Governor Blog

Summer Term Blog – Dr. Dean Farrelly (co-opted Governor)

Our School has continued to focus on delivering excellence in teaching and outcomes for our pupils in what we can all agree has been the most challenging of times.  As we approach the end of the academic year it is important to reflect on the efforts put in by our colleagues, our parents, and perhaps most importantly, our children.

Our core purpose is to contribute to the success of our next generation by providing efficient, effective, and supportive multi-campus education that brings value to our school community.  It is empowering to hear and observe the huge efforts being made by our colleagues, parents, and children to drive this message in all that we do.  Whilst there has been some disruption to learning with additional Bank Holidays and Industrial Action, we have kept sight of our children’s enjoyment and achievement at our heart which we are  immensely proud of.

There has been a continuation of Governor and staff engagements to understand and discuss various plans around teaching, curricula, and development.  These have proven very rewarding and evidence the passion of the Heathfield community in living our values.  Development of subject pathways and medium-term plans for our subject areas, and the progress with embedding metacognition is particularly beneficial as we prepare ourselves for the new academic year (after a well-earned break of course!)  It is also wonderful for us as Governors to hear from various teachers at the Governor meetings where they share their plans and passion for their subject area.  It really reinforces the strength of our community at Heathfield.

I was particularly honoured to support an outreach session for our Y2 and Y5/6 pupils in partnership with the University of Nottingham.  This was very much focused on lighting a spark and aspiration toward Science and more broadly, further education, as they progress through their education journey.  Our guest speakers certainly enjoyed the session and answering the questions put to them.  Thank you to all the children for their engagement with us.

It is important to acknowledge the impact that recent years have had on our community.  We have made direct steps to bridge the gap that has emerged in outcomes for our children and will continue to do so in partnership with our Heathfield community.  We are not blind to the challenges ahead of us, but as a school, have clear sight on the path we must walk to support our pupils.

Dr Dean Farrelly

Spring Term Blog  – Clair Taylor (co-opted Governor)

So 2021 didn’t really start how we would have hoped but Spring is finally here and following relevant risk assessments by the senior leadership team the children will have returned to school on March 8th.

Hats off to parents and carers for rising to the challenge and all the staff for adapting their teaching skills to enable remote learning.

Our staff engagement as governors for this term is focused on remote learning and the modifications that have had to be made. Our findings will be will discussed at the next virtual Full Governing Board meeting at the end of March.

As a member of the School Improvement Committee I had chance to join 2 classes via Microsoft Teams on 26th January. The discussion with the children was about their topics and how they related to the books they are reading. They expressed that as pupils they feel their voice is being listened to in helping to guide what they want to learn about as well as meeting the National Curriculum guidelines.

During the past few months the safety and well-being of staff, children and their families has been a top priority and will continue to be so as schools re open fully and operation returns to ‘normal’

The tunnel has been a long one but light is at the end.

Autumn Term Blog – Julie Nicholson (Vice Chair)

Our Governor meetings have continued virtually this term and it’s great to hear how well everyone, including pupils , parents and staff have adapted to the new arrangements and procedures this academic year. Your continued support is very much appreciated.

As part of our role as governors we undertake various monitoring activities which involve talking to children and the staff, and studying work in books. This hasn’t stopped albeit in a slightly different way. Meetings with staff have been held virtually, and 3 of our Governors ‘virtually’ joined two classes to speak to the children and ask them if they felt safe at school during the current pandemic, what had changed for the better and what hadn’t? We also enquired about whether they had enjoyed working at home and if they knew who to speak to if they were worried. All comments were then shared with the Senior Leadership Team and the wider Governing Body.

Thank you again to all the staff and children for working so hard during these difficult times.

Welcome to the Summer Term Blog 2020 – Covid Special

School was closed to all pupils except for key worker children and vulnerable families from 23rd March.  This was a difficult time for all stakeholders and one which we may not experience again.  The unknown was dealt with well by the school with full support of the Governors.

Governor meetings did not stop – we moved to Teams and were able to support the SLT with the Risk Assessment process, budget agreements and the usual Full Governing Board meeting at the end of the Summer Term.

Gary Fullwood sent weekly updates to Governors to keep us all up to date with the changes and attendance at school within the Rainbow Club and the Year Groups who were able to return before the summer.

We also had a final reopening risk assessment meeting just before the end of term to see what plans and arrangements had been put in place for the hopeful reopening in September.

Governors sent their thanks on a regular basis to the staff who have worked hard for our families over lockdown.

