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Governors Newsletters

News from the School Governors                                                             Issue 08: July 2017

Welcome to our eighth newsletter of the current series.
In this issue, we celebrate the fact that Emsworth Primary School received Level 1 of the UNICEF UK Rights Respecting School Award (RRSA) in June 2017.


The assessor gathered evidence from senior leaders, Governors, staff, parents, pupils and the school environment in an extensive audit. The school began working towards this Award almost two years ago and it has formed one of the key Improvement Priorities. During this period Kelly Babbage ably led and organised much hard work, which included involving Pupil Governors in keeping their peers updated and representing their views well.


The Level 1 Award is granted by UNICEF UK to schools that show good progress towards embedding children’s rights in the school’s policy, practice and ethos.
In simple terms, the Award demonstrates that at the School children’s issues are placed at the centre of everything, and that the School actually lives its values. It’s significant that UNICEF works directly with the School and that there is a high degree of pupil involvement. The School was able to demonstrate good practice in the four aspects of the Award:
Standard A: Rights-respecting values underpin leadership and management. The best interests of the child are a top priority in all actions. Leaders are committed to placing the values and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child at the heart of all policies and practice.


Standard B: The wh
ole school community learns about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention is made known to children, young people and adults who use this shared understanding to work for global justice and sustainable living.


Standard C: The school has a rights-respecting ethos. Young people and adults collaborate to develop and maintain a rights-respecting school community in all areas and in all aspects of life based on the Convention.


Standard D: Children are empowered to become active citizens and learners. Every child has the right to say what they think in all matters affecting them and to have their views taken seriously. Young people develop their confidence through their experience of an inclusive rights-respecting school community, play an active role in their own learning and speak and act for the rights of all to be respected locally and globally.
Since the School now plans to work towards the Level 2 Award, in the next academic year children will be visiting the Bourne Community College, which has already won this Award.


Steve Leniston Chair of Governing Body, Emsworth Primary School

 

News from the School Governors                                                                Issue 07: June 2017

 Welcome to our seventh newsletter of the current series.

In this issue, we describe school policies and the Governors’ role in setting them.

School policies cover every aspect of school life and our policies describe explicitly how we do things at Emsworth Primary School. They address in practical terms how we achieve our school vision, and ensure that our agreed values underpin day-to-day decisions and actions in school. They are concerned with key processes within school and describe the interactions between all stakeholders - staff, pupils, parents, governors and our local community.

Some policies are statutory and required by law, while others are discretionary and cover additional areas, thus written to give clarification on an issue. Many of our policies are based on model versions provided by the Local Authority; others we build from scratch to reflect what we believe to be best practice.

All of them are carefully considered and regularly reviewed within an agreed review cycle by staff and governors before being adopted.

All school policies are published at http://www.emsworthprimaryschool.co.uk/Policies. Currently there are 24 such policies. To make them more easily readable they all follow a similar format.

We’ve highlighted here two policies which have been recently updated.

The Behaviour for Learning Policy – this was updated in September 2016. Its objectives are to:

  • Set out the principles and procedures by which the children of Emsworth Primary School are supported and encouraged to make good choices and take responsibility for what they do.
  • Identify the steps that will be taken in the event of unacceptable behaviour.

It is an important policy as its successful implementation will result in children having the best opportunities to learn.

The policy was updated to incorporate a more consistent approach to behaviour management and to develop a common language that is understood by all. Initially two meetings took place giving staff the opportunity to agree on overarching principles and procedures of the policy. Alongside guidance from other schools, a positive approach to behaviour management has been developed with the children knowing exactly what behaviour is expected and what is unacceptable. The strategy focuses on getting children ready to learn and the clear visual Dojo system motivates children to focus on making the right choices.

Last term through our Governor class links we asked staff for their views on this revised policy. This has been fed back so that the school is able to review how well it is working and to make further changes if necessary.

Pupils at EPS are well behaved and we believe this is as a result of the more explicit positive behaviour management both in and out of the classroom. This revised approach also sits neatly within our commitment to become a Rights Respecting School focused on UNICEF’s Rights of the Child. At all times we expect high standards of behaviour and good manners at all times from everyone in our school, including ourselves! 

