Governors

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Consultation for Academy Conversion and Joining the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust

 

Please read the letter below, which invites all stakeholders to a consultation meeting on Monday 15th October at 6pm in the school hall. 

 

 

 

 

 

Academy Order Conversion Process at Newtown

 

The process

 

1. On 18.01.16, governors and staff invited a Devon Governor Consultant to talk to us about the Devon situation with regard to partnerships. We discussed the government agenda at the time and the Education and Adoption Bill 2015. We heard about Multi-Academy Trusts, Federations and Cooperative trusts. We were given information about the Devon landscape of partnerships and about Exeter schools, in particular.

 

2. On 11.02.16, we drew up a list of “non-negotiables” in considering working in partnership with other schools: school improvement would be at the heart of the MAT; our distinctive ethos as a school would be respected and maintained; it would be a local partnership of schools; we would retain our local Headteacher and Governing Body.

 

3. We set up a working party of governors to explore options. An accompanying paper set out our Strengths; our Needs (so we improve further); our Challenges; our Questions we would ask each partnership we explored. We emphasised again the crucial need to keep our focus on school improvement.

 

4. On 12.05.16 we invited the Chair of the Ted Wragg Trust and the Executive Headteacher to give a presentation to staff and governors. We were able to ask many questions.

 

5. In January 2017, after exploring several options (see below), the Working Party met the Chair of the Trust to discuss the capacity of the TWMAT to take on more schools.

 

6. On 30.03.17, the Governing Board passed the Statement of Intent to join the Ted Wragg Multi Academy Trust:

“The Governing Body of Newtown Primary School commits to initiate negotiations with TWMAT with a view to joining the MAT within a 3-year period.”

 

7. On 09.02.18, the Chair of Governors and the Head Teacher went to Cranbrook Education Campus to meet the Executive Head and the Director of Operations. We walked around their primary campus and asked questions related to our non-negotiables and discussed next steps.

 

8. On 09.05.18, the Governing Body invited the Chair of the TWMAT, the Headteacher of Exwick Heights (the lead primary school in the trust) and the Director of Operations for TWMAT to answer a series of governors’ questions.

 

9. At the FGB Meeting on 24.05.18, the Governing Body voted “to proceed with the academy conversion process and formally join the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust, subject to formal consultation”.

 

In conclusion, in all our exploration and questioning, the TWMAT was the one which stood out from the others as fulfilling our aims in working in partnership. Its record of school improvement and its commitment to the education of children in the Exeter area is impressive and we believe our children at Newtown will benefit greatly from this new partnership.

 

Other options considered and rejected

 

1. First Federation – not a local partnership of schools.

2. The Chair met with a representative of the C of E St Christopher’s MAT – not fitting in with our ethos.

3. Connect Education Trust presented their partnership to the GB – lack of experience.

4. The Otter Valley Federation – a fact-finding visit to explore working in a federation. We felt, however, that we needed to join an established MAT with a proven record of school improvement.

5. The working party also visited other various groupings, such as local federations, and attended a meeting convened by St Peter’s C of E High School and the Stoke Hill grouping to discuss Exeter partnership options.

 

 

 

Letter from Ms Jill Mather, Chair of Newtown Primary School's Governing Body (July 2018)

 

Dear Parents and Carers

 

As you may be aware, over many months the Governors at Newtown Primary School have been exploring ways we might work in partnership with other schools to secure the best education and outcomes for the children in our care.

 

I am writing to let you know that on 24th May 2018, we voted to start the process of joining the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust, and that on 4th June 2018 the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Ted Wragg MAT informed us that our request had been approved.

 

Our request will now be submitted to the Regional Schools’ Commissioner and the Department of Education to gain permission to convert to academy status in order to join the MAT.

 

We will then move to a period of consultation with all stakeholders, including parents and staff. Meetings will be arranged to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to hear our reasons for choosing to join the Ted Wragg MAT and to ask questions.

