Mr John Shears
Chair of Governors
John has lived in the village of St Agnes since 1991 and since the position of Chair of Governors he has been involved in the school through the grandchildren who have been pupils. He has had a long career in education including Headships of two large comprehensives; Chairman of Governors in a Cornish Junior School; Ofsted inspector and education consultant across a number of counties in the South West of England. John is currently continuing some part time consultancy to provide support for school improvement.
St Agnes ACE Academy
Kernow Learning Multi Academy Trust
Governors’ Impact Statement 2019/20
The Local Advisory Board of the Trust, usually referred to as the Governors has had an interesting year with the challenges of Covid 19. The school has faced a quite unprecedented time and especially since March 2020, but yet has had many successes and overall, it can be a year of which the school community can be essentially very proud.
For the first two terms of the year, the Governors were able to carry out their key monitoring role successfully with visits to see staff and pupils at work. What was very evident in these visits was the very positive climate in the school and the warm relationships between staff and the pupils. Behaviour was always good and learning was very evident. Individual governors monitored a whole range of school life some of which were statutory like SEND, or attendance, while others reflected progress in learning such as literacy or the work towards the KS2 SATs. The priority of pupil premium/disadvantaged students was a focus this year and gains were clearly evident. The governors monitored the school Improvement Plan noting and discussing not only the challenges but also the many successes evident this year. Governors have been supported in their monitoring role by the use of an independent experienced Challenge Partner. This former Head Teacher with no links to the school visits and spends time with staff, children and looking at work to help the school assess its progress. This year’s visits were very positive and she made encouraging comments about the learning gains being made and the overall climate in the school.
While academic learning has to be monitored to ensure that the school continues to enhance its provision, governors were delighted with the wider rich life of the school. Pupils gained so much from extra-curricular clubs and sport and the school is continuing to seek funding for expanding all aspects of outdoor learning. The Christmas season was a particularly rich one and the staff involvement meant that most pupils had a part to play. Sadly, the pandemic meant that after late March the extra-curricular life had to be put on hold, although for those pupils in school there was a wide range of learning activities often in the open air.
Safeguarding is a central element of school life and governors also monitor the process and any concerns ensuring that appropriate action is taken. One successful development that governors have supported is the move to Trauma Informed Practice which is a very sensitive strategy to support children or families where a trauma has occurred and where the school can play a pivotal role in helping especially the child. As well as the Trauma Informed Practice, the governors have been updated on a wide range of inservice and staff training which clearly aids teaching and learning. This has been evident with approaches to improving writing and using a scheme called ReadWriteInc where already one can see improved outcomes and more confident learners.
The challenges of Covid have been many and varied and has delivered at least one significant frustration, in that with the scrapping of the KS2 SAT tests, our excellent Year 6 pupils have not had the opportunity to do themselves justice. Throughout the year they have worked hard and been a credit to themselves, their parents and the school and all the evidence was pointing towards some excellent results in the summer. What we can be confident about is that they were be moving to secondary school in a good place and hopefully with many happy memories of St Agnes even if their final term was disrupted. As governors we wish everyone of them well for the future and we hope to continue to hear of their successes as they grow into young adults.
Through the latter part of this unprecedented year, our involvement as a part of the Kernow Learning Trust has been very beneficial. It has helped to ensure that our relatively healthy financial position has been maintained; no easy task with the extra expenditure that the crisis has required. As always earlier in the year, the Parents Association was there to greatly support the school and this is much appreciated. Many school organisational aspects and planning have been aided, by the Trust schools and its central team working closely together and quality advice has always been on hand, particularly as with the crisis our role in the Summer Term, as governors with limitations on visits and meetings has been harder. One important aspect of the joint working has been the incredible detail that has featured in the planning for the school to return to a sort of normality in September.
Finally, a very big thank you. History will almost certainly regard this in educational terms as unlike any other year and it is to the school’s huge credit that over the early summer weeks so many children, especially those of our Key Workers have been able to return and that quality provision was provided in a safe environment. Since June our numbers have steadily risen and increasing numbers of children were able to return and the school’s longer hours clearly helped parents in their employment roles. The staff have been quite outstanding not only supporting the children but also each other and to the Headteacher and her Deputy we owe a significant debt as they have not only worked way beyond a normal expectation but also offered great care, concern and leadership. Everyone associated with the school should be enormously proud of its endeavors this year and as governors we certainly are.