Please click the button below to read information about:
Please click the button below to read information about:
This annual statement, in line with the DfE’s recommended good practice, outlines how the Governing Body has fulfilled its responsibilities and how it has met the three core strategic functions of the School’s Governing Body as set out by Government:
This has proved to be an unprecedented year with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic which, in March, closed down swathes of the economy, including schools. School leaders were presented with the enormous challenge of providing for children of key workers whilst developing ways and means of supporting home schooling to minimise the impact of the closure. The response of the school was outstanding in the way it deployed staff to meet the needs of pupils and their families; both educationally and in other ways. The impact on families varied widely and for some it was a particular struggle to manage. Every effort was made by the school to ensure families received their entitlements – from free school meals to having access to online learning resources. Thanks to the sterling efforts of the charity, Farnborough Lions, more than 20 children were given desktop computers. The number of children attending rose from around a dozen a day in March to around 60 in July. The school remained open continuously until the end of the summer term for the children of key workers. The school works with CM Sports on a regular basis to extend the range of extra-curricular activities available to our children and during the summer break they ran a highly popular holiday club.
A number of staff were in ‘clinically vulnerable’ categories but continued to work from home supporting remote learning, preparing learning materials, following up and maintaining contact with children through regular telephone calls. The first of June saw the return of Year 6 children and it was pleasing that most attended. By the end of term, the total number of children attending school was about 140. Although the usual transition arrangements had to be modified, the Year 6 children left well prepared for their move to the secondary phase of their education.
Like all of us in our daily lives, schools have had to find their way forward with changing guidance as the pandemic has progressed. We appreciate the support, encouragement and understanding given to the school by parents during these difficult days.
At this time of the year we would normally be discussing the results of the KS2 National Curriculum Tests, which, of course were cancelled. However, at the time of lockdown the internal data suggested that the school was on track to perform well against national and county averages. The school continues to achieve at a high level and has the processes and systems in place to maintain improvements into the future.
In December, the governors agreed to the school entering into a Partnership Agreement with Pinewood Infant School. Under this arrangement, there has been collaborative working between both schools with Paul Shakespeare becoming Acting Head Teacher of Pinewood for three days a week and Denis Foster becoming overall Executive Head teacher of both. To bring the Governing Bodies closer together, Clive Norris (Guillemont) and Heather Ryder (Pinewood) now sit on both Governing Bodies. Despite the disrupted year, the agreement is bringing benefits to both parties. The Agreement is to run to May 2021 when it will be subject to review.
These are fully described, together with the composition of the Governing Body, on the school website: www.guillemont.org.uk/About-us/Governance
Attendance record at meetings
Governors have excellent records of attendance at meetings, attendance is monitored by the clerk to the governing body. Absences from meetings are invariably for compelling reasons e.g. unavoidable family or work commitments. Individual governor attendance records are published on the school website: www.guillemont.org.uk/About-us/Governance
The usual routine of Governing Body meetings was disrupted by the pandemic and from lockdown, apart for a meeting of the Finance and Resources Committee to review the 2020/21 budget submission, the governors met only as a full Governing Body to deal with essential matters. The directive from Government was for governing bodies to meet only to fulfil their statutory duties, approve budgets and expenditure and provide oversight and support – the operational responsibility for the school resided with the headteacher. During the whole school year, the full Governing Body met seven times, the Finance and Resources Committee, five times, Curriculum and Standards Committee, three times and the Safeguarding and Wellbeing Committee twice. Unless a responsibility is specifically delegated to a committee, all committee decisions are subject to approval and ratification by the full Governing Body meetings.
There were two further meetings – for the Governing body to scrutinise and approve the Risk Assessments for the opening of the school to Yr6 children in June and the whole school opening in September. The head teacher was responsible for the producing the associated operational plans. Videoconferencing was used for all meetings after the March closure. It is planned to revert to normal in the autumn term with the advised precautions and distancing.
In the second half of the Summer term, with the commitment of the government for schools to open for all children in September, the focus of the school leaders was on developing the ‘Recovery Plan’ to enable children to catch up as soon as possible. With the help of published advice from the DfE and Hampshire Education an ambitious but achievable plan has been put in place. The plan was presented (and questions answered) by the Maths and English leaders to the governors at their last meeting in the summer term. Schools have been given additional funding to support ‘recovery’.
In addition, governors make numerous monitoring visits to the school, attend training and briefing events organised by the Local Authority (LA) and assist in the recruitment of new staff although many activities have had to be suspended or done by videoconferencing since lockdown. There is always governor representation on the selection panel for leadership appointments and where possible for all other staff appointments. All panels have at least one member trained in “Safer Recruitment”.
Systems, (overseen by the Chair of Governors and the Headteacher), are in place to ensure that the Governing Body and the school meet their statutory duties and that Government and local authority guidance and advice are followed in school policies and practices, particularly in the areas of safeguarding and child protection.
We were sorry to lose Andy Cook (Parent Governor) who stood down at the end of his term of office with our thanks for his support of the school. A request has gone out to parents inviting nominations to fill the resulting vacancy. We welcomed three new co-opted governors, Mike Field, Stuart Divers and Heather Ryder, who between them bring a depth and breadth of invaluable knowledge and experience to the school.
The Work of the Governing Body 19-20
Meeting the three core strategic functions of the School’s Governing Body:
The governors fully subscribe to the vision statement to which they have contributed and regularly review it with the school leaders.