The Online Safety Policy – this was published for the first time in December 2016. The policy was developed by a working group made up of senior leaders, the Online Safety Officer, staff and governors. It has to be reviewed every 12 months in the light of the fast-changing world of online technologies.

The policy covers the use of Internet technologies and electronic communications such as mobile phones as well as collaboration tools. It highlights the benefits and risks of using such technologies and provides safeguards and awareness for users to enable them to control their online experience.

At EPS we are committed to providing a safe ICT learning environment. Acceptable Use Agreements are documents explaining the ways in which ICT can and cannot be used.

The policy applies to all members of the school community (staff, pupils, volunteers, parents/carers, visitors and community users) who have access to and are users of school ICT systems, both within and outside of the school. Separate Acceptable Use Agreements have been drawn up for KS1 pupils, KS2 pupils, parents and staff.

The effectiveness of the Online Safety Policy is monitored using termly logs of reported incidents. The Online Safety Officer creates a log of any incidents of inappropriate online safety behaviour and reports back to the senior leadership team and online safety governors. The school will deal with any such incidents in accordance with the Behaviour for Learning Policy.  Should any serious online safety incidents take place, the relevant external agencies would be notified. 

Current policies under review

The Equalities Statement has to be reviewed annually as it shows the makeup of the school population and staff in terms of gender, race etc. against our performance data. The purpose of this is to check that no group is subject to discrimination. The Accessibility Plan and the Critical Incident Policy are also being reviewed. 

Steve Leniston

Chair of Governing Body, Emsworth Primary School 

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News from the School Governors                                                                Issue 06: May 2017

Welcome to our sixth newsletter of the current series.

We describe the Governors’ monitoring role in this issue.

Monitoring is a key aspect of the remit of Governors and is necessary so that your school’s Governing Body is able to carry out its strategic function effectively.

It enables us to get to know the school well, since we look at a range of matters, from overall performance to how safe children feel in school. However, we do not inspect the school and are not responsible for monitoring the quality of teaching – this is the responsibility of the Headteacher and her staff team. Monitoring is observing or checking how things are going and making sure that what is planned to happen is actually taking place. 

Over time we monitor the following aspects of the school:

  • The ethos and culture of the school
  • Safeguarding
  • The quality of teaching and learning (from the Headteacher's report)
  • In-year and end of year progress and attainment data
  • The learning environment
  • Specific curriculum areas, e.g. writing
  • Pupils' independence as learners
  • Leadership and management
  • Staff morale and attendance
  • Pupil attendance and behaviour
  • Parental and community views
  • The financial performance of the school.

We do this through a range of ways, such as:

  • By receiving reports from the school and outside agencies
  • By receiving presentations or reports to the Governing Body or to a Committee from teachers about their subject or other areas of responsibility
  • Through Governor links with class or year groups
  • Through links to aspects of the curriculum
  • Through activities of 'specialist' Governors, e.g. for Special Educational Needs or Safeguarding
  • By discussing aspects of the School Improvement Plan as a regular item on meeting agendas
  • By Governors' own visits to the school, which are subsequently reported to the Governing Body.

As a Governing Body, we keep a log of our monitoring activities and reports or feedback on the tasks we have undertaken are a regular item on our Governing Body and Committee agendas.

This term through our Governor class links we have been asking staff for their views on the revised behaviour system. This will be fed back so that the school is able to review how well it is working and to make changes if necessary.

Steve Leniston Chair of Governing Body, Emsworth Primary School

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News from the School Governors                                                    Issue 05: March 2017

Welcome to our fifth newsletter of the current series.

In this issue, we will be describing the work of the Governors’ Health and Safety (H&S) Committee. This is chaired by Sandy Keefe. Committee members are Kate Fripp, Cathy Faulkner, Steve Leniston, Manisha Cox, Eloise Dodgson and Jackie Oiller and the Clerk is Julie Longman. Clea Spinks, Business Manager and Mark Andrews, Caretaker, also attend.

