Chair of Governors Blog
It has been a busy few months since my last blog in February. The school has been consolidating its standing within the community and we as a governing body have been asked to assist another school with their preparations for OFSTED. We were happy to do this and both schools found the experience beneficial.
We’ve also had a busy time in our committees and at the last two meetings of the Full Governing Body. We have a responsibility to make sure our governors remain fully trained to be able to fulfil our strategic role, with this in mind three governors attended the safer recruitment course and our new governor begins his induction training later this term. With the cost of training in mind I asked our Training Development Governor, Julie Fraser, to carry out an exercise to check whether the training we pay into from Hampshire County is value for money and she confirmed that it is, so thanks go to her for her work on this.
We also agreed the budget at our last meeting, which left us with a relatively small credit to carry over for next year. However with our pupil numbers steadily rising, with next year an expectation of 51 pupils joining in Year 3 in September, we need to monitor our budget accordingly. With this in mind one of our governors, David Adams, met with Mrs Adams to carry out a benchmarking exercise where they considered other schools with similar pupil numbers and confirmed that our budget spending is in line with theirs; thanks go to them for their efforts.
We had general discussions around Mrs Bolton’s report to the meeting, including the continued progress of pupils, the pupil attendance rates, noting the changes and HCC expectation of more usage of penalty notices from September, the transition arrangements in place between Mengham Infant School, Hayling College and MJS. She advised there has been a concentrated focus across the island on transition arrangements between schools, which our deputy Mrs Mason has been particularly involved in and our thanks go to her. Mrs Bolton also updated the meeting re her working with MIS and this has been particularly useful for transition between the two schools, it was also good to note than an MIS governor wished to observe an MJS Curriculum meeting, a good way to build closer ties between the two schools. It was also noted that Eric Halton, the school improvement manager will be meeting in July with senior members of school and the Chairs of the governing body committees to plan how to move the school from its current good rating to an outstanding rating.
Resources Committee Update
The Resources Committee met on 5/5/15. There were 5 Governors in attendance as well as Mrs Bolton, Mrs Adams and Mr Brum.
We discussed a range of issues including:-
Staff performance & CPD ( continuous professional development) and what steps are being taken to progress the school from Good to Outstanding. The committee were informed that the Head Teacher Performance Management team had met with Mrs Bolton on 30/4 to review her progress against yearly objectives and the Pay committee had also met with Mrs Bolton on 5/5 to monitor the performance management of staff.
Mrs Adams presented the budget for the 15/16 school year which was showing a 4% contingency, which is in line with county expectations. We received an update from FOMS of money raised at the recent disco.
Mr Adams presented a benchmarking report where the cost of educational resources purchased by the school was compared with similar size schools in the area and we were pleased to note that this expenditure was equal to other schools in the cohort.
Mr Brum reported on a number of site issues including updates relating to the access road re-surfacing, refurbishment of the reception area and the servicing contract for the new school minibus.
Mrs Bolton outlined to the committee the 3 year site development plan. The accident book had been checked to ensure that there were no accident patterns needing investigation. The committee discussed and agreed new policies in respect of Staff Code of Conduct and School Admissions.
We also received an update regarding potential provision of an after school club by an independent provider.
Christine Moore ( Chair of Resources)
Curriculum Committee Update
Governors met on the 27th April to discuss matters relating to the Curriculum. Mrs Bolton shared subject portfolios for Music and Geography giving a great example of work carried out in both subjects and plans for development.
Miss Rowsell also shared the portfolio for Physical Education, the subject has undergone transformation and Miss Rowsell is passionate about the development and attitudes of the children who now embrace the subject.
A comprehensive report was given from Mrs Bolton which included analysis of pupil achievement, the quality of teaching and the quality of leadership and management at Mengham Junior School. Further meetings are in place to analyse end of year data and monitor evidence of accelerated progress in English across all years. This will be reported at both the next Curriculum meeting planned for the 1st of July and the Full Governing Body meeting on the 13th July.
Resources Committee Update
The Resources Committee met on 16.3.15. There were 6 Governors in attendance as well as Mrs Bolton, Mrs Adams and Mr Brum.
We discussed a range of issues including:-
Sign writing, servicing costs and leasing rates for the new mini bus, the state of the school access road, office refurbishment and proposed summer works to improve the school. Emergency lighting, fire risk assessments and fire safety manual update. We checked on the number of accidents that had been recorded to ensure that there were no areas of concern. We discussed and approved 3 Policies - Fire Safety & Fire Evacuation, Whistle blowing and Looked After Children. We received an update of the funds that had been accrued by FOMS and thanked them for their hard work.
Mrs Bolton gave us a detailed Head teacher report and included updates in relation to pupil premium income and expenditure, sports funding, teaching standards, staff professional development & school attendance.
