The Governing Body of Sandal Castle Primary school is made up of dedicated individuals from a wide range of backgrounds. We are all volunteers who give our time to monitor and evaluate school practices to ensure management of the school are spending the budget wisely to ensure the best outcomes for all of the children. We also have to make sure that the school is meeting all statutory requirements.
Our Chair of Governors is Donna Richardson and Vice Chair is Rachel Laybourne. They can be contacted via school.
Our Designated Governors for Safeguarding are; Ben Cowell, Donna Richardson, Andrew Carter and Nichola Russell.
On the 21st May 2018 our Governing Board undertook an External Review of Governance.
Through a series
of meetings with stakeholders and the review of evidence presented by the Governing
Board, the Officer, from Wakefield Governor Services, provides Governors with an
overview of identified strengths, areas for development and, finally, a list of
recommendations for the Governing Board to take forward.
The Officer triangulates information from various sources to prepare the report to Governors.
Our review consisted of analysis of twelve months of minutes and evidence produced at/for of meetings of the
Governing Board; full GB, Standards and Pupils, Curriculum, Finance and Resources, the latest Ofsted report, key data, Headteacher’s reports and Governor
training records, a meeting with the Headteacher, a review of additional documentation
presented by the school, and a meeting with nine Governors including the Chair of the
The Governing Board is currently working towards a School Governance Award, which
shows that Governors have a confidence in the work they are doing.
Here are a selection of identified strengths:
- The Governing Body has a strong range of skills and experience as well as being very enthusiastic about and supportive of the school. Governors display a clear commitment and passion to ensure their work makes an impact.
- The Governing Body has produced a development plan, which is owned by Governors,
and progress is monitored throughout the year. This supports Governors in focussing on
their areas for development and allows them to effectively further develop their work.
- Governors each have link roles and corresponding responsibilities. The Governing Body
has a planned Monitoring and Evaluation Calendar, which supports Governors in
monitoring their areas of responsibility. A Governor Monitoring Visits Policy has been
adopted along with a simple visit report template for use to evidence the work taking
place. As well as completing visit reports, Governors feedback on their visits at the next
Governing Body meeting (see all minutes of full GB meetings). All of this will support
Governors in triangulating and validating information given to them.
- The Governing Body are aware that the performance management of teaching staff and support staff has been completed in line with statutory requirements. The Chair, ViceChair and Chair of the Resources Committee receive a sample of anonymised appraisals at each stage of review
- Governors take safeguarding very seriously. The ‘Safeguarding Governor’ role is fulfilled
by several Governors who are very well supported by the Staff Governor, who is
responsible for Safeguarding in school. The Staff Governor has an excellent
understanding of safeguarding policies and procedures and how these are implemented
throughout the school. The ‘Safeguarding Governors’ have utilised the Staff Governor’s
knowledge and expertise to develop their understanding and awareness of safeguarding
matters and work with him to ensure the school is safeguarded effectively. The Staff
Governor feeds back all relevant safeguarding information and updates to national
policies, etc, to the Governing Body. All Governors have completed safeguarding
training, regular information is received at Governing Body meetings and Governors
have an e-safety working party. Governors have received a presentation of the CPOMS
system and have received, reviewed and discussed various information relating to online
- Governors have a good understanding of the School Development Plan and how
priorities are determined. In formulating the SDP, the school completes a question level
analysis; it is then validated by an external advisor and then shared with Governors. The
Governors then select areas of responsibility for monitoring. The plan is regularly
reviewed and discussed by the Standards & Pupils Committee and regular updates are
provided to the full Governing Body within Headteacher’s Reports.
- Governors receive end of year results and this includes national percentage figures as
well as those of the school. They have also reviewed “Analyse School Performance”
information for the school, the Ofsted Inspection Data Summary Report (IDSR) and the
DfE “Compare School Performance” website. This is good practice as it allows the
Governing Body to benchmark the performance of the school against national figures
and put into context how well it is performing. Whilst this is a driving factor for Governors,
they do have a good awareness of the background information behind children at the
school which can impact on outcomes.
- Governors receive information relating to Pupil Premium and Sport funding and discuss it
within meetings of the Governing Body and particularly within committee meetings. An
external Pupil Premium review took place in February 2018 which was very positive with
the reviewer requesting to use the school as an exemplar school. Governors receive
broken down performance data for Pupil Premium children and also monitor the
sustainability of the Sport Funding use. Governors are aware that all Pupil Premium and
Sport funding information is published on the school website.
- Governors utilise their meeting time to effectively question and challenge the
Headteacher, and other school leaders, on the work being carried out in school and
progress towards school development priorities and achievement targets.
- Governors receive regular updates on the quality of teaching in the school. They also receive reports from external advisors, have met with a School Improvement Advisor and have met with a Pupil Premium assessor. As a result, the Governing Body has a good awareness of the current position with regard to teaching in school.
- Governors receive regular good quality, comprehensive reports from the Headteacher.
They are happy with the standard of the information received, which they get in advance
of their scheduled meetings. Following receipt of the report, Governors have started to
submit some questions in advance of meetings; this is strong practice as it allows the
Headteacher to provide a comprehensive answer at the meeting rather than needing to
go away and find information.
- Governors receive regular external validation of the school including reports from: − Annual 2-day visit from an Education Consultant; − Half-termly visits from a School Improvement Advisor; Early Years Moderation; − Pupil Premium review; − SDP Moderation through All Saints Partnership; − Local Authority Advisor visits; − Local Authority Moderation. This provides the Governing Body with external verification, enabling them to triangulate information they receive from the school and what they observe during their monitoring visits/activities.
Governors demonstrate a commitment and willingness to further develop their effectiveness and have sought an external view to support them in identifying areas for development. Governors have developed effective ways of working but should ensure that they continue to implement these whilst looking to further improve their effectiveness where possible. The Officer conducting the external review would like to recommend the following points as actions going forward. However, this is presented as guidance only and decisions must be made by the Governing Body.
- Governors should make a concerted commitment to achieving the School Governance Award, which will allow them to focus and develop their work in order to gain the award and then hopefully provide them with the recognition they deserve. Governors need to work collectively as a team to ensure that the work of the Governing Body meets the standards expected to achieve the award.
- Governors should look to use this report and the requirements of the School Governance
Award to extend and develop their ideas for improving governance when preparing their
development priorities for 2018/19. The Governing Body should ensure that their plans
are owned by all Governors and all Governors contribute to their implementation.
- In line with the DfE Competency
Framework for Governance, each Governor should recognise their own strengths and
areas for development and seek support and training to improve knowledge and skills
The values and roles of the Governing Body are driven by the DfE Competency Framework for Governance, January 2017.
There are a number of other ways we support and monitor the school other than attending meetings. One of our favourite things to do is visit the school on learning walks and attend performances. In particular we are always impressed by the exceptional behaviour and positive attitudes of the children and it is really rewarding to see how much they enjoy learning. We also attend training provided by school and the Local authority to update and improve our knowledge and skills so we can fulfil our roles as governors effectively.
We currently have one Foundation Governor vacancy. Please contact Rev. Rupert Martin for more information.