The H&S Committee meets termly or more often as necessary. Its general remit is to:

  • Ensure the school staff team is following all the necessary policies and procedures on all matters relating to the school premises and grounds, security and health and safety.
  • Ensure staff receive adequate training to enable them to carry out their responsibilities.
  • Promote a sensible approach to health and safety and ensure that there is effective communication with staff and all users of the site.
  • Work in partnership with the headteacher and staff to support sensible health and safety management through regularly reviewing and monitoring all aspects of health and safety, security and safe use of school grounds.

The committee reports to the whole governing body each term.

Last term our work has focused on:

  • Ensuring guidance received from Hampshire Children’s Services Health and Safety Team (HCSHST) is implemented.
  • Completing the termly online monitoring form and sending to HCSHST.
  • Routine monitoring of evacuation procedures, accident log, defect log, any current works, e.g. roof, building and grounds.  
  • Discussing progress towards the expansion of the school, which will include extending the school building and alterations around the school grounds. This has involved working on the school travel plan.

Besides the matters referred to above, this term our work has focused on our Accessibility Plan.

This plan refers to disabled pupils and prospective pupils in a wide sense, including those with special educational needs. It demonstrates how we will develop each of the three strands (curriculum, physical environment and delivery of information) such that disabled pupils will not be treated unfavourably, and the reasonable steps we will be taking to avoid putting disabled pupils at a substantial disadvantage in matters of admission and access to the curriculum. 

The purpose of the Accessibility Plan is to ensure that all pupils, no matter what their abilities, can enjoy equal access. 

Steve Leniston

Chair of Governing Body

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News from the School Governors                                                    Issue 04: March 2017

Welcome to our fourth newsletter of the current series.

In this issue, we will be describing the work of the Governors’ Resources Committee. This is chaired by Carol Jones. Committee members are Kate Fripp, Jackie Oiller, Paul Curtis, Simon O’Hea, Sandy Keefe, Steve Leniston and Lizzie Meager, and the Clerk is Julie Longman.

The Resources Committee meets three times a year on a termly basis. The purpose of this Committee is to act on behalf of the Whole Governing Body (WGB) on financial, staffing and personnel matters relating to the school with reference to key documents from Hampshire County Council.

Its main focus is to ensure that funds are wisely spent for the current intake of children and to provide them with the best possible education.

Items for consideration at each meeting

The income and expenditure against the budget is monitored at each meeting and reported to the Whole Governing Body meeting. Reports from the Curriculum and Standards and Health and Safety Committees are received at each meeting, as there may be resource implications within them. The school receives additional funding for Pupil Premium and Sports Premium and these are also reported on at each meeting.

Autumn term 2016

  1. The Committee discussed and agreed the revised budget which was approved by the Whole Governing Body and submitted by the end of November. The budget has an in-year deficit which is rather less than anticipated due to receiving Growing Schools Funding.
  2. Service Level Agreements with Hampshire County Council were reviewed and approved by the Whole Governing Body with the focus on value for money.

Spring term 2017

The Committee is meeting this month and will:

  1. Monitor the financial aspects of the School Improvement Plan.
  2. Maintain an overview of the school’s compliance with the Schools Financial Values Standards (SFVS) and get this approved before it is submitted to the Educational Financial Services (EFS) by the end of March.
  3. Review budget plans for the next few years.

Summer term 2017

The Committee will:

  1. Discuss the school revenue budget and capital budget.
  2. Consider budgetary implications for confirmed admission numbers, staff structure and management plan for 2017/18.

Chair of Governing Body

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News from the School Governors                                                    issue 3

Welcome to our third newsletter of the current series.

In this issue, we will be describing the work of the Governors’ Curriculum and Standards (CAS) Committee. This is chaired by Sandy Keefe. Committee members are Jan Morgan, Jackie Oiller, Eloise Dodgson, Cathy Faulkner, Manisha Cox and Christine Phippard, and the Clerk is Julie Longman.

