A Reflection on the work of the Governors 2021-2022

Once again it is time to review the work of the Governing Body.

After the last few years of Covid and all its issues it does feel as though we are getting back to something more familiar. It is so nice to be able to come into school and talk to staff and young people without masks.

Last September seems a long time ago now but that was when we had our Governor development day. This has become a regular item in the Governors’ calendar and is a really important day. We have time to discuss with Sonia and to set the strategic direction of the school. This day is invaluable in enabling us to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction. The day also gives us the opportunity to plan our work for the year so everyone knows what they need to do and when.

During Covid we had our meetings virtually but I am glad to say that we are now back to face to face meetings at least some of the time. There are lots of advantages to virtual meetings but it is also nice to meet in person and even have time for a cup of coffee.

The reports we receive from staff help us enormously in understanding where each area of the curriculum is, how the staff see it developing and how the students have achieved. I appreciate this is an added job and would like to thank the staff for the reports. This really does help us to understand the school, its strengths and areas for development, without which we would be unable to fulfil our main role of setting the strategic direction. It is also good to hear from staff who are not on the leadership team.

One of our main responsibilities is to ensure financial probity and that money is used most effectively to meet students’ needs. With rising costs, especially fuel costs this is especially important at the moment. We work with Sonia to ensure that money is spent wisely on the things that make the most difference to the young people.

Our third main priority is to hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the students. We do this via a number of methods: visits, reports, looking at data and meeting students. We look at all round performance: academic, social, creative, behaviour and also student destinations once they leave Osborne. One of the ways we see how students are achieving is by coming to performances, which are always very enjoyable.

On behalf of the Governing Body, I would like to thank the staff for their amazing efforts to support parents and young people during the last year. The Senior Leadership Team have worked hard to support parents, students and also staff.

It is sometimes difficult to see the impact of the Governors but we do look at this at each meeting to ensure that the work we do is valid and has some impact. As Chair I try to communicate with parents and staff occasionally so we are not completely unknown. We do have a page on the website so if you would like to know more about who we are and what we do please look on there or contact the school.

The Governors are a group of volunteers who come from different backgrounds and bring their various skills and knowledge together in order to challenge and support the school. The Governors work alongside Sonia to keep expectations high whilst supporting staff to support students.

There are two parent governor vacancies and you will be hearing more about this in September but please do consider becoming a Governor, it is very worthwhile.

I would like to say an especially big thank you to Alex McWhirter, who has been a Governor at Osborne for a number of years but is stepping down this summer. I cannot rate highly enough the contribution Alex has made to the Governing body. Alex is entirely focused on the school meeting the needs of the young people. He brings amazing clarity to any issue and helps us all to focus on the key points. Thank you, Alex.

It is also my time to say goodbye as I am stepping down too. I have enjoyed my time being Chair of Governors and my association with Osborne School. I am sure it will continue to grow and develop.

Chris Gayler, Chair of Governors.

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