With school life beginning to return to some form of normality it has been a great relief to be able to resume face to face governor meetings. Zoom has been a life saver, but there is nothing like coming together in the same room to work for the betterment of the school. As governors our work together during this time has been both joyous and challenging in equal measure. The pandemic has challenged everyone, education in general and our school are no different.
Even with all this our school has been recognised as ‘Outstanding’ during our recent Catholic Schools Inspection, and we are delighted for all the staff, and leadership team that made sure we were more than ready to show off our continued commitment to a first-class catholic education. Thank you too, to all the parents, carers and pupils who took the time to talk to the inspectors about what the school and its ethos mean to them. The outstanding judgement was a testament to that and a wonderful outcome, I am sure you will all agree.
The governing body has also welcomed quite a few new members, as some long-standing governors came to the end of their term. We welcome the new members of our governing body and look forward to working together in service of the children and our school. We also thank all the governors who have left for their years of dedicated service.
Key items on the governing body’s agenda have been the marketing of the school, academisation plans in catholic schools across Sussex and beyond, and preparing for a possible Ofsted inspection. These run alongside our continued role in scrutinising attainment, achievement, school improvement and safeguarding in general.
With birth rates falling and the impact of Brexit, schools in our area are competing for fewer children. St Mary’s is no different and you may have seen that we have increased on site advertising, website improvements and social media posts. We would like to ask our parents to do all they can to spread the word about our wonderful school too. Please do tell your friends, join our Facebook page, Instagram page and Twitter feed and share our social media posts far and wide.
Regarding academisation, Bishop Richard wrote to all the Catholic Schools in our diocese recently asking us to investigate joining the Bosco trust. As a governing body we have been doing that by attending meetings with Bosco and other Catholic MAT’s (Multi Academy Trusts) and setting up a working party to investigate further. At the full governing board meeting held this week we voted to keep a watching brief and not to try and join the Bosco academy at this time. However, the issue of possible academisation is going to be ongoing and things may need to change depending on many issues, decreasing funding to the local authority being just one.
In preparation for a possible Ofsted inspection in the summer term we have attended specific training and will continue do all we can to be ready when it inevitably comes.
I hope that this update has given you a little insight into what has been happening and look forward seeing you all around the school at some of the upcoming Christmas events that so happily have been able to begin again.
Vice-chair of Governors