Bishopton Redmarshall CE Primary School
Academy Council

Effective and Efficient Governance at Bishopton Redmarshall CE Primary School 2020/21

Bishopton Redmarshall CE Primary School is a member of the Durham & Newcastle Diocesan Learning Trust (D&NDLT).  The Board of Directors of the Trust has identified that each school in the Trust will have a dedicated committee to oversee the governance arrangements of the school on their behalf.  This committee is called the Academy Council and its members – Academy Councillors - work closely with the Head Teacher and the school’s leaders in order to achieve the best possible outcomes for all pupils.

The membership of the Academy Council is as follows:

Composition of Academy Council
(varies depending on VC or VA previously)

Membership 2021/22

Elected staff member (at least 1)

Jacqueline Pearson

Head Teacher

Judith Skirving

Elected parent (min of 2)

Christopher White

Elected parent

Jane Acomb

Ex officio Foundation

Claire Gibbs

Foundation – DDEB (min of 2)

Julie Lynch

Foundation - DDEB

Vacancy

Foundation – DDEB>PCC

Vacancy

Foundation – DDEB>PCC

Vacancy

Co-opted (max of 2)

Lee Hammond

Co-opted

David Langlands

The role of the Academy Council is to provide confident, strategic leadership and to create robust accountability, oversight and assurance for educational and financial performance. The Academy Council meets half-termly and its work reflects the Trust’s Scheme of Delegation that identifies the duties delegated to the Academy Council by the Board of Directors.

Councillors work very hard to ensure that they know what it is like to be a learner in the school and undertake a range of activity in relation to the three core functions of governance:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction.

The Academy Council helps to shape the vision for the school and councillors review this annually, as well as looking at the progress being made against the school’s aims.

The School Development Plan (SDP) identifies the school’s priorities for the year and the Academy Council is instrumental in working with the Head Teacher to develop this and then monitoring progress against the identified priorities for the year.

Councillors are linked to areas of the SDP and undertake a range of activity – meeting staff, talking to pupils, reviewing plans, looking at pupils’ work – so that they can see the progress being made against the priorities for themselves.

Councillors are also linked to other areas and aspects of school life – e.g. science, safeguarding, Pupil Premium - and this helps them to understand the school and enables them to build relationships with members of staff. This ensures that the decisions they make are based on a good knowledge of the school.

Councillors report on their activity to the meetings of the Academy Council so that all councillors are aware of what is going well and what is in need of development.

Councillors also identify and then manage any risks that might impact on the outcomes achieved by the school.

  1. Holding school leaders to account for the educational performance of the organisation and its pupils, and the performance management of staff.

Councillors act as critical friends to the Head Teacher and are always striving to ensure that the school is doing the best it can for every pupil.

Councillors look at the information provided by the school on the progress and attainment of pupils and challenge the Head Teacher when performance appears to be uneven or inconsistent. They ask about the organisation of the curriculum and the quality of teaching in the school. They make sure that the school has a robust system in place for the performance management of staff. Councillors rely on the Trust to undertake the performance management of the Head Teacher on their behalf.

Councillors look at a range of external data and information to see how their school compares to local and national benchmarks. They also look at the reports of external partners about their school so that they have as wide a view as possible of how their school is performing.

  • Overseeing the financial performance of the organisation and ensuring that money is well spent for the benefit of all pupils.

Councillors are involved in discussion about the projected budget for the year but the final decision on the school’s budget is taken by the Board of Directors. Councillors then receive regular updates on the progress of the budget for the year and challenge where there appears to be variations in what has been spent compared to what was expected to be spent.

Councillors also receive information about the school’s plan for spending its Pupil Premium grant and PE and Sport grant. The school provides regular updates on the impact of these plans to meetings of the Academy Council.

Impact of the work of the Academy Council

  Bishopton Redmarshall CE Primary School has an exceptionally strong vision which has
  been successfully embedded across the school.  The vision is understood by all members
  of our school community and leaders are extremely ambitious for the future.  School
  leaders have felt fully supported by Academy Councillors during the pandemic. Academy
  Councillors have remained fully involved during this challenging time and the safety and
  wellbeing of pupils, staff and our families was the main priority.  The Academy Council
  ensured all statutory duties were met and a quality education was provided to children
  both in school and remotely.

As well as attending business meetings of the Academy Council, councillors also attend regular training and development sessions. These relate to either the development of the Academy Council as a whole or to the personal development of individual councillors. All councillors are expected to undertake a two-year cycle of Trust-identified training. Councillors can also access on-line training as members of the National Governance Association.  Newly appointed councillors receive a planned programme of induction support.

The Academy Council is always trying to improve what it does and an annual self-evaluation takes place at which councillors decide, in terms of governance, what has gone well during the year and what the areas of focus need to be for the following year. This is based on the criteria for effective governance identified in the Governance Handbook (DfE).

The Academy Council has the following as its areas of focus for 2020/21:

  • Supporting and monitoring the back to school arrangements and to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the whole school community;
  • To further develop and increase the effectiveness of our Academy Council by seeking individuals with specific skills to fill current vacancies;
  • To further develop individual Academy Councillors specific responsibilities in terms of carrying out regular and effective monitoring in school.

