GOVERNING BODY NEWSLETTER - DECEMBER 2020
At the end of another extraordinary term, we would firstly like to congratulate the leadership team, teachers and all the staff for not only keeping the school functioning but also progressing despite the immensely challenging circumstances. Behind the scenes this has involved overcoming some unpredictable and seemingly impossible hurdles so it really is an amazing achievement. This has been helped hugely by the positive attitudes of the children and the support of all the parents and carers so we would like to thank you all.
The Governors have been busy this term with the focus on supporting the school through these unchartered waters. Key development areas have been as follows:
Teaching and Learning: The Teaching and Learning Committee continues to monitor closely the teaching impact and progress. We unfortunately are not able to go into the school at the moment but we are kept fully updated by the Headteacher and staff with the curriculum impact and the results of assessments. Our SEND Governor has also been working with the School Inclusion Co-ordinator to ensure that all assessments and subsequent catch-up and intervention programmes are in place. Staff are continuing to assess learning this term and the impact of lockdown but initial results show that, even though it is clear some children did not engage fully with remote learning, the learning gap is not as big as might have been expected and no SEND pupils appear to have experienced significant difficulties affecting their learning.
Staff Wellbeing & Training: This is a very anxious time for everybody and the Governors have been monitoring staff wellbeing closely. Our Wellbeing Governor has approached all staff offering support. We are pleased to report that 100% of staff who replied to a questionnaire that was sent out felt that they felt supported by school leaders during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is, however, a very isolating time for them as, due to the bubble system, they have limited interaction with their colleagues and none of the normal internal training sessions can take place. This compromise to wellbeing and professional development has been a great concern to the Governors and we are very pleased to announce that the FSS have very generously contributed funding to cover some key training and personal development needs. This has been very gratefully received by the school and we would really like to thank the FSS for this invaluable support.
Safeguarding: Safeguarding continues to be a priority and our Safeguarding Governor has been working closely with the school.
Health and Safety: Due to the increasing number of local Covid-19 cases this term, new risk assessments have been carried out to ensure the safety of pupils, parents and staff. These have lead to new recommendations for pick-up and drop-off which were communicated to parents earlier this term and we would like to thank everyone for their speedy co-operation with the new guidelines.
Communication & Publicity: Whilst parents and carers are not able to enter the school or talk to teachers at the school gate, we have recognized the increased importance of finding ways of sharing the news from school with parents during this time. Parent permissions were reviewed so pictures could be shared on social media and Facebook was launched earlier this term. This has worked well as a communication tool to reach parents quickly and easily. This week we even saw our first 'virtual' nativity play, performed by Rowan Class, which was published on Facebook so everyone could get to share in this wonderful performance.
Publicity for the school has also been an important focus this term and the Governors, school and FSS are working together to ensure that the school is promoted effectively. A publicity team has been set up to drive this forward and we would like to thank them for all their support and hard work.
This term sadly Pat Whitehouse stepped down. She will be greatly missed on the board and we would like to thank her for her huge contribution to the school (as a governor for 3 years and a parent and grandmother for over 40 years).
We are, however, excited to welcome three new members. Firstly, Gary Muchmore who has been elected as Chair of the Finance and Premises Committee. Gary has lived in Sherston for the last 14 years and has 40 years working at in the Software industry with CEO/MD positions with technology businesses throughout the UK.
We are also very pleased to welcome 2 new Foundation Governors, Reverend Adam Beaumont and Becky Fisher. Adam is the Rector of the Gauzebrook Group of Churches which includes Sherston as well as seven neighbouring parishes. Prior to ordination Adam was a Science Teacher and Head of Year at a large Secondary School and has more recently served as Chair of Governors to another primary school in Wiltshire so has lots of knowledge and experience to bring to the team. Becky already has very good relationship with and knowledge of the school as she is the Rural Schools and Churches Worker. Prior to that she worked with schools and social services as a Senior Home School Link Worker, supporting families in need and ensuring children had access to education.
This fills all the positions within the Governing Body with the relevant skills needed and we therefore feel that we are in a strong position to face the challenges that 2021 brings.
For now, however, we would like to conclude this newsletter by once again thanking the dedication of the staff who have tirelessly made sure that the children’s school journey is as unaffected as possible and remains stimulating, safe and happy.
Wishing you all a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS