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Gravel Close, Salisbury
Wiltshire SP5 3LZ

tel: 01725 510 556

email Andrea Ware at: admin@downton-pri.wilts.sch.uk

Alison Small

Downton CofE VA Primary School

"Valuing Faith in Children and Education"

Governor Blog

March 2017 Blog

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Last week the Governoring Body met for the 4th of the 6 scheduled meetings that we have each academic year which means we are now well past the half way point of the school year.

As you will have seen the school build is well under way. The Governors are all very excited and looking forward to opening our improved facilities later this year. Hopefully you will have seen the emails from Mrs Small with regular updates on the progress. The school website has even more information including a regularly updated photo diary.

As well as the main building works the Governors through the Premises Committee have been working on other initiatives to improve the school environment. 8 new fire doors were installed last summer and now 3 more have recently been replaced. The committee has also reviewed the School Health and Safety Policy and presented an annual report to the Governing Body on Health & Safety.

The Teaching & Learning Committee has been busy reviewing the recently published RAISE ONLINE performance data and meets regularly with the Headteacher to review progress against the School Development Plan. The Staffing and Finance committee continues to monitor how the school budget is being spent and to ensure that the money is being targeted appropriately to ensure that resources are directed in the best way to meet the unique requirements of all children. As well as providing money to support the provision of Teachers and Teaching Assistants we have also been able to refresh the Wifi infrastructure across the entire school to improve the performance of the IT equipment which is such an important teaching resource for children today. Finally the Admissions Committee is reviewing the applications received for school places from September this year and working to ensure that all places are allocated in line with our School Admissions Policy.

As Governors we always concern ourselves with anything that has the potential to impact the children of the school. At last week’s meeting we discussed what we can do to update the school’s travel plan. We also discussed our concerns with some drivers travelling too fast down the Borough at school drop off and pick up, congestion around the Zebra crossing and plans for a new Puffin Crossing on the A338 at Wick Lane. Parents driving down and parking on Gravel Close at school start/finish times remains a problem however we believe this is down to a small but persistent group of parents. We thank all other parents that do put the safety of children first and adhere to the school policy by keeping their cars well clear of Gravel Close. We are talking to the Parish Council, Local Police and Wiltshire Council about what else can be done around this area.

In terms of changes to the Governing body we were recently sad to say goodbye to Andy Townsend, Stuart Fielder, Richard Austin & Geoff Cooper who have left us. We would like to thank all of them for their valuable contributions to the Governing Body. At the same time a very warm welcome to Helen Beddoes who has just joined us as a new Parent Governor.

We still have a number of vacancies for Governors though and so if interested or would just like to find out more about what we do then don’t hesitate to get in touch with me via the school office.

Jonathan Freer

Chair of Governors

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News from the Governors

year3 on: Governor Blog

A new school year and a new blog…..

With the end of the first term almost upon us and a fresh new mobile friendly website launched, the Governors of Downton Primary C of E School thought it would be a good idea to take a fresh ‘blog’ approach to how we highlight some of the work that goes on behind the scenes, as well as giving you an update on the school’s leading issues. 

For new parents and carers to the school who are wondering what the Governors of a school do here is a brief description.  We are a group of volunteers from a variety of backgrounds who come together as a Governing Body with responsibility for raising school standards through three core strategic functions of:

a. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;

b. Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils; and

c. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.

We have four main committees – Teaching & Learning; Staffing & Finance; Premises, Health & Safety and Admissions. 

At the start of October we had our first meeting of the new school year where we agreed the roles that each Governor will have this year within the various committees and the school subject leaders that each of us will work closely with. 

Shortly every parent and carer will receive a copy of the updated School Strategic Plan for 2016-2020. This plan has been developed in conjunction with the head teacher over the last few months and communicates our vision, ethos and long term direction for the school so that we are all clear on where we are going and what we are trying to achieve. The governing body will monitor progress against this strategy through the meetings of the various committees and main governing body.

Later in the year we also hope to see the start of the building works for our school extension. It has taken a lot of hard work and at times it has been difficult to progress but we are almost at the point where we can start to look forward to the benefits that the extension to the hall and two new additional classrooms will provide the children. We will of course keep you informed through the various school communication channels of how the building work will impact the school during this period.

With our own new build and other developments in the village we feel that this is a good time to revisit our School Travel Plan. The aim of a school travel plan is to reduce unnecessary car journeys to and from school sites by promoting sustainable transport. It also aims to improve safety on the school journey, cut congestion and ensure safety around the school gate, improve health and fitness through increased exercise, improve the environment and build closer links with the local community. The last School Travel Plan was developed around 10 years ago and with the construction of the new houses underway off Wick Lane, it would seem appropriate to revisit this now.

Finally there are vacancies for two Foundation Governors at the moment and we also anticipate there being some Parent Governor vacancies later in the year.  If having read this you would like more details of what it entails then please do not hesitate to contact me either in person or via the school office.

Jonathan Freer

Chair of Governors

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