Friday, 10 June 2011

Effective Governing Body Case Study: West Alvington CoE Primary School, Devon

West Alvington Church of England Primary School, Devon

This is a small primary school that serves the village where it is located and its surrounding area. At the start of the 2009/10 school year, the school joined a federation of two schools, with a shared governing body and an executive headteacher.

Governors and staff had confidence in each other and were clear about their respective roles and responsibilities. The governing body was continually striving to secure excellence in all aspects of the school and was not satisfied with features being merely ‘good’. It was exceptionally well organised with an annual cycle that set out very clearly what needed to be done month by month, with very good support from the clerk. The committees carried out much valuable work in drawing up and reviewing policies and checking the progress of the school, with good reporting to the full governing body. Governors saw the school at work through planned opportunities to meet staff and observe learning in the classrooms. They were also well known to parents and pupils. As a result, they had information which helped them to see the impact of their decisions.

The governing body was closely involved in monitoring progress against the school’s development plan through governors’ membership of teams linked to particular priorities. Teams met regularly to review action taken and its impact. Governors strongly supported the development of the school’s leadership potential for the benefit of the two schools in the federation.

The governing body fulfilled its role in partnership with the executive headteacher and her staff, to ensure that there was a shared sense of purpose and trust. As a result, governors were welcomed into school. Regular and informal contacts with the school were underpinned by a more formal programme of visits to the school that included meetings with members of staff and planned visits to classrooms to see learning. There was clarity about what was and was not appropriate for governors to comment on; this was set out in agreed protocols. As a result of these approaches, the governing body had very clear information on the progress that the school was making with its priorities.

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