Governor monitoring and impact
Monitoring during 2015/16
We have detailed below some of our governor monitoring activities during 2015/16, to give you a flavour of our work. We have listed these under the following three headings, which relate to the three core strategic functions of the governing body.
1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- In July we attended a inset day with the new headteacher and all staff to carry out an analysis of the school's strengths and weaknesses and to prioritise what action we needed to take to improve
the school. Governors and staff had a very constructive discussion in small groups and were able to come up with many positives and to agree on what we could do to improve. All our thoughts were
captured and will form the basis of the School Development Plan for 2016/17. It was a very positive experience and provided a really useful opportunity for governors to hear the views of staff
working in a variety of different roles. It was also encouraging to go forward knowing that staff and governors shared very similar views about the school and a recognition of what needs to
- In July we carried out our annual parent survey to help us understand our parents' experience of the school. We will carry out an analysis of the results during the summer and report back
in our Autumn Term newsletter, as well as here on the website.
- We invited the junior leadership team to come and present the results of their pupil survey at our summer term governing body meeting. We were interested to find out how children felt about
the school, whether they felt safe and happy/confident in their learning as well as their thoughts on children's behaviour and how bad behaviour is dealt with. We were proud to see that the
leadership presented so confidently and gave us such a good insight into the experience of our pupils.
- In March we carried out one of the most important tasks a governing body has responsibility for: we recruited a new headteacher, Mrs Lisa Turner Rowe, to lead the school from September 2016.
Having been advised that it can be very difficult to recruit headteachers at the moment, we worked with staff and children to attract applicants for the vacancy. The letter to prospective
applicants included a letter, written by our junior leadership team, explaining what was good about our school and what they want from their new headteacher. We were deligthed to receive applications
from a strong and experienced field of candidates, four of whom were selected for a demanding two-day interview process which took place last week. We tested a range of skills and, as part of the
process, the junior leadership team interviewed all the candidates. The children did us proud in the in their careful and professional questioning and really helped us to see what kind of a
headteacher each one would be. The governors were looking for a Headteacher who could build on the school’s strengths and reputation and carry on the good work, currently being led by Ms
Porter, to improve our school. Throughout the whole process Mrs Turner-Rowe not only demonstrated the commitment, care and passion that we see every day at our school, but also showed how she
will combine her vision with that of the governing body and staff, to really make an impact at our school in the years ahead. We have now turned our attention to looking for opportunities for Mrs
Turner-Rowe is able to spend time with us before September, and works with staff and governors to ensure a smooth transition.
- We have carried out three visits so far as part of our annual plan for monitoring safeguarding within the school. During these visits, we reviewed progress against the safeguarding action
plan that was agreed during the summer term. During one meeting, we met with the headteacher to oversee the completion of the school's safeguarding compliance action plan. We were able to
demonstrate compliance and spent considerable time providing a commentary, evidencing our compliance in each area. We also spent some time observing a lesson on e-safety with our children in years 3
and 4. Chatting with children during the lesson it was good to observe them getting to grips with the potential dangers and what they need to do to stay safe online.
- As many of you will be aware, a serious safeguarding issue came to light towards the end of the Autumn term, affecting some of our year 5 and 6 children who had been using the socal media site,
'Oovoo' on their devices outside school. As safeguarding link governor, the chair of the governing body was closely involved in monitoring how this incident was handled. As governors, our
priority is to ensure the safety of all our children so we were keen to ensure there was no imminent risk to children, that the necessary action was taken to allow a full investigation to take place
by the police and that parents and children were appropriately informed of the risks going forward. We were pleased with the swift and efficient way in which this issue was dealt with by the
headteacher and we would also like to praise our staff, children and parents for the way in which this incident was handled through sharing information and taking appropriate action. While this
incident demonstrated that we had effective safeguarding procedures and training in school, it also showed that there is no room for complacency and we will be making sure that during the Spring
term, we further increase the level of e-safety teaching in school, including awareness sessions for parents.
- We have carried out a comprehensive review of the school's policies to make sure we have all the required policies in place and that we review them at the correct times. Our link governor for policy review met with the Headtacher to look at which of the school's policies are due for review, ensuring these are scheduled on the agenda for discussion during our meetings this year.
- Following the announcement that Ms Porter, our Head Teacher of nearly eight years, will be leaving at the end of this school year, we have been considering the future leadership structure of the school to ensure it is best placed to drive forward improvements within school. We will be meeting again in January to start the process of recruiting a new Headteacher to lead our school from September 2016.
- We have been chatting with lots of our parents and carers during the parents' evenings in November and asking them to complete an online survey, focussing on information and communication from and with the school, including governors. The response we got from parents was great and we look forward to analysing the results and seeing what improvements we can make.
- We have worked with our pupil leadership team to develop an online survey to get feedback from pupils, covering a whole range of issues, including the school's values, behaviour, marking and
feedback, what they like most about the school, and what they'd like to change. We look forward to members of our pupil leadership reporting back to governors on their findings at Teaching
& Learning Committee meeting in the Spring.
