The governing body’s impact review is additional to the report and accounts for the year.
Updated Governance structure can be found here.
The Fulham Boys School Governing Body Impact Review – Summer 2019
This review is additional to the Trustee’s report and accounts. It follows the governing body’s previous two impact reviews and summarises the key areas of governors’ activity and impact in the academic years 2017/18 and 2018/19, following the school’s first Ofsted inspection in May 2017.
The school’s governing body reflects the combination of interests that created the school. It is answerable to the school’s Founders for the ethos of FBS, and to the Department for Education for delivery of the objectives outlined in the school’s funding agreement.
The governing body meets at least once a term and comprises 11 members:
- 4 appointed by FBS Founders
- 1 appointed to represent the local community
- 1 appointed by the London Diocesan Board for Schools
- 1 appointed by the Deanery
- 2 parent governors
- 1 staff governor
- The Headmaster
The governing body’s core roles are:
- To ensure clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction
- To hold the school’s leaders to account
- To oversee the school’s finances
Its objectives for the period reported on have been:
- To ensure all decisions reflect and build on the Founders’ vision for the school. FBS is built on the Christian faith, with an educational vision wholly geared to bringing out the best in boys, and with a specialism in social and business enterprise.
- To recognise the once in a lifetime opportunity to influence and deliver a superb permanent home for FBS and the community; to work to remove all perceived risks relating to temporary and permanent sites.
- To forge the strongest possible links with local primary schools, and ensure full cohorts to FBS securing a genuinely comprehensive intake from pupils of all backgrounds.
- To ensure FBS boys make maximum progress.
- To ensure governance of the highest standard.
- Where the opportunity arises, be open to opportunities to grow an FBS Academy Trust.
- For the academic year 2017-18 the governors were:
- Mark Coward, Deborah DeLong (parent governor), Alun Ebenezer (Headmaster), Sam Brown (staff governor), Mark Jarvis (Deanery), Jessica Hopkins (parent governor), Simon Lough, Arabella Northey (Community governor), Elizabeth Phillips (LDBS), Meriel Stinson, Alex Wade.
- In the academic year 2018-19 Deborah DeLong was replaced as a parent governor by Jason Khan and Simon Lough was replaced by Liam Walker.
Each governing body meeting includes a financial report, an update from the Headmaster on progress against the school development plan and an update from the four committees that oversee specific aspects of the school’s work and development:
Finance and Resources committee – budgeting, site, health and safety
Education committee – curriculum, admissions, attendance, attainment
Personnel committee – staff appointments, appraisal, pay policy, equality, wellbeing
Sport, enterprise and co-curricular committee – communications, marketing, parent and community relations, co-curricular, sport, social enterprise.
These four committees meet at least once a term and report back to the main governing body. They are each chaired by a member of the main governing body, attended by the Headmaster and another governor, and co-opt in additional expertise for challenge and support – including parents, local business and primary school heads.
2.2 Link governors
All areas of the school’s curriculum and co-curriculum are linked to individual governors, to help build informed and constructive partnerships between the school and governing body. The visits are used to check on progress against the school development plan, and for support and advice. In addition, the safeguarding governor provides an annual update report to the main governing body.
3. Impact for the period from September 2017 to July 2019
3.1 Embedding the Founders’ vision
The Founder’s educational vision is embedded via the school development plan. Governors’ termly link visits to the school enable them to review this on a departmental basis; they are also involved in the termly reviews of specific aspects of the school development plan. Each of these whole school reviews is followed up with an action plan, reported to the whole governing body by the headmaster.
The school’s first Siams inspection in November 2017 found “The distinctiveness and effectiveness of Fulham Boys School as a Church of England school are outstanding… The school’s deeply embedded Christian and inclusive ethos successfully supports students’ academic attainment and accelerated progress, alongside their strong personal development and wellbeing”
Governors agreed the critical importance of an engaged parent body, and that the inclusivity of this objective would best be delivered if the Friends of FBS did not have fundraising obligations. Governors helped steer the establishment of The FBS Foundation to become the fundraising arm of the school community.
Governors ensured the ambitious sports provision, co-curricular programme and Enterprise programme central to the founding vision were fully funded.
Governors agreed the critical importance for all concerned that incoming families fully understand the school’s ethos prior to starting. In addition to the transition programme for pupils, the Chair of governors and headmaster have established a series of meetings with incoming parents to discuss vision and ethos. Parental engagement is high, as measured by surveys and attendance at pupil/parent consultations.
3.2 Securing premises and finance
Governors have continued to pressure the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and Department for Education (DfE) to minimise any further delays in the move to school’s permanent site. They have ensured that the extended stay on temporary premises has not been allowed to interrupt delivery of the school’s educational plan. Governors oversaw and approved a tight budget to ensure a potentially tricky period of expansion was financially secure:
Agreement was granted for FBS to self-manage works to the extended premises in Beaumont Avenue and further adaption of Gibbs Green. Governors ensured the delivery of works against a challenging timeframe and the continued maintenance of the split site against a tight budget, enabling FBS to offer full GCSSE options and a full co-curricular and sporting programme from its temporary premises.
Notwithstanding the further delays in the move to permanent premises, Governors determined to press ahead as planned with the opening of the School’s Sixth Form in September 2019 so ensuring that boys who started FBS with the expectation of an 11-19 education and staff who had been recruited on the expectation of teaching Sixth Form were able to continue seamlessly, as planned.