 

There will be several opportunities to hear exactly why we have chosen to join this local group of schools, comprising St James’ High School, Isca Academy, West Exe School, Exwick Heights Primary School and Cranbrook Education Campus. Let me assure you that school improvement and educational excellence are at the heart both of our decision-making and the Ted Wragg MAT’s vision for education in the Exeter area.

 

On our Governors’ pages on the school website, you can read the letters from the Governing Board and from the Chair of the Ted Wragg MAT. You can also find out more about the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust from its website: https://www.tedwraggtrust.co.uk.

 

You can also contact me on newtowngovernors@gmail.com.

 

With very best wishes

 

 

 

 

Jill Mather

Chair of the Governing Board

 

 

Governance Impact Statement September 2017 – July 2018

 

Embracing Excellence, Celebrating Diversity and Nurturing Individuality”

 

This is the annual report from the Governing Body to let you know about the work we have been doing to ensure that our “village school in the heart of the city” is led effectively to deliver the best outcomes for the children and is managing its resources well.

 

In September 2017 we identified our priorities for the year ahead to be:

 

  1. Standards: to ensure all pupils make substantial progress and learn well.
  2. Community: to celebrate and promote the values of “Embracing Excellence, Celebrating Diversity, Nurturing Individuality” to the Newtown Community through our website and all our communications.
  3. Leadership: to secure the leadership of the school, both within Newtown and in developing partnerships with other schools.

 

  1. Standards

 

Working together to raise standards:

We believe it is essential to have a shared sense of purpose in our drive to improve outcomes for the children at Newtown. In September, the Governors set their strategic priorities for the year ahead; the school leadership team then took up those priorities and developed them into a working document for all staff. When Ofsted reported their findings in December, they validated the strengths we had identified and, in outlining the areas requiring improvement, they confirmed the targets we had already set.

 

Responding to the December Ofsted report:

Since the Ofsted Inspection our challenge and monitoring has been focused particularly on the areas identified for improvement. We continue to ask challenging questions in our meetings and to scrutinise meticulously the data and reports we are given. We have made regular monitoring visits and have worked with external advisers on school improvement. We have attended book scrutinies led by teachers, completed learning walks through the school and joined staff training sessions. We have seen evidence that teaching and learning are improving; there is greater consistency of approach throughout the school; and teachers are benefitting from working with colleagues from nearby schools in moderation and training sessions. Although there is still work to be done, we are pleased to report that there is evidence that the school is on track to make good improvement in standards.

 

  1. Community

 

Making ourselves known:

So that parents and the wider community know who we are, we have updated our Governors’ pages on the school website, where you can see our photos and read our pen portraits. The Minutes of our meetings and other documents are on the school website. We also take every opportunity to attend school events, such as Parents’ Evenings, school shows and concerts, the Grounds Day and the May Day celebrations.

 

Working with others:

We continue to support the work of the Friends of Newtown School and are grateful for their fund-raising and social events. We have supported the Headteacher in making links with local schools and working with Newtown Community Pre-school to access the after-school club. We have also kept in touch with the Newtown Community Association, supported the Respect Festival and been grateful for the support of our local councillor.

 

  1. Leadership

 

Our Headteacher, Mrs Sally Herbert:

It is the Governing Body’s responsibility to appoint a Headteacher. Mrs Herbert was appointed in May 2017 on a temporary contract, and we were delighted to be able to appoint her to the permanent position in January 2018. She has led with vision and enthusiasm, creating an energy and sense of shared purpose in our school community. She is restructuring her leadership team of teachers, creating opportunities for new leaders; she has redrafted and communicated Newtown’s vision; she has driven school improvement with sensitivity and rigour. She has also provided detailed reports to Governing Body meetings, as well as meeting with us more informally on numerous occasions to answer our questions and keep us informed. Communication with parents has been improved through the new website and the introduction of Class Dojo. We are grateful for her work this year and wish her a well-deserved and restful summer break.

