Governors' Annual Statement

Annual Governance Statement for the Board of Governors of Vernon Primary School

September 2017

In accordance with the Government’s requirement for all boards of governors, the three core strategic functions of Vernon Primary School’s board are:

  • ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  • holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and
  • overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

Governance arrangements

The Board of Governors at Vernon Primary School was re-constituted in 2014. The 12-strong board includes two staff governors (including the head teacher), two elected parent governors and one governor who is appointed by the local authority. The other seven members have been co-opted onto the board because, in our opinion, they have the skills needed to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school. On our board, the co-opted members come from a range of backgrounds including banking, teaching and higher education, personnel, a charity and building management.

The full board meets once a term to discuss formal business. We hold a second full meeting each term to address specific issues or find out more about a particular area of governance.

We also have a number of committees that consider different aspects of the school in detail. At Vernon Primary School we have a Finance Committee that looks at budget issues, a Teaching and Learning Committee which examines the curriculum and pupil progress and a Buildings and Environment Committee which deals with school facilities and premises. We also have a Personnel Committee that’s responsible for staffing issues such as pay and performance. We have now established a Safeguarding Committee that meets regularly to support the school in dealing with safeguarding issues and to discuss relevant topics. 

Attendance record of governors

Vernon’s Board of Governors is a committed team and attendance at meetings is excellent. But we go above and beyond our duty to turn up. Members devote much of their spare time to the school attending events, observing classes, meeting with teachers and pupils and speaking with external inspectors to ensure the school keeps on track. We also undergo regular training in all aspects of school life from safeguarding to finance.

The work that we have done on our committees and in the governing body

All schools introduced the Government’s National Curriculum in September 2014. Our priority was to ensure the school implemented the changes in a highly creative way that championed rapid progress, high standards of attainment and a love of learning. While keeping a close eye on progress and achievement, Vernon’s bespoke curriculum is unique, innovative, effective and relevant to children. It has been fully embedded throughout the school over the last three years and is continually being effectively monitored in light of further Government changes to assessment and the curriculum.

Governors have previously attended a specially arranged open day which allowed us to see teachers and pupils in action. We had the opportunity to attend Praise Assembly and were entertained by talented singers, drummers and dancers. We have also been involved in a recent, successful whole-school safeguarding audit. We are always proud to share in the celebrations and achievements of the school.

A revised code of practice for supporting children with special educational needs (SEND) was published during the summer of 2014 and over the last three years, the school has continued to take on board the key changes and further developments. Governors approved a revised policy which places greater emphasis on the partnership between school and parents/carers and builds on our existing good practice. This policy is now fully embedded across the school and all teachers and members of SLT are familiar with further changes and developments. Governors attend updated training and liaise regularly with the school SEND team. We have also supported the school in the recent appointment of a Pastoral Manager, whose background is in family support, welfare and liaison, a role which will further strenthen the school's Senior Leadership Team.

Governors have a key role to play in keeping children safe at school. We considered and approved a new policy for safeguarding children in line with the statutory framework, which we will continually monitor and review annually, following the 'Keeping Children Safe in Education' document published in September 2016.

Governors have been monitoring how the government’s Pupil Premium grant is being spent to help close the achievement gap between disadvantaged children and their peers. The appointed link governor for Pupil Premium sits on the Teaching and Learning Committee and all governors have been updated on how a variety of interventions are helping pupils reach their potential.

The Finance Committee has agreed a new three year budget plan and reports that the school’s finances are healthy.

The Teaching and Learning Committee has considered and agreed a number of strategic policies relating to how subjects are taught and how pupil progress is evaluated under the new curriculum.

The Personnel Committee is responsible for pay and performance and it was busy this year with new appointments including three newly qualified teachers, as well as new members of the office and finance team. 

The Buildings and Environment Committee ensures the school site is well maintained. A successful health and safety audit was carried out earlier this year.

Minutes of full Board of Governors and committee meetings are public documents. If you would like to see any of the minutes, please ask at the school office.

Dates of future board and committee meetings are available here.

Future plans for governors

During the autumn term of the 2017/18 school year, we will work with the head teacher and the school’s senior leadership team to set the school’s development plan. This sets out our targets and aspirations for the year ahead.

We will continue to monitor the curriculum and ensure it is further developed throughout the school. We will continue a particular focus on raising maths standards above the national average.

Securing outstanding outcomes for all our children remains our ultimate goal and we will continue to work closely with teaching staff to ensure Pupil Premium grants are spent effectively and that interventions for disadvantaged children have a positive impact on their achievements.

Vernon is a popular school and this year we welcome our cohort of 60 children in reception bringing our roll to 368.

Governors will monitor the impact of bigger class sizes on educational attainment and ensure measures are in place to support teachers to continue to deliver outstanding lessons.

Safeguarding children will remain a priority and our focus will be on emotional and mental wellbeing and e-safety.

We will continue to strengthen our links within the community by showcasing our pupils’ talents for sports, music and literature outside school.

We will continue to equip our children for a Modern Britain by promoting values such as democracy, the law, liberty, respect and tolerance as set down by the government. These sit alongside our own school principles of creativity and curiosity, independence, respect and co-operation.

How you can contact the governing body

We always welcome suggestions, feedback and ideas from parents and carers. Please contact the Chair of Governors, Mrs Ashley Hickson, via the school office or by email chair@vernonprimary.cheshire.sch.uk

You can see a full list of governors with information about what we do here.