If your child was born between 1st September 2019 and 31st August 2020, he or she is eligible to start school here in September 2023. Please contact Mrs Carter, in our school office if you would like to have a look around telephone: 01798 342369 or office@petworthprimary.co.uk and we will arrange a time for you to come and see the school in action.

Governors' News

November 2023
Staff and governors are constantly reviewing pupil achievement and progress, developing the curriculum, monitoring health and wellbeing  and through this identify priorities which are then reflected in the annual School Development Plan.
The current plan, which runs from 2022 -2024, focuses on four priorities
- increasing the achievement and progress in extended writing across the curriculum, throughout the school
- developing the curriculum with a focus on geography, computing, art and design
- further developing phonics teaching across the school
- establishing an effective whole school approach to mental health and wellbeing
The School Development Plan then breaks down these priorities into targets and termly measurable milestones. The targets have an identifiable action; cost/resources; success criteria and identifies who will monitor progress towards the desired outcome.
The School Development Plan provides a monitoring framework for governors...who can then clearly identify the current priorities and assess progress towards success.
July 2023
As this academic year draws to a close Governors are only too aware of the contribution and commitment that all staff give to the school. We are also aware that at times this commitment can take its toll on staff and as Governors we are ultimately responsible for the well being of those who work at PPS. However of course it isn't only adults who are subject mental health issues. Life can be stressful for pupils too.  
Establishing a whole school approach to mental health and well being is a major priority at PPS and as a result is one of the school's four priorities in the current School Development Plan.
Governors regularly monitor the well being of both pupils and staff through Staff Committee meetings; informal chats with staff; regular staff well being questionnaires; pupil voice ie  talking to pupils and exit interviews when staff leave the school. One of our Governors is a designated 'staff liaison' governor who is readily available if staff wish to raise concerns. 
March 2023 
Although last month the DfE ditched its goal that all schools should become academies by 2030, schools in the Rother Valley are still actively exploring the possibility of academisation.
Headteachers and governing bodies of all the schools in the Rother Valley locality, including Petworth, have considered the benefits of becoming part of a Multi Academy Trust. 
Schools have discussed the various options: joining an existing MAT with a proven record; being part of a 'start up ' or early stage MAT or even possibly setting up a Rother Valley schools MAT. 
Discussions at our Governing Body meetings have raised many questions and issues, but we all agree on one thing....that whatever decision we make has to be in the best interests of the school and its future and of course ultimately that means the children.
November 2022
The governors at PPS are committed to ensuring all children receive a rich, broad, exciting and relevant curriculum. We strongly endorse the variety of experiences the children receive to enhance their learning, whether its using the local community; trips to museums or art galleries; visiting authors or artists; musical experiences or being involved in sporting events. However we are mindful of the need to ensure our children succeed and reach required standards in all areas of their learning.
The School Development Plan clearly identifies those areas in which there is a need for improvement. This year 4 priorities are identified
- to increase achievement and progress in extended writing across the school
- to develop geography, computing and art and design 
- further develop phonics teaching across the school
- to establish an effective whole school approach to mental health and well being
It is part of the role of governors to monitor progress towards achieving these targets. Through committee and governor meetings; head teacher reports; speaking to staff and children; attending staff meetings or INSET days; looking at children's work; analysis of data; questioning and  challenge all help governors gather evidence as to how the school is performing in tackling these priorities. 
September 2022
Welcome back to a new year!
The last two years have been challenging times for us all but hopefully, although COVID has not left our lives for good, the impact on our children and their education will be much less dramatic.
Despite lack of posts over the last two years, governors have still fulfilled their strategic and statutory roles ...... albeit remotely at times rather than visiting school. Modern technology has meant that through zoom we have continued to meet on a regular basis and also speak to members of staff to carry out monitoring roles, however there is no substitute for being in school, speaking to both staff and pupils in person and seeing the school in action!
There have been quite a few changes at the school over the last few years...changes in staff, pupils and governors as well as changes to the school environment. One of the most noticeable changes is the arrival of our mini farm! Sheep, goats, ducks and chickens now both contribute too and enhance our broad and rich curriculum. Initially I have to say governors were not as enthusiastic as the staff regarding the menagerie. What about the cost? The health and safety issues? Who will care for the animals? Will they add anything to the children's learning?
Our governor with responsibility for science investigated all these issues and more, speaking to staff and pupils and reported back to the Governing Body that the animals had a positive impact within the school.....that children learn to respect  animals; are involved in the animal husbandry; the animals have been a catalyst to develop links with the local community; there are strong curriculum links and not least caring for the animals has had a real positive impact on  particular individual pupils. 
