Saturday, 11 June 2011

Effective Governing Body Case Study: Winchcombe School, Gloucestershire

Winchcombe School, Gloucestershire

Winchcombe is a small secondary school. It has specialist status for science and leadership.
Governors and staff had a firm grasp of their respective responsibilities. This enabled the governors to fulfil their role very well. The governing body was very well organised and benefited from the detailed work of its committees in considering the progress of the school and from very good support from the clerk. Governors were extremely well informed about the work of the school through detailed reports from the headteacher and other key staff and from visiting the school themselves. As a result, governors were very well placed to ask questions about the school’s performance and seek explanations from senior staff. Questions elicited a positive response from senior leaders and resulted, where appropriate, in reviews and revisions of practice.

The governors set out to remove any perceived barriers between the school and the local community and to ensure broad local representation on the governing body. As a result, there was a good mix of governors, including several with community links, who had a wide range of skills and networks with others.

Community governors were willing to share their skills and expertise with the pupils. They had made a key contribution to the school’s regular ‘flexible days’ when the usual curriculum was set aside to support wider activities, including business enterprise. The school’s involvement in ‘Young Chef of the Year’ and in hosting 30 Chinese pupils for a term also owed much to the governors’ links to the community. The ‘Sports Hub’ currently under construction is a striking testimony to the strength of these links. The governing body agreed with the town council to provide a site for an all-weather pitch that would serve a wide range of organisations in the community and be available for pupils to use during the school day. New classroom accommodation had also been incorporated in the buildings associated with the Sports Hub, securing significant cost advantages for the school. The governors’ role in the complex discussions necessary to carry forward such a project was crucial to its success.

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