Annual Governance Statement for the Governing Body:
The governing body of Drighlington Primary School acts in accordance with the three core functions of a governing body as set out by the Government. These are:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff;
- Overseeing financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
The governing body is currently made up of 10 members and we have 1 co-opted vacancy to fill. Membership details and a brief pen portrait of each governor can be found on our website.
Our governors are committed volunteers who bring a range of skills and experience to the role. We are passionate about providing support to the school so that they can ensure every pupil attending Drighlington Primary School achieves the best start in education; achieves their full potential, and is given the skills and encouragement to pursue learning opportunities. We are fully committed to our school ethos of Nurturing, Supporting, Believing and Achieving, this ethos underpins the work of the school and the governors.
The governing body works alongside a professional clerk who is responsible for arranging meetings, taking minutes and providing advice on procedural matters. Minutes of meetings are approved and are available for viewing upon request.
The full governing body meets at least 3 times per year. In 2022/23 we also had the following committees/ subgroups
- Resources – focussing on finance and premises
- Children, Teaching and Learning – focussing on quality of teaching, the curriculum, attitudes and behaviour and personal development of our pupils.
- Headteacher performance management
The governing body and the committees all have clear terms of reference and all Governors are required to abide by a Code of Conduct.
School Improvement Priorities in 2022-2023
During 2022-2023 our school improvement priorities were;
- To ensure all staff have high ambitions for all children, delivering a broad and balanced curriculum that builds upon long term memory with clear end points.
- To further develop positive attitudes so that children have the greatest possible opportunities to reach their potential.
- To continue to promote a wide range of opportunities through a rich and personalised curriculum so that all children develop skills, knowledge and cultural capital.
- To ensure that leadership and management work is highly effective because it is shared by different individuals and distributed across the school.
- To ensure children are safe, happy and healthy, have self-belief and cultural capital, and provision is challenging for all children, so that the % GLD is increased.
Governors visited school during the year to monitor key priority areas identified in the School Improvement Plan. Governor monitoring visits allow governors the opportunity to observe and communicate with staff and pupils and ensure that actions agreed in the School Improvement Plan are being actively undertaken by the school.
Governors met with SLT and key staff members to discuss pupil progress and actively monitor the impact of new initiatives on pupil outcomes. Key governors have responsibilities for monitoring and overseeing key roles, such as SEND, Pupil Premium and Child Protection, they meet with school staff responsible for these areas and report back to the full Governing Body.
Monitoring visits took place in 2022/23 in the following areas:
- Child Protection and Safeguarding.
- Children Looked After (CLA)
- Pupil Premium
- Early Years
- Well-being of Staff and Pupils
- Health and Safety
- Premises Management
- Behaviour and Attitudes
- Learning walks with the Headteacher
The governing body is focussed on continuous school improvement and utilisation of school budget to ensure that all children are given the best possible opportunity to meet their full potential. We constantly review the maintenance and development of the school premises and make decisions about how the school should use its budget. We will continue to focus on “vulnerable groups” of children and how the Pupil Premium Grant is being spent by the school to promote and improve learning outcomes. The governing body monitor staff performance and assess the staffing needs of the school. They also ensure that legally required polices are in place to support staff management.
Safeguarding is of paramount importance. The governing body meets all statutory requirements in terms of training and policy approval. We have a safeguarding governor who acts as a link between the Designated Safeguarding Lead and the governing body.
Governors undertake regular training to ensure they are compliant with their statutory responsibilities. In 2022/23 training was undertaking in the following areas:
- School Finance
- PREVENT (All Governors)
- Pupil Premium
- Health and Safety and Premises
- Governor Induction
- Child Protection (All Governors)
- Children Looked After
The governing body regularly review their effectiveness. In 2022/23 we commissioned a skills audit to ensure that we have the necessary skills and experience to successfully undertake our roles. The audit identified gaps in Risk Management and knowledge of Buildings and Maintenance. These gaps will be addressed by governor training or through future governor recruitment. Following the skills audit, governors agreed that a focus of future recruitment would be to broaden the diversity of the board to better represent the local community.