 

The Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust:

We have been exploring ways of working with other schools, both informally and more formally, to secure the future for our school. After much discussion and consideration of all the options, the Governing Body voted in May to join the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust and in June our request was approved. The application is now with the Department of Education, after which we will move to a period of formal consultation with all stakeholders. We believe that by joining a group of local schools in a MAT with a proven record of school improvement and educational excellence we will secure the future of education in Newtown. For more detailed information, please see the Governors’ pages on the school website.

 

Statutory duties of the Governing Body

Governors in schools are required:

  • to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • to hold the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • to oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure its money is well spent

To that end, this year we have identified Lead Governor roles to delegate the 7 key areas of our monitoring responsibility: Safeguarding, Finance, Health & Safety, Personnel, Teaching & Learning, Community Links and Special Educational Needs. The Lead Governors meet with staff, read policies and documentation and check that the school is fulfilling its duties to the children in its care – providing a full and varied curriculum; teaching well; keeping children safe; and managing the school’s resources effectively. The Lead Governors report their findings each term for scrutiny and approval by the Governing Body. In order to keep up to date with changes in the law, we regularly attend training for our specialist area, reporting back to the Governing Body, as well as attending the annual Safeguarding training for all school staff and governors in September each year.

 

What next?

Our priorities for 2018 – 2019 build on the previous year’s work, continuing to focus on school improvement and working in partnership with the local community and with other schools. In exploring new ways of working we will work to ensure that the ethos and values of our “village school in the heart of the city” are maintained and strengthened so that Newtown Primary School grows and thrives.

 

Priorities for 2018 – 2019

 

  1. Standards: to ensure all pupils make substantial progress and develop a positive attitude to learning so that the school is judged at least “Good” at its next Ofsted inspection.
  2. Community: to celebrate and promote the values of “Embracing Excellence, Celebrating Diversity, Nurturing Individuality” to the Newtown Community through our website and all our communications.
  3. Leadership: to enhance the leadership of the school – within Newtown, by developing new leaders; by joining the Ted Wragg Multi-Academy Trust; by continuing to secure effective partnerships with local schools.

 

 

And finally…

 

Thank you to all the teaching and support staff; to the office staff and the clerk; to the meal time, cleaning and caretaking team for working so hard for the children at Newtown.

 

Thank you to the children for working hard, for cooperating with others and for welcoming newcomers.

 

Thank you to parents for your daily support for the school and for coming along to all the events throughout the year.

 

Have a very happy summer holiday and keep safe.

 

Jill Mather

On behalf of the Governing Body

July 2018

 

 

 

 

 

 

Please find below details of how our Governing Board is structured, including the names, categories, responsibilities and terms of appointment for each Governor.

 

The Chair of the Governing Board can be contacted via the school office or by email

NAME TYPE APPOINTED BY OFFICE RESPONSIBILITIES TERM
Jill Mather Co-opted Governing Board Chair of Governors Teaching & Learning Lead Governor 26.02.15 - 25.02.19
Laetitia Brochon-Harmsworth Parent Governing Board Vice Chair Parent & Community Links Lead Governor 02.11.15 - 01.11.19
Saxon Spence Co-opted Governing Board Chair of Pay & Performance Committee

Inclusion & SEND Lead Governor

Pay & Performance Committee

15.01.15 - 14.01.19
Sally Herbert Ex Officio Right of Office Headteacher   01.09.17 - present
Claire Ward Staff Elected by staff   Teaching and Learning lead Governor 11.01.2018 - 10.01.2022
Jenny Lloyd Local Authority Nominated by the Local Authority (Devon County Council) Chair of HT Performance Management Committee

Finance Lead Governor

HT Performance Management Committee

03.12.15 - 02.12.19
Richard Westlake Co-opted Governing Board   Inclusion & SEND Lead Governor 15.01.15 - 14.01.19
Philippa Danvers Co-opted Governing Board  

