Governing Body Newsletter Summer 2014
News from the Chair
As the summer term draws to a close, I hope that you will join me in thanking Liz Wiseman for the smooth transition, and the calm and focus she has brought to the leadership of the school. I feel an enormous amount has been achieved to move us forward; we are in very good shape for the coming year. There are also a number of leavers and joiners whom I would like to welcome and thank. Amongst the Governing Body, Jackie Browne, one of our parent governors, is standing down after a very active period of service to the school, both as a Governor, and as a member of our PTFA. Jackie has provided helpful rigour to all things financial in the running of the school. Thank you, Jackie, for all your hard work. Helen Sieroda, our Community Governor, is also stepping aside after four years of supporting staffing and recruitment aspects of the school as well as mentoring and ensuring an environment of balance and reflection in our work. Once again, many thanks, Helen. Claire Ash Wheeler, another of our Community Governors, is also moving on. I’m sure you will all remember Claire as the person with tireless energy, enthusiastically encouraging you to join her busying in our wonderful garden and open spaces. Thank you Claire for all that you have done for the school community. In anticipation of these departures, we have been bringing into the Governor team a number of fresh talents over the course of this term to provide continuity. Following our Full Governing Body meeting this week, I am now able to formally welcome Sheila Mead and Imogen Clements as our new Community Governors, and Katherine Barrau as our Parent Governor. Thank you all for your commitment. I know that you will bring many skills and experiences to support the school. I’m also very pleased to let you know that Ann Searson has taken up the Staff Governor role with the Governing Body. As a long standing member of staff with deep roots into our community, Ann brings much to strengthen our decision making. I also will be standing down at the end of this academic year, and I am delighted to be handing the batten to Catherine Mount, who has done a fantastic job as Vice Chair this year and has deputised for me on many occasions. Supporting her as Vice Chair will be Rev. Paul Seaton-Burn. I know that the working relationships developed this year leave the governing body in a very strong position to lead the school moving forward. A huge thank you must go out to Di Brown who is retiring after 30 years of service. Di has given so much to the school and influenced so many in our community – I know that she will not be forgotten. Thank you Di and very best wishes from us all! Thanks also to other members of staff who are moving on: Fiona Smith, Tracy Stevens and Rachel Knights. We wish them all well. May I also extend my thanks to the many, many parent and community volunteers who have helped with clubs and activities throughout the year. In a smaller school, this support is invaluable and without it, many of the varied and enriching after school clubs could not go ahead. And finally, thank you to all of our staff for another positive and productive year. Enjoy your well-deserved holidays. With very best wishes to all, Toby Rubbra, Chair of Governor
From Claire Ash Wheeler
We are very proud of the new addition to the school grounds – the home made, out-door cob oven which has been named the ’Snagon’! The first two days of this summer term saw collaboration with Jo Clark from Embercombe near Exeter who masterminded all the children in the school helping to build this magnificent pizza oven. Every child who wanted to ‘puddle’ the cob (mixing clay, straw and earth) did so with bare feet. Then balls of cob were thrown to the moulders who, clod by clod, smoothed the cob onto a willow frame made by a group of children with Linda Lemieux of Wild Woods ’n Willow. Some children enjoyed making the oven so much they preferred to keep ’puddling’ to having play time or lunch break! The cob took nearly a month to dry and was fired-up with a group of parents, governors and community members to test how good a pizza it would make. The pizzas were perfect and delicious! Since then the oven has been used to support curriculum studies and as a fund raiser at the summer fair when we made over 100 pizzas in an hour and a quarter and ran out of dough! Recently Wes Cutler, youth worker from the Chagford ‘Mess, ran a successful games and pizza session with Years 5 & 6 during an evening session. It really is a beautiful creation which we hope will benefit the school in a variety of ways as well as giving the community an opportunity to enjoy our lovely grounds too. We are grateful to all those who helped make the cob oven a reality: Grow Chagford, Hilton Supplies, Wild Woods ’n Willow, help from governors, parents and community members as well as the children and teachers at school – a BIG thank you.
Teaching & Learning
Governors attended presentations from team leaders recently. This is an annual event when curriculum team leaders reflect on the year that has finished and look forward to the year ahead. It is a fantastic way for governors to see all the hard work and planning that takes place. As the team leaders outline their aims and objectives governors are able to ask about issues like tracking student progress and how staff have used data. The presentations really help governors to see the big picture in a school where so many great things are happening. Staff are busy preparing for the new curriculum and are looking into exciting cross-curricular opportunities to help deliver it. All the classrooms have “working walls” which display ongoing topic work and staff are broadening the provision of extra-curricular activities. Looking to the future the school is already considering how to make the most of the learning and engagement offered by the Olympics in Brazil 2016! This is only a small slice of what is happening and governors would like to thank the staff for all the hard work they do. John Sherlock, Lead Governor for Teaching and Learning
As many of you will know, in 2012 the local authority was asked to submit condition surveys of all school buildings in Devon. Based on this list, the Education Funding Agency (EFA) prioritised those schools most in need of refurbishment or rebuild, and Chagford was on that list! After a very long wait, we had our first meeting with the EFA this week. It was a very positive meeting and they have challenged us, and themselves, to deliver an inspirational building in which our children can learn. No decision has been taken regarding refurbishment or rebuild. The EFA will carry out a feasibility study and look at all options. We have consulted parents and pupils this term about the things that they would most like to improve in our buildings and we will feed those responses into this process with the EFA. As the work progresses, we will keep you informed. At the heart of our decision making is the need to provide the best learning environment for our pupils.
Toby Rubbra will be standing down as our Chair of Governors at the end of this term after many years of support and guidance to our governing body. From the very first day that the Rubbra family joined Chagford School, Toby has invested in the vision of this school becoming outstanding. He has brought his extensive experience, knowledge and skills to his role as Chair to steer us all towards becoming the best that we could be, for the education of our children. Thank you Toby for giving so much to Chagford School over the years and bringing the school to the excellent position that we are in today with your constant challenge, drive and vision. I can only thank you for being such a pleasure to work with and for giving so much of your time to the children of Chagford. Liz Wiseman, Acting Headteacher.
Wishing you all an enjoyable summer holiday