Annual Governance Statement 2015-16

This annual governance statement gives a brief overview of the activities of the governing body over the last year. It is intentionally brief, as we always aim to report significant activities as they happen throughout the year via the school newsletter and governor section of the school website. Therefore it probably contains little that you haven’t already heard, just a summary of the year’s highlights.

The report is organised around the three primary objectives of the governing body – setting the strategic direction of the school, holding the school to account, and ensuring the financial well-being of the school.

Strategic Direction

In July 2015, we published a statement describing the governing body’s vision for the school. Over the course of the last year, we have tried to ensure we take steps to realise this vision.

By far the most significant activity here, was the process of deciding whether the convert to become an academy, and whether the school should join a multi-academy trust. In June 2016, the governing body voted to start the process of due diligence for academy conversion and joining the River Learning Trust. After a series of informal meetings in the summer term, the formal consultation period took place in September-October 2016; the results of this will be scrutinised by the governing body in November.

It is our expectation that this process will be completed in the first half of 2017, and we will keep you informed of progress throughout the process.

Holding to the school to account

The governing body has a responsibility to ensure that the head teacher and staff are adhering to the school’s policies and delivering the best possible outcomes for all children.

One of the biggest challenges last year was to ensure that staff and pupils were well prepared for the new KS2 SATs in May 2016. As has been documented extensively elsewhere, the new curriculum significantly raised the expected level of achievement in all subjects. It is therefore impossible to compare the 2016 results with previous years, but the governing body have worked extensively with staff to analyse these result and identify areas for improvement. We have also spent a lot of time monitoring the progress of all children throughout their time at the school – this has been particular important this year because of the national change in assessment systems.

School policies are reviewed on a rolling programme throughout the year, and the governing body has statutory responsibility for some of these. We now publish more of these policies than ever on the website.

The governing body is also responsible for setting and monitoring the aims described in the school development plan. A summary of the 2015-16 School Development Plan is being published alongside this statement.

Financial Well-Being of the School

As you will no doubt be aware from the media, pressure on school budgets is greater than ever, particular for small schools. The governing body therefore believes it is to the great credit of Mrs Coleman and Mrs Ackland that the school finances remain strong in such challenging circumstances. Horspath School is by no means immune to this budget pressure, and therefore we continue to monitor the school’s finances on a regular basis to ensure the best value for money is being obtained, and the long-term viability of the school is secured.

Governance

In the last year we have welcomed Chris Rodgers and Phil Goodliffe to the governing body as new Parent Governors. We have also said goodbye to Barbara Lewis and Noel Skeats – the governing body would like to thank both of them for their hard work over the last four years.

Over the year we have worked to improve our connections with other school governing bodies through the Wheatley Area Learning Partnership, and more recently through the school’s prospective membership of the River Learning Trust.

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 on the website.