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Saturday 30 May: Next week I will be attending a meeting at the school where representatives from Tower Hamlets will be meeting with us to ensure we are making progress as a school on our action plan. As Governors we have our own Development Plan – the things that we say we will be doing to support the school in raising standards – so I spend some time updating our plan in preparation.
Tuesday 20 May: We had the Full Governing Body meeting this evening. We meet usually 3 -4 times a year. It is a meeting where we hear from Mrs Mouna and often other staff if we are focusing on a specific topic. This time we had lots to discuss about OFSTED and the progress we have made since their visit at the end of January. One of the areas that as governors we have to improve is the rigorous monitoring around Pupil Premium funding so we made sure it was a topic on the agenda and Mrs Mouna had lots of progress and attainment numbers to share with us in any case.
Sunday 17th May: Today I took some time to prepare for the Full Governing Body we have on Tuesday this week. We receive the papers beforehand from our Clerk. A key document for us all to read is the Head Teachers report as this details all the good work that the staff have been doing to continually improve the school. I take notes of questions I want to ask and drop an email to the other governors who will be attending.
Thursday 9 May: Mrs Mouna sends me through some documents about the constitution of the Governing Body. It is important for us to adhere to the frameworks as set out by the Diocese. We have an opportunity to re-look at our current model and make changes if we need to. We will all discuss this together at the Governing Body meeting next week.
Tuesday 6 May: I contacted School Governors One-Stop Shop again to see if they could help to find us another governor. They helpfully sent through some CVs so Mrs Mouna and I will take up some references before we make any selections.
Friday 2 May: An exhausting long day at St Anne’s interviewing with Mrs Mouna. We saw some excellent candidates and were very pleased to be able to offer some roles. It gave me a wonderful opportunity to observe some lessons. I was very impressed with how engaged (and fast) the Year One children were with their phonics – a little boy at my table told me “that was brilliant – let’s play it again!” lovely to see learning through play. I also took the opportunity to check on the new library. The building work was well underway but a bit chilly in the hall without the glass!
Thursday 1 May: Today was Resources Committee meeting. This Committee reports on all the financing and staffing for the school. Our budget is well balanced and the funding for our main project this year – the new school library is all in place. We will have less funds than we originally planned for books so will need to look at instigating some additional fund-raising. I also received the results from the Safe-Guarding day training I attended. We had to take a test at the end and I am pleased to say I passed with an “A” Grade – so I had proved it had gone in!
Wednesday 30th April: Today was Standards Committee meeting – I arrived at the school early so I could meet the prospective new governor for St Anne’s. She had a tour of the school and met Mrs Mouna and observed our meeting. We also had a representative from Tower Hamlets observe our Standards Committee meeting. She was checking that we have engaged governors who challenge our staff – she seemed satisfied. The meeting was the first time we’d all met since the Ofsted inspection so lots to discuss. And I am happy to say that the prospective new governor is keen to join. But sad to say another resigned due to a change in family circumstances. So still looking to recruit.
Friday 11th April: The last day of term and I had hoped to spend time seeing the children in lessons and at the end of school. But it wasn’t to be! We had an early start with two representatives from Tower Hamlets and were focussed on Pupil Premium. A finding and recommendation in the Ofsted report was that as governors we need to – track the impact – of the funding. So this session was all about looking how other schools do it and how we can improve our tracking. It was a taxing but worthwhile day. At the end we were clear what we need to do, the staff had already made huge improvement in their tracking and we agreed to have Pupil Premium as an agenda items on future Governing Body meetings and to assign a “Pupil Premium Governor”.
Thursday 10th April: This evening I spent time talking to a potential new Governor for St Anne’s. As well as looking for volunteers who have great skills that can support all the work our staff do, it is a requirement that Foundation Governors are baptised Catholics to ensure that we promote and nurture the spiritual ethos of our school. The candidate I speak to is keen and has some critical skills which could be hugely valuable for us. She will come to visit our school and meet Mrs Mouna after the Easter break – so let’s hope she joins us.
