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Barham Primary School

Embedding Excellence

Barham Primary School

Embedding Excellence

Governors

Dear Parents and Carers,

Barham Governors’ Annual Report to Parents.  October 2020.

On behalf of the Barham Governing Board, I would like to start this year’s Annual Report by thanking all parents for the ways in which you have strived to support your children’s learning during the changing stages of the current Coronavirus pandemic. 

We are all having to adjust the ways in which we lead our lives at home, in the workplace and in the public spaces we share with strangers.  We are all having to address personal worries and changing government policy.  We are all having to learn about the changes in every way we can, from our own lifetime experiences to the global information and advice that is available to us.

Like you, the Governing Board is enormously grateful to all the staff teams in the school for their much valued courage, expertise and dedication during these difficult times.  Thanks are also due to the children who are excellent examples of high expectations of learning in times of continuous change and adaptation.

This report looks back briefly at the work of the school during the last academic year 2019-2020.  It also looks forward to our hopes for the current academic year 2020-2021. 

Looking back at the academic year September 2019 to August 2020.

Following last year’s October Annual Report to Parents,  we were very pleased when OFSTED visited us for an inspection in November 2019 and confirmed that we continued to be a good school, both in terms of the curriculum and safeguarding.  In January 2020, we gained further information from an external report compiled by a visiting team of Challenge Partners. They judged our school to be outstanding in School Improvement Strategies,  Pupil Outcomes and Achievement,  Quality of Teaching and Overall Effectiveness including Early Years Foundation Stage.

Our aim, as Governors, was to overview how the school maintained these high standards while developing a few of the areas of the curriculum to include even greater challenge.

However, in March, we moved speedily to respond to the escalating crisis of Covid 19.  Our pattern of Governing Board Meetings was changed to three weekly distanced Zoom meetings.  Our experienced and knowledgeable headteacher Karen Giles, who is also a member of the Barham Governors’ Board, prioritised these regular meetings and outlined  her day to day “crisis” decisions and future plans.  Her decisions were based on both the  rapidly  emerging advice and information from scientists and the changing and evolving policies of central government.  At our regular virtual meetings, members of the full Board were able to review Risk Assessments, ask questions and seek clarification. As always Ms Giles kept myself, as Chair of Governors, up to date with anything that required changes to our agreed plans between meetings.

From the total lockdown of the UK to the return to school and recovery plans, the health, safety and wellbeing of children and adults in the school remained the top priority. Some of the risks were new and our understanding of the dangers from the virus were in the early stages.  Ms Giles, in common with headteachers of schools throughout the UK, was having to make quick decisions against a constant stream of information. 

All our children love coming to school regularly and learning with their friends.  As you know, it was a very difficult time for many of them too. 

Looking forward through the academic year September 2020 – July 2021.

Keeping schools fully open, in the social and educational interests of the children, is the current aim across the UK. 

The Department for Education has published its updated Governors’ Handbook 2020 which stresses that the core functions of Governing Boards remain the same.

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the effective and efficient performance management of staff;
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.   

Governance Handbook - Gov.uk. p13

Our pattern of Governors’ meetings this year remains mostly via Zoom and intends to ensure that all the DfE core functions are fully met.  There remains a high focus on Risk Assessments and Risk Reduction in relation to the pandemic.

Governors and school leaders have updated our Strategic Priorities Plan to include a strong emphasis on helping children to catch up with lost learning.  Staff are also working on ways to improve our on-line learning aids to help during times in the future when your children’s classes may need to be at home for periods of isolation. The new build for children with Special Educational Needs continues as planned.

Scientists have predicted that this winter will be challenging for all of us as we strive to best reduce the risks of spreading Covid 19 while maintaining business continuity and high expectations.  For the Barham Governors and school staff, it will continue to be a time of making every effort to deliver our educational vision and priorities while keeping the school community as safe and well as it possibly can be. 

We look forward to the Summer Term 2021 when we will be asking your views on things that have worked well for you during the current year. As always, we will also seek your ideas for further ongoing improvements.  

With Kind Regards.

Daksha Thanki, Chair of Governors.
(On behalf of the Barham Governing Board.)


FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT THE BARHAM BOARD OF GOVERNORS AND THEIR WORK.

Governors volunteer for the role and are appointed for a variety of reasons. The overall aim is that, across the team, we have an effective range of perspectives, skills and experiences.  Governors do not receive payment for their work but the Department for Education (DfE) makes our duties very clear in their Governors’ Handbook.

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system
/uploads/attachment_data/file/925104/Governance_Handbook_FINAL.pdf
  

“The purpose of governance is to provide confident and strong strategic leadership which leads to robust accountability, oversight and assurance for educational and financial performance”.

BARHAM PRIMARY SCHOOL CONSTITUTION

If Spaces are shown in the table below, this indicates places within the constitution which can optionally be filled.  Where Vacancies are shown this indicates places within the constitution which should be filled.

 

Nominating
Authority

First Appointed

Term Start

Term End

Co-opted Governors

       

Ms Ruthie Jacobs

Governing Board

28-03-19

28-03-19

27-03-20

Mr Matthew Parker

Governing Board

28-03-19

28-03-19

27-03-23

Mr Vijesh Patel

Governing Board

16-03-20

16-03-20

15-03-20

Mr Naveed Saeed

Governing Board

26-03-18

26-03-20

25-03-22

Mrs Daksha Thanki

Governing Board

04-03-20

04-03-20

03-03-24

Ms Elaine Webb

Governing Board

23-03-19

23-03-19

22-03-23

Ms Paulette Williamson

Governing Board

07-10-19

07-10-19

06-10-23

Vacancy (1)

       
         

Ex-Officio

       

Karen Giles

       
         

Staff (Teaching) Governors

       

Mrs Dimple Pagarani

 

04-05-20

04-05-20

03-03-24

         

Local Authority Governors

       

Mr Paul Lorber

Local Authority

09-05-19

09-05-19

08-05-23

         

Parent Governors

       

Mr Alex Black

Elected by Parents

09-11-20

09-11-20

08-11-24

Mrs Anjini Dangi

Elected by Parents

16-03-20

16-03-20

15-03-24

Mr Harshal Naik

Elected by Parents

16-03-20

16-03-20

15-03-24

 

OUR VISION FOR THE SCHOOL AND HOW WE WILL GET THERE.A link to our attendance record and Terms of our Committees are found in About Us/Governors on the Barham website.        

