The Fulham Boys School Governing Body Impact Review – Summer 2017
This review is additional to the Trustee’s report and accounts for the year ending August 2016. It follows the governing body’s first impact review (2014-15) and summarises the key areas of governors’ activity and impact during The Fulham Boys School’s second and third academic years – September 2015 to June 2017 – up to the publication of the school’s first Ofsted report.
- Governance structure
The school’s governing body reflects the combination of interests that created the school. It is answerable to the school’s Founders for the ethos of FBS, and to the Department for Education for delivery of the objectives outlined in the school’s funding agreement.
The governing body meets at least once a term and comprises 11 members:
- 4 appointed by FBS Founders
- 1 appointed by the local authority
- 1 appointed by the London Diocesan Board for Schools
- 1 appointed by the Deanery
- 2 parent governors
- 1 staff governor
- The Headmaster
The governing body has five primary roles:
To understand the school – its pupils’ attainment, progress, behaviour, attendance and safety and the quality of teaching and staff development;
- To set the school’s strategic direction, within an approved budget;
- To commission action necessary to deliver agreed improvements, to allocate resources and to monitor and review progress;
- To manage the performance of the school’s leaders, to hold them to account for progress, and to ensure financial probity;
- To ensure the school is fit for purpose – with a clear role, constitution and ways of working.
Its objectives for the period reported on have been:
- To ensure all decisions reflect and build on the Founders’ vision for the school. FBS is built on the Christian faith, with an educational vision wholly geared to bringing out the best in boys, and with a specialism in social and business enterprise.
- To recognise the once in a lifetime opportunity to influence and deliver a superb permanent home for FBS and the community; to work to remove all perceived risks relating to temporary and permanent sites.
- To forge the strongest possible links with local primary schools, and ensure full cohorts to FBS securing a genuinely comprehensive intake from pupils of all backgrounds.
- To ensure FBS boys make maximum progress.
- To ensure governance of the highest standard.
- Where the opportunity arises, be open to opportunities to grow an FBS Academy Trust.
For the academic year 2015-16 the governors were:
Mark Coward, Deborah DeLong (parent governor), Alun Ebenezer (Headmaster), Martin Jeeps (staff governor), Caroline Grieve (Deanery), Jessica Hopkins (parent governor), Simon Lough, Arabella Northey (LA governor), Elizabeth Phillips (LDBS), Meriel Stinson, Alex Wade.
In the academic year 2016-17 Martin Jeeps resigned as staff governor and was replaced by Sam Brown.
Each governing body meeting includes a financial report, an update from the Headmaster on progress against the school development plan and an update from the four committees that oversee specific aspects of the school’s work and development:
- Finance and Resources committee – budgeting, site, health and safety
- Pupil committee – curriculum, admissions, attendance, attainment
- Personnel committee – staff appointments, appraisal, pay policy, equality, wellbeing
- Community committee – communications, marketing, parent and community relations, co-curricular, social enterprise.
These four committees meet at least once a term and report back to the main governing body. They are each chaired by a member of the main governing body, attended by the Headmaster and another governor, and co-opt in additional expertise for challenge and support – including parents, local business, clergy and primary school heads. In addition, a sports sub-committee meets termly to support and challenge the school in delivery of its sports programme.
2.2 Link governors
All areas of the school’s curriculum and co-curriculum are linked to individual governors, to help build informed and constructive partnerships between the school and governing body. Link governor visits provide 21 separate touch-points. The visits are used to check on progress against the school development plan, and for support and advice.
- Impact for the period from September 2015 to May 2017
3.1 Embedding the Founders’ vision
The Founder’s educational vision is embedded via the school development plan. Governors’ termly link visits to the school enable them to review this on a departmental basis; they are also involved in the termly reviews of specific aspects of the school development plan. Each of these whole school reviews is followed up with an action plan, reported to the whole governing body by the headmaster.
Governors also continue to provide support and oversight in recruiting and retaining the excellent and growing staff body who implement the educational vision. This includes advice in selection interviews, devising non-financial incentives for staff and reviewing financial incentives including a staff bonus structure.
Governors also continue to support the school in building a specialism in social and business enterprise, and in embedding an ethos of ‘sport for all’.
