Governing Body Annual Statement
Aiming High – Growing Dreams
This year we have been celebrating the 10th Year of Short Wood Primary School on our amazing school site.
The Governing Body of Short Wood Primary is pleased to reflect on a very hard working and successful year. We have recently recruited a new Governor to complete our team and to bring additional expertise and a local/cooperative link. All our Governors, including those new to the team are provided with high quality training so that together we create a strong and knowledgeable team to hold the school to account on behalf of the pupils, parents and the community.
Over the course of the year we have continued to take a full and active part in school life, maintaining an overview of the curriculum, the quality of teaching and learning as well as the pupil progress data.
We appreciate the dedication and commitment put in by all staff who work so hard to provide an exciting curriculum offer, class work that challenges and supports our children and a wealth of out of school clubs and opportunities.
The Governors and Senior Leadership are committed to providing the best possible CPD for all the staff, this has included visiting centres of excellence across Europe through successful bids from the Erasmus programme. Staff have visited Sweden to work in centres of excellence for Forest Schools, Iceland to study special needs in education and The Netherlands to study Wellbeing and positive mental health in schools.
How do school leaders and governors promote school improvement?
Our Governing Body is firmly committed to providing the best possible opportunities for our children as we want them to be able to develop their talents and be the best that they can be and confident to always try their best. As Governors we meet regularly with curriculum co-ordinators and year group leaders as we want to ensure that our pupils have an excellent curriculum offer which will spark their interests and enthuse learning. Detailed feedback is received from individual Governors at termly meetings and successes celebrated. We also regularly review our extra-curricular offer of after school and lunchtime clubs and holiday activities.
Governors work with senior leaders in school to ensure that our School Development Plan reflects our aims and objectives for ongoing development.
This year we have been asked to submit a report as part of the Government Parliamentary View process for the Midlands region. The Governors felt that this was an excellent opportunity for us to share our vision and curriculum offer to a wider audience.
Our school vision is – Aiming High – Growing Dreams
Our Development Plan covers 3 main areas:
Success and ambition
Promoting well being
The Governors regularly meet with staff and pupils undertaking book scrutinies and ‘pupil voice’ sessions as well as undertaking learning walks and generally try to take a full and active part in school life.
We also take an active interest in the curriculum offered to the pupils. We want all pupils to experience a range of topic and subjects that capture their interest and inspire them to learn. Governors take individual responsibilities for overseeing individual subject areas, talking to teachers and pupils and looking at the children’s work as well as attending special events.
In January 2018 we opened a new extension to our Nursery provision when we opened
‘The Nest’, which provides 30 hour Government funded places for 3 and 4 year olds.
The funding for this project was funded largely from a Government grant which we were successful in obtaining. The Nest runs alongside our part time Nursery and Reception classes, following a Reggio Emilia approach to the Early Years curriculum.
How do we make sure our pupils are healthy, safe and well supported?
The safety and wellbeing of all our children underpins all the considerations and decisions made by the Governing Body.
The Governors actively seek the input from the pupils on the School Council.
For the fifth year running we are proud to say we have achieved the Sainsbury’s School Games Gold Mark for our commitment, engagement and delivery of competitive games. We are currently looking at improving this further to Platinum which is a new standard. Many of our school teams have been successful again this year against local and regional teams. We supported the Wellington Bayley Mile competition as usual, with the Year 5 pupils all finding out about the history of the competition, going along to support and writing a newspaper article about it.
Forest School and Squirrel School alongside outdoor adventures with Arthog Outreach are embedded in our curriculum and are part of our key offer to all pupils. The experiences inform and support our Literacy and Writing but they are also an opportunity to build resilience, problem solving and team work. This year the children have participated in canoeing, walking the Wrekin, foraging, rock climbing, bush crafts, along with family walks and nature trails.
A key part of our school development plan is promoting health and wellbeing and we have used our successful Lottery bid to make a real difference over the past year. The family event launching our ‘Brighter Minds’ project last July, provided an excellent opportunity to open the discussion with children and adults about positive mental health alongside physical health and fitness. The staff have all taken part in a range of courses over the course of the year and have worked with a clinical psychologist to introduce the Calm Brain programme across school from Nursery to Y6. This has been a very positive initiative and we look forward to continuing and developing the programme. The school is building links with other schools in the Local Authority and the National Health Service through the ‘Future in Mind’ initiative which will offer professional development for adults in school.