 

Our overall vision is summarised in this quick “at-a-glance” graphic which we update each Autumn.  The Ethos and School Values designed to make this happen are clear all around the school. Each academic year staff and governors update a detailed Strategic Priorities document which explains how everyone is regularly checking learning and then judging when different actions need to be taken. Progress against the Strategic Priorities is discussed by Governors at our termly meetings.  We routinely have one Main meeting, one Finance Committee meeting and one School, Community and Human Resources committee meeting every term. Other meetings take place when required.  

A Panel of Governors is delegated responsibility for the Performance Management of the Headteacher and for ensuring effective performance management systems for everyone.

We expect the highest possible standards from all staff and, in return, we strive to ensure their wellbeing, professional development opportunities and rewarding roles in the school.

To keep ourselves fully informed, we usually consider three types of reports.  Reports from the Headteacher and senior staff are detailed and rigorous analyses of  the current quality of education and financial prudence.  Individual Governor’s Link Visit Forms give snapshots of particular issues we are interested in at different times.  External reports give us invaluable perspectives from people who may have little detailed knowledge of the school but who can help us to compare ourselves to other similar organisations. These include reports such as the latest OFSTED visit, Challenge Partners scrutiny, Brent Financial Audit recommendations, and many others.

A large number of the Governors duties are connected to compliance with statutory requirements. To keep ourselves up to date nationally we have Gold Membership of the National Governors’ Association.    We all agree to adhere to the NGA Code of Conduct. As a state maintained school, we adopt many of the policies  of the London Borough of Brent. We make full use of the services they offer in relation to Health and Safety regulations, legal requirements, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) and employment practices.  We continuously review our school agreed policies to ensure that they are up to date and relevant.  You can find all these Policies on our school website under About Us/Policies.

If you think school governance at one of the Brent schools may be of interest to you, you can find out more information at https://www.brent.gov.uk/services-for-residents/education-and-schools/student-and-school-information/school-governor/

THE CURRICULUM.

Our curriculum is everything taught to your children at Barham school. We follow the Early Years Foundation Stage Framework, the National Curriculum for England and Wales and the local Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE) guidelines.  Additionally we include local projects and visits which staff believe greatly enrich the curriculum. As parents and carers you get full information from your year groups and the termly school Newsletters. Details of our current curriculum offer can be found on our website under Our Learning.

OUTCOMES FOR PUPILS.

Through our surveys, our face to face meetings, our attendance at year group assemblies, discussions at coffee mornings and our reports from staff, we believe that you value the termly meetings about your children’s progress at school and feel well informed about what they learn, how they learn and how they are able to apply what they have learnt in the future.  Teaching staff continuously observe how children are learning.  They then tweak the activities to challenge and encourage them.

National tests are useful in many ways and they give us the chance to compare how different groups of children in different schools are performing.  Every Autumn senior school leaders and governor representatives look carefully at these comparisons and put in place any additional or altered provision needed as a result. We employ an external consultant to attend our Annual Review of Standards to ensure that we have both external and internal perspectives.

CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL EDUCATIONAL NEEDS AND/or DISABILITIES. 

Trainee Headteacher Ms Tina Murray continues to be responsible for co-ordinating all the extra support and interventions for children with Special Educational Needs and/or disabilities in the school.  This includes keeping parents informed, holding annual review meetings, liaising with outside agencies involved with your child as well as over-seeing all aspects of this area.  A summary of this work is on the website Our Learning/SEND.

SAFEGUARDING CHILDREN AND ADULTS.

We know that schools may seem to be places full of lots of rules and, as busy adults, these can sometimes seem frustrating.  However, these rules are essential for many reasons from basic safety to teaching life skills.  Many of the rules are designed by the children themselves – in their classrooms, through the School Council and through theSchool Cabinet.  Some are legal Safeguarding requirements.  Some are put in place to reduce the risks of an accident or mistake happening again. Thank you for supporting these measures and for immediately reporting anything that you think looks wrong or potentially dangerous.

An orderly, respectful environment is the most powerful aspect of a safe school.  The excellent behaviour of the children at Barham, and the vigilance and care of adults, is commented on by all visitors and external assessors. We are determined to maintain these exemplary standards.    Regular attendance is another key driver and we thank you for following our Attendance Policy.

At times there may be reasons when you need to meet more regularly than usual with school staff in relation to one of your children.  The full staff list is on the website and your child’s class teacher or staff in the Front Office will help you with initial queries.

SCHOOL FINANCES.

We make every effort to spend the money delegated to the school wisely and effectively.  In this time of financial austerity we are pleased to have been able to spend within budget during the Financial Year 2018/19 while maintaining high standards in our fully subscribed school.  Our latest Brent Internal Audit Report in July 2019 confirmed that overall we have adequate processes and good controls operating in the school.    More details about how we use our Pupil Premium and Sports Grant are on the school website under About Us.  If you are entitled to receive Free School Meals, but wish to provide lunchtime food for your child personally, it still helps school finances if you register with Brent Council.