July 2020
WoW! What a year! Not what any of us could have possibly envisaged back in September or even in January. 
COVID 19 has had a major impact on our children's education and their social and emotional well being. When school hopefully re opens in September, some children will have received no real formal education or seen many of their friends for 6 months. Others will have been in school for only a few weeks since March and their experience of school will have been very different to life pre COVID.
For Governors too school life has been different. No face to face meetings, being in class, attending staff meetings or talking to staff and pupils. Instead constant emails and virtual meetings. I have really missed my weekly sessions listening to children read! 
However Governors still have to fulfill our roles and have relied on weekly updates from the head informing us of pupil numbers; how staff are teaching remotely; the curriculum; safeguarding issues; amended risk assessments; protocols in school; plans to re open; staff and pupil wellbeing  etc etc. We have still been able to question or voice concerns and some of us have been in school outside of the school day to see for ourselves what measures are in place to safeguard and protect both staff and pupils.
Having spoken to both parents and pupils around the town I know most people are looking forward to returning to school in September. The school has worked extremely hard during the holidays to ensure the school is as safe as possible and keeping parents updated and informed. Let us all hope we have seen the worst of coronavirus and we can return to some sort of normality.
November 2019
With a successful OFSTED behind us, you could be forgiven for thinking the staff and governors are taking things easy! Not a bit of it! Even prior to the inspection, staff were planning major changes to the way the National Curriculum is taught in school. THese changes together with the recommendations highlighted in the inspection report comprise the three main priorities identified in the current School Development Plan.
Governors were actively involved in the development of this plan and play a major role in monitoring progress towards targets or 'measurable milestones', through regular attendance at staff meetings and INSET; meeting with relevant members of staff; receiving reports; speaking with stakeholders and where appropriate observing the school in action.
OFSTED may have rated us a good school......but there is always scope for improvement!  We want the best possible educational and enrichment opportunities for all our children
July 2019                                                                                                                                                                             
After weeks of waiting the school has finally been inspected by OFSTED!  The two day visit involved thorough examination of data; meeting with pupils; discussion with staff; parent questionnaire; lesson observations; scrutiny of pupil's work and of course dialogue with governors.
Governors responses to a wide range of questions showed just how well they know the school and the impact they have on all aspects of school life...
- what are the strengths of the school?
- what are the current priorities?
- give examples of governors impact. Have governors challenged the head teacher?
- what improvements have been made since the last inspection?
- what is the difference in the attendance rates of different groups of pupils and what have governors done to improve attendance figures?
- what is behaviour like in the school?
- do pupils feel safe in school? How do we know? Are there safeguarding and child protection 
  procedures in place?
- is their bullying in the school? How is bullying dealt with?
- how are governors contributing to raising the quality of teaching?
- how does Performance Management improve the quality of teaching?
- how are governors informed about the progress of pupils? Are all pupils making expected progress?
- how good is the progress of SEND pupils in the school?
- how do we monitor the spending of Pupil Premium finance?
- what are the priorities in the School Improvement Plan?
- does the Governing Body have the right skill set?
Due to the concerted efforts of all stakeholders over the two years since our last inspection, Petworth Primary School was pleased and relieved to be judged 'good'.....hopefully a few years now before our next inspection!
April 2019                                                                                     
 As the governor with specific responsibility for Early Years, I am a frequent visitor to Oak Class. I regularly listen to the children read, but also meet with the staff to discuss relevant issues; follow up on issues raised by external inspections and monitor provision for the pupils. One of the pleasures of being in the class is seeing the children grow and flourish in school, not only their enthusiasm for learning, but how they grow in confidence and self esteem.
I know my fellow governors find the role of a governor equally satisfying and fulfilling! At times it can be challenging and but we all find our involvement in the school rewarding. 
We are looking to recruit new governors ...so if you would like to find out more, please contact the school or any one of the governing body.
February 2019
One of the committees of the Governing Body is that of Finance, Premises and Health and Safety. This meets twice a term to consider the business side of Petworth Primary School. Key items under discussion include the budget, the use the School is making of various allowances received from the Government as well as the fabric of the buildings and classrooms. Clearly we are most fortunate to be provided with a modern building in such an outstanding location. There are some complications, of course. The footprint of the School is larger than many primary schools, which has implications for some bills, such as cleaning. Having the Herbert Shiner building alongside (empty since the departure of the Music Centre), not to mention Chartwells, creates some extra work. 

