Governors Annual Statement

Annual Governance Statement for the Governing Body of Litcham School

September 2016

Compiled by Gary Hinchliffe, Chair of Governors

In accordance with the Government’s requirement for all Governing Bodies, the 3 core strategic functions of Litcham
School Governing Body are:

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

Litcham School Governing Body (LSGB) was re-constituted in 2011, when it became an all-through School. The reconstituted
Governing Body allows for 17 Governors who work across both Primary and Secondary phases. LSGB is made up of 4 elected
Parent Governors, 1 Headteacher, 1 elected Staff Governor, 1 Litcham Learning Community Governor and 10 co-opted
Governors. Co-opted Governors are appointed by the Governing Body and are people who, in the opinion of the Governing
Body, have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school.

There is a distributed leadership model where the Vice Chair is elected to serve as Vice Chair for 1 year and as
Chair for 1 year. The Chair then moves back into the Governing Body with the experiences gained in the previous two roles.
Currently the Chair of Governors is Gary Hinchliffe and the Vice Chair is Dr. Robin Hanley.

LSGB includes parents, staff and members of the community with a wide variety of skills that currently include solicitors,
financial accountants, ex bursar, educationalists, project managers, company directors, civil servants, and a colleague with
an MBE for Services to the Community.

The full Governing Body meets at least once per term. It also has a Resources and Personnel Committee, which focuses on
finance, premises and personnel matters; a Curriculum and Achievement Committee and a Strategic committee that helps
to shape the future direction of the school.

Each Governor also has specific link monitoring roles and there is an expectation that Governors meet with their link
teachers and follow this up with a short written report, which is shared on the Governors website and at the appropriate
committee meeting.

LSGB also maintains its own private website. This enables governors to keep fully up to date with each other’s work and
to organise and share monitoring documents, Training profiles, data interpretation, induction overview, OFSTED
preparation etc. It also signposts Governors to other relevant info and sites (like the Norfolk Governors Hub and
Norfolk Governors Network).

Attendance record of governors

Governors have excellent attendance at meetings and have never cancelled a meeting because it was not “quorate”
(the number of governors needed to ensure that legal decisions can be made).

There is an organised and effective approach to succession planning and Governors can have ‘light duties’ for periods
of time. This approach enables LSGB to run with a good balance of both retired and active professionals.

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

In the past 2 years there has been a sharp focus (both Governors and Staff) on further raising achievement through
improved teaching and learning. The school was inspected by Ofsted in November 2015, receiving a Good judgement
with areas of outstanding practice. Secondary phase outcomes were outstanding, placing the school amongst the
best schools both locally and nationally. This has been due to the focus on and transformation of the quality of
teaching and learning and the determination of staff to recognise and meet student’s needs. The impact has been
greatest at Secondary phase.

In 2015-16, the Resources and Personnel Committee have prioritised actions that ensured Litcham School
maintained a favourable Financial Management RAG rating. The school has met the Schools Financial and Value
Standard (SFVS) – an evaluation by the governing body of the school’s financial procedures and financial governance,
verified by the Local Authority.

In addition to this, LSGB prompted the Local Authority to review the Funding Formula for all-through schools,
ensuring that we now receive a fair funding allocation.

The work of the Resources and Personnel Committee has also included informing and monitoring:

-a major investment in our primary phase buildings including a new EYFS classroom and outside area, an expanded
and refurbished library and two new classrooms.

-ICT development programme;

-income generation through a Photovoltaics project that has also impacted skills, earning and energy reduction;

-External refurbishment of the secondary site and additional security work.

