Brandles Governing Body
Governor News Autumn term 2017
We need a parent governor. Could that be you? Please read on to learn about what governors have been doing this term.
Every new school year brings fresh faces and new challenges. Our year sevens were introduced to Brandles through an extensive transition process which saw Brandles staff making frequent visits to feeder schools in June and July to meet the boys and explain the opportunities and new regime they were moving on to. This did not stop at the end of term, but continued with some activities during the summer. Then boys visited the school and engaged in a range of activities which were designed to challenge and build team skills. We hoped that this new and more intensive transition process would reduce the insecurity and concerns some new pupils experience on their move up to secondary. Overall, the transition phase was successful; governors were pleased that the first few weeks were positive for most boys.
New governors joined us too. We were delighted to welcome Alec Thomas to the governing board. Alec has settled quickly and is also a member of the Finance and Personnel committee. He has worked well to recruit other governors Later this term we welcomed Kim Shariff. She too, has attended both committees. Sadly, we have said goodbye to Tasha Parkhouse and Angela Smith. We are grateful for their help and support and wish them both well for 2018.
The Autumn term is busy for governors. This is when we plan what we will do throughout the forthcoming year, tying this in to the School Improvement Plan, the SIP. This is a working document which sets out all the targets we hope to achieve each year and against which the head must measure progress. Our role as governors is to monitor the work of the school using this plan as a baseline. We schedule visits and audits according to key dates in the school calendar. Each governor links with an area of the school activities and arranges meetings with relevant staff.
We have checked on health and safety, safeguarding and resources. We have visited the school to observe breakfast and lunchtime and attended assembly. It is important to work with staff to understand what is going on in their classes and we made visits to the DT class where the boys are making their own wooden soap boxes to race at the end of term and BVEC to learn more about the interesting range of alternative provision which our boys can access. It is always good to learn from the boys themselves how they feel about the work they are doing. Of course, we always seek agreement from the pupils first that they will talk with us and are pleased when they are happy to volunteer. We have seen files with science, maths, art and English and heard from the boys how target setting and marking schemes help them to know what they need to do next to improve. Our safeguarding governor has met with boys to understand how they learn about how to keep themselves safe and how safe they feel at Brandles. Walking round the school we see interesting displays of pupil work and the foyer is now looking more inviting. Our Pupil Premium link governor has assessed the impact of Pupil Premium additional funds, which are intended to help boys who qualify for this support to close the attainment gap. The report and strategy statements must be placed on the school website and you can find them under the Statutory tab.
The school finances are always under the microscope. We are funded on the basis of the number of pupils we will provide for and then given a top up amount for each child in respect of their needs. This is a standard amount and we must then manage all other costs of running the school, paying staff, managing resources and other building needs. The Finance Committee met to discuss pay and performance awards which have been impacted by the Government’s decision to increase teachers’ pay overall. We must reward good performance and acknowledge the excellent commitment of our staff. We also need to set the headteacher’s targets for the forthcoming academic year and evaluate his performance over the past year. This is one of the key functions for the Autumn term and a small group of governors completed this with the School Improvement Partner in early December.
Governors have been delighted with the progress the school is making. It is encouraging to hear from the boys themselves that they are finding life at Brandles stimulating and enjoyable. An excellent example of this was when they featured in the Comet for their excellent efforts to support the neo-natal ward at the Lister Hospital. They were all great ambassadors for Brandles. As governors we are sometimes called in to discuss the problems raised by pupils, so it is particularly heartening to learn about really positive events.
We now have a vacancy for a parent governor and a co-opted governor. If you feel that you could support us with our interesting work in supporting and holding the head to account for the successful running of the school please do contact us. Let the head or office know of your interest and we will meet you, show you round and tell you more about what we do. You will need to attend two committee meetings per term in the evenings and perhaps make link visits during the year. We hold training events in the school twice a year. You will receive the additional support and training you need to learn about the work of governors when specific courses become available.
We are all looking forward to Christmas. We wish all boys and their families a happy and peaceful time.
Chair of Governors.
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