Annual Governance Statement
Annual Governance Statement 2019/20
This document gives a brief overview of the activities of the governing body over the last year. It is organised around the three primary objectives of the governing body:
- ·hold the school to account;
- ·set the strategic direction of the school;
- ·ensure the financial well-being of the school.
This is particularly significant as the academic year 2019/20 represents only the second complete academic year that the School has formed part of the Chelmsford Learning Partnership (CLP) which also includes Barnes Farm Infants and Junior Schools, The Boswells Academy, Tyrells Primary School, Lakeland Primary School, The Beaulieu Park Primary School and Roding Valley High School. Thus the year has marked the continuation of the transition to the new arrangements and processes of the CLP. However the progress made during the year was then subject to the challenges brought about by Covid-19 pandemic.
One of the most significant challenges to affect the country in recent years has been Covid-19 and the education sector has consequently been acutely affected by this pandemic. The period following lockdown in March, provided numerous challenges which are still ongoing and which will continue to affect the school in future years. However, due to the planning, hard work and professionalism of all staff at the school it has been possible to introduce robust and effective measure to respond to the challenges posed by Covd-19 in a manner which is best able to mitigate the adverse impact. As a part of the CLP, Perryfields has also benefitted from the resilience provided through being within a Multi-school Academy Trust. Planning has continued after the initial implementation stage both to review the effectiveness of the implementation and to respond to new, emerging or anticipated issues.
Due to the effective planning by school leaders Perryfields has remained open throughout the pandemic for children of key workers and other children were welcomed back to school in line with Government advice. A variety of initiatives were taken to mitigate the impact on the education of those unable to attend school. A variety of information was made available to parents including on-line education, advice on other educational resources, newsletters and regular contact with class teachers.
Looking to the future planning is proceeding to respond to the impact of the pandemic upon the education of children. The Headteacher has been working with Governors to identify and implement the approaches needed to mitigate the adverse impact.
Setting the strategic direction of the school
As a part of a Multi-school Academy Trust, the overall strategic direction needs to be considered in the wider context of the Trust. This will bring benefits through the potential for economies of scale and capacity building but will also bring the need to ensure that the interests of the
school and its ethos and character are maintained. Any decisions made will continue to be with the best interests of the children and staff in mind and consideration for the long-term viability and improvement of the school and across the Trust as a whole.
Holding the school to account
The governing body has a responsibility to ensure that the headteacher and staff adhere to the school’s policies and deliver the best possible outcomes for all children and that the position of the school in the Trust is given appropriate recognition. As part of its role the governing body decided to restructure its oversight by changing the format of its meetings. Accordingly it established a Curriculum, Attainment and Progress Committee to meet once each half term which would facilitate a more focussed review of those topics.
The academic year 2019/20 was only the second full academic year for the new Trust arrangements and so the period of transition for the school has continued. A Link Governor has been appointed by the school to join the Trust board and this system has worked well with the governor taking an active role in the Trust and reporting back to the school governing body.
Using data school staff have developed predictions to inform curriculum planning for future years and to identify areas of weakness. The governing body has continued to work extensively with staff to analyse the results of the development of the curriculum and test results and identify areas for improvement. Governors have undertaken regular visits and walks round the school to ensure familiarity with school life but recognise that visiting arrangements should be developed to provide for additional conversation with the children although progress in this area has stalled due to the impact of Covid-19. Due to the impact of Covid-19 and social distancing, it was not possible for governors to access the school to carry out their normal monitoring schedule and to review the new 2019-20 curriculum first hand. From March, all governor meetings were held remotely.
The school has all statutory policies in place and a system for regular review. The governing body oversaw the introduction of GDPR and ensured compliance which was facilitated by the specialist professional knowledge of one governor. Safeguarding arrangements are regularly reviewed and remain strong.
The governing body is also responsible for supporting and monitoring the progress against objectives highlighted in the school development plan.
Ensuring the financial well-being of the school
Pressure on school budgets is greater than ever, particularly for small schools, and given these challenging circumstances all the staff at the school must take credit for ensuring the school finances are well managed.
New financial systems and procedures were introduced at the start of the new Trust and there were some initial teething problems in these arrangements. Governors were active in recommending ways to enhance financial reporting and improvements have been implemented.
Perryfields Infant School has a strong financial position but is by no means immune to budget pressures and, therefore, we continue to monitor our finances on a regular basis to ensure we continue to drive best value for money. Action has been taken to bring the percentage of salary costs to overall costs nearer to overall Trust levels and the school has been able to maintain a healthy budget carry forward which has been applied to support the costs of school priorities such as additional resources and training to improve writing across the school and updated reading scheme books with online resources for home access. Clearly Covid-19 has brought an additional risk factor into our budget but this risk has been mitigated and the school’s overall financial position has, to date, not been adversely impacted.
Unfortunately, the long-standing Governor and the current Chair of the Governing Body, Trisha Farmer, has recently resigned and a parent governor, Matt Jones resigned earlier in the year. We would like to thank both Trisha and Matt for their work and support. Two new Governors, Gill Marrion and Kiri Wyatt have been welcomed onto the governing body but there is now one governor vacancy which it is hoped to fill taking account of a skills audit.
In September 2015, new rules were introduced requiring governing bodies to publish more information about their membership, attendance and business interests. We update this throughout the year and publish information on the school website at the end of each academic year.
Local Governing Body (LGB) Terms of Reference of Perryfields Infant School, Governors attendance and business interests can all be found on the school website.