In 2015-16 The Curriculum and Achievement Committee has focused on ensuring governors are in a
position to fully understand the statistical data and thus monitor tracking and support interventions effectively.
Work has included:

-Development of a Department Review process, bringing together data analysis, self-evaluation and quality assurance

-Monitoring sessions with link teachers/staff

-Supporting the work of the school council and heightening its profile (the Chair is the link to the School Council)

-Heightening expectations for work-related learning and enterprise related experiences

Finally, Governors agreed the strategy for closing the gap between disadvantaged children and their peers and have
monitored the impact of selected interventions. Gaps have closed significantly, particularly in our secondary phase.
Around 19% of pupils qualify for Free School Meals or are Children Looked After and the school receives around
£100,000 Pupil Premium funding each year. In both phases governors have approved the use of PP funding on; raising
achievement in core subjects (English, Maths and Science); on improving and supporting attendance and providing
parity of access to enrichment and extra-curricular activities. Both Governors and school colleagues are now using key
research documents like the Education Endowment Fund’s Guidance reports to inform their thinking on effective
spending on pupils premium and making the best use of Teaching Assistants.

The Full Governing Body continues to perform its statutory duties through effective challenge and ‘critical friend’
support. Its work, to date, has included championing and supporting safeguarding work across the school; leading
the process for Litcham School to become an academy and to form a multi academy trust with other local schools;
reviewing and developing the Vision, Mission and Strategic Direction; appointing a new Headteacher and Head of
Primary Phase in September 2015.

Governors have also set up an induction process for new Governors and maintain a private website that allows sharing
and organisation of Governor work. All Governors have also taken on formal monitoring in their areas of responsibility
and have fed back through the Governors website and the relevant subcommittee. This process is enabling a much more
sophisticated understanding of the real issues facing both teachers and pupils.

Much of the work around becoming an academy has been overseen by a new Strategic Development Committee,
who have also helped to shape the future direction of the school.

The Head teacher and Head of primary phase have enabled notable developments in the following areas and
these have been acknowledged, supported or championed by Governors:

1)High Quality CPD (including in-house support and whole staff training), also through full engagement with Norfolk
Good to Great and partnerships with other schools

2)More leadership development and opportunities for middle leaders to develop intervention and learning strategies
that will maximise learning for target groups

3)More strategic use of data to inform teaching and learning, including more accurate tracking and follow up impact
analysis on intervention/support strategies

4)Dramatic improvement in the use of ICT for both the management of teaching and more impactful Learning

5)Collaboration with local employers and businesses to establish links that the school could build on to develop
employability or work related learning (e.g. CITB)

6)Opportunities for pupil voice and democracy to enable the student body’s ideas/concerns to be heard and their
commitment to be valued

7)Ambition and support for participation in national competitions and conferences – for example, participation in
the Kids’ Lit, Bright futures and the Brilliant Club

8)The creation of School Improvement Groups, focusing on key areas for further development, including Teaching
and Learning, ICT and provision for our Most Able pupils.

Summary

This has been a productive and motivating year at Litcham. This is demonstrated by the improvement in results data.
The other side of the story involves understanding the student-level triumphs within and beyond the formal curriculum
that have emerged due to the rich, relevant and diverse opportunities that Litcham School offers its students.

If you require more detail, please note that Minutes of Governing Body and Committee meetings are public documents –
you can ask for copies at the school’s reception.

Future plans for the governors

There is a much better understanding for how the GB needs to develop the systems and processes that will result in an
even more effective and efficient Governing Body, school and broader school community.  The following points will be
prioritised in the 2016-17 academic year;

1)To ensure that the improvements in Teaching and Learning are embedded and that this results in a continued
improvement in outcomes, particularly at our primary phase

2)To prioritise the continual development and building of capacity for leadership at all levels within the school in
addition to developing the school systems to enable more efficient/effective working

3)To work together to continually knit together the phases into a seamless school that maximises outcomes for
all students

4) To continually improve communication and collaboration with parents and our community to the benefit of all

5)To actively and passionately seek out and explore formal and informal partnerships that will help our school to
achieve its goals, whilst enabling all who are part of the school community to reach their full potential. This will
centre on our vision to become an academy and an active member of a local multi academy trust

6)To play a strong part in cluster direction, so that scarce resources are utilised to maximum effect across the whole
cluster

7)To accept the challenge to further develop the GB to ensure that important decisions are made utilising best
evidence, creative input and professional experience

How you can contact the governing body

We very much welcome suggestions, feedback and ideas from parents – please contact the Chair of Governors, via
the School Office.