Welcome to the Governor’s pages of the Osborne School website.
Please browse our governor pages using the links below to find out more about who we are and what we do. We hope that you will find it both interesting and informative.
The Governing Body is made up of twelve people, who each have a unique role to play in the work we do. Some are parent governors, staff members or appointed by the local authority. We each appreciate the outstanding work that is being done throughout the school, by both pupils and staff, and feel privileged to be involved in such an amazing school.
We work well and efficiently as a team with an emphasis on openness and we abide by the same core values as the school: honesty, respect, responsibility, co-operation, peace and happiness.
A Reflection on the work of the Governors 2019-2020
At the end of this most unusual year it is time to review the work of the Governing Body.
Things changed for the whole world this Spring with the Coronavirus pandemic. What did not change was that Governors were still accountable for their statutory duties. What we had to do was find ways to meet those duties whilst the country was in lockdown.
We had a good start though with our usual whole day of training in September, led by Chris Slater from Hampshire Governor Services. We continued to develop our roles and looked at ways to carry out our statutory duties in order to support and challenge the school. We spent time with Sonia looking at the School Strategic Plan, refining it and prioritising areas for our monitoring. This day is invaluable in enabling us to ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction and also meant that plans were in place so all we had to do was adapt them to work safely.
We usually have six full governing body meetings per year, one on our whole day together and the other five in school. However, as this year has been exceptional, we have all learnt how to meet via Zoom (which for some of us has been a whole new revelation). Thank goodness for technology though, as it has enabled us to continue to “meet” safely. Much of our work takes place in school, meeting staff, students, visiting classes etc and this has obviously not been possible since March. However, we have continued to receive reports from staff and carried out some monitoring via email.
Governors have also been able to look at the website and learning hub so we have seen what teachers are making available to students, which has helped us to hold the Head teacher to account for progress. Governors have been impressed with the range of learning opportunities on the hub and would like to thank the staff for adapting to working in this way so quickly and efficiently.
Our third main responsibility is to ensure financial probity and that money is used most effectively to meet students’ needs. This is something that can be done remotely via email and through zoom meetings. Clearly budgets have had to be amended in the light of changing priorities. Who knew last year that we would need to buy hand sanitiser, face masks and PPE?
We have watched the development of Oskings with great pleasure, this really is an example of inclusion in the best sense of the word. Many thanks go to the staff and students at Kings for their inclusive philosophy and the work everyone has put in to make this initiative so successful.
This has not been an easy time for anyone. As parents and carers, you have had to change the way you live, with children not able to go to school, many parents not able to work and all alongside the worry that comes with such a virus. It has not been easy for staff either, who have come into teaching in order to work with children and young people face to face. I know many members of staff expressed their delight when they were able to get back into school with their students and see and work with them again.
On behalf of the Governing Body I would like to thank the staff for their amazing efforts to support parents and young people during this time. The range and variety of activities suggested on the learning hub has been impressive, as well as the opportunities for parents and students to engage with teachers via Zoom meetings.
The Senior Leadership Team have worked hard to support parents, students and also staff. I know Sonia has spent many hours on risk assessments ensuring that the school was complying with all “Covid safe” guidance. This has not been an easy task as the guidance has changed so frequently. Governors have been informed and involved at all stages, supporting and challenging where needed.
Governors have continued to access training, keeping our skills and knowledge up to date and two of us attended the Hampshire Governors’ Conference.
During the year we have said goodbye to one Governor: Cathy Taylor. Cathy has been a Governor at Osborne School for 13 years, since her son Alex was here all those years ago. Cathy has been an incredible Governor, bringing a wealth of knowledge regarding school environments, special needs and safeguarding and she will be missed enormously.
We have welcomed a new Governor: Charles Radcliffe (parent Governor), Charles has an amazing breadth of experience outside the world of education, which helps to bring balance to our Governing Body.
It is sometimes difficult to see the impact of the Governors. At the end of each meeting we do look at this and 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 me via school.
The Governors are a group of volunteers who bring their various skills together in order to challenge and support the school. Alongside Sonia we want to keep expectations high whilst supporting staff to support students. We are all hoping that September will bring some degree of normality back as schools need to be full of staff and students to really feel like school and operate effectively.
Looking forward to seeing you at a school event next academic year.
Chris Gayler, Chair of Governors.
A reflection on the work of the Governing Body in 2008-19
We had a very successful day last October, where the Governing Body spent a whole day together, with Sonia (Head Teacher). The day was partly led by Chris Slater, from Hampshire Governor Services who supported us in refining our roles. We looked at the School Strategic Plan, agreed priorities for the year and what would be monitored, how and by whom. This enabled us to meet the first of our main statutory responsibilities: To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
Throughout the year Governors have attended Full Governing Body meetings, meetings with Sonia and other staff members, visited classes, read reports, exchanged emails, looked at paperwork, including data and attended various events such as the Celebration assembly, Christmas performance, inset days, new parents’ coffee morning, sports day plus many more. This supports us in our duty to hold the Head Teacher to account for the progress of pupils and staff.
We are very lucky to have two Governors with huge financial knowledge who lead on the third responsibility of overseeing the financial performance of the school, though all Governors are involved in ensuring money is well spent. This is ever more important as the financial situation in schools becomes more difficult and we must continue to support the staff to meet the needs of our students by providing high quality staff, environment, buildings and equipment.
During the year we have said goodbye to some Governors: Steve, Caroline, Kelly and sadly we shall be saying good bye to Penny, who has not only been a Governor but also an outstanding Chair for some years.
We have welcomed new Governors: Brenda Ralston as staff Governor, Sandra Stanbrook, Norma Riddle and Melissa Doughty as co-opted Governors. All these Governors come with new knowledge and skills to enhance our board. We are currently seeking a new parent Governor. If you would like to know more about the role please do get in touch. It is very worthwhile.
The Governors have undertaken various training throughout the year, including a regular safeguarding quiz to keep us up to date and we are taking part in the Leading Governance programme to further develop our skills.
It is sometimes difficult to see the impact of the Governors. At the end of each meeting we do look at this and here are some of the areas we would like to highlight.
We have set up an annual monitoring schedule so Governors and staff know what we will be monitoring, when, how and who will do it.
We have supported Sonia, especially with regard to the new development at Kings School and ensuring this is adequately funded. We have held her to account by questioning her, particularly with regard to progress data, safeguarding systems and training.
Some Governors were interviewed by Ofsted as part of the inspection process. We were delighted with the result of the inspection and were especially pleased that the innovative work the school does in mental wealth was noted. Governors are keen to support the development of this area of the schools’ work.
I have taken on board a comment by a parent that the Governors did not directly communicate with parents and have started to write a note to parents at the beginning of each term. We do have a page on the website so for more info. about who we are and what we do please look there but also feel free to contact any of the Governors if you would like further information.
We appreciate the hard work the staff put in on a daily basis to support the students to achieve and do their best. It is not always easy to show that appreciation but we hope the Easter Tea for staff does just that.
The Governors are a group of volunteers who bring their various skills together in order to challenge and support the school. Alongside Sonia we want to keep expectations high whilst supporting staff to support students. I am looking forward to another year working with a great group of Governors in a great school.
Chris Gayler, Chair of Governors.
A reflection on the work of the Governing Body in 2017-18
Once again it is time to review the achievements of the governing body over the past academic year.
We have welcomed three new governors and said goodbye to two, due to family commitments, so are now in the envious position of being one of a very few board of governors with a full membership. I feel it is a sign of a very successful and happy school that has bought this about. Our new governors bring a diverse range of skills and experience to the board which will fully support our main core strategic functions:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff; and
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
Continuing our professional development through training has also helped to equip the governors with the knowledge they need to carry out their roles effectively. In October of the coming academic year we will once again have a planning day which will include a tailor made training session from Hampshire Governor Services. We will be revisiting our individual roles and enhancing the challenge and support we offer to the school.
We now measure the impact of all our meetings; a recommendation by our fabulous clerk, Nelianne. Which makes it really easy for me to see exactly what the governors have achieved over the year. Here are some of them:
- Agreed to include Virtual Governance so governors who are away on business can still take an active part in discussions at meetings via SKYPE.
- Attend every school council meeting and report directly back to all governors. Pupil voice heard and respected.
- Looked at succession planning and linked this with training.
- Undergone a whole governing body self-evaluation which stimulated robust discussion and linked to a development plan for governors.
