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Blog from the Chair of Governors

Wednesday 1st November 2017

Back to school again

The first half term at Calthorpe Park has been and gone and the school is in full swing. Our Year 11s are getting ready for their GCSE mock exams and while they maybe aren’t looking forward to these, they are looking forward to the future. Our new Year 7s have got to grips with new buildings, new teachers and have been busy making new friends. For our teaching staff too, it is an extremely busy time, still adjusting to new faces, having new grading structures to learn are just some of the challenges they face.

For the governing body, back to school has meant getting back into the swing of meetings, sub committees and training, all of which go to ensure that we can fulfil our role to the best of our ability.

Last year was extremely busy for the governing body, but also interesting and exciting. We discussed and debated subjects ranging from school budgets to safeguarding along with wider topics relating to the future of the school such as academisation.

Part of the role of a governor is to visit the school and experience it in action. During the last academic year, the governors visited on many occasions to view and review classes, interview teachers and students and experience the school as it happens in daily life. Already in this new year governors have visited the school to learn more about how the school communicates progress to the students, get a greater understanding of how the school handles teaching students with special educational needs and disabilities, and have attended several open morning events.

Another area covered by the governing body is reviewing and agreeing the vast number of policies and statutory documents that the school must maintain and comply with. These policies and procedures cover every aspect of the running of the school and are hugely important to the running of the school. In this first half term alone we have eight policies to review and agree.

One of the key challenges facing the school this year is integrating and understanding the new grading structures that have come into effect. These structures are designed to provide a measure not only of attainment, but also of progress of both the students, and the school. This is a transitional year for grading with further changes being introduced next year. As you can imagine this has a huge impact on the school, students and their parents. Part of our role as governors is to ensure that we too understand these structures to make sure decisions made by the school are correct and are in the best interests of the students.

This next half term in the run up to Christmas will be as busy and challenging as the last for the governing body, staff and students alike. We will be meeting regularly as a team during the coming months and will also hopefully continue to meet with all members of the school community to get valuable feedback that helps us do the best we can for the future of the school.

Chris Phillips
Governor, Calthorpe Park School

8 February 2017

Calthorpe_JimStephenson-1 WebResHello, my name is Jonathan Phillips, I am Chair of Governing Body at CPS and I work with my fellow governors helping and supporting the vision and direction of CPS. We are a group of 16 people who come from a wide spectrum of backgrounds, covering business, professional practices, education and other government sectors. We are all volunteers and give our time freely. But above all, we are passionate about delivering the best quality education to our students.

We meet formally about 10 times each year to consider the key strategic issues of the school and make important decisions impacting on its future. We each visit school on a regular basis too. Our key focus is on ensuring every individual student gets the best education that CPS can provide and therefore ensure each can maximise their own potential.

Calthorpe_JimStephenson-26 WebResAs many of you will know, education is a regular topic in politics and sometimes can feel the victim of a political football played out in Westminster. As a consequence the Governors, the Head Teachers and all the staff are regularly faced with a changing educational landscape. Many of you will be seeing the changes in GCSE grading and standards and are probably trying to get your head around what all this means for your own children.  It can be a real challenge.

Our role as the Governing Body is primarily around three key areas, these are:

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

One of our ambitions this academic year is to reach out more often to parents, who make a valuable contribution to the success of the school. This is the first of a number of ‘blogs’, plus we would like to canvass your opinion on a few things so please look out for this over the coming months.

Calthorpe_JimStephenson-39 WebRes     Calthorpe_JimStephenson-28 WebRes

We will communicate on a number of important issues facing the school, such as possible Academy status, the future of the Sports Centre on the site, growth in student numbers as we start to fill the great new spaces we have following the extension, and many more.

We are also very happy to receive any feedback you may have that you feel the governing body members should hear, but please not individual child issues as these are the responsibility of the school management – please feel free to reply to the email address below or drop a note into reception – addressed to the Governing Body.

Many thanks,

Jonathan Phillips
Chair of Governors