- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
- Holding executive leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils and the performance management of staff.
- Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
Governance Newsletter - March 2022
Governance Newsletter - December 2021
Governance Newsletter - July 2021
Mr Mark Lees
Chair of Governors (Community Governor)
Term of Office – 10/07/2020 – 09/07/2024
Monitoring Responsibility - Teaching and Learning
Mark Lees has just completed an interim post as the CEO of Falmouth Multi-Academy Trust having previously spent 41 years as a teacher and leader in a wide variety of primary schools and a MAT CEO on two occasions. Mark is passionate about the development of an exciting curriculum for primary age children set within a stimulating and creative learning environment.
Mark has been headteacher of several primary schools in Cornwall including Trenance Infants, Alverton Primary, Threemilestone School in Truro and was the Executive Principal of the five primary schools that made up St Pirans Cross CE MAT. He is proud of the standards achieved and provision in all of these schools. His leadership abilities were recognised in 2008 when he was awarded the NCSL Headteacher of the Year in a south west primary school.
Mark has also had the opportunity to work for Cornwall County Council as a Primary Adviser on two occasions, leading on the EYFS, primary leadership, governance and remodelling the workforce.
More recently, Mark spent 1 year as the acting Director for Schools for the Diocese of Truro. Mark has had a wide experience of supporting primary schools with school improvement as a SIP and adviser. He is also a trained and registered school inspector.
He is proud of have been asked to become the Chair of the Interim Advisory Board at Mabe Primary and looks forward to working with everyone.
Vice Chair (Community Governor)
Term of Office – 01/09/2019 – 31/08/2023
Monitoring Responsibility - Stakeholders, SEN and Disadvantaged Groups
Ruth has been actively involved with Mabe School as a parent since 2012. Ruth started teaching in 1992, and worked in Primary education and special needs for 20 years. During her time as a teacher, she trained as a Nurture Group teacher and also completed several autism specific training courses, such as TEACCH and PECS.
When her own children started school, Ruth left teaching and worked as a specialist workplace coach, providing strategy coaching for adults with neuro-diversity. Ruth is especially interested in approaches that support all pupils to access the curriculum and have a positive experience of learning.
Ruth is a volunteer English teacher with Falmouth and Penryn welcome refugees and has recently trained as a facilitator in Restorative Practice with children and young people.
Term of Office – 15/07/2020 – 14/07/2024
Monitoring Responsibility - Safeguarding
Sophie is a GP and has worked at Three Spires Practice in Truro for 5 years. Sophie is the Safeguarding lead Doctor for the practice and liases with a variety of professionals to protect the safety and promote the welfare of adults and children. As a partner, Sophie has responsibilities within the administrative and business sides of the practice and is also involved in the teaching and training of medical students and junior Doctors.
Sophie lives in Penryn and is a mother of three children, two of whom attend Mabe school/nursery. Sophie is passionate about education and the emotional wellbeing and physical health of children. Her husband is in the Royal Navy, meaning she understands the pressures that service life can place on children and families.
Term of Office – From 01/01/2020
Ex-Officio by virtue of position as Headteacher.
After completing her BA Hons degree in ART / Design and Media in London in 1995 Jules was first employed in London for a large television company, she then returned to Cornwall to work in events and marketing and then diversified and qualified in accounts for a large haulage company.
Jules completed her PGCE and returned to London to start her teaching career in Hackney in the year 2000. She then moved back to Cornwall again to be with her husband. Jules has had many roles within the primary sector of education, holding a variety of subject responsibilities; with Maths, Art/ DT, Music and Outdoor Education being her particular favourites.
She progressed quickly to Key stage leader and then onto Assistant Headteacher in a Newquay School (which was then the largest primary in Cornwall). Jules is a Dfe senior leader for education in Maths and disadvantaged and has supported schools across Cornwall in these areas. In 2019 she became Head of School of Foxhole Primary and then in January of 2020 joined Mabe as the substantive headteacher.
Jules is married with two teenage daughters and enjoys the outdoor life, loving the countryside walks, wild swimming and having fun with the families horses, dogs and cats. She is passionate about all things Eco and the importance of educating all.
Term of Office – 03/02/2019 – 02/02/2023
Julia is in her 24th year of teaching in primary schools across Cornwall and Devon. She has been employed as a Key Stage 1 teacher at Mabe School since September, 2016. During her career, she has taught a range of mixed and single aged classes within both small and larger schools. As Maths lead, Julia has been instrumental in introducing the mastery approach across the school. She has held Number Days to raise awareness of the subject amongst parents and celebrate its importance with the children. Julia is also KS1 lead, History lead and Geography lead.
On a personal level, Julia is currently mum to a child at the school, so can essentially have empathy and understanding from the point of view of both teacher and parent. She is a passionate runner and likes to instil a love for being active amongst all of the children. Under Julia's guidance, the school achieved the SUSTRANS Bronze Active Travel mark for its commitment to encouraging pupils to walk, bike or scoot to school. Mabe School is now trying to gain further accreditation through the Modeshift STARS scheme.
