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.

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 a Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee, and a 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 and pastoral care 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 to make informed decisions, whilst enjoying independent learning and feeling valued in a safe and positive environment.

Governors’ primary role is to challenge teaching and learning and to monitor the direction of the school and ensure finances are properly managed. As Governors we regularly 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 CPD sessions, 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 on 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 co-opted Governor Karen Marsh and Parent Governor Dismas Joseph, who both came to the end of their term.  We thank them for their invaluable contribution throughout their term of office.   We welcomed three new Parent Governors, Esther Burton, Matt Coffey and Tim Williams who each join us for a 3 year term of office and Mrs Parish was re-appointed as a co-opted Governor for a further 4 years.   Appointment of one new co-opted Governor to bring us up to full strength will take place as soon as practical next year.

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.   The regular annual staff safeguarding training to which all Governors are invited and most attend, is programmed to take place in early September, along training on the recovery curriculum at Governors meetings.

Covid-19: The Headteacher provides 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 in preparation for full schools reopening in September 2020, Parents are comprehensively updated on these arrangements and any subsequent issues via ParentMail.

It had been a challenging period for staff over the past few months, with some experiencing more turbulence 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.  

Wellbeing will be included as a priority in the School Improvement Plan for 2020/21.   Measures to promote staff wellbeing, particularly in these difficult times, include minimising the overall level of communications with staff outside of working hours to support a positive work-life balance.

Governors thank the Headteacher, and all staff, for their outstanding efforts in maintaining a positive and comprehensive educational offer during this exceptionally difficult period.

Governors place great importance on safeguarding and equality.    We have a Nominated Safeguarding Governor in Mrs. Bobbie Charlick, who constantly enquires on the wellbeing of staff and pupils and gives a termly report to Governors on all safeguarding and equality issues.  The Chair and Mrs. Charlick carry out and record 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 a 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.

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.

Recent work and future objectives

The Governing Body had a very busy year and the School was moving forward in an excellent manner with expectations generally exceeding National in most subjects up to the Covid-19 interruption. 

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 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 but due to the Covid-19 effect that is now uncertain.   OFSTED has paused full inspections until January 2021, they will however carry out visits to discuss the use of catch-up funding to ensure it is well spent and schools implementation of the recovery curriculum. 

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. 

The Headteacher provides updates on the ongoing development of the curriculum in the context of the new OFSTED inspection framework and plans are in place to evidence full coverage and progress, whilst retaining creative elements and ensuring that planning remains engaging.  Unfortunately, due to the Covid-19 crisis, the formal end-of-year assessments for summer 2020 had to be cancelled.  Assessments will be carried out as soon as practical when schools reopen in September.

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 2020 summer term, the Finance and Premises Committee approved the 2020/21 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 again considered a number of key policies, including 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 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 up to the Covid-19 pause, were close to our target and in line with National figures.

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:

  • Extensive internal redecoration between July and September 2019
  • Remedial and renewal of boiler house and heating boiler equipment 
  • Fully updated the IT system to a new educational compliant Google system
  • Replacement of Broadband service withdrawn by the Local Authority

Governors are pleased to report our 2020/21 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.
  • Works to the rear of Ducklings premises
  • Replacement of fire alarm system
  • Investigating replacing the lighting system with cost saving LED lighting
  • We have applied to the Local Authority for a second entrance and path to improve access to the school during the Covid-19 crisis
  • Fundraising for our proposed “Health and Happiness Hub” has been put on hold until after the Covid-19 crisis

Writtle Infant School Governing Body during the last academic year, September 2019 to July 2020

Governor Category Date of appointment Term of office Date stepped down
if applicable
By whom appointed
Mrs Natalie Booker Staff 07.11.2018 06.11.2022 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
Mrs Joan Gentle Local Authority 28.05.2017 27.05.2021 Local Authority
Mr Dismas Joseph Parent 17.11.2015 16.11.2019 16.11.2019 Parent Vote
Mrs Karen Marsh Co-opted 13.06.2016 12.06.2020 12.06.2020 Governing Body
Mrs. Suzy Newman Parent 29.10.2017 28.10.2021 Parent vote
Mrs. Marianne Parish Co-opted 01.09.2020 31.08.2024 Governing Body
Mr. Tim Williams Parent 18.11.2019 17.11.2022 Parent Vote
Mrs. Tracey Wilson Co-opted 01.12.2016 30.11.2020 Governing Body

Governors’ roles and responsibilities

Name of Governor Sub-Committees Role & Responsibilities
Natalie Booker Health and Safety
Mindfulness
Ralph Bray
(Chair)
Finance, Premises and Personnel

