Governors’ Newsletter to Parents March 2013
Welcome to our Spring Term Newsletter!
This has been a busy term for the school and governors, notwithstanding the additional problems of snow, flooding and generally bad weather for the first half of term. Much as we appreciated the wild life that took over our transitory pond, we were pleased to see green grass on the playing fields again after drainage work by HCC combined with improving weather.
Deputy Head Teacher
You will know from the School Newsletter that a new Deputy Headteacher, Mrs. Christine Bristow, has been appointed to Foxhills, and we look forward to working with her.
We’ve held two routine governors’ meetings, plus a meeting to discuss school strategy. We are looking particularly at children’s attainment and progress overall, and how staff manage this major aspect of our school. Our termly reports from the HT include the latest pupil performance data, in addition to detailed information on all aspects of school life, for instance, our drive to improve pupil attendance. Whilst we appreciate that children are inevitably ill at times and can’t attend school, the governors wholly support the need for regular attendance if children are not to fall behind in their work. All local schools are involved in the drive to promote good attendance.
The Finance and Resources Committee are currently completing the Schools Financial Value Standard Statement, which all schools must submit to the Local Authority by the end of March. Schools manage many billions of pounds of public money each year. Effective financial management ensures this money is spent wisely and properly, and allows schools to optimise their resources to provide high-quality teaching and learning and so raise standards and attainment for all their pupils.
We have to answer and provide evidence for 23 questions about how our budget is managed, and how we ensure value for money. We’re pleased to say that the efficient operation of our Finance and Resources Committee has ensured that all the evidence we need is readily available.
In order to carry out our duties effectively it is essential for governors to attend the excellent training sessions run by Hampshire Governor Services. Our new parent governors were fortunate to gain places on the Induction Course for new governors in January. In view of the changed Ofsted regulations which came into force in September 2012 we used our Whole Governing Body Training Session to update ourselves on these regulations, and were pleased to have teaching staff join us for the evening. Governors are held accountable for ensuring that appropriate teaching takes place to enable pupils to make progress to achieve the attainment levels expected in KS2. They are also accountable for ensuring the school provides Value for Money in its teaching and provision. We have to ensure that the school provides the correct data to allow us to fulfil this legal obligation.
Proposed development by Barker Mills Estates on land next to the school.
Information about this proposed low housing density development was circulated earlier this term. The governors of both Infant and Junior Schools, and the Pre School support this proposal which will provide us with safe cycleways to school, and parking which is much closer to the school. There will be a pedestrian entrance from the car park straight onto the school campus. Governors and representatives from all three schools met with the Planning Consultant and Barker Mills Estate Manager on 5th March to discuss matters such as the routing of the cycleway and traffic flow. We were fortunate to have input from Mrs Sally Arnold, Chair of Ashurst and Colbury Parish Council, and Oliver Coleman, from HCC Land Management as well. We collated questions we wanted to ask in advance of the meeting, these reflected some of those put to governors by parents. We were pleased that the Planning Consultants responded to our suggestions and some changes to the original plan will be made.
Barker Mills are still at an early stage in the planning process, they will be running a public consultation in due course, and this is likely to include parents from all three schools. If you have any comments on the proposal which you would like us to put forward to Barker Mills, please contact us via Foxhills.email@example.com
Our Nature Reserve
Parents, teachers and children were directed by a New Forest coppicer and Georgie Watson, from New Forest Land Management, in some constructive coppicing and pruning on a very cold February day. We look forward to seeing the disentangled areas showing fresh growth in the spring, and we will be thinking about improving the access to the area enabling us to make better use of this facility. The board walks and gravel trails which were laid some 12 years ago have worn away, they are expensive to replace and we will have to think carefully about the best options for doing this.
We wish all parents and children a relaxing Easter break!
Chair of Governors, Foxhills Junior School, for the Board of Governors