Mr Scott Wilson
Term of Office - 26/03/2021 - 25/03/2025
Monitoring Responsibility - Curriculum
Scott is an experienced Governor that has served as a Parent, LA, Co-Opted and Foundation Governor over the last 11 years. He is currently the Chair of Governors at St Francis CoE Primary School and is passionate about the importance and need of Local Governance within a MAT structure. This has been instrumental in driving forward Governance at St Francis and in turn, their Governance has been highlighted as of a high standard in both internal School Improvement Reports, SIAMS Report and a recent External Governance Review. Scott is excited to be able to bring this experience to Mabe School.
In his private life, Scott is an Accountant with significant experience and skills in leadership and management. He has been in Private Practice in Budock since 1989 and is also a keen gardener.
Mr James Worthington
Term of office - 12/05/2021 - 11/05/2025
Monitoring Responsibility - Behaviour and Attitudes
James entered teaching in 2009 where he trained as a secondary mathematics teacher, in Hackney. Since then, he has taught secondary school mathematics across the UK. He settled with his wife in Cornwall, in 2015. He currently lives in Mabe. He now maintains a strong career at Brannel School, where he teaches mathematics and manages the careers and work experience programme of study, across the school.
James has two children; his son currently attends the nursery and will be joining the school in September 2021. He also has a two-year-old daughter who will be joining the nursery as soon as she is old enough to attend.
James is committed to making education the best experience, for the student, as possible as well as ensuring a safe environment for staff members to deliver valued lessons, as he feels the two are intrinsically linked. James wishes to use his experience in education to help Mabe school and the wider community.
Mabe School Governor Impact Statement - 2020/21
Our core responsibilities are:
1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
2. Holding the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school.
3. Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
To achieve these responsibilities, the IAB works with the school on planning and developing policies and keeping the school under review. Its powers and responsibilities our exercised in partnership with the headteacher and staff.
Context and rationale
The Interim Academy Board (IAB) was established in the spring of 2019 just before the inspection that judged the school to be inadequate. Ofsted concluded that the school has serious weaknesses and ordered reviews of governance and pupil premium. The IAB’s work during the current academic year has continued to focus on strengthening governance as a process to ensure that leaders are effectively addressing the weaknesses identified by Ofsted.
At the end of the 2019/20 academic year, there were several changes to the IAB. From September 2020, a new chair was appointed and several new governors also joined the IAB. The number of governors has steadily grown over the last year and they offer a range of useful skills and areas of expertise to support the school. They are supported by a very experienced clerk.
In September 2020 and following the first part of an external governance review by Jackie Eason – National Leader of Governance (NLG) the IAB established the following priorities for the current year:
- Working with the Kernow Learning Trust Board, the IAB will support and challenge leaders to provide the absolute best educational experiences for the pupils who attend the school, ensuring that all statutory duties and responsibilities are met.
- Hold leaders to account for the standards achieved and the broad and balanced curriculum provided for all pupils in all subjects. Including the assessment and support for catch up following the enforced closure of the school.
- Continue to be part of the school improvement journey that returns the school to Ofsted ‘good’.
- Working with Trust leaders to ensure that the statutory responsibilities as laid out in ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education 2020 are met at Mabe Primary School and children who attend are kept safe and well.
- Working with school leaders to continue to raise the profile of the school within the community, working closely with all stakeholders in an open and transparent manner.
- Complete the External Governance Review and act upon the recommendations within the report. Strengthen the IAB documentation and reporting processes.
- Complete the governance skills audit and review the gaps in skills and consider how best to add these to the LAB.
- Placing training and development of the IAB at the heart of this development work to ensure the board’s skills set working in support of the school is as extensive as possible.
The chair of the IAB ensured that these priorities were placed into a governance development plan that has steered the work of governors during the current academic year.
There have been six formal meetings this year and these have fed into the Kernow learning governance structure. There has also been monitoring in key areas to support the school’s development plan. Governors have been mindful of the pandemic and the added pressures this has placed on the school community whilst providing appropriate support and challenge where necessary.
In July 2021, Jackie Eason NLG returned to complete the second stage of the governance review and the report concluded that:
Governors have taken the appropriate actions to provide governance that is supportive and effective at improving standards at Mabe school. The governance was found to be effective at the start of this academic year, but the completion of the actions identified in the board’s Governance Development Plan has further strengthened the challenge and support provided.
The Chair and Clerk have provided the strategic leadership required to build an effective team.
The main recommendation of this review is that, following this period of development, growth and regeneration, governors should now take time settle into their roles, consolidate as a team, continue to build relationships with stakeholders and enjoy the role of providing strategic governance.
Further developmental steps were identified that will form the basis of the development plan for 2021/22.