- Ofsted confirmed safeguarding is effective with pupils’ safety and well-being at the heart of everything the school does.
- Ofsted confirmed FBS has a highly aspirational vision, committed to achieving academic excellence for all pupils, and that pupils are aspirational for their future and encouraged to be enterprising and independent.
- Ofsted confirmed the Christian values of the school are clear, that it has an inclusive ethos, that pupils of all faiths know and embody the concepts of tolerance and repect.
- Ofsted confirmed high staff morale, that the leadership of teaching is a strength, that middle leaders share a commitment to the wellbeing, as well as the academic performance, of FBS boys
- Ofsted confirmed governors use their experience and skills to ensure pupils have a breadth of opportunity to learn about future careers
- Governors ensured a fully funded sports provision, co-curricular programme and Enterprise programme.
3.2 Securing premises and finance
Governors continue to work with the Education Funding Agency (EFA) to ensure the speediest possible delivery of the school’s permanent site and necessary extension of facilities on its temporary site to ensure uninterrupted delivery of the school’s educational plan:
- Necessary planning approvals have been granted for the permanent site at Heckfield Place
- FBS’s requirements have all been incorporated into the final plans for the Heckfield Place site, with options explored for an independently funded swimming pool at a later date
- Agreement has been secured for the additional facilities and resource to extend the Gibbs Green site to allow for delivery of full GCSSE options and continued delivery of the school’s full co-curricular programme until the permanent site can be occupied by FBS
- Agreement has been secured to self-manage the build programme for the temporary site extension, to ensure its timely delivery for September 2017
- Preparatory work has been completed to establish the FBS Foundation, to grow additional funding for educational projects and capital projects.
3.4 Marketing and monitoring admissions, pupil profile and building community links
FBS has been heavily oversubscribed for the Year 7 intakes in 2015, 2016 and 2017. As it becomes ever more popular, governors continue to advise on the school’s marketing whilst monitoring the impact on applications. Governors also monitor the impact of FBS’s admissions process and over-subscription criteria in delivering a comprehensive intake:
- Applications received from over 60 primary schools: faith, non-faith, independent, community
- High proportions of pupils eligible for free school meals and pupils speaking English as an additional language
- Sports aptitude admission scheme proposed and consulted on; implementation is pending a full review of admissions commissioned in summer 2017
- Links established with community groups, with primary schools and with Dulwich and St Paul’s schools.
3.5 Pupil progress, attainment and standards
Pupil progress drives FBS’s educational policy, is a standing item for the Pupil Committee and is reported through to the main governing body. The committee has carefully monitored the school’s progress in working with other schools to benchmark progress and show models for attainment at GCSE. The Governors have been much involved in the progress made by the Pupil Premium (PP) pupils, the PP policy and the ways the PP monies are spent to support these pupils.
- Ofsted confirms a culture of high expectation in every aspect of the school, with a core curriculum that is academically strong
- Ofsted reports pupils’ academic progress is strong, that pupils with English as an additional language and special educational needs make swift progress, that the most able boys make excellent progress, that carefully planned lessons meet the needs of individual pupils, and that all are committed to school ethos of enterprise and attainment.
3.6 Governance to ensure FBS is fit for purpose
Members of the governing body come from varied professional backgrounds and expertise, bringing a rich and broad perspective to the school’s governance. To ensure governance is of the highest standard training is undertaken at a whole governing body level and individually. A list of courses undertaken in the last 12 months is at Appendix A. The governing body’s skills were audited in Autumn 2015 and Spring 2017 to identify gaps. Measures to rectify areas of relative weakness identified in March 2017 have been agreed by the governing body.
Policies are reviewed by the relevant governing body committees. Measures are being put in place to ensure a more rigorous process of review for all policies going forward.
- Ofsted confirms governors work effectively to ensure pupils have a well-rounded education, that they demonstrate a deep commitment to the school and are increasingly asking searching questions to ensure effective evaluation of provision.
3.7 Growth of FBS as a multi academy trust
Governors have kept abreast of changing government policy on the future of single academy trusts and have completed an initial assessment of the possible benefits to FBS of growing into a multi academy trust.
- Initial discussions held with free school proposer groups and with the Regional Schools Commissioner. Decisions currently awaiting clarity of government policy.