  A message from the Chair of our Academy Council, Mr Lee Hammond

My name is Lee Hammond and I am the Chair of Bishopton Redmarshall Academy Council.

The role of the Bishopton Redmarshall Academy Council is to provide strategic management, and to act as a "critical friend", supporting the work of the headteacher and other staff.

As chair of the Academy Council my role is to:

  • work with the headteacher to promote and maintain high standards of educational achievement
  • ensure that the Academy Council sets a clear vision, ethos and strategic direction for the school
  • with the Academy Council, hold the headteacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and for the performance management of staff
  • with the Directors, ensure oversight of the financial performance of the school and effective use of the schools resources

If you have any questions or would like to get in touch with me, I'm contactable via my email address: chairgovernor@bishoptonredmarshallprimary.org.uk

Register of Interest 2021-22 Academic Year

Name

Involvement in companies that may trade with the Trust 

Other personal interests 

Close family relationships 

Lee Hammond 
Chair of Academy Council
Co-Opted Appointed by GB/Board
15.1.19 - 14.1.23

Director, ASIC UK Ltd
Nature of Business: Accreditation
Date interest began: January 2007

Director, ASIC Global Ltd
Nature of Business: Accreditation
Date interest began: December 2011

Governor, Ian Ramsey CE Academy
Date interest began: Apr 19

 

None

Judith Skirving
Ex-Officio - Headteacher

None

None

None

Chris White
Parent Elected Academy Councillor

5.7.21 - 4.7.25

Director, Darlington Building Society
Nature of Business: Building Society
Date interest began: January 2015

Chair of Audit and Risk Committee, South Tees Development Corporation
Date interest began: Nov 2018

None

Julie Lynch (Vice Chair)
Foundation Elected Academy Councillor
16.10.18 - 15.10.22

None

None

None

Rev Claire Gibbs
Ex-Officio Foundation Academy Councillor
23.7.17 Ex-Officio

None

Foundation Governor, William Cassidy CofE School
Date interest began: Sept 2021

None

Jacqueline Pearson 
Staff Elected Academy Councillor
7.10.19 - 6.10.23

School Business Manager, Heighington CE Primary School
Date interest began: September 2005

None

None

David Langlands
Co-Opted Academy Councillor - Appointed by Academy Council
7.12.20 - 6.12.24

None

Seaham High School, Co-opted Governor

None 

Jane Acomb
Parent Elected Academy Councillor

18.10.21 - 17.10.25

To follow

 

 

Register of Interest 2020-21 Academic Year

Name

Involvement in companies that may trade with the Trust 

Other personal interests 

Close family relationships 

Lee Hammond 
Chair of Academy Council
Co-Opted Appointed by GB/Board
15.1.19 - 14.1.23

Director, ASIC UK Ltd
Nature of Business: Accreditation
Date interest began: January 2007

Director, ASIC Global Ltd
Nature of Business: Accreditation
Date interest began: December 2011

Director, ASIQUAL
Nature of Business: Awarding body
Date interest began: February 2012

Governor, Ian Ramsey CE Academy
Date interest began: Apr 19

 

None

Judith Skirving
Ex-Officio - Headteacher

None

None

None

Chris White
Parent Elected Academy Councillor
5.7.17 - 4.7.21

5.7.21 - 4.7.25

Director, Darlington Building Society
Nature of Business: Building Society
Date interest began: January 2015

Director, Darlington Homes Ltd
Nature of Business: Property Management
Date interest began: January 2018

None

None

Julie Lynch (Vice Chair)
Foundation Elected Academy Councillor
16.10.18 - 15.10.22

None

None

None

Rev Claire Gibbs
Ex-Officio Foundation Academy Councillor
23.7.17 Ex-Officio

None

Trustee, Wynyard CofE Primary School (Free School)
Date interest began: Jan 2019

None

Jacqueline Pearson 
Staff Elected Academy Councillor
7.10.19 - 6.10.23

School Business Manager, Heighington CE Primary School
Date interest began: September 2005

None

None

David Langlands
Co-Opted Academy Councillor - Appointed by Academy Council
7.12.20 - 6.12.24

Seaham High School, Co-opted Governor

None

None 

 Register of Attendance at meetings 2021-22 Academic Year

Academy Council Members 18.10.21 6.12.21 7.2.22 28.3.22 9.5.22 4.7.22
Mr Lee Hammond X

 

Mr Chris White X
Mrs Julie Lynch X
Mrs Judith Skirving X
Rev Claire Gibbs X
Mrs Jacqueline Pearson X
Mr David Langlands X
Miss Jane Acomb X

Register of Attendance at meetings 2020-21 Academic Year

Academy Council Members 28.9.21 7.12.20 25.1.21 15.3.21 10.5.21 5.7.21
Mr Lee Hammond X X X X

X

X
Mr Chris White X Abs X X X X
Mrs Julie Lynch Abs X X X X X
Mrs Judith Skirving X X X X X X
Rev Claire Gibbs X Abs Abs Abs Abs Abs
Mrs Jacqueline Pearson X X X X X X
Mr David Langlands - X Abs X Abs Abs