Chair of Governors’ annual report

Annual Governance Statement for the Governing Board of Little Sutton Primary School July 2020

In accordance with the government’s requirement for all governing bodies, the 3 core strategic functions of the governing board of Little Sutton Primary School remain as:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  2. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils;
  3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

Governance arrangements

The governing board was re-constituted under the 2012 School Governance Regulations in May 2013 following the creation of a co-operative with other local schools.

At the end of the school year 2019/20, the governing board incorporates:

  • 2 staff governors (including the Headteacher)
  • 2 foundation governors
  • 3 elected parent governors
  • 1 Local Authority governor
  • 6 Co-opted governors

Co-opted governors are appointed by the governing board and are people who, in the opinion of the governing board, have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school: one of the co-opted governors is a vacancy and the remainder are members of the local community. One of the foundation governor positions is also a vacancy. The board has discussed and agreed that we do not currently need to fill the vacancies but will retain them should specific skills be required to be recruited.

The full governing board meets once each term and also has an interim meeting once each term where a shortened agenda is used to enable greater discussion and debate.

The following committees meet at least once per term – Buildings and Finance, People, Standards & Achievement. The Income Generation Working Party has devolved authority from the Finance Committee and also meets once per term.

There are also governors with designated responsibilities who act on behalf of the full governing board but with particular knowledge or expertise for Safeguarding, Special Educational Needs, Collective Worship, Training/Skills, Wellbeing, Creative Arts, and Looked After Children.

Attendance record of governors

Governors’ attendance at meetings this year has continued to be excellent. Given the COVID-19 lockdown measures far fewer of the committee meetings have been held and board meetings have been held via video conference. All of this has been in line with Government guidelines.

On the website you can also see our Register of Business Interests and guidance about what a governor is expected to do. Each governor has signed a code of conduct which reflects their role and the behaviours that are expected.

Governors have attended school for one full day to enable them to see the school in action, meet the children and confirm that activities are undertaken as reported at meetings.

The governing board have undertaken a skills audit and identified that we have a very good selection of skills and wide experiences on the board to enable us to fulfil our duties. A training plan has been constructed to encourage individual governors to increase their skills.

Mark Griffiths 100 100 100 100 100
Philip Palser 100 100 75 92
Mike Hammond 100 100 100 100
Les Ashton 83 75 79
Bev Ashton 100 100 75 92
Rachel Davis 100 100 50 83
Paul Farley 50 25 38
Caroline Hawkes 83 75 79
Jun Du 60 75 68
John Hunt 83 50 67
Jo Warren 100 100 100 100
Sairah Hussain 83.3 75.0 25 61
Rita Kaur (NV) 100 75.0 100 100 93.8
Nicola Arkinstall (NV) 83.33333333 75 100 75.0 83.3
(NV)=non-voting associate member

The work that we have done on our committees and in the governing board

Our strategic improvement priorities are actioned through the school improvement plan; both in approving it and being involved in the actions undertaken. This year the school has continued to develop as an “English Hub” providing training and expertise to other schools in the area. The school has also taken the lead nationally in the further development of “Letters and Sounds” as a methodology for teaching reading to young children. Finance issues continue to be the key priority while budgets are so tight and have been a focus of all board meetings.

Due to the lockdown the focus on data has been significantly less than previous years and for the Easter and Summer terms the focus has been on ensuring that the school properly plans for Key Worker children and subsequently for the return of Reception, Y1 and Y6 in a manner which is safe both for staff and the children. It has also been possible for Y5 to return part time which is a fantastic achievement.

Each year the finance committee and full governing board analyse and ultimately approve the school budget which is then closely monitored throughout the year. This year we have continued to focus on how we might increase the school budget through revenue generation activities and also how we might reduce the expenditure. During the Easter and Summer terms it has been much harder to focus on this although we have scrutinised the school accounts through this time to ensure there are no major issues.

As a member of the Learning Trust for Excellence co-operative trust, the board also ensures that the school not only takes an active part but that the school and its pupils benefit from the arrangement. Last year a number of schools joined the trust on a temporary basis to see if it was a good fit for both parties. At the end of the trial period 2 schools have chosen not to go forward as part of the trust and 2 have decided to continue the relationship.

Another important role for governors is ensuring the safety and well-being of the children and we have a nominated Governor for Safeguarding who reports to the governors about any safeguarding matters.

Governors also review and agree key school policies. This year governors have approved many policies and we continue to follow a rolling programme of reviews.

The minutes of Governing Board meetings are public documents and you can ask at the school office if you would like to see any of the minutes of our meetings.

Future plans for the governors

The board will continue to focus on helping deliver the school improvement plan, keep safeguarding at the forefront of our minds and implement our plans to ensure our financial situation remains healthy. Clearly as the COVID-19 pandemic hopefully subsides, we will also keep a close eye on the implementation of the changing requirements issued from the government and maintain the current excellent safety of the staff and children.

How you can contact the governing board

We always welcome suggestions, feedback and ideas from parents.  You can contact the Chair of Governors, Mark Griffiths, via the school office or via email: