Governors regularly come into the school to meet with children and staff, observe how the school runs and ask questions that will help them understand where improvements are needed and where good work is taking place. This can lead to new developments such as those described in the case studies below.
Case Study 1:
In her capacity as Link Governor for bi-lingual children, Dr Vicky Lewis met during 2013 with a number of children - across all years - who speak languages other than English at home. The children were generally extremely happy with the warm welcome and level of support they were given by the school. However, when asked what would make things even better, they said it would be helpful to have a dedicated teacher when they first start: someone who could work with them to improve their English language skills so that they can properly access the learning in their regular class. As a result of this feedback, the role of New Entrant Teacher was created with effect from January 2014. The New Entrant Teacher works with children who arrive at the school after the main school year has started, many of whom do not speak English at home. Intensive language and other support is given to the child - working with parents - to ensure that they can integrate with their main class group as quickly as possible. Feedback from the children, their parents and class teachers has been very positive. This is one example of how Governor monitoring of the school can bring about positive change - and it's great to think that this suggestion came from the pupils themselves.
Case Study 2:
Prior to Sept 2015 there was an increasing problem of managing some children’s extreme behaviour as it occurred on a daily basis. Across the school from Y1 to Y6 there were up to 12 children whose behaviour was extremely disruptive, difficult to manage and whose actions impacted negatively on other children and their learning, the staff who taught them and the time of senior leaders who were frequently called to intervene. The Ht worked closely with the Governing Body to find a solution so that all children could learn, thrive and develop in a safe environment.
It was necessary therefore to look at innovative solutions driven by the school.
As a result of the situation the school strategic leadership team determined to arrive at a solution which upheld the schools values of respect, integrity and support and which had a clear moral purpose and a belief in children. Based on ideas from research, knowledge of the school’s strengths and weaknesses, and the talents and expertise of the school staff, LEAPs was born! This would be a designated resource managed and financed by the school to enable those high risk children to continue their education without interruption, feel part of the school community and be respected by others.
A substantial amount of time was given to the planning and preparation to make this a success and the provision a reality. LEAPs opened in September 2015.
In summary whilst the setting up and establishing of the LEAPs resource as an integral part of the school for children with extreme behaviour was innovative and exciting. There were, nevertheless, considerable risks attached to this. There were no models to follow. The design, commitment and belief in its success were pivotal along with the incredible hard work of all involved.
Overtime LEAPs has shown both in hard data – comparative results – and in qualitative data – the self-reports from those involved – that LEAPs is a real success and has made a considerable difference to the future lives of LEAPs children and their families. As well as the children who are being educated in all of our classes.
Not only is LEAPs cost effective, it adds value and enhances every child’s life chances. It is a success story of which we are truly proud.
Case Study 3 :
After the establishment of the LEAPs provision, Malmesbury Park was left without a space for a permanent library. The idea to obtain a bus and convert it into a library was initially raised by our chair of governors, who spotted an article in a newspaper about a school who had done just that. He brought this idea firstly to the headteacher, and then to the governing body, and everybody enthusiastically agreed it would be an exciting and well needed addition to Malmesbury Park.
While the Friends of Malmesbury Park Primary School (FoMPPs) raised money through cake sales, car boots and events, the governors began to look into the logistics of a project of this size, ensuring that safety, security and accessibility were all considered from the very beginning.
This required journeys all over the country to view other library buses, meeting with contractors who might be able to supply a fully fitted, bespoke bus, and carefully considering the positioning, layout and surroundings for the bus. Governors also played a key part in the school’s successful application for a number of grants towards the bus, compiling evidence and helping to write and enhance the submitted bids.
Both the interior and exterior of the bus were designed by a governor, with input from both the staff and children of Malmesbury Park to make sure that the bus would drive forward our children’s love of reading. Even while the bus was being built, governors continued to assist with the necessary behind the scenes (and under the ground) works, to ensure that they were taking place as intended and that the bus will be a lasting fixture at Malmesbury Park.
We are eagerly awaiting the arrival of our very own library bus and hope that the children will enjoy and benefit from it for years to come.