Governor News – New Governors

Four new governors have recently been appointed to Morley’s Governing Body.

  • Ruth Kershner – Ruth is a university lecturer in primary education and psychology of education at Cambridge University. She supports trainees on the Primary PGCE course, co-coordinates the Primary Masters course and teaches in the areas of primary education, inclusive education, research methods and psychology. Prior to this, Ruth worked as a primary teacher, learning support teacher and educational psychologist.
  • Sarah Smalley – Sarah has recently retired. Until very recently she was chief executive of the Religious Education Council, a national education council that promotes inclusive RE teaching, ensuring it is relevant to children of all faiths and none. Sarah has considerable board and HR experience and worked for 30 years in education in teaching and advisory roles.
  • Anna Robinson – Anna has a background in drama teaching and before moving to Cambridge was Head of Performing Arts at a secondary school in London. She has experience of OFSTED, performance management in schools, monitoring standard and effective staff-governor relationships. Anna has a son in Year 1.
  • Marc Neesam – Marc is the Primary Education Programme Manager for the Royal Society of Chemistry and is responsible for developing their strategic plan for supporting the teaching of science across all primary schools in the UK. He is involved with developing science policy, curriculum and training opportunities for teachers. Marc is also a qualified and experienced primary teacher with particular interests in science, outdoor learning and ICT.

In the last few weeks, governors have taken the following actions to support schools improvement:

  • We have approved the following policies: grievance, sex and relationships education, exclusions, collective worship, behaviour principles.
  • Governors reviewed recent progress made towards targets identified as priorities in the school’s Raising Achievement Plan. These are: to embed and deliver a consistent curriculum, to establish new assessment procedures, to develop spelling and to further develop teaching. We were particularly pleased to note that the school in considering buying software that will make it easier for staff to track progress of children in their class and that phase and subject leaders are working collaboratively to developing new methods of self-evaluation and planning.
  • Governors reviewed data showing progress, attainment and attendance of all children in the school over the Autumn Term.
  • Governors have met weekly with Ms Brown as part of her induction.

Governors News – We are recruiting new governors

The Governing Body is looking for new governors.   We are seeking people who are committed to improving education for all pupils, willing to learn, committed to the school’s vision and ethos and who able to work as a team and take collective responsibilities for decisions. Governors don’t have to be parents or involved in education as full training and support will be provided. We currently have vacancies for people with knowledge of finance, performance management / HR, facilities management or early years education. It’s important that we have a balance of parents and non parents on our governing body, so if you are interested in becoming a governor yourself or know a friend, colleague or neighbour who you think might fit the bill, we’d love to hear from you. Please email chair@morley.cambs.sch.uk to arrange an initial chat. Click here to find out more details about what governors do.

Governor News – Supporting School Improvement

In the last few weeks, governors have taken the following actions to support school improvement:

  • The Salary Review Committee received and agreed salary recommendations for the staff from Mr Catchpool and considered initial feedback from senior staff on how successfully the new pay policy has supported the school’s improvement drive.
  • Governors have discussed the school’s strengths and opportunities for development with Morley’s school improvement partner who is part of Cambridgeshire’s Primary School Improvement Service. This forms part of the school’s regular self-assessment and helps to clarify that our development targets are focused on the most appropriate areas.
  • Approved a revised “Sickness Absence Policy”.
  • Met with the incoming head teacher, Nikki Brown, as part of her planned induction.
  • Agreed the design brief for the outdoor space.
  • Formally agreed the re-constitution of the Governing Body (GB). Under new government regulations, governors must now be primarily appointed because of the skills they bring and not because they are representatives from different stakeholder groups (e.g. parents, staff, community etc). GBs have been encouraged to become smaller. Appointing governors because they bring specific expertise and experience will enable the GB to better fulfil their roles of:
    • Ensuring the school’s clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
    • Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and it’s pupils
    • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure the money is well spent.

 

Governor News – Priorities for the Year

Before half term, the governing body formally agreed the school’s Raising Achievement Plan. This outlines priority areas the school is going to focus its attention on over the next year. The areas identified were:

  • Ensuring the new curriculum, which came into place nationally in September 2014, is successfully introduced so that it challenges and inspires all learners. The new curriculum brings considerable change in some subjects. For example, in ICT, children will now be taught programming skills from age 5. We are aiming for changes to be introduced smoothly and to maintain our focus on providing a creative curriculum.
  • Establishing a system of assessment which does not use national curriculum levels but which allows careful monitoring of pupil progress. This is a challenge that all schools face as the government has removed national curriculum levels and level descriptors from the new curriculum. Schools may continue to use national curriculum levels but are being encouraged to identify their own methods of assessment.
  • Continuing to raise achievement in spelling and grammar. The 2014 Year 6 Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar SATs results showed a marked improvement on the year before. We are keen to further embed good practice.
  • Continuing to improve the quality of teaching, to ensure every child is provided with appropriate support and challenge. Teaching is already solidly good and we now aspire to develop more outstanding teaching.

Throughout the year, the governing body will monitor the progress of the school in meeting targets linked to these areas.   We will discuss progress at meetings, look at data and visit the school to talk to staff and pupils. We will also ask for feedback from parents in the annual parental questionnaire.

Communication

  • For more information about the work of the governing body, see our regular governor blog. This initially appears on the home page of the school website and is then archived under “Governor News”.
  • For full details of how governors communicate with parents, see “Governor Communication” on the school website.

Governor News – Update on Early Years and the Playground

The Local Authority have recently given us a firm commitment that following the re-development of the school site, they plan to refurbish the Early Years building and turn it into a state funded nursery.   The governors have agreed that in principal, provided there is suitable investment, Morley would be very interested in submitting a tender to run the nursery.  Click here for more details about the proposed re-development.

Improving the outdoor space is a priority for children, staff, parents and governors. Last academic year, our plans to develop the playground were unexpectedly delayed due to issues around drainage. There were big implications for cost and the various suggested solutions impacted on how we could use the space. We now have enough information from surveyors to be able to move ahead with developing firmer plans. A playground working party with representation from staff, governors, parents and Friends of Morley was set up last term. It is developing a clear design brief based around our vision for the school. The design brief will be formally agreed by governors later this term and we will then ask a number of playground designers to come up with some initial thoughts. We will ask the designers with the most exciting ideas to present more detailed plans, from which we will choose the best. We are looking forward to have something concrete to show parents and children in the near future.