The expansion of pupil numbers in the past six years has created opportunities as well as a few threats. In 2012 we had 133 children in the School, compared with the 205 during the current year. These increased numbers have enabled the budget to increase, though the pupil distribution means that we need eight classes currently.  The long-term target is to have seven classes, ideally with about the same number of children.  Another part of the Governors’ remit is to decide which of the services provided by West Sussex CC to sign up for, as well as to approve the long list of policies to be found on this website.

October 2018                                                                               

Petworth Primary School, along with 17 other small rural primary schools in this part of West Sussex, belong to the Rother Valley Locality. Over the years the schools have developed a strong productive working relationship and together share a 'Locality and Teaching Schools Development Plan'. Staff, pupils and governors across the Rother Valley meet on a regular basis...'To collaborate more closely in key areas of our work to lead to outcomes which add value significantly greater than any of us can achieve on our own, to maximise the life chances of all young people in the Rother Valley'

Two years ago headteachers and chairs of governors worked together to develop a strategic plan for 2016-2020. Last week heads and chairs met again to review and evaluate progress on the plan; to consider the potential impact of National and Local Authority priorities and challenges and amend where appropriate the plan for 2018-2020 to both reflect these priorities and challenges but also in response to what has already been implemented and has had a beneficial impact on all pupils in the valley.
July 2018
Governors are regularly involved in the school's self evaluation process.Together with members of the Senior Leadership Team, judgments are made regarding the overall effectiveness of the school; outcomes for pupils; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; effectiveness of leadership and management; personal development, behaviour and welfare and the effectiveness of Early Years provision. Based on this self evaluation the school gives itself an OFSTED grading for each area, providing the evidence to support their decision.
Of course this self assessment is ultimately judged by OFSTED  when they inspect the school. However the school has regular visits from both the Local Authority and the Diocese who through rigorous dialogue and challenge with both staff and governors enable the self assessment process to be as informed and accurate as possible as well as clarify what the school needs to do to further improve.
March 2018

As governors we are always seeking the views of all stakeholders and to that end in February we held the first of our new governor led group meetings for parents.  As outlined in the school newsletter the governing body plan to hold focus group meetings half termly to discuss important school issues. Although the focus group does not decide school policy the views raised in group meetings will be listened to and then considered when making future policy decisions. The focus for our first meeting was the subject of homework.

The group was well attended and proved to be a successful way of engaging parents and gauging opinion regarding homework. Parents were asked to consider a variety of areas concerning homework. Full minutes from the meeting will soon be available for all parents to view on the schools’ website.

The focus group concluded that homework was a necessary part of school life, and that the way the school gradually increases the amount of homework for each year group helps to prepare children for the homework they will receive when joining secondary school. Parents and the leadership team felt that the focus of homework should be upon the core subjects – times table targets, spelling, reading comprehension and mathematics. There was also agreement that where possible homework should be less time consuming for teachers to mark.

During the session it became apparent that there has been some confusion as to how mathletics and lexia online learning helps teachers to measure pupil progress, therefore the school will soon be sending out a letter to all parents addressing this issue.

