Governor stuff

The governor meeting on Monday evening was full of interesting stuff and has given me a much clearer view on what I’ll be doing as a governor.

As you can imagine quite a lot of the meeting is spent looking at the Key Performance Indicators and asking questions about how the schools executive management team will be dealing with the challenges ahead.

Unlike most governoring bodies ours looks across 2 schools, Hatcham College and Knight’s Accademy, which we found out are amongst the three most popular schools in the borough (Hatcham got 2306 applications (865 first choice) and Knights 884 (260 first choice)) this year. This means that both schools are oversubscribed – Hatcham on the basis of 12:1 and Knights at 5:1. We were briefed that the schools are expecting a significant number of appeals from parents and pupils that haven’t been offered a place, but if it is anything like last year very few of those will succeed.

We also looked at attendance and exclusion which are obviously important for pupils ability to reach their educational potential – they are also, however, key indicators because they are part of the protective factors against a number of risky behaviours such as; problematic drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, and being in trouble with the law. Attendance has gone up in both schools and is well above 90%. Permanent exclusions are very low with only one across both schools so far this year, which is encouraging.

The other thing I was interested to see were the percentage of children on free school meals. There’s quite a big difference between the two schools with Hatcham having 21% of pupils entitled to a free school meal while Knights has 45% with that entitelment. To put that in conext, I visited Drayton Manor in Ealing the other day and they said they had roughly the same numbers as Hatcham.

I picked up a couple of really big challenges that the Federation face, here are two:

  • Expansion – there is a desire to run more schools. There is an ongoing consultation to see if the Federation should take over Monson primary school, and they have put in an expression of interest in running a new school in Wood Green, Harringey.
  • 6th Forum – Knights are expecting to radically increase the numbers staying on post 16 and build a strong 6th Form provision. Currently there are 5 pupils and next year the target is to have 80.

The final thing I want to note is the report we recieved on the professional development of staff from across the Federation. This was part of Investors in People accreditation and I’ll quote directly from the report:

The quality of the way CPD [Continuous Professional Development] is managed is absolutely striking: possibily the best the assessor has encountered in an educational setting.

Strong stuff and something the schools should feel very good about.

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About Andrew Brown

I live in Lewisham, South East London, and spent 9 years as a Labour councillor in the borough between 1997 and 2006.
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