** Notes for Parents **

We hold meetings of the full governing body (‘FGB’) every half term – so Tuesday 14th March 2017 saw us gathering for the second time in Spring Term.
The agenda tends to revolve around certain staples: an update from the Headteacher on progress against the School Development Plan; reports from the various committees (where much of the detailed work is done) often with challenging Q&A; and approving the myriad policies that we are required to keep current in order to comply with our statutory responsibilities.

Meeting content
Topics we covered at the meeting included:
·Rolling out the new Mission statement, now visible all round the school, to ensure that the children have a good understanding of what it contains and what it means for them.
·Feedback from the new system of meetings between governors and each Assistant Head Teacher, to see how the School Development Plan is being implemented in each phase of the school, in areas such as the school-wide focus on writing, behaviour and reading (guided and individual).
·Discussing the launch next term of the new ‘Own Work Policy’ including how best to involve parents constructively in this activity.
·Acknowledgement of the hard work of Helena Vokos and her team to retain the school’s Green Flag status.
·Safeguarding: confirming that Dundonald has established and maintains a culture which enables children to come forward with any concerns, a core component of good Safeguarding practice.
·Finances, where there was an understandable appetite to understand the exact impact of the national funding changes and how the school can act to offset any shortfall through increasing revenue opportunities (e.g. hiring out the school’s buildings at weekends/evenings).

Stakeholder Surveys
We are extremely keen to understand how the school serves its various stakeholders, so we regularly survey staff, pupils and particular groups such as the parents of children with Special Education Needs (“SEN”).

Staff Survey Commentary
The results of the recent independently commissioned staff survey show that the majority of staff emotions relative to the school are positive; 100% agreed that the school strives for excellence. 89% of staff would recommend the school to colleagues and there are improved perceptions on training, empowerment, school leadership and motivation. The most unifying motivational factor for staff is seeing children’s progress.

However, changes in curriculum and ensuing unrealistic expectations were identified by staff as the biggest obstacles to optimum performance. Teacher well-being continues to be a key objective of the school's senior leadership team and the main issues identified are being actively addressed and have been included in the School Development Plan.

SEN Parent Survey
Responses received to a questionnaire sent out to parents of SEN pupils were very positive, with 100% satisfaction levels in some key areas (such as support received from the school and progress) and also some useful suggestions (e.g. such as to advice for parents) that can inform future practice.

The FGB would like to make particular acknowledgement of the work of Mrs Waters in managing the significant workload that comes with acting as the school’s SEN co-ordinator.

Pupil Survey Commentary
The Teaching and Learning Committee had considered in detail the results of the pupil survey, which was conducted in autumn term. Highlights included the consistently high scores for pupils' general wellbeing, and their positive emotions in relation to the school. Answers also provided evidence that the Growth Mindset message has been absorbed by pupils. One concern from the survey was as to pupils' experience of the playground at lunchtime; steps have been taken to address this with, for example, the recruitment of an additional lunchtime play leader, and the setting up of a lunchtime construction club.

Future topics
Next month, we have decided to clear the usual agenda items and focus on long term strategy and finance. The backdrop to this includes:
·the continuing challenges to do more with less as the government applies the new National Funding Formula, which is likely to see a modest reduction in our funding;
·the FGB’s continuing ambition to remain an outstanding school which provides a broad ‘whole child’ education; and
·the demands of school life for staff vs expectations for parents/carers.

We will report back after that meeting in the first half of the summer term and will doubtless be canvassing your views, which we are always happy to receive via the website.

Roderick Cameron
Chair of Governors