Although priorities have changed, the focus is on the short to medium term to deal with the impact of the pandemic and implementing the Recovery Plan, the long-term objectives remain the same as set out in the Strategic Plan (2019 -23). It is likely to be revisited in the summer 2021.
Day to day the school is driven by the School Improvement Plan. This sets out the targets for pupil progress and attainment and for the quality of teaching and learning. It is for the governing body to hold the headteacher to account for meeting these targets.
Until lockdown this was done mainly by the governors’ Curriculum and Standards Committee who review pupil progress data by subject, cohort, gender, pupil premium and other vulnerable children with the senior leaders and subject leaders on a scheduled half termly basis over the academic year. In addition, there are individual governors assigned to English, Mathematics and Science who meet termly with their subject leaders to monitor progress on pupil performance and quality of teaching and learning. The school now has more effective systems for data collection and the assessment of progress and attainment. Progress is also tracked and monitored through scrutiny of the children’s workbooks.
Governors also follow progress in initiatives such as Project Based Learning (PBL) and Personal Development Learning (PDL) which broaden and enrich the curriculum.
Governors continued to receive the high-quality data they need hold the headteacher to account for attainment and progress.
The governors received reports from and question the Inclusion Manager and the SENCO/Resource Provision Manager on the progress of SEND and Resourced Provision children. We continue to see many examples where the school has gone to great lengths to help children with significant needs to engage fully in school life. On a more regular basis the Inclusion governor meets with Inclusion Manager and the SENCO/Resource Provision Manager.
The governors kept in touch with the pupils’ views by meeting with them (pupil conferencing) and attending a number of the School Council meetings throughout the year.
After school closure in March the governors continued to monitor and support the school. The safety and wellbeing of pupils, families and staff was paramount in their considerations as it was with the school leaders.
Each spring the governors review and agree the budget for the school financial year which is submitted to the local authority (LA). In the autumn, the progress of expenditure against budget and priorities are reviewed and approved by governors and submitted to the LA. The Finance and Resources Committee receive regular budget progress reports from the headteacher at their half-termly meetings. The school follows its Financial Management and Probity Policy (see school website) which is reviewed annually. The governors also make an annual Effective Buying Statement (see School website) which sets out the principles the school adopts in purchasing goods and services to ensure best use of funding to improve the quality of education delivered and the well-being of its pupils. The governors have to make an annual Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) return to the LA, the purpose of which is to assure the LA (and Government) that the financial management of the school is sound and effective. Governor checks on the school’s financial control procedures are carried out on a two-yearly cycle (2021). The governors also follow a schedule to ensure school policies and statutory requirements are periodically reviewed, acted on and appropriately updated and posted on the school website.
Governors continue to have concern about the issue of school funding, in part due to continuing constraints on public spending and the school operating ‘under capacity’ in recent years (a situation which no longer applies). The school is not in overall deficit due to prudent financial management and is secure for the next three years. It should be noted that our position is common across all schools and uncertainties remain for the medium to long term. Budgeting is undertaken with this in mind and some improvement projects need to be done in a phased manner. For example, this year has seen further work done to improve the Upper School area and the Resourced Provision layout has been changed and the whole area redecorated.
The Landscape project continues to improve the grounds for environmental, recreational and educational purposes. A highlight for the children was the installation of large climbing frame early in the school year.
The governors are very appreciative of the outstanding support given to the school by an active and enthusiastic parent-teacher association – the Friends of Guillemont (FOG). We also thank all those who freely give of their time to support the school and its children.
The Governors’ Performance Management Committee sets and reviews the Headteacher’s annual targets and the Personnel and Pay Committee oversees the management of staff performance and pay.
Training Courses and other Events Attended
Hampshire Governor Services offer a range of training courses covering all aspects of the governors’ role and provide briefings on topical matters affecting schools. The school subscribes to take full advantage of the services offered to enable them to be better informed and effective. For the moment courses continue to be delivered but for the moment are presented by online webinars.
The governing body as a group had training – ‘Safeguarding and Child protection’. Governors individually attended courses and events on a range of topics, including:
The Development and Training Governor and the Clerk also attended briefings relevant to their respective roles. The Chair of Governors attends the termly NE Hants Governors Forum which provides a two-way channel for the exchanges of views and information between local governors and the County and National Governor Representative Bodies.
The governing body belongs to the National Governance Association (NGA) which provides a number of resources and services for governors and produces a very informative newsletter received by all governors.
The school subscribes to an information and advice database called School Bus to which all governors have access to as well as the school leaders and teachers.
Hampshire Governor Services also provided many more online webinars to enable the governors to continue their training.
The aim is to maintain a governing body well equipped to meet its responsibilities and to be knowledgeable about what is happening in the wider education sector.
Looking Forward to 2020-21 and Beyond
The governors and school leaders remain fully committed to improvement – to make the school even better so we do the very best we can for every child. The immediate priority is the successful implementation of the ‘Recovery Plan’ to enable children to catch up, but at the same time ensuring they receive a broad curriculum and have exciting learning experiences. There will have to be compromises in the short term, but hopefully we can soon return the school to where we all want it to be.
The school continues to need careful financial management to carry it through the coming years. However, the school is now extremely popular and very successful in attracting new pupils. We will continue to seek opportunities to make further improvements to the school, the criteria being that they are cost effective in enhancing the well-being or education of the children.
The school’s strength continues to be in the quality of its staff and its leadership team.
The Strategic Plan 2019-23 and the School Improvement Plan 2020-21 together set out the vision we have for Guillemont children and the plans of how to achieve it.