The Structure and Remit of the Governing Board

The governing board is the key strategic decision-making body of the school. It is their role to set the school’s strategic framework and to ensure all statutory duties are met.

Governors are unpaid volunteers who have been appointed or elected on the basis of the skills they contribute to the board. The governing body has adopted the National Governors’ Association (NGA’s) Code of Conduct which can be found here.

The Governing Board has three core functions:

  • Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
  • Holding the Headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its students and the performance management of staff
  • Overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure its money is well spent. Governors are also responsible for overseeing the school's finances, checking that resources are being managed well and helping with the appointment of staff.

The governing board strives to:

  • Appoint the right people with the necessary skills, time and commitment and sufficient diversity of perspectives to ensure internal challenge
  • Ensure that all governors actively contribute in line with clearly defined roles and responsibilities under effective chairmanship
  • Ensure that all governors abide by an explicit code of conduct
  • Provide training and development opportunities for all governors to ensure active succession planning
  • Develop clear governance structures with tightly defined remits, particularly in relation to functions delegated to committees or other bodies;
  • Establish clear separation between the strategic and operational in terms of the role of the board and its school leaders;
  • Foster a positive relationship between the board and its school leaders enabling robust constructive challenge on the basis of a good understanding of objective data particularly on student progress, staff performance and finances
  • Respect the support and advice of their independent and professional clerk
  • Implement robust processes for financial and business planning and oversight and effective controls for compliance, propriety and value for money
  • Implement processes for regular self-evaluation, review and improvement including skills audits, training and development plans and independent external reviews as necessary.

As a governing board we hold the Headteacher and other senior school leaders to account for improving student and staff performance by asking the right questions. It is essential that we are all familiar with specific data about our school to help inform these questions.

The sorts of questions we might ask about student performance and achievement might include asking:

  • Which groups of pupils are the highest and lowest performing, and why?
  • Do senior leaders have credible plans for addressing under-performance or less than expected progress?
  • How will we know that things are improving?
  • How is the school going to raise standards for all children, including the most and least able, those with special educational needs, those receiving free school meals, boys and girls, those of a particular ethnicity, and any who are currently underachieving?
  • Which year groups or subjects get the best and worst results and why? How does this relate to the quality of teaching across the school? What is the strategy for improving the areas of weakest performance?
  • Is the school adequately engaged with the world of work and preparing students for adult life, including knowing where students go when they leave school?
  • How is the school ensuring that it keeps students safe from and builds their resilience to, the risks of extremism and radicalisation? What arrangements are in place to ensure that staff understand and are implementing the Prevent duty?
  • Are senior leaders getting appropriate continuous professional development?
  • Does the school have the right staff and the right development and reward arrangements? What is the school’s approach to implementation of pay reform and performance related pay?
  • How is the school planning to ensure it continues to have the right staff?
  • Have decisions been made with reference to external evidence, for example, has the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Toolkit been used to determine Pupil Premium spending decisions? How will the board know if current approaches are working and how will the impact of decisions and interventions be monitored using appropriate tools such as the EEF DIY Evaluation Guide?
  • Are teachers and support staff being used as effectively and efficiently as possible and in line with evidence and guidance?
  • To what extent is this a happy school with a positive learning culture? What is the school’s record on attendance, behaviour and bullying? Are safeguarding procedures securely in place? What is being done to address any current issues and how will it know if it is working?
  • How good is the school’s wider offer to students? Is the school offering a good range of sports, arts and voluntary activities? Is school food healthy and popular?
  • Is the school encouraging the development of healthy, active lifestyles?
  • How effectively does the school listen to the views of students and parents?

All governors should ideally have a basic understanding of the financial cycle and the legal requirements of the school on accountability and spend. As governors we not only oversee the delivery of the best possible education for students but also provide robust corporate governance to ensure the viability and efficiency of the school through effective business and financial planning. Asking the right questions is equally important in relation to money as it is to educational performance. Questions we may ask might include:

Are resources allocated in line with the school’s strategic priorities?

  • Does the school have a clear budget forecast for the next three years, which identifies spending opportunities and risks and sets how these will be mitigated?
  • Does the school have sufficient reserves to cover major changes such as restructuring, and any risks identified in the budget forecast?
  • Is the school making best use of its budget, including in relation to planning and delivery of the curriculum?
  • Is the school spending its money in accordance with its priorities?
  • Are the school’s assets and financial resources being used efficiently?
  • How can better value for money be achieved from the budget?

The governing board takes governor training very seriously indeed, believing it to be the responsibility of all governors to develop their knowledge and understanding. We believe it is essential that all members of the board have the skills to understand and interpret the full detail of the school’s educational performance and financial data in order to have a thorough understanding of priorities and challenges. It is the duty of governors to identify from the data the issues that need to be discussed and addressed. Less experienced governors are expected to learn from those more experienced and undertake any available training opportunities to improve their confidence and skills in looking at data. All governors are expected to be able to engage fully with discussions about data in relation to the educational and financial performance of the school. If they cannot, the Chair of Governors will ask them to undertake appropriate training or development to enable them to do so.

