Governors met a week later than initially planned (due to illness) and, because of the change of date, we were a smaller group than usual. But that doesn’t mean that we weren’t tackling some big topics.
Governors have a duty to challenge school leaders – and to seek evidence to support statements made. In line with this, we have asked the Head Teacher to provide evidence for three of the statements made in the regular report. It would clearly be ‘overkill’ to challenge every statement – we get an awful lot of information in this report. But it is good practice to seek evidence on key statements. We agreed that, in future, we will pick three statements in advance of the meeting so that we can challenge the evidence even more effectively, as a group.
As Stuart reported in an earlier blog, we have all had the opportunity for an in-depth session with Deputy Head Teacher, Amy Scammell, on the data that track progress in key skills for every child across the school. The level of detail is amazing and, just like financial reporting, it takes some time to become familiar with the spreadsheets. But it’s well worth putting that time in. In response to OfSTED, we know we need that tight grip on data. And we have been preparing a report on those data that we hope to share with all parents soon.
A working group of Governors also met outside this meeting to do an in-depth financial monitoring session. This year, we have had to authorise some additional expenditure since setting the budget. The school does have reserves that we are planning to spend – and spending reserves over a certain level on the children in the school is a good thing! But we are keeping a close eye on things – and we are very lucky with the care and attention that Mrs King gives in this area.
We are going to do more work to track, record and report our own activities as individuals, and as a committee. We have some shared training coming up with Wyndham Park governors and Exeter House governors, which we’re looking forward to. And, shortly after Easter, we also have our review of governance. An external expert is coming in to look at what we are doing and help us to improve.
We also learned that I might not be the best person to be time keeper!