Sunday, 5 June 2011

Effective Governing Body Case Study: Market Rasen De Aston School, Lincolnshire

Market Rasen De Aston School, Lincolnshire

Market Rasen De Aston School is a larger than average secondary school with foundation status. It has specialist status for mathematics and computing and serves a large rural catchment area, where 70% of pupils require transport to and from school. The school provides boarding accommodation for up to 70 pupils.

Shortly after the appointment of the new headteacher, the governors collectively, and with the support of the headteacher, identified that they could be more effective in their ways of working. Without any formal self-review scheme, they evaluated and re-shaped the work of the governing body. They noted that the committee structure had been in place for a long time and new governors were expected to join the committees where there were vacancies rather than where they had particular skills or interests.

Governors identified that they needed to focus more on the attainment and progress being made by their students, including those in the boarding provision. As a consequence, governors reviewed and improved their working practices. They restructured into more relevant key committees, which included the academic standards and quality assurance committee, the student welfare and boarding committee and the resources committee (including staffing and finance). Each committee had a specific additional responsibility for the boarding students. For example, the academic standards and quality assurance committee considered the attainment and progress of all groups, including those who were boarders; the student welfare and boarding committee was directly responsible for the boarding development plan; and the resources committee was responsible for monitoring the staffing and budget in the boarding house.

An annual, full governing body business meeting was introduced. This meeting reviewed the work of the previous year, agreed roles and priorities, confirmed committee membership and identified training needs for the forthcoming year. The programme for all meetings was agreed and the objectives from the school improvement plan were allocated to the committees. This process ensured that the terms of reference for each committee had strong links to the school improvement plan. Each full governing body meeting included reference to each of the objectives and progress towards achieving the committees’ agreed priorities.

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