Chair of Governor’s Blog

At the end of last week Governors held their annual mid-year conference. Each year we hold two conferences in addition to our regular meetings so we can challenge leaders and explore standards in greater depth.  We discussed contextual pupil data, for example, excluding our Nursery, we have 364 children on roll in January 2018. Of these 51% are boys and 49% girls. We continue to be oversubscribed and have waiting lists for pupils who wish to join the school.  We have 10% with special needs and 12% are children in receipt of Pupil Premium funding.

We spent some time discussing pupil outcomes for last year. Children in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) showed a good level of development (GLD) which was above the national average and rose by 8.3% compared to the previous year. Four out of five disadvantage pupils also achieved GLD. Phonic results in Year 1 for this year were not as strong as in previous years but examination of current practice and data including external auditing satisfied Governors that this anomaly was being resolved rapidly.  96% successfully achieved the standard by the end of Year 2.

Attainment in KS1 was above national average in reading, writing and maths with 6 out of 8 disadvantaged children meeting the standard in reading and maths and 5 in writing. Outcomes at “greater depth” were approximately twice the national average.  Also there was success moving a higher proportion, than nationally, of pupils from “expected” at EYFS to “greater depth”. 

Attainment at KS2 was in line with the national average in reading and above in writing and maths at both “expected” standard and “greater depth”. In maths the “greater depth” proportion was also substantially higher than the national percentage. Progress in all three was, however, below the national average.

Overall, therefore, outcomes for KS1 and EYFS have been good over time and the leadership team are demonstrating that they have brought about improvement in these areas.  There were disappointing outcomes with Phonics and KS2 progress. These data, in a preliminary form, were discussed at our end of year conference in July 2017 and again at meetings at the start of the new academic year to ensure interventions were put in place to try to avoid such outcomes in the current year. We reviewed these interventions and concluded that they remain appropriate. Unfortunately school comparison sites often just take KS2 outcomes and ignore earlier years, so our school is not comparing well with others. This is a concern, and we are taking action to ensure outcomes will be better for KS2 this year.

Parent governors reported that quite a few parents are concerned about this information being shared online. Over the last few months there had been increasing criticism of the school on unofficial Facebook pages and they felt that dis-satisfaction with the school is increasing.  While a range of channels are available for contact with the school, after discussion we concluded that having a parent forum should further improve communications between parents and the school and so one would be arranged as soon as possible. Following the conference on Thursday 25th January a parents’ forum is being arranged for the evening of 20th February. As in previous years we will also be conducting our annual parental questionnaire during the Academic Mentoring Day on 29th March.

We discussed progress with refreshing the schools’ ethos and longer term strategy and plan that this is published in term 6. We also discussed the outcomes of a governor skills audit and concluded that there are no urgent training needs other than keeping up to date with the latest education and safeguarding developments and new governor training.

We had an update on “Prevent” which focusses on increasing people’s awareness of recognising and responding to extremist/terrorist activities and the use of the “channel” programme which seeks to encourage people to turn away from following an extremist “path”. Our location in Kent with key transport links and cross channel activities makes this a priority.

All in all a busy day with hopefully some useful outcomes.

Alastair Jefford

 

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