Throughout the year governors have worked with the Leeds School Improvement Team, Governor Support Services and HR to ensure that we are following all policies and procedures correctly.
Governors are active members of the school community, attending many school events. In 2022/23 we have attended
- School trips
- Parents evening
- Nursery and reception new parents meetings
- Sports Day
- Year 6 leavers plays
- Christmas events
- Halloween Disco
- Drigmass and Drigfest to support our pupils on stage
These events allow us to interact with staff, pupils and parents on a more informal basis and give us a real insight into what is happening in school and how our school community is feeling.
In September 2022 we welcomed a new Headteacher, Mrs Addinall, to the school. Due to a change in personal circumstances, Mrs Addinall left the school in August 2023. Governors worked with the Leeds City Council School Improvement and HR teams to ensure that we maintained stability within the Leadership Team and had in place a Headteacher to take us forward and continue to focus on our school improvement priorities.
Governor Focus for 2023-2024
In September 2023, Mrs Nicola Abidi became our Acting Head of School supported by Mrs Sara Harris as Executive Headteacher. Mrs Harris is an experienced and highly skilled Headteacher. Mrs Abidi has been our Deputy Head for 7 years, she is highly skilled and has a vast amount of knowledge of our school and the Drighlington community. In 2023/24, they will lead the school together supported by the rest of our Leadership Team consisting of Mrs Sowden, Mrs Pickering, Miss Wright, Miss Ainley and Miss Khan.
A main focus for governors this year is to evaluate the needs of the school and ensure that leadership is stable and effective. We will continue to work with the School Improvement Team and HR to ensure this is done and communicated to the school community.
During 2023-2024 the governing body will:
- continue to work with all stakeholders and strive to develop and work towards the long-term strategy of the school
- continue to act as a critical friend to the SLT, challenging and holding them to account whilst providing the required strategic support.
- continue to self- evaluate our skills and knowledge and to take advice from all stakeholders to ensure that governance remains a strength.
In 2023/24 our school improvement priorities are focused on the key areas of Teaching and Learning, Leadership and Management, Pupil Support, Pupil Outcomes, Well-being and Early Years.
- Ensuring our pupils, including disadvantaged and SEND children make expected or accelerated progress.
- Ensuring leadership, including governance, is consistent and effective and that roles and responsibilities are clearly defined.
- Ensuring that behaviour across school is managed consistently and that policies around behaviour and attendance are clear and embedded.
- Ensuring that curriculum plans are clear, there is robust monitoring in all subjects and assessment in the wider curriculum is fully embedded to support pupil outcomes across the school.
- Supporting the wellbeing of staff, including leaders by reducing workload. Raising the profile of wellbeing in school and the wider school community.
- Ensuring that teaching and learning across Early Years is at least good and that staff, including the new EY leader, are supported and familiar with a ‘language rich environment’ which offers challenge.
Governors will continue with our monitoring duties and ensure we are visible and active members of the school community.
It has been an exceptionally busy 12 months for the governing body. We have seen some changes in membership, this has given us some challenges in ensuring we remain effective and all roles are covered, however, we remain strong and committed to achieving our school improvement priorities.
We would like to thank those members who have left us during the year for their time, effort and commitment; Brad Allan, Helen Addinall, John Feaster and Ania Lomax.
We have welcomed new governors and look forward to working with them over the coming year, they are; David Smith, Sara Harris, Nicola Abidi (Associate Governor) and Michael Devaney.
We would also like to thank our long-standing clerk, Eileen Murray, for her help and advice during her time with us and welcome our new clerk, Sharon Burn, to the team.
Governors are confident that all areas of the school are moving forward and that progress is being made towards our improvement priorities. The school is a happy and welcoming place and it is a pleasure for us to be part of the school community, we look forward to further developing our relationships with staff, pupils and parents.
We are looking forward to 2023/24 being a successful, productive year in which our pupils are nurtured, supported, believed in and achieve their goals.
Chair of Governors, on behalf of the Governing Body of Drighlington Primary School.