NEWS: See below content of our Governing Board Annual Newsletter
The Governing Board or Body of our school helps to ensure the quality of education provision and to act as the accountable body for the school. We do this by setting the strategic vision and the ethos of the school, together with monitoring and challenging the school’s performance, and recruiting and holding to account the Head Teacher.
The Governing Board is made up of 15 people. Some members are elected and some are co-opted and include members of staff, parents, an appointee of the Local Authority and other local people; all of whom have the sole aim of seeing the wonderful children at the school receive the very best education possible.
The Governors work as a team and they’re responsible for making sure the school provides a good quality education for all its pupils. We aim to continuously raise standards, plan the school’s future direction and help Robin and the Senior Leadership Team to do the very best job they can. We also oversee the school’s budget to make sure we’re getting the best possible value for money – an important task in these days of shrinking funding, rising costs and increased expectations. The school is also regularly helped by our Professional Partner, a very experienced ex-headteacher and ex-Ofsted inspector who brings a valuable external perspective.
Some governors are chosen (by parents, by staff or by Camden, the Local Authority) and others are selected by other governors. This helps us to make sure we have an appropriate mix of skills – some people with expertise in education, some in management, some in finance, and so on. If you’re interested in becoming a governor or in finding out more about what we do, please have a word with Robin who will be able to point you in the right direction.
Whilst the Governing Board meets several times a year, at least once each term, we also have several committees. These each have a focus and they too meet at least once a term.
Governing Body Committees
Curriculum & Pupil Welfare Committee
Chaired by Ophelia Field
Staffing, Leadership & Performance Committee
Chaired by Hilary Aylesworth
Finance & Premises Committee
Chaired by Gavin Davies
Governing Board Annual Newsletter – July 2019
Dear Parents and Carers
As Chair of Governors at Primrose Hill School, I am writing to you at the end of this 2018-2019 academic year to report back on the work of the Governing Body to support the school this year. I took over as Chair in autumn 2018 and it has been my privilege to work with Robin and the team in that capacity since then.
The Governing Body’s role in the school is three fold:
To ensure that there is a clear strategic vision and direction
To hold the head teacher to account, particularly for the educational performance of the school
To oversee the school’s finances
For me there have been two highlights of the year for the Governing Body. We have supported Robin and the team in the progression of the Autistic Resourced Provision (ARP) at the school. In spite of some delays beyond our control to the associated building reconfiguration works, I am very pleased that we expect to welcome our first child to the ARP later in the autumn. The Governing Body also supported the consultation on the provision of Halal meat at school lunches. This was a sensitive subject and I think we helped the school find an appropriate solution.
As well as four full Governing Body meetings in the year, we have termly meetings of three sub-committees and the chairs of those committees have summarised their work this year below:
Curriculum and Pupil Welfare Committee (Chair: Ophelia Field)
The Curriculum and Pupil Welfare Committee looked at a range of issues that relate to the content of teaching, learning, safeguarding, behaviour and all kinds of inclusion, especially special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). We checked how the children of Primrose Hill were doing in terms of ‘equalities’ by considering the 2018 SATs results in terms of gender, ethnicity, levels of disadvantage, etc. And we adopted or re-adopted no less than 12 essential school policies. Individual members of the Committee visited the School and reported to the Governing Board on the School’s safeguarding systems, SEND provision, literacy (reading and writing) and maths teaching, and the mental health of both pupils and staff. We heard reports from Robin on the work the School was doing to further involve parents and carers in their child’s learning, as well as on establishing the ARP. We talked through the choices being made about the curriculum in light of the shrinking 2019-20 budget, and also the changes required by the DfE on sex and relationships education. All in all, a productive year of fairly routine business.
Staffing, Leadership and Performance Committee (Chair: Hilary Aylesworth)
The Staffing, Leadership and Performance Committee works with the senior leadership of the school to develop and enact supportive systems, structures and policies for all staff members. As former teachers, parents and carers ourselves, we know school culture is a plant that needs constant tending. And so, our broadest measure of achievement is a happy and healthy staff which in turn enables a positive learning environment for pupils. The Committee is proud of our collaborative efforts to achieve school improvement goals this year including and especially: effective class scheduling and organisation, increasing pupil attendance and protecting the wellbeing of our entire school community through excellent staff-led communication, a supportive staff appraisal system and forward-thinking policies.
Finance and Premises Committee (Chair: Gavin Davies)
The Finance and Premises Committee met termly in 2018-2019. Unlike the academic year, the school’s financial year runs from April to April so much of the committee’s work in the early part of 2019 was to review the draft budget for the year from April 2019. You may have seen news about falling school funding and this has impacted Primrose Hill like others. In spite of a number of difficult decisions, Robin and the team have produced a workable budget for 2019-2020 which is a very good achievement in the circumstances.
There is no question that these are difficult times for schools. Government funding has reduced but parents’ expectations are – quite rightly – high, even increasing. We do not ask you to lower those expectations, but we do ask you to understand that our School is faced with difficult choices at the moment in terms of the curriculum and the children’s enrichment activities, even as we continue to receive other funding to improve parts of our building and playground.
On top of these financial concerns, the number of children entering primary education in Camden is predicted to fall over the coming years. Several local schools are already seeing the effects of this through falling rolls.
In spite of these pressures, Primrose Hill School remains popular and successful. I personally think this is down to a combination of the school’s inclusive and diverse culture and its educational performance. We have performed excellently in this year’s Year 2 and Year 6 SATs for which credit and thanks go to Robin and the whole team for their dedication and hard work (and to the children of course!).
Finally I want to thank you for your input and support over the last year.
Wishing you and your children an enjoyable summer holiday,
Chair of the Governing Board
If you want to find out more about the Governing Board at Primrose Hill Primary School or perhaps become more involved in its work, please write to the Chair of Governors – Gavin Davies – at the school.