Summary of Activities During the Year
Following last year’s adoption of a new school strategy and the development of a five- year plan, Governors were actively involved in reviewing an update to the plan and a new strategic risk register and key performance indicators. The strategy is driven by All Round Excellence: in the academic standards that are rightly expected from a high-quality grammar school and in enrichment and resilience – sustaining and growing the school’s traditional strengths in pastoral care and developing broader life skills to enable our students to exploit their potential in society. The strategy also focuses on being forward looking, ensuring that the school is positioned to make the most of all the opportunities that are available to it. Also critical to our success will be our key enablers: our people, our commitment to a safeguarding culture, our communication and relationships with our stakeholders and the local community, along with effective use of data and sound finance. Our focus is now very much turning strategy into action, building on our strengths and delivering consistently at our best. There has been an increasing focus on review of meaningful and reliable data across both academic and pastoral domains.
To support continuing improvement this year, Governors have again conducted an active monitoring programme. Our focus has again this year been on safeguarding compliance and monitoring pair reviews of academic performance in key areas and those of concern. This year this has included the sciences, the sixth form, mental health and behaviour, Modern Foreign Languages, Design Technology and Literacy, along with SEN, Health and Safety and Equality. We are continuing to work with the Headteacher and the Senior Leadership Team to challenge and support the strategies that are being developed, and to refine and focus the management information provided to us to enable us to more precisely measure our school improvement plans, both absolutely and when compared with our peers. Our responsibilities in relation to the performance management of staff were discharged through a regular dialogue with the Headteacher and through review of all pay and promotion proposals through our Pay Committee.
The school’s plans to support the expansion to seven forms of entry were progressed and our agreed plans were tendered by KCC. We expect the £7.5m investment from KCC to commence construction this summer with completion one year later. This will provide a much-needed new classroom block, enabling us to remove the playground Portakabins, a new Sports Hall and improvements to our dining capacity. Governors have worked very closely with the school and KCC to make this happen.
The Governors also approved and are actively supporting a fund-raising initiative launched by the school to enable the building of a new sixth-form study centre. Our sixth-form facilities have, in recent years, fallen far below the standards that our hugely talented sixth-formers deserve and our Headteacher is determined to do something about that. We are all very excited by the potential improvements that can be achieved here.
The year has also seen changes in our Governing Body. During the year we welcomed Simon Crotty and Steve Green as our new elected Parent Governors. We also welcomed Claire Terry as a new associate governor. All of our new governors bring significant relevant experience including management, development and health and safety. We were very sorry to say goodbye to Candy Ravenscroft who has done so much in recent years supporting the school’s strategic development and business studies and economics and careers. Lynda Bell-Man stood down as staff governor and a new election is about to be held for that post. We are very grateful to both of them for the very valuable contributions they have made to our school.