Our Governing Body is made up of representatives nominated by the Local Authority, parents and staff from the school and co-opted members from the local community. The Full Governing Body and all Committees meet at least once a term but individual Governors also make focussed visits to the school throughout the year. The Chair of Governors meets the Headteacher regularly to share any concerns or discuss any new developments in the school.
The Governors are responsible for seeing that the school is properly run and that the building is safe and adequate for the children’s needs. They are involved in safeguarding, the appointment of staff and the delivery of the curriculum.
Our Chair of Governors is Fiona Coombe and our Vice-Chair is Dan Price.
Our Designated Governor for Safeguarding and Child Protection is Gemma Seakins.
Our Designated Governor for Special Educational Needs and/or Disability is Kitty Dearman.
Our Designated Governor for Health & Safety is Genevieve Fernandes.
If you wish to contact Fiona or any of the Governors, please contact the school office.
The Governing Body has two Committees:
- Finance Premises and Personnel Committee
- Teaching, Learning, SEND and Extended Services Committee
Each Committee has their own Terms of Reference and Scheme of Delegation, reviewed and updated annually, which ensures that the responsibilities of the Governing Body are undertaken appropriately.
Our Governing Body comprises:
Emma Williams All Committees - appointed September 2014
Camilla Alton - appointed March 2017
Kitty Dearman Chair of Teaching, Learning, SEND & Extended Services Committee - appointed March 2019
Genevieve Fernandes Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee - appointed March 2019
Dan Price Vice-Chair of Governors and Teaching, Learning, SEND & Extended Services - appointed November 2016
Gemma Seakins Teaching, Learning, SEND & Extended Services Committee - appointed June 2017
Sophie Verlaan Chair - Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee - appointed March 2019
Celia Ward Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee - appointed July 2019
Local Authority Governor
Fiona Coombe Chair of Governors - All Committees - appointed November 2017
Alison Pitter Teaching, Learning, SEND & Extended Services Committee - appointed June 2018
Lotte Lydon Teaching, Learning, SEND & Extended Services Committee - appointed May 2019
As of March 2019 there are two co-opted vacancies and one parent vacancy on the Governing Board.
In the last year, three Governors resigned from the Governing Body – Ed McRandal, 27 March 2019 (Co-opted Governor and member of the Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee), Sarah Stearns, 27 March 2019 (Co-opted Governor and member of the Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee) and Mary-Jane Collington, 23 October 2019 (Co-opted Governor and member of Teaching, Learning, SEND and Extended Services Committee.
In accordance with the Government’s requirement for all governing bodies, the three core strategic functions of Balham Nursery School and Children’s Centre (BNSCCS) Governing Body are:
- Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.
- Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils.
- Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent.
As a Governing Board, we pay special attention to what we view as the core ethos that lies at the heart of everything we do at BNSCC: To place the children at the centre of any decisions that are made and to work together as a family of leaders, staff, children, parents, carers, governors and the local community to achieve the best learning outcomes for the children at BNSCCS.
The Governing Board of BNSCCS was re-constituted in June 2015 with a total of 14 governors. Of the 14 positions on the Governing Board, 2 are staff governors, 8 are co-opted governors, 1 is a Local Authority governor and 3 are parent governors.
During 2018-2019 three governors either resigned or their term of office ended and we have welcomed five new members to the Governing Body.
Co-opted governors are appointed by the Governing Body and are people who, in the opinion of the Board, have the skills required to contribute to the effective governance and success of the school.
The Governing Body has a programme of meetings throughout the school year. We meet as a Full Governing Body once a term and call extraordinary meetings if there are developments that require urgent attention. We also have a committee structure that focuses on specific areas of governance. We currently have three committees that meet on a termly basis:
• Finance, Premises and Personnel Committee
• Teaching, Learning and SEND (Special educational needs and disability) Committee
• Family and Extended Services Committee
Attendance record of Governors
A record is kept by the clerk to the Governing Body of governors’ attendance at meetings. Meetings need to be ‘quorate’ to ensure that decisions can be made. We are pleased to report that governors are fully engaged with the work of the school and all meetings held throughout the year were quorate.
The Work of the Governing Board
Following our fifth outstanding OFSTED report and the successful merger with Fayland children’s centre, this past year has been about embedding the ethos of BNSCCS across the two sites.