Monday 7th April: While at work today at my company IBM, I attended a talk given by Liz McSheehy – who is the CEO of SGOSS (School Governors One Stop Shop). She explained that they are a charity who help match people, like me, who work in organisations/ have professional experience and are keen to work as Governors – with schools who are looking for Governors. I am lucky that IBM lets me have some time off to support St Anne’s. Myself and Mrs Mouna contact the SGOSS London based team to explore whether we can find some new recruits. We have lots of good work we want to do at St Anne’s but we need more Governors to help us. If you are interested in knowing more – please contact me via this blog or via the school office.
Friday 4th April: A focused day with Mrs Mouna carrying out interviews. I also had chance to watch the Friday Award assembly. It was brilliant to see the competitiveness between the classes as they heard who had won the Attendance and Punctuality awards. We have made great progress with these numbers this year – so thank you to all parents and children have helped us to achieve this. And I had chance to talk to Dez Gray (our IT Specialist) about the IT requirements we have for our new library. I will check our budget to see what we can afford – in order to balance what we need and what would be nice to have. We talked about visiting another school who have invested in some technology which may be suitable for us – at least we can then see it in action.
Tuesday 1st April: This evening Mrs Mouna and I attended a talk with HMI Mark Philips with other schools in Tower Hamlets (“HMI” is “Her Majesty’s Inspectorate” or in other words – an OFSTED inspector). It was a late night finishing at 9pm but very worthwhile. We discussed the importance of governance in schools – which is all about my role and how I, and other Governors, work with the staff. We need to be true critical friends for St Anne’s. And if there are parents out there who are interested in becoming Governors or would like to understand more about what we do – please contact me via this blog or via the school office.
Wednesday 26th March: I was in school all day today working with representatives from Tower Hamlets and our Senior Leadership team (so Mrs Mouna, Miss Laxton and Mrs Daws) looking at the progress and achievement that our children are making. It’s important that we can demonstrate how we support the learning of all our children and that we are constantly striving to achieve excellence in our teaching. Tower Hamlets helps us to look at our data in an objective way to ensure that our strategies focus on the right areas. I also spent time checking our Central Record which is maintained in the school office. This records the details of all adults who work with children at St Anne’s – including kitchen staff and extra-curricular activity coaches. We all have to have our records up-to-date and an important part of my role is checking that this is done properly. We spot some records that will expire in the next 6 months so an action is taken to remind the individuals to bring their personal documents in to school so that we can refresh their checks.
Thursday 6th March: Today I attended an all-day training workshop on Safer Recruitment with staff and Governors from other schools. It is a requirement that when anyone (teaching or support staff) is interviewed as a potential recruit for St Anne’s that at least one of the interviewers has attended and passed a recent Safer Recruitment course. I am happy to say that I passed with 100% marks. It was a harrowing course and brought home the potential dangers we face if we are not vigilant to the way some adults abuse children. And as recruiters we have an essential role to play in stopping this happening.
Wednesday 26th February: I spent this morning working through all the applications that families have made to join our nursery. Our admissions criteria are clearly set out – and can be seen on our web page. Working with Mrs Mouna we rank each application according to the criteria – which takes time and has to be checked and re-checked numerous times. This list is sent back to the Borough who then manage the next phase of the process. I look forward to meeting the families when they join in September and I know that with our Early Years Team led by Mrs Kinchlea, the children will be in the best hands.
Today I start my first blog as Chair of Governors at St. Anne’s. The role of a Governor is an important one – as we are the ones who hold the Head Teacher and the staff to account for the way the school is run. In reality, we are a team of volunteers who care about the children at St. Anne’s and work collaboratively with the staff to ensure the best outcomes possible for them. As I am not at the school every day, this blog is a way for me to share with you the things we do. It would be good to hear your feedback and importantly – if you’d like to become a Governor please let me know!