Welcome to the Three Hares Governors blog page. Our purpose is to share information about the Three Hares from a governance perspective with parents and carers, as well as other members of our Three Hares community. We hope that you will find it interesting and informative.
As every recent blog will have begun, it has been a challenging and unusual year to say the least! For us as governors, we have never experienced anything like this. We are used to being able to visit schools regularly, attend meetings and make decisions based on historical knowledge of the schools combined with forward-thinking strategic plans. As you can imagine, all of this changed in March 2020…
The Dartmoor Multi-Academy Trust installed Dan Morrow as its new CEO, and he began his role in January 2021, although many of you will have met him virtually, when we held our parent forums at the end of last year. Governance work by the local governing bodies of all schools in the DMAT was suspended in the Spring Term at his request, to allow school leaders to focus solely on the schools’ provision to pupils. This meant we no longer held our regular governor meetings, but the Chair and other governors kept in regular contact with the schools during this time to provide support and a listening ear. There were also fortnightly meetings with the Trustees, Chairs of Governors and Dan to keep up to date with all that was happening across the MAT and schools in general. During lockdown, an extraordinary amount of work went into ensuring the education our of children continued whether in school or at home and our thanks go to all those who played a part in this effort.
During the governance suspension, following a review of the Governance structure, we changed from being known as a Local Academy Committee, to the Local Stakeholder Board. The scope of our role has evolved, and the recently-published Scheme of Delegation (which sets out in detail the specifics of our role) explains that the purpose of the LSB is “to provide local access and accountability for our parents and carer; framed within a cooperative structure to build and deepen partnership and connection. This is the place that the voice of the individual pupil, staff member, parent and other membership groups is heard and understood; where the lived experience of our provision and offer is felt and triangulated.”
But, what do we actually do on a day-to-day basis?! Well, we are divided into small groups covering Ethos, Safeguarding, SEND, Foundation, Resources, and Quality of Education. Each governor takes a “lead” for the group, so we focus our skills on particular areas of interest and ability. Our part is mostly to monitor that the schools are fulfilling their statutory responsibilities as well as ensuring that their strategic goals are being met. This might be in respect of staffing, budgeting, the premises, curriculum etc. We review the various policies and then look for evidence that everything is as it should be! It is also important that we stay up to date with legislation and keep our own knowledge up to date, so we attend various training sessions – some compulsory for the role (such as safeguarding) and others optional. We communicate frequently via email, but also with regular meetings.
Our first meeting of the term was a couple of weeks ago, and all governors were in attendance. Most of our discussion was based around listening to each Principal update us in respect of their school – how the first couple of weeks of term have been, any challenges they are facing and things that are going really well, that might be shared between the three schools.
We also discussed recruitment of two new parent governors to join our LSB. You should have received an email about this with details from your Principal. If you are interested and would like further information, please do contact our Chair of Governors, Emma Neath, whose details are below. We currently have three governors with connections to Chagford, two for North Tawton and two for South Tawton.
A number of us have attended training sessions, provided by the DMAT and the Diocese. These include OFSTED training, Ethos, Safeguarding, and Ensuring a Quality Curriculum. Our Chair of Governors, Emma Neath, attended North Tawton’s Relationships and Sex Education parents’ forum, and the DMAT’s policy on this will be finalised and released shortly.
Mel Holyoak, Vice-Chair of the LSB and Foundation Governor, is working alongside Mark Neave (Foundation Governor) with Ed Finch, Ed Pawson (of the Diocese of Exeter) and Rev Paul Seaton-Burns to review the implementation of the new SIAMS (Statutory Inspection of Anglican & Methodist Schools) framework in Chagford.
Our next blog may not be quite as detailed, but we hope that you have found this introduction insightful! If you have any queries and would like any further information, please contact Emma Neath – Chair of Governors: firstname.lastname@example.org
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Primary Executive Principals
The Primary Executive Principals, Elizabeth Underwood, Lisa Paton, and Phil Whittley work with Principals across all of the Trust primary schools to support school improvement.