We hope to build upon the success of our first focus group meeting and will be inviting two parents from each year group at random to attend our next focus group shortly. The next topic for discussion will be the curriculum. The governors would like to thank you for supporting our new initiative, if you have any questions, comments or suggestions for the governing body regarding focus groups or other areas regarding school development please post comments into the comments box in reception.

March 2018
My last posting reported how the school is developing an exciting and engaging curriculum for all the children at PPS. However all schools are judged on the standards and more importantly progress achieved by the pupils and as such are bombarded with data, analysing the performance of specific cohorts. This data identifies how not only how well specific groups perform...boys or girls; disadvantaged pupils; prior attainment; comparison with national standards...but also achievement by subject and year on year.
As 'critical' friends and as part of our monitoring role, governors meet with the Senior Leadership Team to discuss the data and question what is being implemented to improve standards. 
February 2018
Governors often attend both staff meetings and INSET days when the topic is of relevance. Recently three governors from the CWS committee attended both a staff meeting and an INSET day on the curriculum.
The staff meeting focused on the planning format for the Medium Term plan. This plan indicates the aspect of the curriculum that is being covered as well showing progression in skills and knowledge.
At the INSET day teachers were asked what they thought was important about the curriculum at PPS. Answers ranged from challenging and exciting, stimulating and engaging,  use of the local environment and resources, real life experiences, relevant, encompassing the school values, cross curricular etc 
Staff spent the remainder of the day planning the curriculum for the summer term, bearing in mind the requirements of the National Curriculum and age related outcomes ....ensuring there was a 'Stunning Starter' and a 'Fabulous Finish'.... an event or object to really engage and enthuse the children at the beginning of the topic and a purposeful outcome at the end!
October 2017
The beginning of another new year at Petworth Primary School! Where does the time go? As a regular visitor into Oak class it is wonderful to see how quickly and easily the new reception children have settled into school life and how eagerly they come into school every morning.
Governors too have settled back into school and look forward to another year at Petworth Primary. At the first meeting in the autumn term  year we elect our chair and vice chair for the coming academic year. As the chair for the previous 8 years I have decided it is time to hand over the reins to someone new. To ensure that this process is as smooth as possible and to support a new chairperson, we have decided to share the post for the next twelve months. Lisa Whitby is a long serving governor with plenty of experience and the opportunity to co-share as well as undertake local authority training with ensure that the governing body will be in capable hands this time next year!
As well as electing chair and vice chair there are various other  duties that governors need to fulfill at the beginning of each academic year such as 
- register any business or pecuniary interests in the school
- appoint a clerk
- delegate functions and various governor appointments
- agree membership of committees
- agree our Terms of Reference
- accept any relevant policies
- agree any residential trips for pupils
- ensure dates are set for staff Performance Management, including the headteacher
- set dates for meetings in the coming year
In addition governors each have their own role and responsibility and as part of our planning for the coming year we have considered how we can most effectively fulfill our monitoring role, ensuring that we focus on the priorities as identified in the School Development Plan.
July 2017  
Since my last posting the school has of course had an OFSTED inspection. The inspectorate team were fair and professional and governors felt that the verdict 'Requires Improvement' was a true and accurate description of where the school currently is. We were pleased however  that the inspectors acknowledged the huge strides the school had made since our last inspection.
Ever eager to move the school onwards and upwards, staff, governors and advisers from both the Diocese and the Local Authority have been working on the new Action Plan to address the issues raised during the inspection. 
Governors have continued to fulfill their monitoring role this term and the following are just a few of the many examples of our involvement in school
- attended INSET on reading and writing
- met with maths co-ordinator
- reviewed policies
- undertaken both online and West Sussex training
- carried out a Health and Safety audit of the school
- checked school website for compliance and ease of navigation
- met with Early Years staff regarding assessment
- monitored pupil attendance
- accompanied both Petworth Primary and Church Streatham children to Petworth Park
- attended staff meetings
- attended both poetry reading session and production of Shakespeare Rocks
- had regular meetings with head regarding a range of issues
- monitored safeguarding
- undertaken a scrutiny of writing in pupil books
- attended leavers service at St Mary's
- regularly led Collective Worship
and of course participated in our regular governing body meetings.
And so another academic year comes to an end...we wish all those children who are leaving us the best of luck in their new schools....and look forward to welcoming our new reception children in September!
April 2017                                                                                               
 Two governors were very privileged to be invited to spend the day with the Year 6 children at Little Canada on the Isle of Wight in March. The Governing Body does not have to give permission for every school visit that the children participate in.....but we do have to give permission for the annual residential trip.......and having given consent for the children to spend time out of school, it seemed only right and proper that we should at least view where they were staying and what they got up to!
We were impressed by the facilities at Little Canada, a purpose built centre to cater for several hundred children and their leaders. However the weekend that Petworth Primary children were there the only other visitors was a group of Girl Guides!                                                                                                                   The children had the opportunity to participate in a range of activities from dragon boat racing to abseiling, climbing walls and whizzing down a zip wire! However the trip doesn't just offer the children the chance to experience some exciting adventures, but for many it is the first time they have been away from home without their parents or carers. Pupils have to take responsibility for themselves....ensure they are in the correct place at the correct time; look after their personal possessions; get along with their classmates; make their beds; be aware of rules and boundaries . These are all valuable life skills which prepare them for the next phase  when they leave the nurturing environment of a relatively small rural primary school.
Governors had the chance to see the children participate in some of the activities; view the accommodation; sample the food but also speak to both PPS and Little Canada staff regarding safeguarding and risk assessment and thus reassure themselves that as far as possible all necessary steps were taken to ensure the children had a safe and enjoyable few days.

