Governance impact statement 2020-2021

It is best practice for the Shaftesbury Park Primary School board of governors to publish an annual governance impact statement, providing details of the school’s governance and their work over the year.

The 2020/21 academic year has been challenging for everyone in the school community: staff, parents and carers, and the children themselves.

The board’s work continued, despite the pandemic, and we adapted to fulfil our functions in a Covid-safe way. Unsurprisingly, the pandemic, and its effects on the school, dominated our work. During the year our priority has been the school’s wellbeing, ensuring that staff and students are safe, wherever they were working or learning.

The board would like to formally record its thanks, and immense pride, in everyone who has worked in the school over the past year. Dealing with outbreaks and lockdowns, sometimes with just a few days notice, when guidance and support from both national and local government was sometimes lacking was a huge challenge, but one the school met admirably. That the school was able to deliver such excellent learning provision, both in school and remotely, is a testament to the positive culture and professionalism shared by every member of staff.

The core duties of governance

The government requires governing boards to fulfil three core duties:

  1. Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  2. Hold the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils
  3. Oversee the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent

The board

The board welcomed two new parent governors, Andrew Dawes and Nicole Walker during the 2020/21 academic year. We would like to thank their predecessors, Jason Arday and Aurora Diaz for their outstanding contributions as parent governors. There were no other changes to the board’s composition during the year.

The board comprises thirteen members: the headteacher, one elected staff governor, two elected parent governors, one local authority governor (appointed by the board and approved by the local authority), and eight co-opted governor. All non-staff board members are volunteers.

The board maintains a skills audit, and the local authority and co-opted governors are appointed based on the skills, knowledge and experience they can bring to the board. Vacancies are filled through a competitive process using two national organisations that specialise in governor recruitment.

The deputy heads and assistant head attend all meetings as observers. The board uses the local authority’s clerking service, and the board’s clerk is Nicki Goddard.

Board structure

The full board meets once per term. It has three committees: Resources; Curriculum and Achievement; and Children, Families and Communities.

Governor training

The board recognises the importance of training and development. Although options were limited during the year, governors undertook training in the following areas:

  • Strategic priorities and the school development plan
  • Budget setting
  • Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services
  • Good practice in school wellbeing
  • Safeguarding roles and responsibilities

The board’s work

During the course of the academic year the board reviewed all aspects of the school’s operation and running, including:

  • Medium term planning
  • Response to the pandemic
  • GDPR
  • Covid catch-up
  • School Improvement Plan
  • Policy review and approval
  • Budget setting and monitoring
  • Health and safety
  • Quality of teaching
  • Pupil progress
  • Marketing
  • Premises plans
  • Staffing structures

Governor visits

Traditional governor visits were suspended during the pandemic. However, governors have continued to monitor the school using virtual methods, these included presentations from relevant staff, discussion groups, and recorded and live classroom observations. We have also benefited from the advice and guidance of our external link inspector, with whom we can compare and calibrate our observations.

Areas that virtual visits this year have focused on include lockdown lesson delivery, enterprise and bilingual curriculum development, and the revised Early Years Foundation Stage framework.

The board’s impact

The board believes it has had a positive impact against its core objectives.

The school’s vision
We are pleased that the school continues to embrace the ambitious vision and continues to develop children who think about their world, enlarge their world and change their world. We are particularly pleased to hear of the positive feedback we have received from secondary school’s about the maturity and development of former Shaftesbury Park children.

Holding the headteacher to account
We believe that the school is exceptionally well-led, and this leadership is distributed. Members of staff at every level display leadership, from the headteacher and her senior leadership team, the middle leaders and all those who lead on a specific culture. The headteacher has created a positive culture, in which all members of staff share a common endeavour and play their part in realising the school’s continued success.

Financial performance
Although the school continues to set a balanced budget the financial situation has become tighter this year. The main pressures this year have come from a significant loss of income from our after-school care and activities, and additional staff costs required, but not funded, by the government. The board continues to closely monitor the school’s financial situation.

The board’s future work

Much of the board’s focus will be tied to the school improvement plan. This will include:

  • Ensuring that our unique curriculum model, now is has been fully implemented, is embedded in the school.
  • Continuing to monitor quality of teaching, with the ambition of further increasing the proportion which is judged as outstanding.
  • Monitoring how issues of equality, especially racial equality, are delivered in our curriculum.
  • Improving the school’s roll numbers, with a particular focus on the school’s marketing.
  • Addressing the learning gaps caps caused by Covid.

We will also be undertaking some work to think about the school’s future development, our ambitions for the school and how it can build on its successes so far.

The first pupils were admitted to what was then Holden Street School in 1877, meaning the school will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2027. Although this may seem a long time away, the current reception class will be leaving in 2027.

While it is an obvious excuse for a celebration, it is a useful milestone to think about the school’s future development and the type of school we would like Shaftesbury Park to be when it reaches 150 years old.

Contacting the governors

The governors are always happy to hear from parents and carers. You can contact them via the school office or contact the chair of governors directly at james.cousins@shaftesburypark.wandsworth.sch.uk