Governor Update - Spring 2017
Keeping you informed
Following the last parent questionnaire in summer 2016, 68% of respondents felt that the governors kept them informed of the work they do. Since then we have been working to improve that score by publishing our strategy and minutes on the school web site and through this more detailed newsletter. For further information on the governors including who we are, what we do, back copies of newsletters and how to become a governor, please go to the school web site and click on Community > Governors.
Welcome to our new staff governor - Miss Naomi Norris
Miss Norris joined as a staff governor in January 2017, replacing Mrs Arthur, and has already provided valuable support to governors during their visits to school. Please join us in welcoming her to the board.
In common with many schools in the country at present, we have seen a drop in money available to spend on maintenance, improvements and support. Our income remains flat each year while our spending on wages, pensions, apprentice levy and utilities (which constitutes greater than 80% of the school budget) continues to increase. The net result is that we will have significantly less funds in the 2017-18 financial year. Consequently we are working with the Headteacher Mrs James to find solutions that enable us to continue to provide a high quality of education while ensuring we keep our budget in the black. The final budget will be reviewed by governors before the end of June 2017.
Increased broadband speed at reduced costs
Governors have been actively supporting the school to identify a faster cheaper alternative to the current broadband provision. As a result we are now in the process of changing suppliers which will see our download speeds improve from 10mbps to 90mbps for the whole school. We also anticipate an annual reduction in cost of approximately 20%. This improved foundation capability will enable the school to increase their use of technology to support teaching and learning.
Phase Leader Update
We have three Phase Leaders who coordinate teaching across multiple year groups (Miss Phillips: Reception-Year 1, Mrs Cooper: Years 2-3 and Mr Strevens: Years 4-6). At a recent governor meeting, they each gave a detailed update on progress across their year groups. All three demonstrated good progress and internal tracking information suggests we should be at or above National Average levels in all areas when Year 2 and Year 6 take their SATs in the summer term. The governors also supported a request to invest in a new cross school Maths scheme to help align and promote pupil development in this area and we hope to have this in place ready for Sept 2017.
New School Development Partner
At the governors' request the school found a new development partner to provide a fresh pair of eyes to review and support the school. We are pleased to say that Bill Jerman has taken this role and brings with him decades of experience as headteacher in South London schools. His first review was to look at our spending of Pupil Premium money and he provided us with a detailed report in February. The report was very positive regarding the strategies we have in place to support eligible pupils; helping remove any barriers to learning and success, enabling them each reach their potential. As with all reviews, areas for further enhancement were identified and have since been actioned by Mrs James. We expect to see Bill make more visits to the school in future to help us identify further improvements.
Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
Sara Smith (staff SEND Coordinator) delivered a report to governors providing an overview of this provision at Lawn with anonymised pupil data. The report covered key areas including provision for those with SEND, the impact of support and intervention to meet their needs. Details were also provided on training for Teaching Assistants (TAs) to deliver interventions, helping pupils who are falling behind, to catch up. Indications are that this approach is working well and the school has a broad range of offerings dependent on the children's needs. It was noted that we are seeing an increasing need for speech and language therapy and external trainers are being used to help develop staff to support these needs. A plan is in place to expand existing SEND parent forums and the school agreed to communicate these more widely so more parents can attend if they wish. Further details of school SEND provision can be found in the annual report on the school web site.
Preschool integration update
Following Lawn Preschool parents vote in November 2016 to integrate with Lawn Primary we have made further progress towards this goal. Following consultations with parents, local residents and government, we have now officially lowered the age range for Lawn Primary to allow us to manage the Preschool and our plan is to switch over at the beginning of September 2017. Now the hard work is underway to agree all the detail necessary to enable this transition and allow eligible parents to take advantage of the new 30hrs free child care government funding. In future we anticipate that the Preschool will be open 5 whole days a week with a holiday provision added over time. We are very grateful to the current and prior Preschool Chair, vice Chair, committee and staff for all their support during this transition.
Investigating the potential to become an Academy
In line with item 4 of the governors' strategy for Lawn Primary school (available on the school web site and published in summer 2016 update) we have set up a team to look at options for the school to become an Academy and join a Multi Academy Trust (MAT). At this point in time we are gathering information and meeting with other schools to understand the pros and cons of such a move, including any impact on our budget. We will also be seeking parent and staff feedback as we move forward. As always our main aim is to ensure that any action we take will improve the education and opportunities of children at school.