Governing Board Annual Statement - September 2023
With members from across the local Enfield community and beyond, St Paul’s Governing Board is a broad group of individuals with varied backgrounds and skills who come together to support and drive the school’s continued development. The Governing Board regularly reviews its make-up and skills set to ensure it has the skills and diversity needed to meet its responsibilities to the school and its pupils.
In the Spring Term 2023, we said goodbye to Barry McNee, who has been a governor and, latterly, Associate Member of the Governing Board of St Paul’s school for many years. Barry’s commitment to St Paul’s and his contribution to life at the school during his time in office has been quite remarkable. We are grateful for his years of service and wish him well in his retirement.
At the end of the Summer Term, we also said goodbye to Paul Edwards, our former Vice Chair of Governors, whose term as Governor had come to an end. Paul has also made an invaluable contribution to the school, both as governor and as an active member of FOSPS and we will miss his wise advice. The governors thank Paul for all that he has done for the school and send him our good wishes for the future.
See the school website for details of membership of the governing body and main committees.
Role of Governing Board
A school’s governing body has three main responsibilities:
- To help set and maintain the ethos and strategic direction of the school;
- To hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils; and
- To ensure that the school uses its resources effectively and efficiently for the benefit of the pupils.
At St Paul’s, the full Governing Board meets in the autumn, spring and summer terms, to ensure that these responsibilities are fulfilled. The full Governing Board meetings are supplemented by regular meetings of a number of sub-committees, particularly the Resources and Curriculum committees. These committees look in greater depth at plans and proposals from the Executive Headteacher, Head of School and senior leadership team, as well as considering the levels of attainment and progress of the children in the school. The committees report to the full governing body.
In addition, some governors have special responsibility for specific aspects of school policy, for example on safeguarding, wellbeing and Pupil Voice.
The Governors are focussed on supporting the Executive Headteacher, Head of School and the staff in providing positive opportunities for every child, in an inclusive Christian environment.
Partnership with St Andrew’s CE Primary School
The 2022/23 academic year marked the first year of our formal partnership with St. Andrew’s Church of England Primary School in Enfield Town.
The governors are pleased that the partnership has delivered benefits for both schools. The Senior Leadership Team at St Paul’s was adapted to meet the new partnership arrangement and - since September 2022 – Mrs Cresswell, Mrs Hawting and Miss Patsalis have been responsible for the day-to-day running of the school, while Miss Mann has assumed the new role of Executive Head of both schools. This has also meant some adjustments in the way the school functions and the Governors are very grateful for the way that all the staff have risen to the challenge, so that the school continues to provide the highest standard of education and pastoral support in a well-run, safe and welcoming environment.
During the past year, the staff of the two schools have shared information, expertise and training, directly benefitting the children’s learning and there have also been joint outdoor activities sessions at each school, including multi-games.
As Governors, in March 2023 we held a joint safeguarding training for both Governing Boards, when Governors from St Paul’s school were able to visit St Andrew’s and see our partner school at first hand.
The partnership has also generated some cost savings, which have been very helpful in the current difficult financial climate.
Working with Miss Mann and Mrs Cresswell, the Governors will continue to monitor the impact of the partnership on St. Paul’s and will keep the wider school community updated on future plans for the partnership as the 2023/24 academic year progresses. Our priority continues to be the further improvement of outcomes for our children.
The school staff (both teaching and non-teaching) are the most valuable asset for any school, and the governors are pleased that St Paul’s school has a full teaching staff complement to start the 20232/24 school year. The governors have been involved in staff recruitments where appropriate and are satisfied that all the correct procedures have been followed, particularly those relating to safeguarding.
In March 2023, the Governors joined the school in thanking Mrs Zmajkovic, who stepped down from her full-time role as School Business Manager after a number of years. Mrs Zmajkovic has always been a great asset to the school and so we are delighted that she has agreed to continue to assist the school on a part-time basis.
The Governors are sharply aware of the importance of a stable staff body to the continued success of St Paul’s and the need to ensure a positive working environment to achieve this. The governors monitor staff well-being and take account of the impact on staff work/life balance in their deliberations on policies and practices at the school.
The new partnership arrangement with St Andrew’s CE Primary School has provided staff with access to greater professional development opportunities, to enhance their teaching knowledge and skills and further improve the outcomes for our children.
The 2022/23 school year was a challenging one for all schools for a variety of reasons, not least the difficult financial situation. The governors are very grateful to Miss Mann, Mrs Cresswell and all the staff for ensuring that any potential disruption to the children’s learning was kept to a minimum, and that the high standard of education and pastoral care provided for all the pupils at St Paul’s school continued, despite the many challenges they have faced.