Governors have worked to ensure that FBS’s requirements for its permanent site at Heckfield Place are fully understood by the ESFA and its contractors as works progress, to ensure the building is fit for FBS purpose.
Governors have sought out potential partners and philanthropists to help fund specific projects at the new school site and to finance specific additional education provision. This has enabled the new school hall design to progress with integral bleacher seating and AV, and for additional pupil support, counselling and SEN needs to have been met from Spring 2019.
Governors have helped guide the FBS Foundation to establish its Education Fund, with the objective of raising an additional 10% per pupil per year over and above the DfE’s GAG, so as to ensure that the school can continue to offer smaller class sizes, a full co-curricular and enterprise programme and to recruit and retain outstanding staff. Following an initial review, governors recognized that
parental contributions would be inadequate and worked to raise the profile of the FBS Foundation’s Income and Capital Fund, identifying a new Chair and driving strategy to improve effectiveness for academic years starting September 2019 and September 2020.
3.4 Marketing and monitoring admissions, pupil profile and building community links
FBS is heavily oversubscribed for its Year 7 intake. As it becomes ever more popular, governors continue to advise on the school’s marketing whilst reviewing the impact of its marketing and its admissions policy in delivering a comprehensive intake:
Governors reviewed the admissions policy to assess whether the priority applications zones, the banding tests and the faith admissions criteria remained relevant, and to assess the clarity of the school’s ethos in the policy. Governors determined to remove the banding tests until a tutor proof measure of aptitude could be devised and to simplify the admissions zones to one priority zone. Governors were unable to find a means compliant with the admissions code of ensuring applicant families had read and understood the school’s ethos: it remains a frustration that some applications are made each year in error. Applicants continue to come from over 60 primary schools: faith, non-faith, independent, community.
Governors agreed the importance of maintaining above average FSM/PP pupil intakes and agreed that a review of admissions would be automatically triggered if numbers fell below average.
Governors agreed to proceed with the first sports aptitude admission scheme in 2018 and reviewed it for lessons learnt before continuing it in 2019. The first cohort of FBS sport scholars start in September 2019 and will be monitored for impact.
Governors recognised the importance of FBS being firmly entrenched in the community and of FBS Friends/FBS Foundation as vital components of the school community. Governors worked with parents and the school to establish a Business Forum to build links with the local business community, enabling a network of advisors for careers, mentoring, and wider activities. Governors established a new governance post to oversee this area, advertised and recruited an appropriate candidate.
Governors determined the Sixth Form admissions criteria and advised on marketing the Sixth Form, agreeing the importance of the early appointment of the Head of Sixth Form and supporting best endeavours to build a pipeline of external applicants for the first cohort.
3.5 Pupil progress, attainment and standards
Pupil progress drives FBS’s educational policy, is a standing item for the Education Committee and is reported through to the main governing body. The committee has carefully monitored the school’s progress in working with other schools to benchmark progress and show models for attainment at GCSE. The Governors have been much involved in the progress made by the Pupil Premium (PP) pupils, the PP policy and the ways the PP monies are spent to support these pupils.
The gap between pupil premium and non pupil premium boys is closing steadily;
Governors have sought greater clarity in the progress data presented to the governing body to ensure full and effective scrutiny;
Governors monitor school exclusions via a termly report from the Headmaster, and have ensured that all permanent exclusions have been rigorously examined and are justified.
Governors understand the critical importance of a highly motivated, engaged and happy staff in delivering FBS’s education.
Governors strive to monitor staff welfare and receive termly updates via the personnel committee.
Governors continue to advise in the interview process for all key appointments, helping to draw the best talent into the school; supportive links are maintained via link governor visits.
Governors continue to review all options for non-financial incentives for staff and review financial incentives, including a staff bonus structure
Staff welfare is reported high and turnover remains remarkably low compared with other schools locally.
3.6 Governance to ensure FBS is fit for purpose
Members of the governing body come from varied professional backgrounds and expertise, bringing a rich and broad perspective to the school’s governance. To ensure governance is of the highest standard training is undertaken at a whole governing body level and individually. The governing body’s skills were audited in 2017 to identify gaps. Measures to rectify areas of relative weakness were agreed by the governing body and informed subsequent whole governing body training, individual training and the appointment of new governors.
Ofsted identified the need to put in place to ensure a more rigorous process of review for all policies:
All policies have been reviewed by the committees, and agreed by the main governing body. A process has been established going forward for Governors’ approval following SLT amendment which seeks to ensure there is full and sufficient time for assessment of changes and review against DfE and other requirements.
Governors agreed the benefit of having a forward work plan and will be implementing one for the 2019/20 academic year to ensure policies, the SDP and all governing body objectives are consistently reviewed for impact.
3.7 Growth of FBS as a multi academy trust
Governors have kept abreast of changing government policy on the future of single academy trusts and have completed an initial assessment of the possible benefits to FBS of growing into a multi academy trust, including the further opportunities this would provide for staff development.
Discussions have been held with DfE and Regional Schools Commissioner; advice has been provided to free school applicant groups interested in coming in under an FBS umbrella; discussions are underway with a UTC for joint service provision.