February 2017

The school has seen many changes in the last 18 months and it was felt that as the school is entering a new phase that it was an appropriate time to reconsider the school aims and the current motto 'Enjoy, Encourage, Excel'. Such an important decision needs to have input from the whole school community!

The children on the Worship Committee were asked what was important about their school. They came up with some very insightful and mature ideas which they then took to their peers. The staff then voiced their opinion before a panel of governors, ensuring representation from both parents and the Church, made a final decision. All governors agreed that the 'motto' should reflect the views of the school community as well as the Christian distinctiveness of the school....but importantly should also be easy to remember. So watch this space for the final decision!

January 2017

There are 3 core strategic functions for Governing Bodies .....one of which is 'overseeing the financial performance of the school and making sure that money is well spent'

As you can imagine an annual school budget is a considerable amount of money and it is the responsibility of the governors to ensure that this money is spent wisely to the benefit of all children.                                                                                                                                            

The Chair of the Finance Committee meets regularly with the School Business Manager for updates on how the money is being spent and generally monitor expenditure. It is the role of the Finance Committee to agree the annual budget prepared by the Business Manager before it is sent to the Local Authority; monitor spending throughout the year and ensure that spending remains within prescribed limits. Governors need to ensure that the principles of 'best value' are applied to services purchased with delegated monies.

Larger single expenditures such as major building work; purchasing new computers; internal refurbishment; repairs to the boiler; new playground equipment etc has to be agreed by governors but clearly smaller items and day to day curriculum expenses are delegated to the head teacher as are day - to - day financial management.

Funding for schools is largely determined by the number of pupils...so as we grow so does our budget. however more pupils of course means we need more space and more staff.

One of the issues identified by the inspectors at our last inspection was that 'Leaders and governors do not always check how money allocated for the pupil premium is distributed for the benefit of all eligible pupils'. 

One of the governors is now responsible for ensuring that the children who receive this additional funding are clearly identified and that the grant is used to their benefit and that it has a positive impact on their learning...whether it is used to fund extra staff to support their learning; help pay for music lessons; subsidise residential trips; purchase school uniform or enable the child to receive play therapy. 


December 2016

Keeping children safe whilst they are within our care is of paramount importance to all stakeholders at Petworth Primary. Two governors recently attended a training session to clarify the current safeguarding responsibilities of the Governing Body  and to gain an awareness of current guidance in regard to safeguarding children in education.

