

We are also still able to support an adequate number of well-trained Teaching Assistants, ensuring we give the best possible support to all our pupils guaranteeing they are adding value to pupils’ education.

We are constantly reviewing and agreeing school policies and we have a continuous Policy Review Programme, all policies are published on our web site; key policies include Anti Bullying, Behaviour Management, Child Protection, Concerns and Complaints, Data Protection, Internet Access, the Prevent Action Plan, Special Education Needs and Safeguarding, Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) and Recruitment Policy.

The Governing Body places high importance on any GDPR issues and is presented with all GDPR audit reports, we are again pleased to note that very few minor actions are identified which are rapidly progressed.

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 recognises 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 were some 5% above draft National.

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 web site.

Governors current achievements and future plans

Works carried out during the last year have included:- 

  • Playground markings have been re-painted and proved very popular
  • Replaced handrail to Ducklings Preschool ramp, the ramp itself is in good condition.
  • WISPA kindly purchased new library furniture and provided the labour for renovating the library.  Redesigning the library area has allowed a Chill-out space for quiet reading. One of our governors, Mrs Gentle, sorted out and replaced all the books after the work had finished.
  • Tree works have been undertaken in the EYFS area.
  • Following storm damage to the EYFS canopy we are awaiting quotes for replacement.
  • A Governor and staff carry out health and safety inspections of the premises on a termly basis. 

Future planned works:

The plans for the “Health and Happiness Hub” – Pro bono support is being provided for the hub from architects to progress designs and options. Some fittings and furnishings have been funded via some donations although fundraising efforts will also be continued. Surveys are also continuing to be completed as part of the pre-construction works.

Governors are pleased to report our 2022/23 Budget plan 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.

Writtle Infant School Governing Body members during the last academic year September 2021 to July 2022 
Governor Category Date of appointment Term of office expiry date Date stepped down
if applicable
By whom appointed
Mrs Natalie Booker Co-opted 12/10/2021 11/10/2025 Stepped down as staff Governor 11/10/2021 Governing Body
Mr Ralph Bray Co-opted 01/04/2019 31/03/2023 Governing Body
Mrs Esther Burton Parent 17/10/2019 16/10/2022 Parent Vote
Mrs Helen Castell Headteacher 01/09/2015 Ex officio Ex officio
Mrs Bobbie Charlick Co-opted 20/05/2019 19/05/2023 Governing Body
Mr Matthew Coffey Parent 17/10/2019 16/10/2022 Parent Vote
Rhian Fisk  Staff 10/03/2022 9/03/2026 Governing Body
Mrs Elizabeth Garrod Parent 24/03/2021 23/03/2024 Parent Vote
Mrs Joan Gentle Local Authority 22/05/2021 21/05/2025 Local Authority
Mrs. Marianne Parish Co-opted 01/09/2020 31/08/2024 Governing Body
Mrs. Tracey Wilson Co-opted 1/12/2020 30/11/2024 Governing Body
Mr. Firat Yildizgoren Parent 20/01/2021 19/01/2024 Parent Vote

 

Governors’ roles and responsibilities 2021-22 
Name of Governor Sub-Committees Role & Responsibilities
Natalie Booker Finance, Premises and Personnel

Headteacher PMR

Health and Safety
Mindfulness
Ralph Bray
(Chair)
Finance  Premises and Personnel

Headteacher PMR

Finance

Health and safety/Educational Visits

Behaviour

Data

Computing and website

Esther Burton Finance, Premises and Personnel

Wellbeing governor 

SEN/Inclusion

EYFS

PSHE

Helen Castell (Headteacher) Attends all meetings N/A
Bobbie Charlick Safeguarding

Headteacher PMR

Finance  Premises and personnel

Pay committee

Year One
Matthew Coffey Finance, Premises and Personnel vice chair Science

PE/Healthy Schools

Elizabeth Garrod Art/DT
Joan Gentle Finance, Premises and Personnel –

chair

Pay committee

Headteacher PMR

Attendance

Link (training) Governor

Medical needs

Vulnerable children including LAC and

disadvantaged children

English

Year 2

Marianne Parish Finance  Premises and personnel

Pay committee chair

Finance governor 

SFVS (Finance) lead governor 

Maths

Finance

Music

Tracey Wilson Finance, Premises & Personnel
Firat Yildizgoren History/Geography/RE

Monitoring website

 