The governing board consists of 11 members and all governors have a 4-year term of office apart from the Headteacher who remains on the board as long as they are in post:

  • 1 Local Authority representative
  • 1 Headteacher
  • 1 staff governor
  • 2 parent governors
  • up to 6 co-opted governors

The governing board has three committees. Governors are expected to attend all meetings so that they are fully up to date with all school matters:

  • Finance & Resources
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Pastoral & Personnel

From time to time working parties or sub committees may be formed to deal with short term matters; authority may be delegated from the governing board to these sub committees to make decisions on behalf of the full board.

The minutes from governing board meetings are published on the school website once they have been approved. Decisions are recorded but individual voting records are not as the governing board acts as a corporate body in law.

Governors' Annual Report to Parents:

Please click here to access the 2016 Governors' Report.

Governors


Julie Woodyer - Chair of Governors

Julie has taught in four local primary schools being the teacher responsible for the development of Science, Technology & Special Needs in three of these schools and ICT in all four. Following her appointment as Headteacher of Hawes CP School, she led the school from ‘serious weakness’ to ‘outstanding. This demonstrates her ability to identify and drive through necessary school improvements. She has a wide range of experience as a school governor for over 25 years at 5 very different local schools.

Her experience as a parent of a child with significant special need has given her the passion and drive to ensure that not only her child, but all children achieve the very best they can and are supported in every way. Although now retired, her drive and passion to achieve this remains undiminished.

 

Julia Polley - Headteacher Governor

Julia turned to teaching after a successful military career as an RAF Officer. Passionate about young people and giving them every chance to succeed, she stepped up to become a Headteacher in 2013, leading a small rural school in Lincolnshire. Julia moved to Middleham in December 2015, to take up post as Headteacher at The Wensleydale School And Sixth Form.

She is married with 1 son at Durham university.


Roger Harrison-Topham - Coopted Governor

Roger Harrison-Topham FCA, MA has represented the Middle Dales Division ( the Leyburn area) on North Yorkshire County Council for 15 years and is a member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority. He read modern history at Oxford.

Roger lives on a hill farm in Coverdale. His career was as a chartered accountant, investment banker and civil servant. He is now retired.




Mavis Parry- Coopted Governor

Mavis live in Leyburn and was elected as a Parent Governor when she had three children at the school, she now has two grandchildren here.  She has seen many changes in the school and in education over the years but similar problems continue to arise, especially with balancing the budget.  Mavis has, over the years, been involved with most aspects of the school, especially during the period when she was Chair. At present she is one of the governors with the Teaching and Learning remit and also help to keep the policies up to date.




Andrew Jones - Coopted Governor

Andrew was born in Yorkshire but his career has zig-zagged across northern England. He and his wife moved to Wensleydale to enjoy an active retirement, but he also wanted to put his professional experience at the service of the local community.

A career dedicated to the pursuit of academic excellence culminated in sixteen years spent as a sixth form college Principal.  His core function was always to ensure the provision of an outstanding educational experience for students, but the job also entailed running a multi-million pound business, managing 300 employees and delivering a £28m building project.


John Blackie - LA Representative

What John brings to the Governing Body is the absolute determination to obtain the very best from the School for those he represents  in the local communities in the Upper Dales, and a track record of doing his very best, often very successfully, to try to deliver this objective.

Gill Collinson - Vice Chair

Gill Collinson, B Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. MBA, CEng, MIET is Head of Centre at the National STEM Learning Centre & Network where she manages a Centre which provides support to teachers, technicians and support staff across the primary, secondary and FE college sector of the UK to improve the teaching and learning of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects. Having worked both within the public and private sector, Gill has several years’ experience in STEM education and employment. As a Chartered Engineer she has worked in both the engineering and manufacturing industries in the UK, with companies such as Philips, Rolls Royce and Siemens.

Ken Readshaw - Parent Governor

Ken is a chartered accountant who trained with KPMG. He then moved into industry and has considerable experience of the chemical and power generation sectors, both in the UK and abroad. He has been Chair of the Governing Body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form in the past and is passionate about helping to provide communities with the best possible public services.

Ken is married with three children, all born and bred in North Yorkshire, and aims to help the school to continue to improve, for the benefit of its students and the wider community.

The Governing Body

2016/2017 statutory Governor details
2015/2016 Governor register of business interests 
2015/2016 Governor Attendance


Minutes of Governing Body meetings

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 29 March 2017

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 15 February 2017

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 7 December 2016

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 28 September 2016

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 13 July 2016

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 18 May 2016

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 16 March 2016

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 4 February 2016

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 20 January 2016

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 4 November 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Friday 25 September 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 1 July 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body (School Improvement) of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on 20 May 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body (School Improvement) of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 18 March 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body (School Improvement) of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 4 March 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body (School Improvement) of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 5 February 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 3 December 2014

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body (School Improvement) of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 19 November 2014

Minutes of a meeting of the full governing body of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 24 September 2014

Minutes of Finance and Resources Committee

Minutes of a meeting of the Finance & Resources Committee of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 7 October 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the Finance & Resources Committee of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 20 May 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the Finance & Resource Committee of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 5 February 2015

Minutes of a meeting of the Finance & Resources committee of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 3 December 2014

Minutes of a meeting of the Finance & Resources committee of The Wensleydale School and Sixth Form held in the school on Wednesday 26 November 2014


Situated in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, we have a long history dating back to 1959 and we pride ourselves on the quality of our teaching and the welfare of our pupils.

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