The Christian ethos of our school continues to be a core strength. The Governors are proud of the care that is taken to ensure that the welfare and safety of children, parents and staff remain at the forefront of everything that is done.
The economic situation has meant that the school has continued to care for the wider school community and the Governors were very pleased to support the school’s initiative to open a school food bank. The Governors place great importance on this aspect of school life, which reflects the Christian ethos of the school, one of its core strengths.
The Governors have continued to fulfil their responsibilities in relation to the school’s performance and strategic direction. In-person meetings of the Full Governing Board were resumed after Covid restrictions were eased, although committee meetings continue to be held via Microsoft Teams.
The Governors have relished the opportunity to get into school again and Mrs Cresswell co-ordinated a programme of Learning Walks. The focus was on those areas linked to the School Improvement Plan. These included Writing and Maths (across the school), RE, and Computing, as well as Pupil Premium and SEND.
These Learning Walks are important in enabling the Governors fulfil their statutory responsibilities. During these visits, Governors are also able to speak to children and staff, enabling them to gain a rounded picture of what is happening in school.
The Governors remain grateful to Miss Mann, Mrs Cresswell and all the staff of St Paul’s for continuing to encourage and support each child to achieve their best in everything that they do.
Curriculum and School Activities
The Curriculum Committee has oversight of the policies relating to teaching and learning in the school, as well as pupil attainment and school activities.
This year the Committee has paid particular attention to: Reading across the school, Design & Technology and arrangements for additional teaching interventions in Key stage 2. They have also considered the school uniform policy, in the light of recent Department for Education guidance on costs.
The Resources Committee sets a policy framework for all expenditure, including levels of expenditure delegated to the Headteacher. It ensures that expenditure is focused on the School Development Plan and on meeting the needs of all students. The committee sets an annual budget and a three-year projected budget which has to be approved by the Full Governing Board and oversees the annual audit return.
The Governors have worked to support the Executive Headteacher in achieving a balanced budget in a period with limited resources and increasing costs. This has been particularly challenging as a result of the unprecedented rise in energy costs and the uncertainty about the Government’s plans for funding increased employment costs.
The introduction of a new school catering provider, procured in conjunction with other local schools, has also reduced costs and improved the service.
Rental income remains stable and the Governors appreciate the continued significant financial support provided by the school community and parents both directly and through the hard work of the wonderful team at FOSPS.
We are grateful that 87% of parents have made a voluntary contribution to the Governors’ Fund. A proportion of this money goes to the London Diocesan Board for Schools Maintenance Fund to pay for the upkeep of the school buildings and helps to ensure that the teaching and learning environment for all the children remains safe, secure and comfortable.
In addition, £100,000 from the Governors’ Fund has been used to help the school with computer hardware and software, painting and decorating, carpeting, back gate security fencing and other projects during the past year.
The Governors are very grateful to those parents who have contributed to this fund.
The Governing Board regularly reviews the admissions criteria which are used to award places in the school. St Paul’s remains a popular school, but there has been a recent drop in the number of pre-school age children across all London boroughs, combined with a post-Covid trend for families to move out of London. This means that many schools, including St Paul’s, currently have surplus places.
At St Paul’s, the Governors are proud that the children receive the highest standard of education and pastoral support, in a safe, caring environment. The Governors will continue to work with the Senior Leadership team to ensure that prospective parents appreciate this and will want to become part of our wonderful school community.
In addition to attending Governing Board meetings and participating in Learning Walks, Governors are involved with the life of the school in other ways. For example, by:
- sitting on recruitment panels;
- representing the school at outside events (e.g. the annual Enfield Governors’ Conference); and
- attending school church services and assemblies.
The Governors also ensure that they continue to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to be effective in their role, attending training courses and studying relevant policy documentation and national guidance.
During the year the Governing Board also keeps its practices and activities under review, to ensure that it continues to meet its statutory responsibilities and operates effectively, transparently, fairly and legally.
The Governors will continue to work closely with the Executive Headteacher, the Head of School and the senior leadership team, to support the implementation of the School Improvement Plan and to strengthen the relationships with St Paul’s church, our other local Anglican churches and the wider community.
We will also be monitoring the implementation of the partnership agreement with St Andrew’s Primary School, to ensure that the benefits of this arrangement are maximised for the benefit of the teaching and learning of children in both schools.
Finally, as you know, St Paul’s is due to have an Ofsted inspection sometime in the near future. The Governors have been preparing to make their own contribution, when the time comes, but they are especially appreciative of the hard work that Miss Mann, Mrs Cresswell and all the staff have been doing to ensure that the school will be able to show the inspectors – whenever they come – what a safe, effective, supportive learning environment we have here at St Paul’s.
The Governors can be contacted at any time via the school office.