** Notes for Parents **

Thank you and Farewell to Andy Ellam
We welcomed a number of new faces around the table and - in his absence - said farewell to Andy Ellam.  He has been a fantastic and diligent servant to the school as governor and chair of the finance committee as well as applying his IT expertise to support the school in both developing IT strategy and helping implement systems.
We wish Andy all the best and thank him for all his hard work.

Resources Committee
We reviewed the report from the Resources Committee (the newly combined Finance and Premises Committees) and noted the continued pressure on the school’s finances. This year’s budget round is likely to see further funding cuts. Though every year we look to do more with less, this is becoming increasingly challenging.
The school is looking for other ways to increase revenue. Once management arrangements for the new hall are sorted out that should lead to rental income opportunities. In addition, the School Fund appeal will be going out shortly (which you are most encouraged to support if you are in a position to do so) and we can look at other ways to learn from other cluster schools in terms of sharing costs for support services and through Merton’s shared procurement initiatives. Sustainable funding is one of the key areas of concern for the Governors.
In terms of the seemingly endless building work, the playground should finally re-open on 10 February and the MUGA soon after, once works to rectify ‘puddling’ have been concluded. Inevitably, there is a long snagging list to sort out and further work will take place in the school over the half term break.

Merton Educational Partner Report
The meeting went on to review the report of the Merton Educational Partner in some depth.  This is an independent professional view of the school’s performance. It challenges and supports the Senior Management Team’s self-evaluation of its performance against the school strategic plan. Although the content is Confidential, encouragement was taken from the continued progress of the school against the plan and recognition of high quality teaching.

School Development Plan update
That report set the backdrop for the Headteacher’s report on progress against the School Development which touched a number of areas:
·Staff survey results. The most unifying motivating factor for all is seeing children’s progress and there was total unanimity that the school strives for excellence, with a high percentage willing to recommend the school to others as a place to work. Other points taken from the survey include the need to be mindful of staff well-being; the job is a stressful and demanding one.
·Writing. The continued focus on writing has seen a range of measures being implemented, including working with the six other primary schools in the local cluster to attain a consistent understanding of what constitutes above-, at- and below- age related expectations. We discussed how the children feel about writing as an activity; maintaining their excitement and   enthusiasm whilst recognising the curriculum assessment needs. The Governing Body was conscious of its continuing wish to see Dundonald deliver a ‘whole child’ education rather than excluding non-assessed activities to game the assessment system.
·Behaviour. Much work has been done on behaviour, including improved recording systems to provide better quality data and creating a range of activities and supervisory measures to improve behaviour at lunch times.
·The ever thorny topic of school meals. The Headteacher is working with the Council's providers to improve the quality of provision. Those providers will be meeting with the School Council soon to get further feedback from the children directly.
·Parental involvement in learning. The ‘Shared Learning’ days last week on Wednesday and Friday were well supported. The format offers a useful way, along with the new format parent teacher consultations, for parents to get involved with and   contribute to their children’s education.
·EYFS. The new systems and processes for early years in their new building continue to bed down well.

Governor of the Month ‘Learning Walk’
To support Governor engagement with the school, we operate a ‘Governor of the Month’ scheme. Two or three governors each month come into school for a morning on a structured learning walk, devised by Mrs Waters. This includes a discussion of a particular aspect of the school’s work, followed by visits to classrooms to see how the School Plan is implemented in practice. Last month, the focus of the visit was on ‘Writing’ and ‘Metacognition’ (“thinking about one's thinking” – yes, I had to Google it too…) and included a meeting with the School Council and seeing pupil voice and responsibility in action across the year groups. On Early Years, the Governors present commented, “It was striking to see how well adapted the new environment was considering 80 children are now in Early Years.”

Enjoy your half term break!

Roderick Cameron
Chair of Governors