Annual Governance Statement
Academic year ending July 2023
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, to provide constructive challenge in constantly endeavouring to raise standards and to 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 Head of School), 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.
Since the retirement of Mrs Castell, we decided to hold our skills audit before making any further changes to our constitution to ensure the School has a varied skill set across the Board. We will update this statement when this has been completed.
The full Governing Body meets at least once each term; we also have a few committees to consider different aspects of the school in detail. At Writtle Infant school we have a Finance, Premises and Pay Committee, which focuses on finance, premises and some pay matters and meets within the full governors meeting; and a Pay Committee. We also have committees that meet if required to consider pupil discipline and staffing matters. Our meetings and monitoring visits are all in person by default.
Training opportunities for the governing body are also more readily available, with a blend of online and in person training attended.
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 Burton) who gives a termly report to the governors about all such matters where applicable.
All governors have annual safeguarding training and have also taken part in Prevent training.
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. Burton is our Health and Safety Governor. Termly health and safety checks of the premises have been carried out by Mrs. Castell, Mrs. Burton and Mr. Turner, the school’s site manager. They report their finding to Governors at the termly governor meetings.
Mrs. Burton is our Governor responsible for mental health needs and mindfulness.
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 receive support 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.
Recent work and future objectives
In spite of financial restrictions, compounded by the Covid-19 effect and the rising cost of living, 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 May 2023 gave the school a solid ‘Good’ rating which we are very proud of. This outcome was due to the exceptional hard work and efforts of staff, pupils and the Governing Body. The OFSTED report, published on our web site, has many glowing comments in respect of all participants, both pupils and the school team. We will continue to maintain and improve on that high standard for the future.
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. From September this partnership will continue to develop as we welcome Mr. Taylor as our Executive Head, initially for 1 year.
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. Our recent Ofsted report highly praises the richness of this and the commitment of the staff in developing it.
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 2023-24 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.
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 Governor 30/11/2022||Governing Body|
|Mr Ralph Bray||Co-opted||01/04/2019||31/03/2023||Stepped down as Chair of Governors 13/10/2022||Governing Body|
|Mrs Esther Burton||Parent||17/10/2019||16/10/2022||Elected Co-Chair from 12/12/2022||Parent Vote|
|Mrs Helen Castell||Headteacher||01/09/2015||Ex officio||Ex officio|
|Mrs Bobbie Charlick||Co-opted||20/05/2019||19/05/2023||19/05/2023||Governing Body|
|Mr Matthew Coffey||Parent||17/10/2019||16/10/2022||Elected Co-Chair from 12/12/2022||Parent Vote|
|Rhian Fisk||Staff||10/03/2022||9/03/2026||Governing Body|
|Mrs Elizabeth Garrod||Parent||24/03/2021||23/03/2024||13/10/2022||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 (co-opted)
Mrs. Esther Burton (co-opted)
Local Authority Governor
Mrs. Joan Gentle
Mr. Firat Yildizgoren
Mr. Nick Taylor
Mrs. Tracey Wilson
Mrs. Rhian Fisk
Mrs. Marianne Parish
Rev. Tony Cant
Clerk to Governing Body