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 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.
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
|By whom appointed|
|Mrs Natalie Booker||Staff||07.11.2018||06.11.2021||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|
|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||30.11.2024||Governing Body|
Governors’ roles and responsibilities
|Name of Governor||Sub-Committees||Role & Responsibilities|
|Natalie Booker||Health and Safety
|Finance, Premises and Personnel
Health and safety/Educational Visits
Supporting Training Link Governor/CPD
|Esther Burton||Finance, Premises and Personnel||Point 5 on the School Improvement Plan SIP
|Helen Castell (Headteacher)||Attends all meetings||N/A|
|Bobbie Charlick||Headteacher PMR
Finance, Premises and personnel
|Mat Coffey||Finance, Premises and Personnel||Points 2 and 3 on SIP|
|Joan Gentle||Finance, Premises and Personnel
|Point 1 and 4 on SIP
Training Link Governor
Vulnerable children e.g. LAC,PLAC
|Dismas Joseph||Pay committee
|Karen Marsh||Finance, Premises and Personnel
|Suzanne Newman||Finance, Premises & Personnel
|Marianne Parish||Finance, Premises and personnel
|Governor responsible for Finance
|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.
n/a = not on that committee
|Finance, Premises & Personnel
|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|
|Helen Castell (Headteacher)||3/3||1/1||3/3||n/a|
|Bobbie Charlick (Co-opted)||3/3||1/1||3/3||1/1|
|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)|
|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|
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|
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
|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|
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||31/08/2024||None||None||None|
|Tim Williams||Parent Governor||17/11/2022||None||None||None|
|Tracey Wilson||Co-Opted Governor||30/11/2024||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.
Chair of Governors
Mr. Ralph Bray (co-opted)
Local Authority Governor
Mrs. Joan Gentle
Mrs. Esther Burton
Mr. Matt Coffey
Mr. Tim Williams
Mrs. Helen Castell
Mrs. Natalie Booker
Mrs. Marianne Parish
Mrs. Bobbie Charlick
Mrs. Tracey Wilson
Clerk to Governing Body