As we come to the end of the academic year, I would like to share with you how the governors have fulfilled our three core roles over the past twelve months.
1) Governors are responsible for ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and the strategic direction of the school.
- In September 2013, governors met with all the teachers and teaching assistants for a “visioning day”. Governors contributed to the planning of the day, debated the issues and ensured parental views were heard by feeding back priorities and values identified in the 2013 parental questionnaire. Participants agreed a core purpose of “Making Learning Irresistible”, a set of values that will underpin everything the school does and discussed what kind of school they would like Morley to become over the following 4 years.
- Following further discussion, governors formally agreed the following vision for the future of Morley: We aim to create independent, resilient, motivated learners. Over the next 4 years (2013 – 2017) we will do this through:
- Brilliant teaching and facilities that provide the support and challenge that is appropriate for all learners.
- Providing a creative curriculum that stretches and rewards all learners.
- Engaging all parents in their children’s learning and the wider community in the life of the school.
- Helping all children at Morley develop the social skills they need to thrive.
- Governors later discussed and formally agreed the school’s four year strategic plan outlining how that school would turn the vision into reality.
- In the Autumn term, governors and the school’s senior leadership team agreed five key priorities for the current academic year to be included in the school’s Raising Attainment Plan. The priorities for 2013 – 24 were : further stretching high attainers, developing writing, supporting vulnerable groups (children with special needs and children receiving pupil premium) and strengthening provision in science and early years. We have already begun to identify priorities for next year.
- Governors have taken key decisions about the proposed building work and redevelopment of the playground.
- Governors have agreed a number of policies, including the teachers’ pay policy.
2) Governors are responsible for holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils.
- Every term, teachers tracked the progress of all children in the school in reading, writing and maths. This data was presented termly to the governors’ Learning Committee. We looked at progress in every year group for the following groups: the whole year, boys / girls, children with special educational needs, children in receipt of pupil premium and children with English as an additional language. If progress was slower than we would expect for any of these groups, we questioned Mr Catchpool as to why this was and what specifically the school intended to do to remedy the situation. We have not shied away from asking challenging questions.
- We have monitored the school’s progress towards meeting targets identified in the Raising Attainment Plan. We have done this by looking at school planning documents, discussing at meetings what actions the school has taken, analysing data and by visiting the school to talk to teachers, teaching assistants and children.
- Governors visited the school to monitor specific areas, for example, whether the school is meeting it’s safeguarding responsibilities. (It is). Following OFSTED, governors visited to see how issues identified around phase leaders have been addressed. (Very successfully.)
- Governors performance manged Mr Catchpool and monitored to ensure that teachers’ performance management had taken place.
- Governors have also monitored data on quality of teaching, attendance, racial incidents and exclusions and have discussed a report from school on how well the children behave.
- We are currently organising the 2014 parental questionnaire because we want to know how well parents think the school is doing and how it could improve. Click here to see how we responded to themes identified in the 2013 questionnaire.
3) Governors are responsible for overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
- Governors have met with the business manager approximately once a month to closely scrutinise the school’s budget and ensure money is not wasted. In May 2014, we formally agreed the budget. Throughout the year, the Resources Committee have kept a close eye on the school’s financial priorities, considering how these could best be met. We have monitored to ensure that proper procurement procedures have been followed.
This year, the governors have had one additional role, that of appointing Morley’s new head teacher. A selection panel, appointed by the full Governing Body, is responsible for the whole process – writing the application pack and advert, devising the interview process, interviewing the candidates and recommending the appointment to the full Governing Body. The advert went live in late June and we are hoping to make an appointment in September 2014.
It has been a very busy year and I would like to thank all of the governors for the support they have given the school over the last twelve months. Governors are all volunteers who give very considerable amounts of time to attend meetings, visit the school, write reports, analyse data and contribute to a myriad of other duties incumbent upon them. What they do makes a real difference to the education your child receives at Morley.
Nicky Odgers, Chair of Governors