Governance Impact Statement 2021-2022

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 education environment continues to be challenging. Although restrictions have been lifted, the impact of the Covid-19 continues, and will continue, to be felt, both in the impact it had on children and in the increased absence rates that occur during ongoing waves of Covid-19.

The school is also, like all schools, subject to financial pressures. Nationally, schools have seen their funding cut, in real terms, over the past ten years. Locally, the number of school age children means that many schools are seeing their roll numbers falling, and the cost-of-living crisis is affecting the school just as it is with families. We are fortunate that, as an attractive school, our pupil numbers have been increasing which helps manage these budget pressures, but are aware that we cannot be complacent.

Having operated almost entirely remotely, the board resumed school visits from Spring 2. It has been heartening to, once again, be able to see the excellent work being done at the school at first hand. As always, we would like to formally record our thanks to everyone in the school community. It’s easy to visit the school, see outstanding teaching and learning, and excellent behaviour in a calm atmosphere, and forget that we have just experienced two years of incredible disruption. The staff, pupils, and parents and carers should all be incredibly proud of what they have accomplished so far, and what they continue to achieve to develop children who think about their world, enlarge their world, and change their world.

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 comprises thirteen members: the headteacher, one elected staff governor, two elected parent governors, one local authority governor (appointment by the board and approved by the local authority), and eight co-opted governors. All non-staff board members are unpaid 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. We have had two clerks during the year, Nicki Goddard retired after many years service in spring term, and Catherine Wreyford has taken her place.

The board was sad to say farewell to Anthony Boon, who retired after serving nine years as a governor. Anthony joined to provide support as our two-stream model of enterprise and bilingual education was implemented, and was a stalwart, providing advice and challenge.

However, we are pleased that following a governor recruitment process, we have appointed Jon Moore to replace him. Jon brings a range of experience that we know will strengthen the board and help us address some of the challenges we face.

Board structure

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

Attendance details are listed at the end of the governance impact statement.

Governor training

The board recognises the importance of training and development. Over the course of the year, governors undertook training in the following areas:

  • Self evaluation
  • Strategic planning
  • Safeguarding
  • Performance management
  • Compliance
  • Ofsted preparation
  • Succession planning
  • Budget monitoring and forecasting

The board’s work

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

  • Medium term planning
  • 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

The board has, since Spring 2, resumed a programme of visits, these include visits by a single governor with a focus on a single topic, and governors’ days when several governors will also look at all aspects of the school.

Areas that have been a focus for governor day visits this year include overall curriculum delivery, development of the enterprise curriculum, and early years provision.

We have also benefited from the advice and guidance of our external school advisor, an independent expert, with whom we can compare and calibrate our observations.

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. This has been a particularly successful year, with the school winning multiple awards and accreditations which underline the quality of the curriculum it delivers. We have also been pleased to hear how children have been taking opportunities to change their world.

Holding the headteacher to account

We continue to find that the school is exceptionally well-led. The 2021/22 school year was particularly challenging, with a member of senior leadership team on maternity leave and, following several years of little change during the pandemic, five new members of staff. We know these added considerably to the senior leadership team’s workload, and commend them for how well they handled it.

The school combines a clear vision, providing direction while allowing teachers agency, distributed leadership, to make the most of everyone’s skills, and a positive culture. Organisational culture starts at the top; so although we know the school’s leadership would be quick to credit all staff, we would like to congratulate the head and her team for the positive and dynamic environment they have created for staff and model for pupils.

Financial performance

Although the return of voluntary nursery provision and after-school care along with a slight increase in roll numbers has meant Shaftesbury Park is not facing the same immediate financial pressures as some local schools, we continue to be concerned about the longer-tern outlook.

We have set a prudent budget that includes a significant contingency in the expectation that much will be used with higher costs during the year. 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 it 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 have also introduced our own governor improvement plan, while much of this overlaps with the school improvement plan, it includes some longer-term aspects, such as using the school’s 150th anniversary in 2027 to frame our thinking for the school’s future, as well as how the school will respond to the government’s education white paper and prepare for the expected reforms.

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