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Governors letter 21.03.16

Dear Parents
As governors, we would like to apologise for not updating you since the OFSTED report was published. We understand this has left a number of parents feeling frustrated, something you have made us aware of in a number of different ways. However, we would like to assure you that behind the scenes a significant amount of work has been undertaken.

We received our OFSTED report three weeks ago, it highlighted a number of areas where we need to improve as a school. Fundamentally we believe Old Stratford is a good school and said so at the inspection but over two days OFSTED felt they couldn’t find enough evidence to agree fully.

While this is disappointing we must address their findings and have been working closely with the school and the Local Education Authority to do this. Now, following a number of meetings and a Full Governors Board (FGB) last Tuesday, we feel it is important to write to you all explaining what will be done next.  

The report makes it clear that all of us - leaders, teachers and governors – have areas where we can improve and a responsibility to work together with parents to move the school forward. To begin this process we have formulated a School Development Plan that addresses these issues in full.

Our first priority as governors is therefore to support the delivery of the School Development Plan by the staff, as endorsed by OFSTED as a rapid path back to a “Good” OFSTED rating. It is important that we progress this straight away as we will receive an interim visit from OFSTED within six months to assess our improvements. On that basis we are taking the following steps:

  • Deliver School Development Plan: The Learning and Teaching Committee focuses on improving the quality of teaching in our school. Its responsibilities include training governors and most of the parent governors. This group has met to agree the first steps in implementing the School Development Plan and will meet more frequently to review progress. After each meeting there will be an update to parents.
  • Resource Investment: Some improvements identified in the OFSTED report focused on resources, particularly in EYFS and KS1. The Management and Resources Committee met last week to budget for these needs and will be looking to identify further funding in the coming term.
  • Governor Involvement: The governors will support the head and teaching staff by being more aware of developments and improvements. We are reviewing how we monitor subjects across the school and will make these changes in the summer term.
  • Improving Communications: The report highlighted improvements needed in communication, particularly by governors. As well as improving the website we will be in regular contact with parents to update on progress and involve parents in the improvement process. This letter is the start of this.
  • Governor Support: We can support the staff most effectively by giving them the opportunity to focus on what they do best – improving the quality of teaching of our children. To help them do this the governors, together with the head teacher, will take responsibility for addressing a number of parental concerns. We would like to thank those parents who have constructively shared their views regarding the changes in school routines. Following the recent Full Governing Body meeting, we agreed to assess a number of these more closely after Easter through a parent governor group working with the head teacher and feeding back to parents during the summer term

In addition to the above, the Local Education Authority Officer, Caroline Oliver, is assisting by linking the school and teaching staff with other local schools to share good practice. She also spent time with some in school on 9th March, helping to identify how to effectively deliver the development plan. The LEA supports our approach and believes if we work together on the agreed plan we can return to a “Good” rating quickly.

As governors we are fully committed to supporting the school in delivering the School Development Plan and ask parents for their continued backing during this process. If we all work together we are confident we can make the progress required quickly, enabling us to look beyond OFSTED to the school we aspire to be in both educational standards and wider personal development for our children.
We will communicate with parents further throughout the summer term, but right now, understandably, want to focus on supporting the school in meeting short term OFSTED expectations.

If you have any questions on the above approach or want to discuss individual matters relating to your own child’s education and development, please contact our head teacher, Sasha Lees. We wish everyone a Happy Easter and we will be in touch with an update on progress when we get back.

Kind regards
Old Stratford Governing Body