However, this year has thrown up many more challenges for the Governing Board and staff to manage. One of the most significant has been the decision taken by Wandsworth Council to undertake a reorganisation of the children’s centres and early help services across the borough as part of their THRIVE strategy.
The ambition is for families to be able to access early help services easily and for services to be co-ordinated around the individual needs of each family, including children of different ages and needs, as opposed to families having to identify services, attempt to put together their own package of support and tell their story every time they need to access support.
As a result, from 1 September 2019, Wandsworth Council will be managing the provision at Balham and Fayland and the staff who provide the children’s centre services at both sites will transfer to be employed, once again, by the Council.
Our other significant challenge has been to manage a reduction in the funding available from both central and local government. This led to the introduction of an early entry scheme for children to enter the nursery before their third birthday and a top-up scheme to enable parents to pay for additional hours of childcare above their statutory entitlement. Both schemes have proved popular with parents and we have increased the number of children attending the nursery as a result, without compromising the excellent early years environment we pride ourselves on.
As governors we provide oversight and support for the senior leadership team and staff. One of the most enjoyable parts of being a governor is visiting the school in the context of a ‘governor school visit’ in which individual governors spend a few hours with the senior leadership team, the staff and children and focus on a specific topic. This year, we carried out several visits, including attending INSET days with the staff. In addition to the more formal school visits, we also enjoy participating in the fun school activities throughout the year such as the Christmas fayre and the Summer fayre. Several members of the Governing Board have helped at these events in various ways, for example meeting and greeting our families and friends.
The following quotes are some of the comments made by governors on their visits:
“Moving through the nursery, I was able to meet a new LSA who provides one-to-one support, closely shadowing her charge. This was another example of successful recruitment from parent alumni who have first-hand experience of SEND challenges. I was also able to meet a child roaming freely through the nursery who had previously been compelled to stick closely to adults.”
“I visited at 9.30am and the nursery was in full swing but with a small number of children as only 6 of the 12 children had attended that day. The children were absorbed in the various activities and toys which were well laid out across the downstairs room. The room was spotlessly clean, though I suspected it would not be for long, on a normal day! The children had the full attention of the three members of staff who were there during my visit.”
We also conduct ‘parent exit interviews’ at the end of every year to find out what has worked well throughout the year and what could work better, so that we can strive to improve wherever possible. We also held some ‘meet-and-greet’ sessions in the mornings throughout the year.
We are pleased to report that safeguarding practice continues to be strong at BNSCCS. The staff and leadership team continue to provide bespoke and highly professional ongoing support to a small number of families and children for whom safeguarding is a concern. In the Section 11 Audit returns, the responses indicated a very high level of awareness and confidence among staff at BNSCCS in how to manage safeguarding issues. As a result, there are only a few actions outlined in the Section 11 Action Plan. This is a good sign. Our Governor with responsibility for Child Protection and Safeguarding meets with the Headteacher termly to go through the newly devised Safeguarding Policy Assurance checklist and also scrutinises the school’s Single Central Record making sure it is accurate and up-to-date.
As a Governing Body we will continue to monitor safeguarding practice at BNSCCS and we are pleased to say that all governors have undertaken safeguarding training either in person at the January whole school INSET day or in the form of online courses or training sessions offered by the Wandsworth Local Authority.
The children at BNSCCS continue to make excellent progress in key learning areas. We monitor progress and attainment closely in our termly Teaching, Learning and SEND Committee meetings. We analyse data collated and presented, whilst always keeping in mind that progress and attainment data is only one way to look at how children are doing at BNSCCS.
BNSCC has a dedicated SEND Coordinator (SENDCo) who supports families at whatever stage of referral/assessment their child may be. The SENDCo plays a vital role in ensuring the best outcomes for our children with SEND.
We have also been working closely with our Headteacher, Emma Williams and the entire senior leadership team, to ensure that the voice of our children and community is heard beyond BNSCCS.
All of our work is captured in approved minutes of the Governing Body, which are available through our School Business Manager, Bryanna Patterson, on request.
Finally, we would like to extend our gratitude to the entire BNSCCS community and especially to our leadership team and staff, not least to Emma, for their commitment and hard work in making BNSCCS an educational space in which every voice is heard.
How to contact your Governing Body
We always welcome feedback, comments or suggestions. You can contact the Chair of the Governing Body, Fiona Coombe, via the school office, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.