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 make informed decisions, whilst enjoying independent learning and feel 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.

During the year we have had some changes to the Parent Governor membership. Chris Harland and Ruth Leverett both resigned during the summer owing to work commitments; their children have already moved on to the Junior School. To bring us up to full strength of four Parent Governors the election of two new Parent Governors will take place in the new term.

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.

Governors place great value on safeguarding and equality, we have a Nominated Safeguarding Governor, 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.

All Governors have received Safeguarding and PREVENT policy training.

All volunteers and helpers in the school are DBS checked and attend a safeguarding talk 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 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.

Recent work and future objectives

The Governing Body has again had a very busy year and we continue to move forward in an 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 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 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 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 2019 summer term, the Finance and Premises Committee approved the 2019/20 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, Internet Access, the Prevent Action Plan, Special Education Needs and Safeguarding (Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) and Recruitment 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.

Current and future plans for the governors

Works carried out during the year have included:

  • Redecoration of the office corridor, school office and Headteachers office all taking place during the 2019 summer break.
  • Refurbishment of Foundation Stage outdoor play area.
  • New reading areas in classrooms.
  • A volunteer group from a local business built a new wooden stage area in the playground.
  • A group of parents helped to tidy the pond.
  • Forest Schools Scheme has been established in the wooded area adjacent to the entrance.

Governors are pleased to report our 2019/20 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.
  • We continue fundraising for our proposed “Health and Happiness Hub” and grant funding has already been sourced from various areas in anticipation of commencing work in the future once adequate funds are available.
  • We are still looking to provide an external enclosure to house loose equipment to reduce congestion in the Hall and avoid accidents.

Writtle Infant School Governing Body during the last academic year, September 2018 to July 2019

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 Helen Castell Headteacher 01.09.2015 Ex officio Ex officio
Mrs Bobbie Charlick Co-opted 20.05.2019 19.05.2023 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 18.06.2019 Parent Vote
Mr Dismas Joseph Parent 17.11.2015 16.11.2019 Parent Vote
Mrs. Ruth Leverett Parent 21.02.2017 20.02.2021 17.07.2019 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

Attendance record of governors

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’ roles and responsibilities

Name of Governor Sub-Committees Role & Responsibilities
Natalie Booker Point 4 SIP Health and Safety
Mindfulness
Ralph Bray
(Chair)
Finance, Premises & Personnel
Headteacher PMR
Point 1 SIP
Exclusion committee
SEN/ Inclusion
Finance
Health and safety/Educational Visits
Supporting Link Governor/CPD
Behaviour/ exclusions
Helen Castell (Headteacher) Attends all meetings N/A
Bobbie Charlick

 

Child protection Safeguarding
Headteacher PMR
Finance, Premises & Personnel
Pay committee
English/ Library
Art/DT
Joan Gentle Finance, Premises & Personnel
Pay committee
Point 2 & 5 SIP
Headteacher PMR
Exclusion committee
Attendance
Link Governor
Medical needs
Vulnerable children e.g. FSM, LAC
Christopher Harland Finance, Premises & Personnel RE
Dismas Joseph

 

Pay committee
Exclusion Committee
PE/Sports/PSHE/Healthy Schools
Ruth Leverett

 

Pay committee
Curriculum governor/Artsmark
Point 3 SIP
History/Geography
Karen Marsh

 

Finance, Premises & Personnel
Pay committee
Science
Computing
Suzanne Newman Finance, Premises & Personnel
Point 4 SIP
English
EYFS
Marianne Parish

 

Finance, Premises & Personnel
Pay committee
Finance governor
Maths
Finance
Tracey Wilson Finance, Premises & Personnel
Pay committee

Committees to which school governors belong and record of attendance during the year to July 2019

Governors,
n/a = not on that committee
Governing Body
meetings attended
Finance, Premises & Personnel
Committee
meetings attended
Pay Committee meetings attended
Natalie Booker (Staff) 1/3 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) 2/3 1/4 0/2
Joan Gentle (Local Authority) 3/3 (Joint Vice Chair) 4/4 (Chair) 2/2 (Vice Chair)
Christopher Harland (Parent) 1/3 1/4 n/a
Dismas Joseph (Parent) 2/3 (Joint Vice Chair) n/a 1/2
Ruth Leverett (Parent) 2/3 n/a 2/2
Karen Marsh (Co-opted) 2/3 0/4 1/2
Suzy Newman (Parent) 3/3 4/4 n/a
Marianne Parish (Co-opted) 2/3 3/4 2/2 (Chair)
Tracey Wilson (Deputy Headteacher, Co-opted) 1/3 2/4 n/a

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

  • Ralph Bray – 5
  • Bobbie Charlick – 2
  • Joan Gentle – 3
  • Chris Harland – 0
  • Dismas Joseph – 1
  • Ruth Leverett – 1
  • Karen Marsh – 1
  • Suzy Newman – 3
  • Marianne Parish  – 1

Register of governors’ relevant business and pecuniary interests

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.

Governing Body

Chair of Governors

Mr. Ralph Bray (co-opted)

Local Authority Governor

Mrs. Joan Gentle

Parent Governors

Mr. Dismas Joseph
Mrs. Suzy Newman
Vacancy
Vacancy

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

Hannah Hatchman