Bendish Lane, Whitwell, Hitchin, Hertfordshire. SG4 8HX

01438 871241

St Paul's Walden

Primary School

Governing Body

 

We can only have one Twitter account linked to the website, so we'll have to just tell you about ours - @StPaulsWaldenSchoolGB

Dear Parents and Carers,

 

Welcome to the new school year. We hope your children are settling back into their class 'bubbles', and adjusting to the adaptations the school has had to make to try and reduce the risk of transmission of coronavirus. As I write this, the Test and Trace system seems to be struggling to adjust to a rise in demand so we all depend on each other to follow guidelines to protect our community from the worst of this virus while working together to give your children the best educational experience possible.

 

For governors, this means that last night we held our September Full Governing Body meeting remotely via Teams. The main business of this first meeting of the year is to agree our roles, responsibilities and diary for the year. Following a skills audit, we all volunteered to serve on either the Curriculum sub-committee, the Resources sub-committee or both, and everybody also took on an individual role to monitor an aspect of the school's work. (see table below) Last term, we managed to visit the school virtually to do this monitoring - this worked so well that we will continue to do some of our meetings and monitoring by phone or video conference. However we know it is important that we do visit the school as well, so we will be taking each meeting or visit under consideration as the Coronavirus situation progresses.

 

Since March, a regular item on our agenda has been the school's risk assessment and the temporary arrangements the staff are putting on place in response to it. The Department for Education, Herts County Council and Herts for Learning regularly (and indeed, frequently) send schools updated guidance and advice, so this will continue to be something for us to monitor for the foreseeable future.

 

Schools are supported in their work by a Hertfordshire Improvement Partner (= local education authority advisor). Our school has a new HIP this term after our previous HIP moved onwards and upwards - I will be meeting him with Mrs Adshead next week and look forward to hearing his assessment of our school. Among the many issues on the horizon for the governors over the next year are monitoring the implementation of the School Development Plan (a detailed version of this), trying to stretch the budget in the face of a recent Building Condition Report and overseeing a parental consultation into a new Relationships and Sex Education curriculum. We intend to update you via this page as we work through the year.

 

Another thing that came up last night was that we have a vacancy for a Parent Governor. You will receive notification of this shortly from the Office via email. If we need to hold an election for this position, we may need to adapt the usual election system so please bear with us... If you are interested in joining us, please read our latest Governor Handbook and feel free to contact me (via email initially) with any questions.

 

 

Anne Reid

Chair of St Paul’s Walden Governing Body

 

 

According to the Department for Education, the purpose of our governing body is to provide confident and strong strategic leadership which leads to robust accountability, oversight and assurance for educational and financial performance. We have three core functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
  • Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff.
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.

Governing bodies can choose how to fulfil these functions. At present St Paul’s Walden School governing body uses a sub-committee model with individual governors also linked to particular elements of the school’s work and priorities. There are several different types of governor – Parent, Staff, Co-opted, Local Authority, Associate – all of whom bring different experience and skills to the role. Governors volunteer for different committees to either contribute to that committee or to learn from it, or ideally both.

As a minimum, new governors should attend Induction, Safeguarding and GDPR Training as soon as possible. This training can be undertaken in person or on-line, as we subscribe to both services offered by Herts for Learning. Once in the role, governors can continue to improve their skills and knowledge by taking advantage of the wealth of training available, to the benefit of both the school and the governing body. The school's new motto of 'Growing and Learning Together' applies to us too.

Each September, at our ‘Business’ meeting, we agree our roles and timetable for the year ahead. All governors should then attend the full governing body (FGB) meetings which take place once a term. In addition, we all meet for a whole Governors’ Day towards the end of the Spring term, so that we can review the school’s progress and set new strategic priorities in the School Improvement Plan (SIP) for the next year.

Our two main subcommittees are Standards and Resources. Governors can choose to join one of both of the sub-committees. Standards sub-committee usually meets once a term and deals with the academic and curricular elements of the school. The Resources sub-committee meets slightly more often as it monitors finances and sets the school’s budget, in addition to overseeing the maintenance and improvement of the school’s building and grounds. The terms of reference of these sub-committees are agreed in detail in the autumn meetings. We sometimes have extra working parties, depending on the school’s priorities, to focus on issues such as extra data analysis or communication.

Governors also take on individual roles for areas such as Safeguarding, GDPR, SEND, Early Years, Health & Safety and Finance. We visit the school to monitor these areas, ensuring we are meeting our statutory duties. Governors also need to visit the school in order to monitor progress against priorities in the SIP.  Governors report back their findings to the next FGB.

We also need governors to be available for rare but important school functions, such as Recruitment, Complaints or Appeals panels, meeting our school’s Herts Improvement Partner (HIP) and supervising SATs administration.

All of these meetings and visits require governors to do research and reading ahead of the day, so that we can work as efficiently as possible when we get together as a group. We try to spread the workload throughout the year and use GovernorHub to facilitate the sharing of information.

As you can see, our governors work hard to support the school. If you are interested in joining the governing body, look out for the next time a parent governor vacancy comes up. The school will inform the parents that there is a vacancy, and invite those interested to apply. A governor's term is four years, but the time flies by!

 GOVERNOR

CATEGORY COMMITTEE SPECIFIC GOVERNOR ROLE TERMS STARTS & ENDS
Mrs Nancy Adshead Headteacher HT Standards & Resources
Ms Erin Brookes Parent Standards  EYFS 4/11/19 -3/11/23
Mrs Sulu Pike Parent Standards  EYFS 16/3/20 - 15/3/24
Mrs Jo Roberts Parent Resources GDPR 20/1/17 - 19/1/21
Vacant position - election to be held as soon as practical Parent
Mr Jonathan Bailes Staff Standards & Resources 11/3/19 - 10/3/23
Mrs Clare Alcock Co-opted Resources  Health & Safety, Head's App'l 19/3/20 - 18/3/24
Mrs Liz Williams Co-opted Resources Safeguarding and Finance 8/01/20 - 7/01/24
Anne Reid                 Chair Co-opted Standards & Resources Head's Appraisal 2/4/19 - 1/4/23
Dr Asha Herbert Local Authority Standards SEND 18/6/19 - 17/6/23
Tim Liddell Associate Joined the governing body to help with special projects. Does not attend meetings normally.
The following people used to be governors at our school and have left the governing body in the last year.
Vicky Walrond Parent Left governing body 14th July 2020 - thanks, Vicky!
Sue Carter Co-opted Left governing body on 9th February 2020 when her 4 year term ended - Thanks, Sue!
Paul Dawes Parent Left governing body on 3rd November 2019 when his 4 year term ended - Thanks, Paul!
David Rowsell Parent Left governing body on 9th February 2020 when his 4 year term ended - Thanks, David!

 

Our governing body has adopted the National Governance Association's Code of Conduct. Each year, all our governors declare any relevant business interests, conflicts of interest or governance positions at other schools etc.

If you wish to see a copy of any public minutes, please contact the Office. Click here for governors' attendance at meetings over the last year and here for governors' Declarations of Interest.