GOVERNING BODY NEWSLETTER - DECEMBER 2021
As we all race towards the end of another term, we would like to express our thanks and gratitude to our amazing leadership and staff. Although on the outside, we have felt more normality creep in, on-going Covid disruption continues to challenge and it is a huge achievement by all staff, parents/carers and pupils for the school to be able to seamlessly continue to offer the highest level of provision throughout. Like so many schools, staff absence and lack of supply staff has created some significant operational issues for the school but, thanks to very resourceful management and the staff’s willingness to go the extra mile, the school has managed to avoid the associated disruption that many other schools have had.
For the Governing Body the Autumn term has been spent focusing on the following priorities:
Re-visiting the vision with the engagement of stakeholders
You will have read in the school’s newsletter that a ‘Vision and Values’ day was held at the beginning of term where all staff, governors and some year 6 pupils and some parents met for the day to re-visit the schools vision and values. This was a really productive and rewarding day as everyone was able to voice their views. As governors, we were so impressed by the mature and valuable contributions from the pupils which together with the input from the staff, governors and parents resulted in a really collective vision for the school.
Monitoring progress against the School Improvement Action Plan (SIAP)
In September the school and governors agreed the priorities for the School Improvement Action Plan. The role of the governors is then to monitor the progress of this plan to ensure that the school’s ambitions are being met. Areas of focus are the quality of education including Early Years, Special Educational Needs (SEND) and Pupil Premium attainment. This also prioritises maintaining the strong safeguarding culture, staff wellbeing, personal development and behaviour and attitudes. This monitoring involves first hand observations, staff reporting, data and external inspection.
We are pleased to report that the first two terms show that progress in all these areas are strong. Data is not available at this stage but will be fed through as soon as it is. There is recognition that the Early Years has been disrupted by staff sickness this term and we thank the staff who have filled in brilliantly during this time and parents for their understanding. With long term cover now in place, the school is confident that the expected high levels of provision and continuity can now be met.
Planning effectively for the future stability of the school
Securing long term stability for the school under an increasingly difficult financial situation is challenging and we have a specific committee to work on financial planning. Given the falling birth rate in Sherston itself, there has also been an emphasis on publicity and communications to try and attract from a larger catchment area. There are also now plans in place to introduce wrap around care from Term 5 this year to support existing and as an additional draw for future parents.
On the subject of funding, we would like to give a particular mention to the Friends of Sherston School (FSS) as their financial contributions continue to make such a huge difference to the school’s funding. Their normal fundraising activities have been significantly hindered due to Covid but they have continued to work tirelessly this term managing to raise much needed funds . Thank you FSS, your hard work really does make a huge difference to the children’s experiences at the school.
Supporting the school for impact of Covid
Covid disruption sadly continues to create a very unpredictable and bumpy road. In school, contingencies are planned for but there is still a lot of unknown and legislations and guidance are changing daily. As governors, we do not underestimate how challenging it must be for all the staff and children to have to adapt constantly (right now this also involves having the windows and doors open in freezing temperatures) and we recognise the importance of additional support at this time. We would like to say how grateful we are to all the parents and carers who have been so accommodating and supportive throughout.
Team News We are very pleased to welcome two new governors this academic year. Anna Glassborow was appointed as a parent governor in September and Emma Hand was co-opted earlier this month. Both bring valuable experience to the governing body, Anna with a background in communications and Emma in HR. You can meet all the Governors here.
Things continue to remain unpredictable but the last year has proved that the school can continue to flourish in the most challenging of times. The whole school community has played a part in that so on behalf of the governing body we would like to thank you and wish you all a VERY HAPPY CHRISTMAS.