Welcome to our Spring Term Blog 2020

Our Safeguarding group met to discuss the role of the Safeguarding Governor and how it works at Heathfield.  There are two link governors for Safeguarding who work closely with the DSL.  After their agreement in Autumn 1 for an ACEs register to be drawn up (Adverse Childhood Experiences) which is now in place, we are currently working on a child-friendly safeguarding policy, supporting our pupils and parents in understanding the support on offer in school and who to speak to if they are concerned.

Welcome to our Autumn Term Blog 2019

Our School Improvement Committee meet each half term and cover a number of items during the two hour meeting.  This term, the Governors meet new staff members at each campus to see how they feel after their first few weeks working at Heathfield.  Positive praise all round!

Governors collaborated to establish their priorities for the year in their Action Plan and new links have been formed with teachers across school enabling Governors to visit classes and to see Heathfield in action.

Welcome to our Summer Term Blog 2018/19

Welcome to new Governors

We are fortunate to welcome new Governors to our team.  Ian, a parent governor, who is a secondary school teacher and Dean, a co-opted governor, who works at the University of Nottingham.  They both bring new ideas and perspective to the governing body and we look forward to their contribution.

Review of Governance

As a Governing Body we recently participated in an External Review of Governance focusing on our performance, effectiveness and impact on the pupils of Heathfield Primary and Nursery School. The review was undertaken by the Local Authority.  Governors met to hear the outcomes of the review and to think about our next steps.

The review highlighted that we are a strong Governing Body, with every Governor committed to Heathfield and the staff and pupils of the school. As Governors, our priority is to secure the best outcomes for the pupils whilst still maintaining the ethos of the school ensuring that as many of our pupils as possible are given access to a wide range of opportunities and experiences.  Staff development is also a priority that we hold very dear to our hearts.

The evening also allowed us the opportunity to reflect on the skills that the individual Governors have, showing that between us we have a range of skills and a wealth of different experiences that we individually and collectively bring to meetings, giving us the ability to challenge as appropriate, as well as support the senior leadership team in their vision for the school.

The most important aspect of the evening was to set our plans for the future and decide how we will continue to have a positive impact on Heathfield, particularly in these ever changing and occasionally challenging times.

A successful and enjoyable evening all round. It is often difficult during a full Governor’s meeting to find the time to discuss things that are not strictly on the agenda and it was good to have the chance to have the time to focus exclusively on how we impact the staff and students at Heathfield Primary.

Amelia Fraser – Parent Governor

Welcome to our Spring Term Blog

Attendance at Parents Evening

Great to meet so many of you at Parents Evening. We had Governors at each Campus talking to parents to gather their views of the school.  We had a great turnout with 85% at Kersall Drive and 85% at Scotland Road.

Governor Monitoring

This term we are visiting  our link classes and teachers to look at the specific interventions which are running to support our Pupil Premium children across school.  Some interventions have been a result of staff training in provision such as Switch on and others are using additional staffing which is part funded by the schools allocation of Pupil Premium.

Autumn Term Blog


I am a governor on the Heathfield Primary and Nursery Governing Body and I attended an In-Service Training (INSET) session for school staff on “Keeping Children Safe in Education” held at the Kersall Drive campus on Friday, 6 October 2017. This was attended by almost all the school staff and the external trainer was Carolyn Eyre.

The trainer held the attention of everyone present at the training by making it very interesting and topical by referring to past Safeguarding cases in the country.

As a school governor, I have previously attended several ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ training sessions in Nottingham over several years and have learnt something new every time about Safeguarding and this was no exception. In fact, it was particularly useful for me as the school staff were also present at the training.

The message for governors was that the Governors’ role in this is:

  • To be a “critical friend” providing accountability
  • To ensure compliance with Safeguarding legislation

The clear message from the trainer was:

  • Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility and that we all have an important role to play.
  • Be vigilant and take responsibility.
  • Be willing to think the unthinkable.

I thought the training was excellent and judging by the reaction of the staff, they also found it to be incredibly informative and useful.

Pete Cumberland – Co-opted Governor

Summer Term Blog

Once again I was fortunate enough to attend the KS2 Sports Day on Wednesday afternoon on a warm and sunny day at Vernon Park. This year we were joined by the Peacocks, our first Year 3 Class based at Kersall Drive. It was nice to see so many friends and family who came along to cheer the children on.

As with previous years the children were very competitive and enthusiastic in taking part in all the various races, as well as cheering on their classmates. Heathfield appears to have many budding athletes of the future amongst them. With Mr Hicks, Mr Fullwood and Miss Malone doing a sterling job on the finishing line, a big thank you to all the other staff, who ensured that all the children were ready in place to take part in the next race moments after the previous race had finished. The afternoon finished with the parents/teachers running race which appeared to be as competitive as those involving the children!

