What does the governing body do?
The three core strategic functions of the Wolverdene Special School Governing Body are:
· Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos, values and strategic direction;
· Holding the Head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;
· Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
How is it made up?
The constitution of the governing body is:
Four Parent Governors, two Staff Governors (to include
the Headteacher), one LEA Governor and eight Co-Opted Governors.
All governors serve 4 year terms and may be re-elected after that time.
If you would be interested in becoming a Governor at this dynamic special school, please get in touch with the Chair of Governors through the School Office. In particular, we would very much welcome applications from Parent Governors (this also includes grandparents and carers!).
How does it work?
The Full Governing Body meets twice each term, once in each half. We also have three committees to consider different aspects of the school in detail, which also meet twice a term. These committees are:
Curriculum Committee: The Curriculum Committee work with the senior management team to oversee the school curriculum and how this meets the needs of learners across the school. The Curriculum Committee also oversees pupil progress, both academically and emotionally each term.
Resources Committee: The Resources Committee was established in January 2017, amalgamating the Finance and Personnel committees for greater effectiveness. The committeeis responsible for overseeing the financial and personnel aspects of the school. It scrutinises and recommends the school budget to the full governing body, and also works with the senior management team to construct strategic financial plans, as well as ensuring expenditure by the school is best value, efficient and effective and that systems of internal financial control are appropriate.It also looks at staffing issues within the school including performance management, staff wellbeing and staffing structure.
Lodge Committee: The Lodge is our small residential unit. The Lodge committee is responsible for providing a range of support, including help and advice on management, staffing and maintenance, checking records and, most importantly, visiting the Lodge before and after school so that we get to know the children and what goes on there.
All committees have terms of reference which are reviewed regularly. We also have governors with specific responsibility for Safeguarding (including Looked After Children) and Health &Safety.
What has the Governing Body achieved in the last year?
Much of the work of the Governing Body is directed by our main strategic document, the School Improvement Plan. This is put together every year by governors in consultation with the headteacher and other stakeholders and it provides a blueprint for the focus of the year ahead, including robust means of measuring whether we have been successful or not. Individual governors are allocated one or more sections of the SIP and are responsible for monitoring its progress.
In the last year, our priorities have been:
1. To improve the quality of teaching and learning within the school so pupils make accelerated progress in Maths and English
Progress has been made against all objectives with particularly good progress in English. Ofsted recommendations regarding writing across all areas of the
curriculum are being introduced. A curriculum manager post for maths and literacy has been implemented from within the teaching team to increase focus and progress within these subjects
2. Develop a system to identify and support pupil progress across the school beyond the use of National Curriculum levels.
Significant work has been done over the year on the new Target Tracker system, which measures pupil performance in the wake of government changes to the way in which this data is collected. The transition has been complex, as few standard systems apply accurately to special schools, but progress has been made and the first full set of data will be available in September 17.
3. Improve provision across the school for Staff and pupil wellbeing, so that staff and pupils are emotionally safer.
A staff wellbeing group was established and is to be further developed. As the school now has six girls on roll, a special group was established to look at their specific welfare needs. Further work on wellbeing is being extended into future plans as this continues to be a priority area.
4. Improve the impact of inter-professional working so that Social, Emotional and Mental Health outcomes for pupils are improved
Thrive – a targeted intervention system which addresses children’s emotional and social needs – has been successfully embedded throughout the school. Our Safeguarding governor produces an annual Safeguarding audit, which is continually reviewed throughout the year. Links with both Children’s Social Care and the Local Authority SEN management team have seen some improvements in communication and practice in working with the school and will continue to be further developed.
5. Develop capacity of school to increase pupil numbers without reducing standards
A Resource Unit comprising an additional class of six children has opened within Andover CofE primary school, allowing staff of both schools to share expertise, while preparing Wolverdene pupils for transition back to mainstream school. The Local Authority are working with the school to expand this model into other areas.
6. Improve the facilities within the Lodge in order to increase pupil engagement.
Major improvements have been made to the Lodge, updating the bathrooms and hot water systems and redecorating through most of the downstairs areas.
In addition, governors have supported, advised and acted as “critical friend” in a wide variety of areas. An integral element of this is supporting the school in managing extreme challenging behaviour through a carefully constructed and inspiring curriculum. This has resulted in no child being excluded for either a fixed period or permanently over the last academic year, despite a rising trend in exclusions in the UK generally.
A number of governors were involved in the Ofsted inspection in November 2016, meeting inspectors and forming part of the feedback sessions. The work of the governors was reflected in the final Ofsted report. We were delighted with the result of Outstanding in all areas.
We visit the school regularly to meet the headteacher and other staff; we conduct exit interviews for any staff who leave and we help interview new senior staff; we enjoy school occasions such as the inspirational weekly Celebration Assemblies and help prepare and serve the school Christmas dinner (one of our number has the vital role of Father Christmas….)
As governors, it is important that we are aware of the broader issues affecting schools both locally and nationally and that we engage those who have influence in a wider context. To this end, we have welcomed our local MP, Kit Malthouse, and County Councillor Zilliah Brooks to the school.
In order to fulfil our roles successfully, it is important that we undertake regular training. Some of this takes the form of whole Governing Body training (this year, on Setting the Strategic Direction for the school), while other training is attended by individuals who want to find out more about specific areas. This year, this has included Holding Leaders to Account, the National Funding Formula,Understanding the Primary Curriculum, Performance Management and an NCTL Multi Academy Trust Workshop.All new governors undertake special induction training.
We have managed the school’s finances effectively within the delegated budget, despite many uncertainties, and always remaining mindful that the school’s
investment in its staff is key to its ongoing success and effectiveness, both within the school and the wider educational community in Hampshire.
What will the GB be looking at over the next year?
In the next year, our School Improvement targets include continuing to improve the quality of teaching and learning so pupils make accelerated learning in English and Maths; to increase capacity of theschool by working with the Local Authority to plan for additional SEMH Primary places within the county; to improve provision across the school for staff and pupil wellbeing and to improve the management systems within the Lodge in order to increase pupil engagement.