About our governors

​At St Mark’s, the governing body is composed of representatives from the staff, the local education authority, Immanuel Church, parents and the head teacher. Apart from the Head Teacher and the Immanuel Church incumbent minister, all governors are appointed for a term of 4 years. Elections are held for staff and parent governor positions when a governor term ends or a vacancy occurs. Governors have a number of legal duties as outlined by the government. These duties include having financial, personnel and curriculum management of the school, with responsibility for setting the strategic direction of the school and in the oversight of the school management.

The Governing Body meets at least 6 times per school year, with governors also meeting in committees covering Finance and Environment, and Personnel and Pay, with other committees convened as and when required.

All Governors are expected to undertake training and to attend Governing Body meetings and committee meetings, undertaking school visits and review work in support of the Governors responsibilities.  Governors are all volunteers and are unpaid for the work undertaken.The Governing Body is led by a Chair and Vice Chair, elected annually by the Governing Body members, who work closely with the Head Teacher and the Senior Management team.

Annual Report of Governing Body activity for 2016/17

In accordance with Department for Education guidelines, this report sets out the key issues that have been faced by the Governing Body in the last school year, and includes an assessment of the impact of the Governing Body on the school.

Principle issues

  • Staffing
  • Appointment of new Head teacher
  • Finance
  • Buildings renewal and maintenance
  • Membership of Governing body
  • Awareness of Government legislation (both actual and proposed) with strategic forward planning for all possibilities

School Staffing – Recruiting and retaining good staff has become more difficult as there are insufficient staff being trained within the profession, and the numbers of staff choosing to leave the profession continues to increase.  The school has been fortunate to retain and recruit many good and excellent staff, both teaching and non-teaching, particularly as finance resources continue to be squeezed, and the government pay freeze has continued. Difficult decisions were made however, due to reduction in finances, to reduce numbers of support staff, but ensuring that remaining resources were more effectively used. As always, there has been some movement of staff, both for maternity leave and also to further careers elsewhere, and Governors have been actively involved in the recruitment process, particularly for teaching staff and for other principal roles. Governors continue to be involved with the staff and SMT appraisal process and, in conjunction with the Head teacher, with the process for the awarding of pay increases.

Head Teacher Recruitment – Following the decision on Mrs Jenkins to leave the school to pursue other career opportunities, considerable governor time and meetings were taken in identifying where the school was currently at, and where its future lay. The process involved consultation with all interested parties, including the County Council, the Education authorities, the Diocese, and not least, pupils, parents, and staff. After production of the school profile and personal specification, the position was advertised, and interviews were held from which the governors were pleased to appoint Mr Charles Applegate as the new Head Teacher effective 01 September 2017. Considerable time has been taken up with the appointment process and consequent administrative requirements, as well as the implementation of plans to celebrate Mrs Jenkin’s time at the school.

Finance – Review and allocation of the finance inevitably takes up considerable time, with day to day management by the Head teacher and Office Administrator, but with responsibility for the best use of the funds available remaining with the Governing Body. The increased costs of staff, including increases to salaries, increased National Insurance contributions, and increased pension contributions, all requiring to be met from a reduced budget has been the subject of much work and discussion, with associated changes to staffing structure and working practices.  The increasing needs of our disadvantaged pupils, particularly as our school has become the school of choice for pupils in this area, has put some strain on our resources, and we have continued to work with the appropriate agencies to ensure we obtain the best and appropriate facilities for all pupils regardless of need or ability.  Due to the current expectations and legislation, senior staff are required to spend significant time in preparations and meetings with other agencies which has inevitably impacted on availability of the senior management team within the school to support other staff.

Buildings renewal and maintenance – Some of the school buildings are now over 20 years and therefore the governors have been looking at ongoing maintenance and replacement.  Small works have been carried out, and the governing body continues to lobby for grants and additional funding to undertake some more extensive refurbishment. Ongoing review of safety and security within the school has been the subject of governors time and energy throughout the year. Whilst no major projects have been undertaken, the exterior woodwork has been repainted, and repaired/replaced as necessary, and the KS2 play area, arena, and steps have received considerable attention.

Membership of the Governing Body – In common with most other schools, it has been difficult to recruit new governors to fill vacancies, particularly in the Foundation Governor category.  Inevitably, this has meant that existing governors have had to take on additional responsibilities to ensure the Governing Body is fulfilling its role.  Considerable time has been spent in looking at recruitment, and the current situation has been highlighted to the Diocese.  Of particular concern is identification of governors able and willing to take on the leadership of the governing body and it’s principal committees.  Governors have continued to take up training provided by Hampshire County Council.

Awareness with and compliance with existing, new, and proposed Government Legislation – Changes within education have continued, with various directives issued, amended, and retracted during the year which has impacted on the work of the governors and the school staff. Governors have supported the teaching staff throughout the year to ensure finance, equipment and training have been available, and also to discuss and plan possible strategies to meet the government requirements.  Discussions around the new OFSTED inspections, requirements, and expectations, together with possible requirements for conversion to Academy status, have taken significant time and resource, with governors attending various training and briefing sessions to keep abreast of developments.

Ongoing work

All school Governing Bodies are required by law to focus on three core strategic functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

During the year, the above functions were covered by the Governing Body by:

  • Reports provided by the Head teacher, and other staff
  • Questioning of the Head teacher and senior management team
  • Review of internal/external data, external reports, discussions with staff, etc to validate the information provided by the Head teacher
  • Close scrutiny of the financial accounts and projections, with audit of the school procedures
  • Review of all school policies on a rolling basis
  • Review and inspection of the school grounds and buildings.

The Governing Body has met each half term, with additional detailed work being undertaken throughout the year by individual governors, by working parties, and by the two principal committees (Pay and Personnel, and Finance and Environment) which also met each half term.

The working practices of the Governing Body are contained in its Standing Orders, which are subject to continual review and are available on the school website.

Governors have been accessible to all parents throughout the year, governors have been available at every event or parents evenings during 2016/17, and have also attended many external visits and residential trips undertaken by pupils.

Graham Robins, Chair of Governors.

This is the governor schedule for 2016 2017. The schedule for 2017 2018 will be confirmed by the end of September 2017.