Participants on the training session discussed the following issues

-          Definition of safeguarding

-          What and who are we are safeguarding children from

-          Statutory responsibilities

-          Effectiveness of leadership in ensuring all pupils are kept safe

-          Which pupils are most at risk

-          OFSTED inspection framework 

-          Governing Body responsibilities

What do we mean by safeguarding?

The Department for Education defines safeguarding as 

- protecting children from maltreatment

- preventing impairment of children's health or development

- ensuring children are growing up in circumstances consistent with the provision of safe and effective   care

- taking action to enable all children to have the best outcomes

In school safeguarding action may be needed to protect children from a range of issues from neglect; physical abuse; bullying; emotional abuse; racist or disability abuse to name but a few.

What evidence do OFSTED look for when inspecting safeguarding?

Inspectors should look for evidence of the five main aspects of the school's safeguarding arrangements:

- the extent to which leaders and managers create a positive culture and ethos where safeguarding is an important part of everyday life backed up by training at every level

- the content, application and effectiveness of safeguarding policies and procedures and safe recruitment and vetting processes

- the quality of safeguarding practice, including evidence that safe are aware of children who may be at  risk

- the timeliness of response to any safeguarding concerns

- the quality of work to support multi-agency plans around a child

It is the role and responsibility of governors to ensure that the school fulfills its statutory requirements to ensure that all children are safe and that there are no barriers to their physical, emotional and mental well being.

In practice this responsibility manifests itself in many ways from ensuring all staff are vetted; that ALL stakeholders including volunteers know what to do if they have concerns regarding a child; ensuring all staff have the necessary safeguarding and child protection training; that children in need receive appropriate support; that the school environment is safe; that children are taught about how to keep themselves safe;that the relevant policies are in place.

As with all training sessions governors invariably return to school with a list of questions or issues requiring clarification, which are then discussed with the head or relevant member of staff, and reported back to the Governing Body. 


October 2016

The main focus for development throughout the school is to improve both the quality of teaching and therefore the quality of children's learning. The current School Improvement Plan / Action Plan reflects this priority and specific targets indicate how the school intends to achieve this aim.

 Teachers should for example...

 - ensure pupils always produce well-presented work of a high quality and quantity

- have the highest expectations of what children can achieve and set work that is challenging yet    closely matched to pupils' abilities

- set precise targets to show what children are expected to achieve

It is part of the role of governors to monitor progress towards achieving these targets through data analysis; speaking to  teachers and pupils; receiving reports from senior leaders; looking at children's work in their books or displayed around the school.

Governors often accompany a senior member of staff on one their  regular 'Learning Walks'. Both staff and governors are fully briefed before hand and given specifics to focus on, such as

-          Engagement of children in their learning

-          Use of Teaching Assistants in class

-          Evidence of Working Walls (displays featuring children's 'work in progress') in the classroom

-          Use of displays in the classroom

Governors and staff spend 10 minutes in each class and afterwards compare notes. Many Governors have had no teaching experience and even those who have find these Learning Walks  an invaluable insight as to what is going on in school. We do not go into classrooms to criticise or judge but rather to support, question and challenge.

September 2016

Welcome back to the new academic year!      

Governors are already actively involved in fulfillling our monitoring role even before our first official meeting of the year ....attending staff meetings; meeting with the head; volunteering to hear children read; discussing issues with staff; monitoring lunchtime behaviour; and planning for the forthcoming year.

Last year was a year of change for PPS and we hope that we can now look forward to a more settled 12 months. Governors have met to evaluate their input and impact on the school during 2015/2016, identifying both the positive and negative aspects of their monitoring role.

Together with our new headteacher, governors are becoming more strategic and less concerned with the everyday running of the school; the minutes of our meetings are more concise and focused, questions and challenges are clearly identified and actions, decisions and outcomes clearly noted; our monitoring is more aligned to school priorities and governors are less inclined to believe what we are told...we want hard evidence and facts! A governor with specific responsibility for Pupil Premium  monitors which children are eligible for this grant, whether there are any gaps in the performance of these children compared with their peers and how the school is using resources to support these children. 

