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:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;
- 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 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.
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
|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
|Health and Safety
|Finance Premises and Personnel
Health and safety/Educational Visits
Computing and website
|Esther Burton||Finance, Premises and Personnel
|Helen Castell (Headteacher)||Attends all meetings||N/A|
Finance Premises and personnel
|Matthew Coffey||Finance, Premises and Personnel vice chair||Science
|Joan Gentle||Finance, Premises and Personnel –
Link (training) Governor
Vulnerable children including LAC and
|Marianne Parish||Finance Premises and personnel
Pay committee chair
SFVS (Finance) lead governor
|Tracey Wilson||Finance, Premises & Personnel|
|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|
n/a = not on that committee
|Finance, Premises & Personnel
|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|
|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|
|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.
Chairs of Governors
Mr. Matthew Coffey
Mrs. Esther Burton
Local Authority Governor
Mrs. Joan Gentle
Mrs. Esther Burton (Co-Chair)
Mr. Matthew Coffey (Co-Chair)
Mr. Firat Yildizgoren
Mrs. Helen Castell
Mrs. Rhian Fisk
Mrs. Marianne Parish
Mrs. Bobbie Charlick
Mrs. Tracey Wilson
Clerk to Governing Body