The school year 2015/16 was an exciting one for the school and a very busy one for the school’s Governing Board. Governors continued to be involved in developments to improve student performance, seeing a strong focus on skills for learning threading through all of the school’s activities. During the year, we were always impressed by the drive shown by senior leadership and by the hard work and enthusiasm of staff. This was matched by excellent student attitudes to their learning and behaviour.
We visited the school many times. The full governing body met once each term; committees and panels met twice each term; and our informal ‘learning walks’, when we visit lessons and talk to students, also took place twice each term. Our School Improvement Group, which is a sub-group of governors and local authority officers, met four times during the year to gain in-depth understanding of the school’s challenges and the progress being made. We held our governor annual conference in January 2015, in which we looked at the detail of the school’s strategic and improvement plans. We also attended a number of school events, for example awards evenings.
The year ended with the best-ever GCSE and A-level results, the culmination of much hard work and investment in new ways of teaching and learning. Our Curriculum and Standards Committee received regular reports and updates on teaching and learning, particularly on efforts made during the year to further improve the quality of teaching and learning. We supported the continuation of the strong use of IT in the school, which is now a national leader in e-learning. We were informed about the support and development that is provided to staff, and were involved in some excellent new appointments. In all of these activities, we have continued to support the school in addressing the areas for improvement identified by Ofsted in spring 2015.
We have taken a close interest in the REAL project-based learning in Year 7. During 2015/16 we visited REAL lessons and the exhibition of student work. We have been extremely impressed by the quality of student work, whether it be spoken or written. We intend to continue our support for this innovative approach, which we can see is delivering results for students.
The school has a strong pastoral structure, which actively supports students. During school year 2014/15 we were involved in the appointment of the first Director of Pastoral and during 2015/16 we saw the pastoral system grow in effectiveness. In the few instances where students cannot meet the school’s expectations for behaviour or achievement, we are involved through our Behaviour and Achievement Panels in a structured approach to securing improvement. We take a similar approach to poor attendance by students, meeting with them and their parents when efforts to improve attendance are not producing results. We held these panels twice each term during 2015/16.
A very exciting development during the year was the establishment of the school’s Football Academy. The chair and vice-chair of governors were involved in the selection of a provider through a formal competitive process which led to the award of the contract to Evolution Football. During this process we were very well supported by local authority officers. We reported to the Finance and Staffing Committee and the full governing board at key stages.
In all of our work, we have to be mindful of the budget, which is tight as in all schools. During the year, we received detailed information on the school’s financial situation, in the form of reports on spending and projections for future budgets. Our Finance and Staffing Committee has scrutinised the budget and helped to make sure that school priorities are funded. The committee approved staffing structures and changes presented by the Head Teacher.
Kingsmeadow’s governing board will continue its work in 2016/17 on our key tasks of overseeing the strategic direction of the school (including continuing to improve student achievement), supporting the head teacher and holding him to account and monitoring the school’s budget. We will continue our work, started in 2015/16, to investigate options for the future in the light of government policy.
Chair of Governors