Developing the governors
- Agree an approach to blending remote/face to face meetings, which will allow the benefits of both systems to remain, i.e., the high attendance of remote meetings blended with building relationships face to face.
- Ensure that governors are aware of where to access training, also ensure that there is a broad choice of training to access. For example, the Local Authority provide aspirant chairs training, and the NGA have Learning Link which offers a multitude of online training courses.
- A training schedule agreed at the start of the year could increase the uptake of training even further.
- Identify an aspirant chair, ideally local to the school, and provide them with chair’s training.
Understanding of roles and responsibilities
- Ensure that monitoring reports use a consistent template.
- Governors will understand their individual areas even further if they are in contact with other governors from across the Trust with the same link areas. The Trust is in the process of setting up these communities and governors should engage with these when they are established, or they could take the initiative and reach out to other peer link governors before then.
- Enable governors to view the Heads reports for a day prior to the ‘pre-meeting challenge questions meet’. This will allow governors to develop more independence in identifying questions, so that eventually they will do so without the pre-meet.
- Governors would benefit from additional support on their monitoring visits by receiving some guidance on which questions to ask. These could be provided in the form of 3 pre-populated monitoring form templates or by sharing a general list of questions that governors are recommended to ask.
Vision and values and stakeholder engagement
- Governors to set time aside at the start of the year to discuss the school’s and Trust’s vision and values, identify and agree alignment and differences, and ensure that they are embedded across all stakeholder groups and policies.
- Governors to come in to visit the school, and engage face to face with pupils, parents and staff as soon as risk assessments allow this to happen.
Strengths of the IAB:
- The external governance review of the Trust and IAB, both part 1 and 2, has provided a positive picture of the governance of Mabe Primary School.
- The chair of the IAB is a very experienced and long serving educationist with wide experience of governance in different contexts. The IAB also appointed a vice chair of governors.
- The IAB is supported by a hardworking and talented clerk who ensures that documentation is of a high quality, readily available and filed appropriately.
- The number of governors has steadily grown during the current academic year and the IAB is now at capacity with a good mix of skills and expertise, including a retired headteacher, GP, two teachers, accountant and experienced chair of governors and an IT manager. All governors have or are completing the Trust’ induction programme.
- Governors’ commitment to training is evident and a training record has been developed.
- Responsibilities have been shared out according to experience and skills set and includes safeguarding, standards/curriculum/ remote learning/wellbeing and SEND/pupil premium pupils.
- An annual monitoring plan as been developed with monitoring activities planned for each half term. This plan has been affected by the pandemic, school closures and an inability to physically visit the school. The quality of our plan has been recognised by the Trust who have shared this with other Trust schools.
- Governors undertaking monitoring activities have written detailed and comprehensive reports to the IAB.
- IAB meetings take place every half term which means that six will have occurred by July 2021. Governors recognise that receiving the headteacher’s report is an important part of these meetings and the support and challenge offered. As a result, governors agreed to attend a pre-meeting each term to review the Headteacher report and decide on the key questions to be asked. These are provided to the Headteacher prior to the meeting.
- The pupil premium review was completed in June 2021 and the work of the IAB in these areas was commended.
- A governance review took place in September 2020 and with a largely positive outcome. Especially at Trust level. It recognised the IAB was new and needed time to settle into the role. As a result, the second part of the review takes place in July 2021 and will focus on the work of the IAB.
- The school has experienced three OFSTED monitoring visits during the current academic year. Two were held remotely and one was an onsite visit. Governors met with inspectors during each of these visits and the positive work of the IAB was recognised.
- There is evidence in minutes that the IAB holds school and trust leaders to account for the performance of the school.
- We have continued to provide feedback to the Trust board and value the support of the Trust’s senior team during our IAB meetings.
Areas for development:
- During the summer term 2021 the IAB will agree on a set of role descriptors for governors’ responsibilities. We have agreed that these will be:
o Standards and curriculum.
o Inclusion – SEND and disadvantage.
o Wellbeing including behaviour and attitudes.
o Remote learning, e-safety and computing
We will need to agree who undertakes each responsibility and embed this work into our termly monitoring plans.
- Hopefully, the IAB will have more opportunities to visit the school in person and get to know staff and pupils during the academic year 2021/22. In addition, the IAB will write termly governor newsletters for the parents and local community.
- Being part of the second part of the external review of governance in July 2021 and ensuring this feedback and that from the recent OFSTED monitoring inspections feed into the revised governance development plan for 2021/22.
- Continue to be part of the school improvement journey that returns the school to Ofsted ‘good’. Challenge the school and Trust leaders where we think that they need to look again or have a clearer focus.
- The IAB will continue to engage thoroughly in a self-review process to be clearer about its own effectiveness and impact.
Mark Lees,Chair of Mabe School’s Interim Advisory Board
Aaron Nihat - 17/11/2020 - 16/11/2024