Staffing Lead Governor

HT Performance Management Committee

26.05.16 - 25.05.20
VACANT Co-opted Governing Board      
Sandra Dalgleish Co-opted Governing Board   Safeguarding Lead Governor 15.01.15 - 14.01.19
Claire Baker Co-opted Governing Board  

Finance Lead Governor

Pay & Performance Committee

31.03.17-30.03.21
Mike Cox Co-opted Governing Board  

Premises and Health & Safety Lead Governor

Pay & Performance Committee

19.05.15 - 18.05.19
Jane Morris Parent Elected by parents   Teaching & Learning Lead Governor 16.11.2017 - 15.11.2021
David Thompson Co-opted Governing Board   Safeguarding Lead Governor 19.10.17 -18.10.21
Jessica Benger Clerk to governors Recruited Clerk to Governing body   01.09.13 - present
Victoria Darious Staff Elected by staff   Resigned 01.01.2015 - 10.01.2018
Penny Burnside Co-opted Governing Board   Resigned 15.01.2015 - 01.09.2017
Steve Fearn Parent Elected by parents   Term of Office ended 05.07.2013 - 04.07.2017
Ruth Jones Ex officio Right of Office Headteacher Retired 15.04.2014 - 31.08.2017

 

Delgation of Authority of the Full Governing Board

Delgation of Authority of the Full Governing Board 1

Meet the Governors

 

Jill Mather - Chair of the Governing Board

Although I only recently joined the Governing Body at Newtown, I have known the school since the 1980s when my children attended what was then Newtown First School. We chose Newtown because it was a small community school and our children thrived in its friendly atmosphere. I have enjoyed getting to know the school again as a Governor, and more recently as Chair, and I will be working hard to ensure your children also have a happy and successful time here.

 

I live locally and have had a life-long interest in education, having taught English in state secondary schools for nearly 40 years. I am also a member of St JamesChurch in Exeter and enjoy allotment gardening, long-distance walking and being with our five grandchildren.

 

Laëtitia Brochon-Harmsworth - Vice Chair of the Governing Board

I am a parent governor and I became vice-chair in September 2017. I am a mother of two. My eldest child is a pupil at Newton Primary School and my youngest is three years old. Until recently I worked at Exeter University but I left to start my own business as a translator and a private tutor. This provides the flexibility to work the hours that suit my family and me.

 

I am very keen to help Newton Primary School provide an excellent education in a safe environment for all children. I am a qualified teacher and so I understand the educational system.

 

I want to make sure that Newtown Primary School continues to be the small but vibrant community that attracted us and made my husband and me want to bring our children here.

 

Saxon Spence

I have lived in Newtown for nearly four years and enjoy being part of this lively community, so welcome the opportunity to support our much-loved local school. My background is that I was a Devon County Councillor with a particular interest in education until I retired in 2013. 

 

Currently I am a governor of the Learn to Live Federation (Ellen Tinkham & Bidwell Brook Schools) and on the board of the Ted Wragg Trust which includes Isca, St. James’ and West Exe High Schools. Other interests are the Co-operative Movement and food policy.

 

Sally Herbert

 

Claire Ward

 

Jenny Lloyd

I’ve been involved with Newtown School as a parent, as a governor and as a member of the community. Our daughters were at Newtown in the 1980s and I was on the governing body in the 1970s.

 

When I retired from education, I was invited to become a governor at Newtown again. I’ve used my education experience in various ways and I’ve also developed new skills, learning to read budgets and making sure that we are spending our money wisely and efficiently. I now share the lead governor role for Finance.

 

I sing in various choirs, garden and enjoy spending time with my children and grandchildren.

 

Richard Westlake M.B.E.

I have been a governor of Newtown Primary School for 10 years, focusing first on Health and Safety, and now sharing responsibility for Special Needs and Inclusion.   For more than 40 years I worked on the railway ending up as a high speed train driver. I was the county councillor for the area until May when I retired.

 

Currently I am a trustee of the St. Sidwell’s Community Centre and Exeter Food Action, am involved with health, chairing the Exeter Patient Participation Group, and transport issues. Still active  in politics and the Co-operative Movement, in my spare time I like travelling.