- We have been in discussions with the pupil planning & admissions team of Nottinghamshire County Council and have been considering plans for the extension of Kimberley Primary School to respond to growing numbers in the area. We were presented with two options and we are pleased that our views were taken on board and that plans for an additional block containing 2 new classrooms is going forward into the planning phase. If all goes smoothly, the work could be carried out as early as Easter. The extension will allow our annual intake of children to increase to 30, which we hope will remove some of the stress and disappointment for parents who want their children to attend our school. In the long term, this also means we have more flexibility when it comes to organising our classes. Rather than having to mix year groups within our classes, we will have the option of a single class for each year group. Plans are available to view in the school's entrance halll. We have chatted to some parents and have already had some useful feedback. If you have any comments, please contact us via the school office.
2. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils , and the performance management of staff
We carried out three separate monitoring visits within the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) with our nursery and reception children. We have been talking with the leader of EYFS and the rest of the teaching team within nursery. We were particularly keen to look at whether the good practice established in reception is mirrored in our nursery. We observed lessons and we were particularly interested to see how both classes worked together in Maths and Literacy. We also looked at the process for assessing pupils on entry to nursery and reception and what the data tells us about the children's starting points when they join us. Finally, we looked at the experience of those children within EYFS who are eligible to receive additional support through the pupil premium funding, and how this compares to other pupils. We were able to get an insight into the differences in attainment levels, and look at the range of work being produced in their books. We were pleased that the hard work within EYFS was recognised by the HMI inspector who visited the school in November, who was able to see the rapid improvements that had been made.
- We also carried out a monitoring visit in Key Stage 2, which focused on teaching and learning in the Yr 5/6 classroom. This involved pupil interviews, looking at the children's work books and observing the lessons. We were particularly interested to look at the marking, feedback and presentation, and how this matched against the school's policy. We also looked at the experience of our children funded through the pupil premium.
- Several of us also visited the school during the first 'Bigger Write' event of the year and observed how children across the whole school were engaged in writing on a number of themes, and were able to listen to a sample of their work read out during an assembly to celebrate their writing achievements that day.
- We have spent some time reviewing the 2015 performance data which was finally published in October and while we were pleased with the improvements, especially in writing, we were keen to look at what it told us about areas we need to improve, most notably in reading, which is our key focus for this year.
- We have also had our first Performance Data Working Group meeting, in which we had discussions with senior leaders to gauge how our children are progressing in their phonics work and also looking
at the attainment of children joining our Early Years Foundation Stage, and what is being put in place to help them meet their expected targets.
- We attended a staff meeting to look at how the new tracking system would be used by teachers to monitor our children's attainment and progress and to track their achievement against certain
milestones. We were pleased to observe how the system was being used to record the acheivements of pupils within lessons, allowing the teaching to be adapted quickly to support and challenge
pupils in response to what children need. We will be looking at the in year assessment data in early January, to look at how our children are progressing towards the standards expected for
children of their age. We were able ask questions about the pupil level reports available from the tracking systems and how this information could be best shared with parents and carers so they
have enough information about how their children are progressing and in which areas their children would benefit from some additional support at home.
- We have carried out the headteacher's annual appraisal, reviewing objectives from the previous year and setting some challenging objectives to acheive by the end of the school year.
- We have also been considering the objectives set for teachers during their annual appraisal and making sure they are appropriately challenging for the level of responsibility expected for their
- Our Resource Management Committee in December was attended by Janeen Parker who reported back on her findings and recommendations from her review of our use of pupil premium funding. She had some useful recommendations on how we can better track and report on the funding, especially the impact it had had. It was acknowledged that much work has been done within school to further our understanding, tracking and support of disadvantaged pupils so that we have a full understanding of any barriers to learning, enabling us to respond appropriately. The chair of the governing body will be meeting with the headteacher in January to summarise the recommendations, record progress to date and devise an action plan going forward.
3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent
- Just prior to the start of the new academic year, we met with the Headteacher and School Business Manager to review the school's budget to ensure our financial plans are on track and to look at what adjustments we need to make going in to the 2015/16 academic year.
- We also had discussions with the School Business Manager and Headteacher six months into the budget cycle in November, to check that the annual budget plan is on track and to ensure that all the plans we had at the start of the year are affordable.
- We have been looking at the ways in which the pupil premium funding is being spent to support the children it is intended for and the way in which it is hoped this will have an impact on their performance. In particular, we were delighted to learn of the additional pupil premium we had managed to secure in our Early Years Foundation Stage, and how this is going to be used to provide extra support in the areas that have been identified when children joining our nursery and reception classes were assessed.
- In September, we were involved in the local authority review to look at how the school's pupil premium funding is spent, what impact it has on pupil achievement, how this is reported and what
improvements we can make in this area. One of the areas we are developing in the intrerests of greater transparancy and accountability, is a new 'Success for All' web page, which will give a
greater insight into what pupil premium is, how it is spent and what impact it is having.
- We have been looking closely at the budget forecasts for 2016/17 and beyond to take into account our potential increase in pupil numbers, so we have a full picture to inform decisions about the
most effective leadership structure going forward.
- We had the first meeting of our pay committee in December, at which we are monitoring the pay of all staff within the school to ensure that it is at an appropriate level for the work they are expected to carry out.