Headteacher PMR

Exclusion committee

Finance

Health and safety/Educational Visits

Supporting Training Link Governor/CPD

Behaviour

Esther Burton Finance, Premises and Personnel Point 5 on the School Improvement Plan SIP 

SEN/Inclusion

Year One

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

Finance, Premises and personnel

Pay committee

Safeguarding

Art/DT

Mat Coffey Finance, Premises and Personnel Points 2 and 3 on SIP
Joan Gentle Finance, Premises and Personnel

Pay committee

Headteacher PMR

Point 1 and 4 on SIP

Attendance

Training Link Governor

Medical needs

Vulnerable children e.g. LAC,PLAC

Library

Year 2

Dismas Joseph Pay committee
Exclusion Committee
PE/Sports/PSHE/Healthy Schools
Karen Marsh Finance, Premises and Personnel

Pay Committee

Charlotte Wright

SLT

Suzanne Newman Finance, Premises & Personnel

 

English

EYFS

PE/Sports/PSHE/Healthy Schools

Music

Marianne Parish Finance, Premises and personnel

Pay committee

Governor responsible for Finance

Maths
Finance

Tim Williams History/Geography/RE
Tracey Wilson Finance, Premises & Personnel

Committees to which school governors belong and record of attendance during the year to July 2020

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
Normal Virtual (return to school
Natalie Booker (Staff) 1/3 1/1 n/a n/a
Ralph Bray (Co-opted) 3/3 (Chair) 1/1 3/3 (Vice Chair) n/a
Esther Burton 3/3 1/1
Helen Castell (Headteacher) 3/3 1/1 3/3 n/a
Bobbie Charlick (Co-opted) 3/3 1/1 3/3 1/1
Matt Coffey 3/3 TBA
Joan Gentle (Local Authority) 3/3 (Joint Vice Chair) 1/1 3/3 (Chair) 1/1 (Vice Chair)
Dismas Joseph (Parent) 0/1 (Joint Vice Chair) n/a n/a 0/1
Karen Marsh (Co-opted) 0/2 n/a 1/2 1/1
Suzy Newman (Parent) 3/3 1/1 2/2 n/a
Marianne Parish (Co-opted) 2/3 1/1 2/3 0/1 (Chair)
Tim Williams ½ 0/1 na n/a
Tracey Wilson (Deputy Headteacher, Co-opted) 3/3 1/1 3/3 n/a

Courses attended by current serving Governors (both in-house and external)

Governors who are members of staff are excluded as they are separately listed in Headteachers Reports.

Governor Number of CPD Courses attended
Ralph Bray  6
Esther Burton  5
Bobbie Charlick  3
Matt Coffey  1
Joan Gentle  5
Dismas Joseph 0
Karen Marsh  1
Suzy Newman  3
Marianne Parish   1
Tim Williams  0

Register of governors’ relevant business and pecuniary interests

Name Type/ Category of Governor Term of Office expiry date Business Interests 2019/20 Personal relationships/ interests 2019/20 Involvement at other educational establishments
Natalie Booker Staff Governor 06/11/2021 Teaching Assistant at Writtle Infant School None None
Ralph Bray
Chair of Governors
Co-Opted Governor 30/03/2023 None Partner is Vice-Chair of Governors None
Esther Burton Parent Governor 16/10/2023 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
Matt Coffey Parent Governor 16/10/2023 Teacher at Fitzwimarc  School    Member of NASUWT None Employed by Fitzwimarc  School
Joan Gentle
Vice-Chair of Governors             
Local Authority Governor 28/05/2021 None Partner is Chair of Governors None
Dismas Joseph Parent Governor 16/11/2019 None None None
Karen Marsh Co-Opted Governor 12/06/2020 Director Shaw Ltd Member of British Association of Occupational Therapists None None
Suzy Newman Parent Governor 28/10/2021 None Husband works for Capita SIMS None
Marianne Parish Co-Opted Governor 31/08/2020 None None None
Tim Williams Parent Governor 17/11/2022 None None None
Tracey Wilson Co-Opted Governor 30/11/2020 Teacher at Writtle Infant School    Member of NEU 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

Chair of Governors

Mr. Ralph Bray (co-opted)

Local Authority Governor

Mrs. Joan Gentle

Parent Governors

Mrs. Esther Burton
Mr. Matt Coffey
Mr. Tim Williams
Vacancy

Headteacher Governor

Mrs. Helen Castell

Staff Governor

Mrs. Natalie Booker

Co-opted Governors

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

Clerk to Governing Body

Hannah Hatchman