Committees to which school governors belong and record of attendance 

during the academic year ending July 2022 

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

Attended/possible

Finance, Premises & Personnel
Committee
Attended/possible
Pay Committee Attended/possible
Natalie Booker (Co-opted) 3/3 n/a n/a
Ralph Bray (Co-opted) 3/3 (Chair) 3/3 (Vice Chair) 1/1
Esther Burton (Parent) 3/3 3/3 n/a
Helen Castell (Headteacher) 3/3 3/3 1/1
Bobbie Charlick (Co-opted) 3/3 3/3 0/1
Matthew Coffey (Parent) 0/3 1/3  n/a
Rhian Fisk (Staff) 2/2 n/a n/a
Elizabeth Garrod (Parent) 3/3 n/a n/a
Joan Gentle (Local Authority) 3/3 (Vice Chair) 3/3 (Chair) 1/1 (Vice Chair)
Marianne Parish (Co-opted) 3/3 3/3 0/1 (Chair)
Tracey Wilson (Deputy Headteacher, Co-opted) 3/3 3/3 n/a
Firat Yildizgoren (Parent) 3/3 n/a n/a

 

Courses attended by current serving Governors (both in-house and external) over last 2021/22 academic year. Governors who are members of staff are separately listed in Headteachers Reports 
Governor Number courses

attended

Description of Course 
Natalie Booker 1 Inspecting Safeguarding
Ralph Bray  8 Monitoring Pupil Premium; Refresher for Established Chair of Governors; Health & Safety for Governors; Preparing Governors for Ofsted; Internet Safety; Safeguarding Forum; Inspecting Safeguarding; Dealing with Complaints
Esther Burton  3 Disadvantaged Strategy and SEND; Preparing Governors for Ofsted; Therapeutic Mentoring, Safeguarding Forum and Mental Health and Wellbeing Provision in your School
Bobbie Charlick  5 Disadvantage Strategy Update; Safer Recruitment Refresher; Safeguarding Children for Governors; Preparing Governors for Ofsted; Wellbeing of Leadership Team
Matthew Coffey 2 Induction for New Governors; Preparing Governors for Ofsted.
Elizabeth Garrod 1 Internet Safety.
Joan Gentle  7 Preparing Governors for Ofsted; Internet Safety; Safeguarding Forum; Inspecting Safeguarding; Dealing with complaints; Safeguarding Forum; Harmful Sexual Behaviour-Peer-on-Peer
Marianne Parish  1 Safeguarding
Firat Yildizgoren 3 Disadvantaged Strategy Update; Preparing Governors for Ofsted; Introduction to SEND for Governors

 

Register of governors’ relevant Business and Pecuniary Interests
Name Type/ Category of Governor Term of Office expiry date Business Interests 2021/22 Personal relationship/ interests 2021/22 Involvement at other educational establishments
Natalie Booker Co-Opted Governor 11/10/2025 Teaching Assistant at Writtle Infant School None None
Ralph Bray Chair of Governors Co-Opted Governor 31/03/2023 None Partner is a Governor of the School None
Esther Burton Parent Governor 16/10/2022 Director of Dragonfly Education Consultancy None Employed by Dragonfly Education Consultancy
Helen Castell Headteacher N/A Headteacher Writtle Infant School    Member of NAHT None None
Bobbie Charlick Co-Opted Governor 19/05/2023 None Daughter employed by Writtle Infant School None
Matthew Coffey  Parent Governor 16/10/2022 Teacher at Fitzwimarc  School    Member of NASUWT None Employed by Fitzwimarc  School
Rhian Fisk Staff Governor 9/03/2026 Teacher at Writtle Infant School     None None
Elizabeth Garrod Parent Governor 23/03/2024 None None None
Joan Gentle Vice-Chair of Governors              Local Authority Governor 21/05/2025 None Partner is a Governor of the School None
Marianne Parish Co-Opted Governor 31/08/2024 None None None
Tracey Wilson Co-Opted Governor 30/11/2024 Teacher at Writtle Infant School    Member of NEU None None
Firat Yildizgoren Parent Governor 19/01/2024 None None None

 

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.

Governing Body

Chairs of Governors

Mr. Matthew Coffey
Mrs. Esther Burton

Local Authority Governor

Mrs. Joan Gentle

Parent Governors

Mrs. Esther Burton (Co-Chair)
Mr. Matthew Coffey (Co-Chair)
Mr. Firat Yildizgoren

Headteacher Governor

Mrs. Helen Castell

Staff Governor

Mrs. Rhian Fisk

Co-opted Governors

Mrs. Marianne Parish
Mrs. Bobbie Charlick
Mrs. Tracey Wilson

Clerk to Governing Body

Hannah Hatchman