A welcome from Dr Charles Woodford, Chair of Governors
The Governing Body evolved from the Management Committee of TMBSS when it was still a department of the Local Authority before becoming a maintained school in April 2013. The Head of Service and Chair of Governors were both new to their roles in June 2013, following the retirement of their predecessors. The governors now meet once per term to deal with the formal issues and all are members of at least one of the two sub-committees, Finance and Staffing and Curriculum and Performance, which also meet termly and review the business of the school.
A huge development programme has been led by our Head of Service, Mrs Kay Redknap:
It was a major step for the Governing Body to take on the responsibility for the budget of around £2.2 million and all the management issues of a maintained schools. In addition, with changes to the local authority, our service has increased its number of place by 25%.
Mrs Redknap has developed a Senior Leadership Team from our most experienced members of staff. The Governors meet and work directly with the SLT. Mrs Redknap has also enhanced the management responsibilities for staff in each centre, so that middle managers are now managing, for example, formal lesson observations for all staff, which are now compulsory. In addition, Centre Managers and administrators are now taking on more of the day to day handling of pupil matters and training is being developed for teaching Assistants.
Performance monitoring of Pupils and Tracking of their progress, an issue on which we were found to be relatively weak at our last OFSTED in 2013, now takes place and continues to be refined.
Our Primary Service has expanded into two additional hubs, one in the north of the county and one in the south. This allows us to respond to the increased demand for our service and reduces the traveling for some of our youngest pupils.
Recruitment to replace retiring staff and to support expansion has brought some very high calibre new staff. Our job advertisements bring a very healthy response, whereas schools often have difficulty filling posts.
The profile of safeguarding has been raised to the highest importance in line with Government and OFSTED priorities, with a permanent working party and training for all staff and governors.
It is a relatively small governing body, owing to the transient nature of most of our pupils’ time with us, it can be difficult recruiting Parent Governors. All governors are therefore closely involved with the management of the Service through the subcommittees, which have reviewed all of the above developments and more. There is always more that could be done, and governor training is a priority for the future. We would welcome interest from anyone with the interest and skills to become a governor.
The School Improvement Plan (SIP) is the working document which draws together all the management issues for the Head and Senior Leadership Team. It is reviewed regularly by the Head and the school’s School Improvement Advisor (a local authority officer).
The following are quotes from the document, current in July 2015:
“Service leaders are changing some of the priorities of the service and ensuring that these are communicated effectively across all centres. There is a change in the balance between tuition and teaching with an increased focus on the latter…Leaders and governors have ensured that these expectations are having a direct impact on the outcomes for pupils.”
“How effectively of governors challenge senior leaders to secure outcomes that are at least good or improving?
Although the Governing Body is relatively new, it has quickly established itself as a confident and robust body. The quality and experience of governors has provided a degree of challenge to the service leader.”
“How effective is governance?
Governance is good, if not outstanding. Membership comprises of a range of very experienced individuals from a variety of different backgrounds and although relatively new it has quickly established itself as a very competent body.”