All the school staff and Governors are fully up to date with their safe guarding training. We have four fully trained Designated Safeguarding leads who regularly attend Local Authority training and updates.
Our school has a robust vetting procedure of adults and visitors to school. This is overseen by the Chair of Governors at regular intervals.
The Schools anti bullying policy continues to be updated and reviewed annually by School Council members, teachers and a Link Governor. All pupils in school actively discuss this policy in depth and it is relaunched every year.
In September 2016 we rebranded our Home School Agreement with the installation of our tree sculpture in Tim’s garden. Everyone (children, staff and governors) all have a golden leaf which we attached to the tree as we made our promise to be a positive member of our school community and be a good Short Woody. We have also adopted a school song ‘Power in Me’ which we feel reflects our school ethos. Please log on to the website to see the video clips of the ceremony. This year we all had golden oak leaves to add to our tree and we feel that it is important that we all renew our promises every year.
Following our Ofsted inspection in March 2015 which stated that our spiritual, moral, social and cultural offer was outstanding, we continue as the Governing Body to ensure that we maintain this high standard.
Our School Improvement Partner has reported at the end of this year that he feels that the safeguarding and wellbeing of pupils at Short Wood is outstanding.
Following conversations with pupils the Governors have confidence that the children feel safe and happy at Short Wood and any upsets are dealt with swiftly and appropriately.
The Governing body have played a full and active part in the recruitment process to ensure we secure the best possible teaching and support staff. We have, in the main, a stable and established staff team. Over the course of the year we have recruited to cover teaching vacancies due to maternity leave of absence, teaching assistants, and members of the administration team. These new members of staff have received a focused induction to ensure they are quickly members to share ideas and expertise so that we can all grow and learn together.
The schools policy to provide Accelerated Learning Teachers is closely monitored by the Governing Body to ensure good value for money and to make sure the pupils are responding to the small group focused teaching. We want to ensure that all learning is at a good pace and is consistent across school. The children are aware of what is expected of them in every lesson and they know their targets for improvement encouraging independence and a level of responsibility for their own learning and goals.
As with previous years the Governing Body has appointed an external advisor to act as consultant during the head teacher appraisal process. This process ensures that the Governors set realistic yet rigorous targets for the head teacher. These targets have been closely monitored and we are pleased that they have been translated into positive outcomes for the children.
A key area of work this year has been the key transitions between Nursery and Reception, Reception and Year 1, Year 2 to Year3 and Year 6 to Secondary School. We have closely monitored the improvements to ensure a flow for the curriculum, the expectations and standards and communication between staff.
Our Committee Structure
The Governing Body meets twice a term for a full meeting. At the first meeting we set a full and varied action plan for the term. This enables Governors to target specific areas to review and challenge. Over the course of the term individual or groups of Governors will monitor and evaluate and report back the second meeting and further actions and improvements will be recommended.
Governors undertake training with the Local Authority and other consultants to make sure that we have the appropriate skills to support the drive for continued school improvement.
This year we have welcomed one new Governors to the team, Andy Pryce, who joins the team as our Cooperative Governor as he is the Chairman of AFC Telford. Andy brings a wealth of local knowledge, links with our local football team and also his expertise of the building trade. Andy is keen to play an active part in school life to improve outcomes for our children.
The Governors nominate a small team of Governors with appropriate skills and experience to monitor our school budget and make strategic financial decisions. We monitor spending regularly and meet with the Local Authority School Finance Officer on a termly basis.
We are focused on matching any proposals for spending against the aims and objectives of the school. We are also proactive in supporting the school with any bids for additional funding for specific projects.
Details of Pupil Premium expenditure and the Sports and PE funding can be found on the school website.
We are very fortunate is having the expertise of Emma Caesar as a Parent Governor as she is a fully qualified accountant with current experience from her working life with school finance.
The school continues to be a safe, strong and inclusive community, providing a caring environment for all pupils and staff. Governors freely give of their time with the aim of helping the children of Short Wood grow and develop into well rounded citizens, keen to work hard, to succeed and be equipped with life long skills.
As Governors we are always aware that a great deal of our work goes on out of sight of public view. Our team is a mixture of appointed and elected individuals with a wide range of skills and expertise to bring to the role.
We know as parents you all feel the same. As in previous years we would like to record our thanks to you for supporting both your children and the school over the last year. We look forward to a successful continuing partnership with you all over the next school year.
Overall School: 95.1% - Every day counts!