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Governing Body

Message from the Chair of Governors-Catherine Patel

I have been a Governor at Upperthong for several years now, and have been involved in Education in one way or another for a great many more years. As such, I have great expectations as well as aspirations for what is possible in schools.

The last two years have been extraordinarily challenging in schools, and as always, the team of staff and governors have risen to that challenge with all the spirit of determination it has required. Upperthong staff worked tirelessly to provide the most up to date online provision possible and as a result children continued to make progress and remained engaged with their learning journey. This has meant that the return to school was in the main, a very swift transition and plans were quickly in place to fill in any gaps.

I am closely involved in many aspects of school life, and as a result, know how hard the staff endeavor to create the very best learning environments they possibly can for our children. Throughout my time involved with Upperthong I have seen first-hand, the firm commitment to a broad and balanced curriculum that enables all children to flourish in an all round way to encourage success and a strong sense of well-being. Staff use their learning time to continually develop curriculum areas and to plan skills teaching in a way that builds from year to year.

As a team of governors, we regularly complete a skills audit. This ensures that we have experts in all the areas we need for effective Governance. We aim to have every member working to their strengths so that they can best support the school and the processes of Governance that we undertake.

Each half term, a governor visits school for a day. This visit is carefully planned in conjunction with Mrs Littlewood and the staff and is designed to document what is happening in each of the areas that staff have outlined as areas for improvement over the course of the year. In other words, our visits are linked very closely to the school improvement plan.

At Upperthong, governors are always welcomed into school openly. Staff take on board the myriad of new initiatives that are imposed by the Department for Education, and make them work in ways that can most support children, in both a professional and enthusiastic way.

The visit reports are scrutinized and discussed by the governing body and I can safely say that without fail, governors are delighted by their visits and view them as an absolute privilege…. Despite the onerous reporting at the end!!

Over the last two years, we have developed our governor roles as link governors. This means that we each have responsibilities to link with subject areas as well as to SEND and EYFS and Pupil Premium. We now arrange additional visits or meetings to discuss the latest curriculum developments to both deepen our understanding, and also to provide a sounding board for staff as they refine what they are doing. This works really well, and we are building relationships as well as sharpening focus on both sides. What has been nice to see, is that Governors are bringing their own questions for their areas of enquiry, and in some instances, this leads to the need for furthering their understanding or to inform the courses that they choose to attend in governor training. In my own case, I have joined staff in their recent staff training on fostering and building resilience amongst pupils and I have developed some training in this area for the Y6 pupils that I deliver each year.

In previous years we have seen ‘challenge’ embedded throughout school, and most recently a focus on school values. It is evident to see that at all levels this is also embedded in everything you see happening in school and that children reflect that understanding in how they speak, reflect on their work, and have the courage to speak up if they haven’t quite grasped something yet.

This year, many aspects of the expertise at Upperthong have been sought out by, and shared with, other schools. Inspectors and moderators alike, always remark on the fact that any areas for improvement, no matter how small, have always already been identified, with plans already in place in order to address them very quickly.

It has been an honour to work with the school team for yet another year and we as Governors are thrilled to see the results from all the assessments that have taken place this year.

Looking forward to another exciting year ahead..

Catherine Patel, Chair of Governors.

The Governing Body of Upperthong Junior and Infant School, Holmfirth, is a group of 15 volunteers – with representatives from parents, the community, the local authority and staff including the Head Teacher. We also have a professional clerk. All Governors are committed to making a positive contribution to the school and the education of all pupils.

The Governing Body is collectively responsible for:

  • Ensuring clarity of the school’s vision, ethos and strategic direction.
  • Holding the head teacher to account for achievement of the School Improvement Plan - including the quality of teaching, pupil’s progress & achievement and pupil’s behaviour and safety.
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure that its resources are managed effectively.

The Head Teacher and the Leadership Team are able to draw on our skills to support and strengthen their decision making, monitor their programme of continuous school improvement and ensure that the school fulfils all statutory obligations.

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