 

Philippa Danvers

I am lucky enough to have been a primary school teacher for many years, as well as bringing up three children who all went to Newtown during the late 80’s and 90’s. They enjoyed their time at the school immensely and it was a very special time in their education. During my career, I have had the opportunity to fulfil a range of leadership roles as well as writing online plans for teachers and teaching art to large numbers of children!

 

Now retired from teaching, I have the time to pursue a range of interests, as well as enjoying my grandchildren. I am still very passionate about primary education and delighted to once again be involved in the life of Newtown

 

Jane Morris

I am a parent governor and my son, Stan, is in Year 4.  My daughter, Maggie, also came here but is now at Isca.  I live nearby and I absolutely love this school.  I was previously a parent governor (and subsequently Chair of the Teaching and Learning Committee) at Newtown when I first moved to Exeter and have recently returned to the fold as I really missed being involved in making our school better and better.

My day job is at Exeter College where I run the Teacher Education department.  It is an absolute passion of mine that education remains comprehensive, inclusive and that the experts are listened to.

In my spare time I like to go camping in our lovely van.  I also play the piano and very much enjoy colouring in and making Lego robots.

 

Sandra Dalgleish

I qualified as a primary teacher and for some years taught in Dagenham and Exeter. I then transferred to work in the Civil Service and later in Local Government, including working in the Careers Service. Finally, I spent many happy years with a large insurance company dealing with claims and loans. Now retired, I enjoy keeping fit, doing exercise classes and walking my dog. My hobbies include listening to music, gardening and bird-watching. I enjoy going to talks and visiting places of interest with a group I belong to. I also spend time walking with friends who live on the coast.

 

I am proud to have been a Governor at Newtown for six years, completing several courses to keep up to date with educational matters. I love the diversity of Newtown School and its happy atmosphere.

 

Claire Baker

I am delighted to have recently become a governor at Newtown Primary School. I have a degree in Economics and trained as a Chartered Tax adviser.  I am also a parent of a child in Year 2 at Newtown and my son will start in September 2018. Newtown will be a large part of our lives for the foreseeable future and I really value the opportunity to contribute towards its success.  My first impression was that the school would be a safe and nurturing place for my children to enjoy learning. I feel like the school shares my view that children are individuals and should be encouraged to develop socially and emotionally as well as on an academic level.


Through governance I look forward to learning about the education sector and developing my skills to support the school.

 

In my spare time I enjoy reading, teaching myself to crochet, going to the gym and walking.

 

Mike Cox

I joined the Governing Board in May 2015. Before I retired, I was Deputy Headteacher at St Peter’s C of E Aided School in Exeter. My role included responsibility for curriculum, assessment and reporting, data collection and analysis and the management of the school’s Management Information Systems.

 

I enjoy working with my fellow Governors at Newtown. It’s a vibrant school serving its local community. With a secondary education background I’ve had a lot to learn but I’ve found my previous experience helpful and the Governor Training very supportive.

 

I’m married, have three sons and four grandchildren. As well as spending time with my grandchildren, I enjoy walking, cycling, birdwatching, listening to classical music and photography. I’m a member of Newtown Community Choir and of Belmont Chapel and, along with my wife, run Marriage Courses.

 

David Thompson

Earlier this year, I relocated from London to Exeter and am enjoying exploring the city and surrounding area. I have recently been co-opted as a Governor and look forward to participating in the life of Newtown School and contributing to its success.

 

I studied Biochemistry, was a teacher for several years and then retrained as a tax inspector.  Subsequently I was employed as a management consultant by PwC and IBM. I am now self-employed and work part-time.

 

I enjoy the performing arts and was a volunteer usher at the Arcola Theatre, which has a strong commitment to diversity and community engagement. My hobbies are long distance walking and writing short stories. I have five children and three grandchildren.

The Role of the Governing Body

  • to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • to hold the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • to oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure its money is well spent