Annual Governance Statement 2019-2020
Annual Governance Review
Bexton Local Governing Board
September 2019-July 2020
We began our new academic year in September 2019 as a newly converted Academy, and having recently joined with Cheshire Academies Trust (CAT), the multi-academy trust with which we had been working so closely since 2017. In our first meeting of the academic year Janet Myers (chair of Cheshire Academies Trustee board) attended to welcome us formally to the Trust, and to give a presentation to our governors about local governance within the CAT Multi Academy Trust.
After a fantastic four years as chair, Peter Woodhouse stood down in November, so that he could take up his new role as a CAT Trustee, and John Squires, one of our longest serving governors and a previous Bexton chair, was elected as chair of our local governing board for a one year term of office, with Kathryn Woolf as vice-chair.
Our LGB voted to continue with our usual structure, which meant that there would be one Resources subcommittee, one Curriculum subcommittee and one Local Governing Board meeting each term, and we would report our delegated functions to the CAT Trustee board. We also set up additional working groups of Bexton governors to meet once per term to focus on, and feed back to our LGB, ideas and options for: (i) Income generation, (ii) The future of the wrap around provision and (iii) The vision for the school up to 2025.
Our LGB continued with the potential to rise to fourteen governors maximum on the condition we limit this to a maximum of 12 in line with other CAT LGBs by the end of 2021. Our instrument of government this year was three parent governors, nine co-opted governors, the head teacher governor and one staff governor, with the deputy head sitting as an associate member.
We kicked off the year with the usual school business. Our school development priorities were to continue to challenge pupils with the wider curriculum, including exploring diverse viewpoints and experiences, further enhancing staff and pupil wellbeing, increasing the rate of progress for pupils working below the expected standard in maths and continuing to transition into the new academy.
External validation of the standards within school were still strong with positive reports from CAT’s CEO, Steve Ellis. The 2019 external data showed that KS2 progress measures were significantly above national with reading, writing and maths being in the top 20% nationally. Attainment figures for all subjects were also significantly above national and in the highest 20% nationally. Standards in KS1 were also in the top quintile for reading, writing and maths at the higher standard. For the Early Years Foundation Stage, the Good Level of Development was 83% over the last three years.
In the Spring of 2020, the unprecedented first national Coronavirus lockdown was announced, leading us to cancel our face to face 18th March LGB and quickly learn new ways of working remotely, with our rescheduled governor meeting successfully taking place virtually via Microsoft Teams on 30th March. This was the first of many Teams meetings, and we have continued to meet virtually since then, adapting our ways of working along with the rest of the country to enable everyone’s safety during the pandemic. The DfE requested that all school governance across the nation would be restricted to critical business only, during the early days of the pandemic, and senior leaders steered staff and pupils through these unprecedented times providing support remotely, whilst also running face to face provision for the vulnerable/ critical worker children. We monitored how well the school was supporting those children and staff attending school, as well as the vulnerable families who were staying at home, and also what was offered for home education, and how parents and children were supported to access this, as well as monitoring the well-being of school staff, providing support to senior leaders, and risk planning to keep everyone safe during the pandemic.
At first, 6-10 children were accessing the critical worker provision each day, but this grew to approximately 50 children by June, and ran throughout the Easter holidays. The school kept in contact with all vulnerable families with regular phone calls. The provision for remote learning increased as the school responded to parents’ needs. Initially home learning was provided on the school website and this increased to pre-recorded videos being uploaded each week and email addresses being provided for communication. When it became clear that pandemic was here to stay for much of 2020, we supported the work of the head and deputy in the race to ensure the school‘s IT systems would be in a position to take on the challenge of high quality and accessible whole school remote learning, and that no families or staff would be excluded from this due to equipment or skills needs.
There had been constant communication between governors and the SLT during the national lockdown. This supported the school leadership team in making critical decisions regarding the wider reopening in June. Governors continued to monitor the home learning, risk assessments, safeguarding, staff wellbeing, the reduced provision and transition for EYFS and Year 6 children.
In the 2019-2020 academic year, our attendance at governor meetings was 91% at Local Governing Board meetings (with 75% and 85% respectively at Curriculum and Resources Subcommittees).
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