Annual Governance Statement 2020-21
Bexton Local Govening Board
September 2020 – July 2021
We entered the new academic year in September 2020 full of hope that the unprecedented circumstances of the previous year, brought about by the global Covid-19 pandemic, were significantly improved and that the day-to-day learning for the children of Bexton would return to some kind of normality. The school put in place all of the necessary measures to allow as much face to face teaching as possible, and as a consequence of those measures the incidents of “burst bubbles” was remarkably low in the Autumn term considering the size of the school and the number of pupils. Children adapted to their bubbles and other restrictions marvellously.
We continued to Govern remotely, using Teams for our meetings, but Governors were disappointed not to be able to visit the school through the academic year as they would normally do in less troubled times.
In terms of the Governance structure, John Squires, the Chair of Governors at the start of the academic year decided not to stand for re-election, and Matt Stephenson was voted into the role, with Kath Woolf once again taking on the role of Vice Chair. We thank John for his contribution in that role through the very challenging times of the first national lockdown.
One of the first key decisions made by the Local Governing Board in this academic year was to change the overall structure of Governance and remove the Resources and Curriculum subcommittees, to instead adopt a “flat structure” where each meeting is now a full Local Governing Board meeting. The key drivers for this were that it aligned better to the overall Cheshire Academies Trust timetable, and it removed the inevitable repetition of discussion that occurred in the old structure where subcommittees “report back” to the full governing board meetings. The move was also slightly precipitated by the Covid pandemic because it allowed for more frequent meetings of the whole governing board (9 per academic year) which went some way to mitigating the impact of not being able to meet face to face.
We welcomed Sarah Stafford and Kristina Gol into team as Parent Governors following a well-supported election by parents. They bring fantastic experience to the team, and their term of office is four years.
We kicked off the year with usual school business around budgets, school development priorities, discussion of a major investment in the school premises in the form of a new Wrap Around Care building and a refresh of the school Vision.
In January, we all felt the pain of the national schools’ lockdown that was announced at very short notice by the Government. This was a difficult time for everyone. From a Governance perspective we continue to provide support and challenge to the school leadership team in their goal of providing the best possible learning experience for children as most were forced to learn from home once again and some continued to attend the school setting as vulnerable children or children of key workers. There were in the region of 150-160 children accessing that provision each week.
The Trust’s CEO continued with his monitoring visits, initially these were focused on the remote learning strategy; how the school was supporting vulnerable children and those without access to the necessary hardware to support learning from home. He also looked at the Catch up report and how the leadership were evaluating themselves in their self-evaluation form and School Development Plans. In his second visit he looked at standards in books and the assessment data the school had to evaluate progress. This enabled governors to support and challenge the leadership team in securing the best outcomes for the children.
The assessment data shared with governors shows that the impact of Covid-19 on the older children is minimal, with them still achieving high standards in standardised assessments. However the data shared with governors indicates we need to be considering the impact of Covid-19 for some years to come.
Matt Stephenson (chair of Local Governing Board) September 2021
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