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Message from the Chair

Governors » Message from the Chair

Message from Chair of Governors July 2019

This is my first year as Chair and it has been an honour and a privilege to be able to support the school in this role. A key responsibility for a local governing body is to ensure the clarity of the vision, ethos and strategic direction meets the needs of the school.

As a governing body we have taken the time, in consultation with the senior leadership team, students and a representative from the National Governors’ Association to review where we are with our current strategy and to develop a refreshed set of objectives to take us forward over the next 5-10 years:

MALMESBURY’s 5 Year Strategic Aims:

  1. To sustain a safe and caring environment where expectations of behaviour are high; where we are all positive about ourselves and respectful of others.
  2. To support learning and personal development and to recognise and celebrate wellbeing, endeavour and achievement of staff and students.
  3. To provide high quality, inspirational teaching, excellent facilities, a safe and caring environment and a fully appropriate, broad and inclusive curriculum for every student.
  4. To equip our young people to succeed in the wider world with an enthusiasm for life and learning, resilience and willingness to contribute positively to the wider community.
  5. To inform and engage parents/carers to support every aspect of their child’s learning and development and to become actively involved in the success of the school.
  6. To maintain a strong reputation for the school within the local community and to encourage their active participation and engagement with the school.
  7. To further develop as a centre of professional excellence. To be recognised for raising standards here and in the wider educational community and for attracting, nurturing and retaining the best quality staff.
  8. To monitor financial stability, ensuring best value for money.

This year has seen significant changes with the leadership team and I would like to take this opportunity to give most sincere thanks to Tim Gilson for the excellent leadership he has provided which has included an Outstanding Ofsted judgement in 2012 and the forming of the Athelstan Trust which consists of three secondary schools (and for which he is the Chief Executive Officer). Under Tim’s leadership, the school has also been designated a Teaching School and the Avon Teaching School Alliance has been established. Tim remains Executive Headteacher and the Governing Body is delighted that former Deputy Head, John Barrett, is the school’s Associate Headteacher.

A key responsibility this year has been the appointment of new members to the School Leadership Team (SLT).

The roles were advertised in February We were impressed with the quality of the applications we received and following a rigorous interview process the following appointments were made: Mark Shadrick (Assistant Headteacher), Dan Baker (Acting Assistant Headteacher) and Michelle Kilburn-Bond (Acting Assistant Headteacher). They bring a wealth of experience in Maths, English, PE and Pastoral support. We are excited with the refreshed senior leadership team, Dan and Michelle have already taken up new responsibilities and Mark will join the team in September 2019.

This year the governors’ calendar has been dominated with curriculum reviews in line with the new Ofsted inspection framework. We have also looked at the school improvement plan, the quality of teaching and learning; reports; and how LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) is taught.  We have also reviewed our policies on Homework, Substance Abuse, Admissions, Bullying, Mobile Phones, Student Computer Use and Bereavement. A new feature of the governing body meeting has been to consider how Malmesbury School fares in relation to national news items and here is a summary of our deliberations:

GCSE students disappearing from academy Trusts (‘Off-rolling’): All children must be assigned to a school’s roll unless parents elect to home school. Press reports suggest some schools have been encouraging parents to take children out of school. Some have even done this a week before the January census and then allowed them back in later as this avoids them being counted in the GCSE figures. Malmesbury School does not off-roll. 

Isolation Rooms: Almost all schools operate isolation rooms – Malmesbury School’s is on the SLT corridor. It is used for a number of reasons: We may be investigating an incident by talking to students and gathering statements or there might have been a pattern of disruptive behaviour so the student is kept out of a lesson or an exclusion may be pending for something that has happened that day. We track the use of the isolation room. It is very unusual for one of our students to be in isolation for more than 2 days.

Many students and parents will have heard about the Bungalow. The Bungalow provides us with a greater degree of flexibility when supporting some children with their integration into the main school. This may include children moving into the area under difficult circumstances and current students who need specific intervention and/or alternative components to their provision. It is rare for a student to be educated in the bungalow indefinitely. Most students are successfully integrated into main school for some or all their lessons. Malmesbury school counselling service is also located in the Bungalow. Students can access 1:1 counselling sessions with a fully trained professional 5 days a week.

Arts education is a postcode lottery: We are unusual in that all students study art, music and drama at every year in KS3. Arts are thriving at Malmesbury School as evidenced by the strong concerts and plays. It is a difficult balance as students are reluctant to opt to study these subjects at GCSE which makes it difficult to make them viable. Even though the numbers are small, we offer progression routes for music and drama.

Mobile Phones: French schools have banned mobile phones and Nick Gibb commented that smartphones should be banned in the classroom. While governors accept the complex challenges, after robust discussion, governors agree that it would not be appropriate to have an outright ban - there are benefits in educating about correct usage and equipping students to deal with real life. There are robust procedures to check if mobile phones are being used correctly and anything inappropriate is dealt with accordingly.

This year, Pupil Premium has been discussed and next year’s school development plan will use disadvantaged pupils as the lens through which all school improvement activities are assessed. Having met with the Associate Headteacher, the governor with responsibility for Pupil Premium, reported to the Governing Body “Overall I am confident that achievement of PP students remains a priority for the school, that PP funding is being spent on the pupils that need it, and that interventions used are based on evidence of what works.”

Clark Harrell, as the school’s Designated Safeguarding Lead also spoke to the Local Governing Body about Child Protection and the School’s Safeguarding audit. It is reassuring to know that our students’ well-being is in such safe and caring hands.

This year we were given a presentation on exam results, sixth form changes, mental health and Trust finances.

Last summer’s excellent A level and best ever GCSE results show once again that we are serving our students well. Staff and students are to be congratulated on their hard work.

In the autumn term a new team of parent governors was elected including three new parent governors: Tony Corscadden, Justin Davies and Tamsyn Luggar. They join Mark White who was re-elected to serve a second term. Jennifer Rowe was elected as Staff governor.

The Governor with responsibility for SEND regularly visits the Learning Support Faculty to observe lessons, to discuss issues with the SENCO and staff and to talk to students. She has also met a number of parents of SEND students while sitting on Governor Panels. She reported to the Governing Body that she is satisfied that SEND remains a whole school priority and there is a highly organised and effective approach to understanding and responding to the needs of the school’s students with SEND.

Governors are regularly in school for interviews, school concerts, art shows, drama and dance performances as well as information and Options Evenings. Two governors judged the Fair Trade bake off and our Vice Chair, Ruth Whitehouse spoke at the GCSE Certificate Presentation Evenings. As well as attending Faculty Review meetings where exam results and improvement plans are scrutinised, governors attend Disciplinary Panel meetings, Academic Panels, Attendance Meetings, Multi Agency Forum meetings and Learning Support Reviews.

These are the governor Link responsibilities:

SEND

Sue Poolman

Data & Pupil Premium

Ruth Whitehouse

Child Protection

Deborah Gray

Equality

Claire Graves

Health and Safety

Hayley Twist

Creative Arts

Sharon Millar

Sixth Form

Mark White

Maths

Ruth Whitehouse/Kath Darby

Science

Tamsyn Luggar

Humanities

Rachael Jenkins

MFL

Sharon Millar

Student Voice

Jennifer Rowe

If you want to learn more about the governors, please see their profiles which are found under ‘Composition of the Governing Body’ on the website.

Claire Graves
Chair of Governors