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St. James' CE Primary School

Our School Governors

A letter to Parents, posted at beginning of Autumn Term 2 2017, follows here and is also listed as an attachment to download at the bottom of this page. Other details regarding the Governor committees follow this letter.

Dear Parents and Carers,

This is a briefer letter than usual because all the main committees will be meeting during the next few weeks.  We’ll give a summary of all the main decisions that the governors make in the next letter.

Basically the governors have to make sure that the children are safe and reaching their full potential; they have to see that the school has a full complement of well qualified staff; they are responsible for the fabric of the building and they have financial oversight to ensure that the multi-million pound budget is administered correctly.

We have, until recently, been very fortunate in recruiting graduates via the School Direct scheme.  The government pulled the plug on the funding and we have are no longer a training school.  This has made recruitment of teachers more difficult, but we are pleased to announce that we a full complement of first rate staff.  The lively, go-ahead ethos of the school continues to attract good teachers.

Parents will have noticed changes in the early years classrooms.  The atmosphere seems quieter, more purposeful; the children are calmer; the learning environment has a predominance of natural materials; there is great emphasis on learning through art and craft.  All this is due to a well-proven teaching philosophy known as Reggio Emilia, after the area in Italy where it was pioneered.  Mrs Willis and several of the staff spent a week in Italy last term visiting schools who had adopted these principles.  The staff and governors are fully behind this change because it fits so well with the with our existing practices.  For those would like to read further, see the Wiki article on the Reggio Emilia approach.

We are celebrating the excellent SATs  results – a tribute to the hardworking staff and children. But there are other equally important lessons our children learn and how to behave in public is one such.  This lovely email was received from a member of the public:

 I just wanted to make a positive comment about a group of children from your school and their teacher who got onto a Jubilee line tube I was travelling on last Friday (13 Oct).  I am pretty certain the teacher called the class '3 Norway'.  The way the teacher dealt with her class was really impressive.  She had her group of children completely under control (in the nicest possible way!) and the children were really well behaved and a credit to the school so I just thought I'd pass that on.

Each year the school is audited by Southwark.  They look in detail at how the school is managed, especially how the money is spent.  I am pleased to say we received a “very good” verdict.  They were especially impressed that the governing body has set up a small Steering Group to think and plan strategically for the future direction of the school.

The governors are relieved to see that the pressure they and others on the local authority has resulted in parking restrictions outside the school gates.  We are also working with the Mayor of London to see what can be done to improve the air quality at Old Jamaica Road.

At last we seem to have solved the underground water problem that had baffled experts for over a year.  The problem turned out to be a corroded pipe that was embedded in the concrete foundation under the hall.  The new floor in the hall and adjoining areas is very smart and practical.

The next major work is the roof at the OJR site.  For years we’ve had to patch and make do.  We hope that during the Christmas holiday a more permanent solution will be implemented.

Once again, can I thank parents and carers for their continued support and loyalty to the school.  The governors are truly fortunate in serving such a great school.

Best wishes on behalf of the governors

Jim Hutchinson
(Vice Chair Board of Governors)

What do Governors Do?

That was one of the questions a girl asked the governors when they visited the school recently.

A good question!

Ultimately we are responsible for overseeing all aspects of the school and making sure that the children receive the very best education while they are with us.

Much of the work of the governors is carried out in specialist committees.   These, in no special order, are as follows:

The Finance and Personnel Committee scrutinizes the multi-million pound budget; approves the teachers’ performance management and targets; reviews and agrees pay policy, staffing levels, etc.

The Curriculum Committee is concerned with all aspects of teaching and learning and takes a keen interest in the attainment and progress of all the children.  The committee receives regular reports from the various subject leaders and keeps abreast of what goes on in the classroom.

The Learning Environment Committee deals with all sorts of questions from the really big decisions about extensions to the building, to deciding how many toilets we need or what to do about the Hall floor.  An important function of this committee is to make sure that all Health and Safety checks and procedures are being observed.

The Admissions Committee has one of the knottiest problems to deal with – setting a fair and transparent admissions policy which meets local needs and satisfies the Department for Education regulations.

Underpinning all we do is the importance of upholding the Christian ethos of the school. The Faith Committee meets regularly and reviews and advises on this.

We have recently set up two new groups.  One monitors all the policies and regulations we are required to keep and another has been set the task of improving communications at all levels.