The ultimate purpose of the Governing body is to maintain and improve standards, so the work of this committee is extremely important. It meets three times over the academic year on a termly basis.

We’ve been focusing on:

  • Reviewing the end of year standards (July 2016) with the targets that were set.
  • Examining external and internal performance data, comparing the school’s performance with both county and national schools.
  • Monitoring the additional funding the school receives for Pupil Premium and School Sports.
  • Receiving information on Special Educational Needs provision across the school and the revised Behaviour system and how governors will monitor these areas.
  • Identifying the key improvement areas for this academic year and how progress towards improvement is to be monitored by governors. The improvement area priorities for this academic year are focused on:
  1. Raising attainment at the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2) in reading, writing and mathematics.
  2. Raising attainment in reading at the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6).
  3. Reviewing teaching, learning and assessment of writing across the school.
  4. Challenging and extending more able pupils in mathematics.
  5. Implementing the new Behaviour for Learning System linked to our school values, to ensure that children have the best opportunities to learn.
  6. Continuing to work towards the UNICEF Rights Respecting Award (RRSA).
  7. Developing the middle leaders with in the school to ensure that they have every opportunity to become the school leaders of the future.
  • Ensuring the school is providing a broad and balanced curriculum.

Steve Leniston

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News from the School Governors                                                    issue 2

Welcome to our second newsletter of the current series.

In this issue, we will be describing what Governors do. Next time, we will introduce ourselves to you, and report back on progress with some of the current projects.

What we Governors do

School Governors now play an increasingly significant role in the running of schools. We feel it’s a huge privilege to serve the school, and play our part in ensuring the children at EPS receive the education they deserve.

We work closely with the Headteacher, Mrs. Fripp, and have three core responsibilities:

  • We set the school’s ethos, vision and strategic direction, and ensure all statutory duties are met.
  • In a constructive manner we hold the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and for the performance management of the staff.
  • We oversee the financial performance of the school and ensure that its money is well spent.

We Governors don’t get involved in the everyday operation of the school; that is in the hands of Mrs. Fripp and her Senior Leadership Team. In any case, most of us do not have specialist educational knowledge, but that’s balanced by the fact that we have a wide range of experience and skills.

We meet as a whole Governing Body twice a term. In addition to this, various committees meet, each with a particular focus on different areas of school life:

  1. Curriculum and Standards
  2. Resources
  3. Health and Safety
  4. Pay
  5. Performance.

Much of the work is done in these committees, and each one will meet once or twice per term. In future issues of this Newsletter we will be reporting on the activities within these committees.

In addition to these meetings, some of us also fulfil statutory roles which oversee different aspects of school life, such as Safeguarding and Pupil Premium. As well as these roles, most of us are linked to particular classes within school and visit the classroom or attend events to gain a better understanding of what goes on in the classroom as well as to provide support, such as helping with reading.

Before Christmas we were delighted to attend the concert, the nativity play and the Christmas lunch and fair.

Please don’t forget that we’d be pleased to hear from you about any aspects of the school you feel need bringing to our attention. Many of us are regularly in and around the school and we can be contacted via the school office.  

Steve Leniston - Chair of Governors

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 News from the School Governors                                                                            issue 1

Welcome from the chair of governors

I’m delighted to have the opportunity to keep you updated about us. We’ll be writing a regular feature in future Newsletters – watch this space! Next term we will describe our roles and responsibilities, what tasks we’ve completed and what we are looking to do in the future.

New governors

It’s been a busy last few months, and especially so given the changes within the Governing Body.

It’s important to ensure that we have the right number and profile of Governors to ensure we’re as effective as possible. Since the middle of the year we’ve managed to attract four new governors with a wide variety of skills and knowledge. We carried out a skills audit during November which demonstrates that we have an excellent range of skills on the GB. Besides that, our governors have shown that they can work together as an effective team.

You can read more about each of us on the website.

Please don’t forget that we’d be pleased to hear from you about any aspects of the school you feel need bringing to our attention. Many of us are regularly in and around the school and we can be contacted via the school office.

My greetings for Christmas and the New Year to all of you.

 Steve Leniston