On Friday I had the pleasure of attending the EYFS Sports Carnival at Scotland Road  involving our youngest children from Dolphins and Seahorses. The children enjoyed the competitive nature and had lots of fun!  Again it was nice to see so many friends and family who turned up to cheer the children on. Thank you once again to all the staff for their hard work in getting all the children to take part, and also a thank you to the handful of Year 5’s who were on hand to help the children in their races, and to hand out stickers!

Natalie Foster – Parent Governor

Budget:  Following our additional budget meeting, we are supporting the school in setting a budget which will enable Heathfield to carry on providing the fantastic wealth of experiences for the children.  Schools are facing huge budget cuts and we will support the school in ensuring the best possible solutions for the future provision.

Training: Opportunities have been embraced as part of the Primary 6 Partnership.  This network of local governors is useful for sharing expertise and good practice.  Heidi Shewell-Cooper (P6P manager) is also a National Leader of Governance which is invaluable in providing us with additional guidance and support.

Monitoring: Governors have played an active part in the recent School Improvement Committee in partnership with William Booth Primary School.  Recent monitoring visits have included a focus on Mathematics and Behaviour.  This monitoring enables Governors to gain a higher profile amongst staff and pupils as well as giving the Governor a good understanding of the school’s strengths and developments.

New Recruit… We will be welcoming Miss Lisa Newcombe to the Governing Body as a co-opted governor.  Lisa’s daughter attends Kersall Drive Campus.

Welcome to our Spring Term Blog

19th January 2017

Another great session with local governors at the P6P looking at how to attract new Governors in the area and a common approach to induction for Governors.

If anyone would like any further information please contact the school.

20th December 2016

Well done to all staff and governors on the Ofsted Report. Really pleased to see that the school is thriving and continuing to be ‘good’. If you haven’t seen the report you can see a copy here.

Welcome to our Autumn Term Blog

What does a Governor do?

We often get asked by Parents ‘What does a Governor do?’

The official Governing Body role is to be a strategic board with 3 key functions.

  • Oversee the financial performance of the school and make sure its money well spent.
  • Hold the Headteacher and leadership team to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils.
  • Ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.

But what does that actually mean and what have we been doing this term to evidence this?

Monitoring – As part of our role we undertake regular monitoring activities. This gives us the opportunity to get to know the staff, school and most importantly the children.  This is one of the many rewarding parts of being a Governor and involves walking around the school, taking to the  children and sitting in the classrooms during lessons. To ensure we get the most out of these visits we agree a focus area to support the Schools Development Plan.

Earlier in the year we invested in the ‘Maths No Problem’ scheme to improve our Maths attainment, so we elected to monitor this to see how the teachers are using the scheme and the impact on the children learning . As part of the monitoring review the Governors have key questions to answer from what they observed.

An example of some of these questions are;

  • Does the scheme support the quality of teaching, learning and assessment?
  • How is the scheme being used and is it clear that teachers are taking ownership and not just methodically working their way through the text book?
  • Are the children being given the opportunity to work on a wide range of maths topics and calculations?
  • Are children of differing abilities being given resources such as manipulatives to support their understanding?

On monitoring the Hedgehogs Class using the outside space to practice their subtraction the link Governor wrte: “A fantastic interactive session for the children. A practical example of subtraction was used with Mrs Fisher being the bus driver and children getting off the bus, the children working out how many children were left after each bus stop.”

Attendance at Parents Evening

Great to meet so many of you at Scotland Road Parents Evening. We had a great turnout with 88% at Kersall Drive and 86% at Scotland Road.

Training with Primary 6 Partnership Network (P6P) – Effective Monitoring of Safeguarding

We also are part of the P6P network which is a partnership of local Nottingham City Schools. We meet regularly to share expertise and resources to be as efficient and effective as possible, to enable children, staff and communities reach their potential. We attended a great session recently on Safeguarding and how the Governing Body ensures that their monitoring of safeguarding is effective and that we understand what our responsibilities are to our children.

How do we know we are an effective Governing Body? – One of our responsibilities is to ensure we comply with the Governors Code of Conduct and it is important that we continually self- evaluate and review our governing body. Over the next few months we will be spending some time holding discussions with each governor to ensure we continue to be effective and have the right skills.  The outputs will be collated to identify strengths and weaknesses to improve effective governance and will be published on our Governors page.

Finally ….We have our own twitter feed,   where you can follow our monitoring activities, please feel free to follow us @heathfieldgovs

Heathfield Primary and Nursery Governing Body