St Mary’s Catholic Primary School, Cross Street, Chesterfield, S40 4ST

01246 232170

St Mary's Catholic Primary School

Let Your Light Shine

Governors' Impact Statement 2019/2020

At the end of each school year, we reflect on what we have achieved and where we still have work to do.

This is an important activity for us; as a Governing Body we reflect on the year gone by in order to make changes and improvements where necessary.  Normally this reflection includes feedback from the pupils, staff, governors, PTFA and from parents via the annual Governor’s questionnaire.  Results are analysed and feed into the new School Improvement Plan each year.  This report reviews where we believe there has been success during the 2019/20 school year. 

As a result of the CV19 pandemic and the lockdown that it required, we have been unable to work in our normal way.  This means that we have not been able to reflect with as many sources of information as usual.  As we return to school in September and discover new ways of working and living with CV19, we will endeavour to engage stakeholders in new ways to gather their feedback.

The Instrument of Governance states the Governing Body is made up of 14 and we currently have a compliment of 12.  Over the past year we have welcomed four new governors and seen three stand down from their posts.  New governors joining presents an opportunity to take on board feedback and understand how their skills can support the school in making improvements.

As a voluntary aided Catholic School, our Governing Body is made up predominantly of 8 Foundation Governors.  These governors are selected by the Parish Priest and appointed by the Diocese.  Foundation Governors act on behalf of the Diocese to ensure that the Catholic nature of the school is protected and nurtured.  The Governing Body also has two parent and a staff governor, the Headteacher, a Local Authority governor, governors co-opted for their expertise, and associate governors.

At times we have operated with governor vacancies or an unbalanced skills base and we have also recognised a need to better plan the succession and development of governors.  We have learnt important lessons from these situations and have been more robust and rounded skills base now and have started discussions around succession planning.

We started the 2018/19 year with several new people in role; a new Head, Deputy Head and Chair of Governors.  We identified a level of risk that this presented and took actions to support, including the appointment of an Assistant Head, Miss Arnold, to support the Senior Leadership Team.  Looking back over a very turbulent two years for our community we recognise that this was an important decision that provided considerable support to the SLT. 

Miss Arnold has now taken maternity leave. The governors approved the plan to mitigate her absence which consisted of three parts. Firstly, recruiting a teacher to cover her class. Secondly, making an internal promotion to take over some of her School Improvement responsibly.  Finally, delegating her leadership responsibilities to other current members of the Senior Leadership Team.

Much of our time in the 2019/20 year has been spent coming to terms with working during lockdown personally and providing support and guidance to school leaders.  Governors have continued to meet virtually, taking precautions to ensure privacy at home, and have maintained a strong focus on the wellbeing of the entire school community. 

The Senior Leadership Team have done a good job of informing governors of developments and their plans, seeking opportunities to involve governors in operational decision making in way that would not be required during normal times.  There have specifically been discussions on the partial closure and full reopening of school, home learning, COVID secure planning, staying open for the children of key workers during holidays and staffing.

As we start the new academic year, governors will continue to question and challenge school leaders on their COVID mitigation plans, staffing and pupil wellbeing.  We will also refocus on educational outcomes and the school experience for all children.

Our school mission is to build a spiritual and dynamic community which is enthusiastic for learning and which embraces the achievement of potential for all. We use this to test our impact as governors.

Our work is done in committees and these are:

  1. Full Governing Body
  2. Resources
  3. Curriculum
  4. Pastoral
  5. Strategy

We have a lot of business to do and therefore we have terms of reference for each committee which clearly states what delegated decision making each committee has. The Full Governing Body retains the oversight of all the committees and receives reports from them at each meeting.

You should see our governors regularly either in school, in church or in the playground.  Please feel free to pass on any feedback about the school to any of our governors or email your comments to

Resources Committee – Chair: Mark Rutherford

This is the committee where decisions are made about how the financial resources of the school will be spent in line with the School’s improvement plan and its asset management plan.  It is a challenging role. There are fewer resources than aspirations and it is necessary to prioritise carefully and make difficult decisions in meeting the needs of the School in terms of the buildings, staffing and other resource needs. Ensuring the best possible outcomes for children in the short and medium term and making long term improvements to our provision, is at the core of our decision making.

Last year we supported the following activities:

    • Managing the School’s budget and making sure we properly prioritised the resources available to maximise outcomes for our children.
    • Monitoring the performance of the School’s key suppliers of services including the Local Authority and the external cleaning and catering contractors.
    • Supporting the School and its Senior Leadership Team in managing the implications of the COVID pandemic. These initiatives included monitoring the financial implications for the School and ensuring that the School’s cleaning and catering provisions continued. We ensured that these met the specific needs of the School arising from the pandemic.
    • Continuing the improvement programme to the school buildings and environment. Last year this included replacing the flooring in Foundation and Year One. We also secured a Diocesan grant to replace the roof lights on the top corridor and agreed a buildings plan to carry out various health and safety works and minor repairs. The work to replace the roof lights would also have been completed last year but for complications arising from the COVID pandemic. It should now be completed before the start of the 2021 autumn term.
    • Purchasing a new Mathematics resource. Mathematics Mastery was purchased to improve Maths learning in the School from Foundation through to Year Four.


Curriculum Committee – Chair: Pippa Sharp

The Curriculum Committee works to ensure high standards of teaching and learning across the school.  The committee is responsible for ensuring that the approaches used are having the right impact on the children’s learning and we do this by scrutinising children’s progress data to ensure no child falls behind.

We compare ourselves to other schools locally and nationally to be sure our children are progressing as expected.  As a result of COVID and the school closure, there is no national data to benchmark ourselves against this year. However, in 2018 our Key Stage 2 average scaled scores were significantly above the national average in reading, writing, spelling punctuation and grammar and maths. Furthermore, our progress in reading and maths was also significantly above the national average.  As well as this, our greater depth children achieved significantly above average compared to the national average.

We are an outward facing school, actively learning from and sharing our good practice with other schools. We are constantly seeking new ideas to improve our practice and give our children a world-class education.

The committee is also responsible for reviewing the Pupil Premium objectives and funding, the school PE and Sports Premium funding and ensuring that we are GDPR compliant.

This year, we will also responsible for monitoring the use of the Catch Up Premium Strategy.


Pastoral Committee – Chair: Helen Loizou

In the Pastoral Committee we have many roles and duties.  We are constantly reviewing the experiences of the school users to improve school life.  We regularly send out , analyse responses and act on questionnaires.  The themes of these surveys usually arise from the School Improvement Plan.

We deal with any complaints or suggestions that school members, neighbours or the general public may have and deal with them.

We are involved in keeping the Catholic Faith in the heart of the school and participate in Chaplaincy matters too.

Issues of Special Educational Needs, bullying, fostering, school attendance, pupil premium, health and safety and safeguarding and the related policy writing come under the umbrella of the committee and the members have to maintain training to ensure that the school is current in the relevant legislation.

We have a legal requirement to ensure that matters relating to safeguarding and The Prevent Duty are handled in the correct manner. We ensure that these, and other, issues are regularly reviewed and that all visitors are aware of the role they must take.