We tested an unusual format this week at our half-termly Governors meeting.  As we have been through a period of reconstituting and reorganising the Governing Body to best meet the school’s changing needs, we are focussing on improving the pipeline of potential new governors. On Tuesday, we were joined (for the first half of our meeting) by half a dozen highly skilled, passionate and curious potential candidates as part of a renewed succession and induction process.

One key skill that we need to replace is George Stokes who has stepped down after over 6 years of service as a school governor. George has taken the lead in overseeing the School’s management of safeguarding issues and has established the school’s reputation as setting best practice in this area. It’s not a glamorous role or one that we discuss much – but it is a key part of delivering our responsibility to the children entrusted to the school’s care. We thank George for all of his hard work and quietly excellent contribution.

In the first half of our meeting we reviewed progress in implementing the School Development Plan (‘SDP’) – and as ever, there has been a lot going on.

·Surveys have been conducted of both pupils and staff to inform the continuing development of the SDP;
·The new Vision and Mission statements have been finalised and are about to be rolled out to the school community;
·Work continues on reinforcing and integrating the ‘thinking school’ and ‘growth mindset’ work across the whole curriculum.

The key committees reported back:
·Personnel committee had been appraised of the changes in the school’s staff complement and the increasingly important role of the Teaching and Learning Assistants. The Pay sub-committee had spent time reviewing the assessment of pay awards to fulfil our duty of ensuring the school’s finances are properly managed.
·Finance continued its review of the school’s financial position. We remain in a position of marginal (as in, ‘tiny’) surplus – every penny is watched and carefully spent.
·Teaching & Learning had spent time in deep review of the academic attainment and performance data with Head and Deputy Headteacher. Using that data, the school is able to adjust resources and create specific strategies to ensure every child’s needs are addressed.
·Premises continues to mop up the practical problems left behind by the Council-run building project over the summer. The snagging list runs to over 200 items. Eventually that list will be cleared down. In addition, the school will submit bids for funding to refurbish two of the unmodernised classrooms next year.
In the second half of the meeting, we dealt with the adoption of a number of policies, as required legally. Much of the legwork on these policies is done in the various committees – and it is hard, painstaking work. At the Full Governors’ meeting, we get a chance to debate some of the bigger issues that arise from the policies – all of which can be found on the school website and are commended to you.

Key policies discussed included:
·Behaviour – as we integrate the Rights Respecting School approach into all of the school’s activities, we will see a move from ‘Golden Rules’ and ‘manners’ to using Rights Respecting based language. Importantly, the children are understanding this language well and adopting the concepts.
·Anti-Bullying – we discussed what ‘bullying’ means and what the school does about it. Reported incidents of bullying are low – though responses from the parent survey indicate a higher level of incidence. This week was ‘Anti Bullying week’, during which this topic has been discussed throughout the school.
·Others discussed include Pay, Child Protection and Safeguarding, and Early Years.
As part of our review of data, we discussed how few eligible Dundonald parents complete the paperwork that allows the school to access extra funding to support their children’s specific requirements. We have asked the school to look at ways to highlight the availability of Pupil Premium funding and ways of making it easier for eligible parents to apply.

It would be remiss not to highlight the fantastic achievement of appearing in the Sunday Times Top Primary Schools survey. (56th= in England). That is a tremendous accolade and recognition of years of hard work by the school’s teaching staff and leadership. However, as a word of caution, the kind of ‘snapshot’ data of a single age group that creates these kind of surveys doesn’t reflect the phenomenal job done by the teaching staff providing a ‘whole child’ education at all age groups – regardless of whether that happens to be the chosen measurement of the month. It is also difficult to repeat year in, year out when the data sample size is so small, so a pinch of salt is required, please!

Lastly, do join me and all your Governors in raising a glass of Christmas cheer to all of the teachers and staff at Dundonald. We wish a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to everyone in the Dundonald community.

Roderick Cameron
Chair of Governors