Annual Governance Statement for the Guiseley School Governing Body 2022-23
There are three core elements in the Department for Education’s charge to all Governing Bodies:
- Maintenance of strategic vision and direction
- Performance management of the Head Teacher
- Oversight and stewardship of school finances
These involve not merely holding the school to account but offering the informed support and encouragement which will enable it to thrive and secure the highest levels of success for all the students entrusted to us.
The Governing Body of Guiseley School was reconstituted on 1st September 2019, both to meet statutory requirements and secure the combination of skills and experience most suited to the school’s needs.
There are 14 places in total on the Governing Body, as follows:
- The Headteacher
- 1 Local Authority governor
- 1 elected Staff governor
- 5 elected Parent governors
- 4 Co-opted governors
- 2 Foundation governors
Both individually and collectively, the Governing Body of Guiseley School is a well-informed committee. Members undergo induction and ongoing training and have clear areas of responsibility. Our skills audit – used to map governors’ necessary competence, knowledge and experience – shows that individuals bring high level expertise to the board in critical specialist areas:
- Health, welfare and safeguarding
- Informed insight into the needs of the local and regional economy.
- Understanding of Governance and senior management in schools.
- Expertise in strategic planning and project management.
- Performance management and appraisal.
- High level budget planning and strategic financial management.
- Management of premises and facilities.
The full Governing Body meets four times a year with additional half-termly meetings of the three sub-committees;
- Curriculum, Standards and Effectiveness
Our commitment to ongoing personal and corporate development draws on training provided by the Local Authority, by members of the school’s leadership team, and by access to provision offered online by the DfE and Red Kite Alliance.
A record of our attendance at meetings is kept by the Clerk to the Governing Body and is available on our website.
Issues identified in the 2019 Ofsted report continue to inform our focus on essentials:
- The continuing development of an outstanding curriculum to ensure that:
- The curriculum eradicates misconceptions
- The curriculum secures understanding before students move on to new topics
- The curriculum is broad and balanced, providing the time required (particularly at KS3) to ensure it is rich in content and allows students to build on long term memory.
- The continuing focus on attendance and achievement for those students who are disadvantaged or have SEN.
Monitoring of Standards
The Governing body continued to ensure that External Advisors and Improvement Partners were welcomed into the school to ensure continued improvement and progress, both to support our Leadership Team and to validate the ongoing school improvement work they undertake. Reports from Red Kite external advisors and the Local Authority School Improvement Advisor were reviewed by the Governing body.
Members of the Senior Leadership Team regularly attended Governing Body meetings to brief on their specific areas of responsibility, with Governors both supporting and challenging information given and initiatives to ensure continued progress and use of best practice. Reports and presentations on a variety of subject areas allow detailed projections on future results, which remain very encouraging.
The School Improvement Plan and SEF (Self Evaluation Form) were also regularly reviewed at full Governing Body level both to understand strategy and to evaluate progress against priorities. School policies and procedures were regularly reviewed and updated throughout the year, in accordance with new legislation, to ensure full compliance and of course to update nomenclature.
The monitoring process also included regular updates on the standards and examination projections across the year and the Governing Body were delighted to see the accuracy of these projections being validated by the results of the 2023 examination series for both GCSE and A Level, particularly given the return to the grading processes used in 2019.
Engagement and Challenge
As governors, we are tasked to focus on the things that matter most for our school.
In support of this, our headteacher and senior leaders regularly brief the board on current issues and underlying trends. There are national benchmarks against which we are judged, and like all schools, we capture enormous amounts of data which this dialogue helps us understand and benchmark:
- student progress
- trends over time both within subjects and across specific groups
- comparisons with national data and comparable schools
- the match between predictions and outcome
- ensuring not only those funds allocated for specific purposes (e.g. Pupil Premium) are being properly spent and that we are able to track impact and outcomes for the young people concerned.
The regular presentation and analysis of this data helps us engage with the underlying reality and agree with the Headteacher and other Senior leaders on the strategies and interventions necessary to ensure the success of all our students. From time to time the Governing Body are required to be involved in disciplinary issues, especially where exclusion is deemed appropriate.
Equally, the life story of the school is told not only in academic statistics but also in the huge range of opportunities our staff create within all subjects and especially Sport, Music and Drama. Governors attend and support these events, we talk with parents (and potential pupils) at Open Days and Parent Forums, both to know and be known. In ‘link’ roles, Governors spend time as individuals in school meeting staff and pupils, ensuring Governance meetings are informed by first-hand knowledge and not just statistics.
Resources and Finance Strategy: planning for the future
The Headteacher and Governing body have continued to implement the financial strategy with a view both to reducing in-year and underlying deficits. Over 2022-23 we have carefully balanced the stewardship of resources against the needs of our curriculum model.
We continue to work on a Strategic Financial stability plan which will help us exercise informed and responsible stewardship of our resources to the benefit of all our students, and ensure these resources are targeted where they matter most.
This long-term strategic plan is driven by the school’s need both to live sustainably within its resources and to secure the quality of provision and outcomes which we want for our children.
Governors and School Leaders have also continued to work on the provision of our new school buildings. New School buildings were completed in 2022 and associated landscaping completed in 2023. As a school we take our responsibilities to the environment seriously and the efficiency of the new buildings have supported aim to reduce our carbon footprint, which will be further enhanced by engagement with heat pump and solar panel projects which have been secured in 2022-23 and will be completed in the coming academic year.
Governors recognise the crucial importance of Self Evaluation in our ongoing cycle of review and planning. Working with the headteacher and the school’s Senior Leadership Team, we draw on the self-evaluation document to inform our thinking as we monitor progress against the School Improvement Plan and continue to exercise support and challenge in all areas to ensure the highest possible standards for the benefit of students and value for money.