Mrs Adams gave us an update in relation to the school budget and this included a discussion about the contingency amount that will be carried forward to the next school year ( this is necessary as the funding for next year is based on the number of pupils that were in school in October 2014 and as the predicted numbers in school for September 2015 will be higher, we should carry an amount forward to support the funding gap). We approved the SFVS (School Financial Value Statement) that has to be returned to county by the end of March. We also agreed that we would look at benchmarking some of the school expenditure against similar size schools in the county to ensure we were in line with average spend.
The committee discussed in detail the plan agreed with the local authority for Mrs Bolton to support Mengham Infant school next term and were pleased with the arrangements and sure that all parties will benefit.
The governor pay/ performance committee will meet next term to receive an update on the staff performance management system. The Head teacher Performance Review committee will meet next term to undertake an update of the objectives that were set for the year.
Chair of Governors Blog February 2015,
It has been a busy start to the year with OFSTED visiting 8th and 9th January. We had been expecting them and we were sure that the school was progressing and we were looking forward to showing them how well the school is doing. All our beliefs and judgements were justified when the school was rated as good, congratulations to Mrs Bolton and all her staff. As part of the inspection a group of governors were interviewed by the inspectors and we were asked some probing questions to make sure we understood how the school budget was being spent, with particular interest on how special funding called pupil premium was being used and that the whole budget was being spent wisely. They asked us how the school was progressing in comparison to other schools. How our monitoring of the school had an impact on the school. As well as how the school is preparing our young people to be good citizens, promoting British values in school and in the wider community, with particular emphasis on the social, moral, spiritual and cultural development of the children. Earlier in the year we had arranged as a governing body to have training on this whole issue so we were well placed to answer these questions. The inspectors thanked us for freely giving up our time as governors, recognising that we are all volunteers. They also praised other volunteers and parents, those who read with the children, those who assist on school trips, fund raise etc. A particular mention was made of the work done by FOMS [Friends of Mengham Junior School] and the volunteers from Open Books, who regularly lead assemblies to help provide spiritual education for our young people. Indeed with the support of the volunteers from Open Books, the school was rated good with more the inspectors noting that spiritual guidance being seen to be offered at our school was more than had sometimes been observed in some faith schools.
We’ve also had a busy time in our committees and at the meetings of the Full Governing Body. We discussed the OFSTED report, teaching and learning within the school, including the provision for pupils with Special Educational needs from both areas of the spectrum; the access road to the school, the new housing estate being built next to the school, the school minibus, school numbers and their effect on the budget. We also discussed the use and provision of ICT within the school, FOMS fundraising [the pictures show evidence of four of us enjoying ourselves as a human fruit machine], the school performance of Oliver, school attendance and after school provision. Phew, a lot to discuss and I was pleased to be able to give a long term service certificate to Mrs Westbrook who has served as a staff governor for eight years.
As I’ve explained we are all volunteers and if you feel you would like to join us please feel free to ask at the school office and they will put you in touch with me, similarly if you have items you wish discussed.
Congratulations once again to Mrs Bolton and her staff and to all the pupils and parents, we are all proud to be part of the Mengham Junior school community.
Governors met on the 14th January to discuss matters relating to the Curriculum. We had a number of subject reports to inform of us of how the school curriculum is developing, including reports from the School Council, House Captains, Mr Harrison (DT and ICT) and Mrs Goodwin (Curriculum Leader and Art).
As always we had a comprehensive report from Mrs Bolton (delivered by Mrs Mason) which covered the Strategic School Improvement Plan. This included analysis of pupil achievement, the Quality of teaching and the quality of leadership and management at Mengham Junior School. A particular focus of this was Year 6 reading and analysis of recent Reading Test results.
Governors fed back on recent monitoring of Raise Online data and discussed its impact. Two particular issues discussed were promoting additional reading with groups requiring extra support and increasing level 5 attainment in English and maths. Governors also discussed Healthy Eating guidelines and their work with Mrs Goodwin and the School Council to promote healthy lunchboxes. It was agreed that the school will no longer provide chocolate milk as a snack choice.
The next monitoring activity was agreed, in response to observations from data monitoring. Governors will work with the maths leaders to observe a group of children who are expected to attain level 5, but not currently reaching expected levels. They will look at books, observe lessons and talk to the children to identify opportunities for accelerated progress. This will be reported back at the next meeting on March 11th.Finally, the new Termly Improvement Plan was discussed and approved.
The Resources Committee met on 15/9/14 and there were 7 Governors plus the Headteacher and Clerk in attendance.
- A report from FOMS detailing the money they made last year and how it has been spent.
- We received updates in relation to :- the school office refurbishment, purchase of the new school minibus, the current situation in school re I/T equipment, a summary of the school budget and finances from Mrs Adams, an update from Mr Brum relating to school premises and Health & Safety.
- Mrs Bolton gave us a detailed report regarding current staffing, pupil numbers and attendance.
- We also discussed how we should monitor the school performance over the next year.