The Chair of Governors writes;
The Governors had their first termly meeting of the new school year recently. I was re-elected as Chairman and I am pleased to say Mrs Sue Tunnicliffe was elected Vice Chair. Mrs Tunnicliffe has been on the Governing Body since the school opened in 2009. She is a Community Governor with a vast experience in education and is currently Senior Improvement Advisor for an Academies trust in North Kent.
Our Resources and Learning and Development Committees met a few days before the full governing body meeting and had considered lots of matters in detail, including our finances and pupil attainment/progress during the last academic year. We had examined pupil attainment at our Summer Conference in July but pupil progress outcomes and national comparison data are not available until September. Indeed we will have to wait until well into October for some key aspects of national comparison data. These data will be considered by the Learning and Development Committee in November.
We considered our school’s context. At the beginning of term we had 364 pupils, excluding our nursery. Only years 5 and 6 have single forms, so we will have two forms in each year by September 2019 – exactly 10 years after we opened. We have slightly more boys than girls. Some 37% of our pupils have English as an additional language. This is higher than the National average and much higher than the Kent average. Some 7% of our pupils have special educational needs, which is below both the Kent and National averages. Pupil attendance was good last year at 96.9% – above the National average.
We discussed last year’s outcomes for pupils. Early Years (EYFS) showed an upward trend, exceeding both Kent and National figures despite low “baseline” assessments of a lot of pupils on entering school. Key Stage 1(KS1) attainment at “expected standard” and at “greater depth” met or exceeded Kent outcomes and exceeded the National levels. Phonics outcomes for year 1 were disappointing, as in previous years we have exceeded the Kent level. We were pleased to be told, however, that interventions in June and July had brought our percentage up to near the Kent level. Key stage 2 attainment overall was near the Kent figures but progress was slightly disappointing in reading and maths. Governors were pleased to learn plans are in place to support improvement in these areas.
A key priority for this academic year is embedding the new Cornerstones curriculum which, among other things, has an emphasis on parental involvement and sharing.
We adopted new safeguarding and anti-bullying policies, using Kent’s model policies modified to suit our particular circumstance. We have carried out a self-review of our safeguarding practices and are re-assured that these are robust and effective. There are, however, a few actions from this that will be completed during the year. We were also pleased to learn that the pupil well-being survey had almost finished. We will be considering its outcomes at our November committee meetings. We also now have a “lock-down” procedure which we hope will be practised this term.
We reviewed our financial situation. Income during the year is now likely to be more than forecast last April and so we do not need to use reserves to support our revenue expenditure. We are, therefore “living within our means”.
We agreed our priorities for the year largely stemming from the School’s Development Plan. All in all we have a very busy year ahead!