- Approved the budget which included rigorous scrutiny and questioning.
- Approved the use and purchase of My Concern, a safeguarding tool.
- Overseen the performance management of staff including the head teacher.
The website is full of the work and successes of pupils; taking part in Sports Day with the Army helping and other sports events; numerous performances by Rubik’s Cube; residential trips; school performances both at school and on the stage; dance festivals; National Awards for film and publications; extra-curricular events in after school clubs and the many curriculum theme days.
Writing this report has given me time to reflect on the achievements of the school, college and the whole Osborne family and to celebrate those achievements. I hope that you too can see the impact of the committed and professional team the governing body makes to the Osborne community.
I am proud to be a governor of a school that can boast so many achievements. It is the whole Osborne family that have made this possible; Friends of Osborne with their amazing fund raising events providing much needed funds to make ideas and dreams become a reality, enhancing the all-embracing education that Osborne delivers. The ‘Osborne Mums’ raising thousands of pounds for KIDS and gaining recognition of the Mayor of Winchester in his community awards. KIDS that provide such a valuable and professional service to our pupils during the term and through the holidays. Not forgetting the wonderful head teacher, leadership team, teaching and support staff who give the pupils the best experience of being at school, building their self-esteem and resilience and making their learning fun and meaningful. The site staff who keep the wonderful grounds looking at their best and maintaining the buildings to the exceptionally high standard.
My term of four years as the privileged position of chair of governors has come to an end, I will be handing over to the extremely capable hands of Chris Gayler who will lead us all to the well overdue recognition that Osborne is outstanding.
A reflection on the work of the Governing Body in 2016-17
I wanted to record the achievements of the governing body, to reflect on and to celebrate what has been a productive year, so have done so in this summary.
We have welcomed four new governors who have brought with them a range off exceptional skills and talents. Their impact has been measurable, making the governors at Osborne more than able to fulfil their strategic duties. Sadly, we have had to say goodbye to one of our long standing, committed and experienced governors; her place will be hard to fill. We have been joined by a new clerk, who through her logical working has added an ‘Action table’ to our minutes; created a user friendly governors page on the website and has worked well with all of us.
Back in November we had our strategic planning day where we looked hard at the vision for the school and for the new Osborne College; we set the strategic objectives for the next three years. It also gave us the time to build the open working relationship needed to work as a team.
To help us deliver our different roles effectively we have had training from Governor Services. As a result we have:
- Written standard questions for the school visit form.
- Developed a new ‘Focus Walk’ form, working alongside the schools learning walk form.
- A new school visit policy has been produced and shared with staff.
- The way we monitor the school improvement plan has been changed. We now allocate named governors, have an expected timescale and how we record the progress of objectives clearly identified on the school development plan.
- All governors now have lanyards to wear when in school attending events or meetings, this has helped to raise our presence.
Perhaps the most momentous change has been the development of Osborne College from a vision to a fully fledged college. It was clearly obvious at the leavers assembly that success stories have already happened. Setting young people up to succeed in their next steps. The appointment of a new head of college has been successful and with her talents will see the College grow and gain the reputation it deserves.
At the end of the Easter term we held a tea party for all the staff, beautifully coordinated and executed by governors, which was greatly appreciated by all. It was a poignant time, as one of our students had recently passed away. The thank you notes received mentioned how important it was for everyone to come together to support each other at this very sad time.
We would not be able to continue as a viable concern without the financial expertise of school staff who have managed the budget with skill and foresight. The knowledge of our finance governors about all things financial has shown, as a governing body, we challenge the expenditure and also shows what we value. The following quotation is taken from Governing Matters magazine July/August 2017. “Don’t tell me your values; show me your budget and I will tell you what you value.” Apparently these wise words came from Joe Biden.
It has been an inspirational year both strategically and organisationally. The governing body has a clear direction with refined robust systems in place to challenge and support Osborne School and College. We look forward to the year ahead.
If you would like to learn more about the work of the governing body or would like to become one, then please contact Penny Parkinson, the chair (see picture), at the email address below; we would love to hear from you.
When attending parent events at school, please look out for governors who will be delighted to meet you.
If you should want to contact us at any other time please feel free to do so through the this school email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.