WHAT HAVE THE GOVERNING BODY AT CHRIST CHURCH BEEN DOING AND WHAT IMPACT DO WE HAVE?
I’m very proud of being the Chair of Governors at Christ Church School. Our job is not to run the school, that’s down to the Executive Head and her staff. Our job is to make sure that the school is run well and that the children are happy, safe and well educated. We also want to ensure parents are informed and involved and that everyone who works in school feels they are valued and respected.
Governors represent a variety of different bodies. Most governors are nominated by these different bodies but the Parent and Teacher governors are elected by parents and teachers. I am glad to say that the reports from Ofsted and our SIAMS (like a church Ofsted) said that the Governors contributed very positively to the life of the school.
Governors have been described as “critical friends”. In order to do our task properly, we need to undertake various training. We are currently involved in the “Bishop’s Certificate for Church Schools” which is run by the Southwark Diocesan Board of Education. Governors also attend some of the Inset days and we have a statutory obligation to undertake courses in safeguarding and child protection. All governors are vetted under the DBS system and it is one of our duties to ensure that all the staff at school have current DBS clearance.
Like parliament, the governing body splits into various sub-committees to enable more thorough examination of results and targets. We are also responsible for setting the budget, making sure that money is spent wisely and that the pupil premium grant is spent on activities that benefit pupil premium children.
Unlike parliament, we do not make the rules (though we do adopt and scrutinise policies). We are a corporate body whose purpose is to ensure that the Executive Head and her staff are fulfilling the School Development Plan and attaining the best results possible for each child in school.
Every child is a unique gift from God, and we are informed by our Christian values in a way that helps to show that in our dealings with each other and the life of the school. Over the last few years we have entered into a variety of partnerships with other church schools other faith schools and non-faith schools within our area.
We work to the Development Plan and in tandem with that we have a Governor’s Action Plan which we regularly review, in order to see that things are being kept up to date and targets met.
It’s not our job to evaluate the teaching and learning but it is our task to ensure the evaluations are fair and consistent. It is our role to ask challenging questions about teaching, learning and assessment. There is an outside assessor called a School Improvement Partner who visits school and reports on her findings. We meet with her and work from her reports. Since joining the Multi-academy Trust, the visits from our SIP have doubled and this has been a real help in pushing standards forward.
Governors have been taught various ways to look at evidence, to see in a classroom and around the school if there are displays that support the learning, underpin and explain our Ethos. We will often look at pupils’ work (book scrutiny), not in order to mark it but in order to see that teachers are marking in a way that pushes the learning along.
Each governor is assigned to a year group and the usual practice is to follow that class of children as they move up the school. Sometimes governors are invited to go on educational trips.
For the last few years the Chair and Vice chair of Governors have gone on school journey which is a financial saving for the school and a great chance to see children grow in confidence and working together.
Governors are often around at other occasions and enjoy the chance to talk with parents and children to listen to comments suggestions and even praise for and encouraging remarks about the school.
One of our two elected parent governors is nearing the end of her term of office. This means that before the end of Summer Term parents will be asked to elect (by voting) a new parent governor for a 4 year term. If you are at all interested but want to know more then please do ask.
The role of Governor is certainly more involved than it used to be but the opportunity to help provide our children with a safe environment in which to learn, to feel valued to enhance wellbeing and to be challenged is reward in itself.
Father Steven, Chair of Governors