Governors are acutely conscious of the need to raise standards and improve the progress of all our pupils...to challenge senior leaders and monitor all aspects of school life.

 July 2016

Another year over! We are sorry to say goodbye to our Year 6 pupils and wish them all the best in their new schools. We are sorry also to say goodbye to several members of staff and wish them all the best in wherever their futures lie.

 The school has seen many changes since John became our new headteacher...visually the learning environment has been redecorated and enhanced...we now have an amazing 'sculpture' tree to accompany our 'ceramic pupils'! Walls have been repainted; interactive displays and 'working walls' are a feature in all classrooms and each class has created their own welcoming and distinctive entrance! During the summer holidays more structural changes are planned....improvements to the outdoor learning environment in the Early Years as well as creating a new classroom in Key Stage 2 and alterations to the staff room. 

March 2016

It has been another busy term for governors. As well as our usual committee and Full Governing meetings, individual governors have  continued to take an active role in monitoring all aspects of school life:

  • observing lunchtime arrrangements
  • reviewing attendance and absentee data
  • assessing the impact of classroom interventions 
  • monitoring the use of Pupil Premium funds to raise pupil attainment
  • carrying out Health and Safety audits
  • having curriculum discussions with relevant members of staff 
  • meeting regularly with the headteacher
  • attending INSET days
  • participating in parent workshops
  • analysing attainment and progress data
  • participating in Learning Walks around the school
  • meeting with the SENDCo to discuss provision for meeting the needs of all children
  • attending 'meet the head' coffee morning
  • speaking with children about their learning in school
  • considering the allocation of funds with the bursar prior to setting the budget for the next academic year


 January 2016 

Happy New Year and a very warm welcome to our new head, John Galvin, who joins us from Findon School. The Governing Body look forward to working with John and taking the school forward.

 One of the recommendations as a result of our OFSTED inspection last year was that the Governing Body should undertake an external review of Governance and also how we monitor the use of  Pupil Premium funding. These reviews have now been completed and governors are implementing the recommendations that the external reviewer highlighted.

''Governors show a strong commitment to the school and are anxious to be as effective as        possible.'' 

'' It will be important for the governing body to re-establish itself as strategic, outward-looking and dynamic as the school moves to a new phase with a new headteacher.''

  ''In order to impact on school improvement more quickly it is recommended that governors  work with the incoming headteacher to ......''   

  • review the school’s action plan to ensure that it is meaningful, directly related to the identified areas for improvement and has clear measurable criteria for success
  •  re-establish a cycle of self evaluation, development planning and policy review in order to cover all aspects of school life in the following academic year and beyond.

The School Action Plan is now in place and clearly identifies areas for improvement. Governors are carefully monitoring its implementation and outcomes.

We have appointed a governor with special responsibility for overseeing the spending of Pupil Premium Funding and monitoring the impact this money has on the children.


 December 2015

We shall be very sorry to say goodbye to Gillian Standing at the end of this term. Gill has been at Petworth Primary School for more than ten years, initially seconded from Fittleworth School as a deputy head, for the last six years Gill has been headteacher at the school. The school has doubled in size under her headship is well on the way to achieving our vision of being the first choice of school for parents in Petworth.

We wish Gill all the very best for the future and a long, happy and healthy retirement.

November 2015

Governors try to visit the school whenever possible....not just as part of their monitoring role but also for school performances, sports days, curriculum events, assemblies and festivals, special occasions and annual fairs. In October several governors attended the Open Morning and Evening for both interested parents and members of the community. These are ideal oppprtunities for governors to meet with and talk to both prospective and current parents of children at the school. The school ambassdors did a fantastic job of showing us around the school. It always amazes me how knowledgable and confident the children are and how proud they are of Petworth Primary School.

But the highlight of the annual Open Morning for both governors and the members of the School Council is the shared lunch in the staffroom! This is a real chance for governors to chat with the pupils, find out what they think of their school and whether there are any changes they would like implemented. It is also an oppportunity for us to raise our profile  and to become 'familiar' faces in school.

October 2015

A rather belated welcome back to the new term. This academic year seems to have started the way the last year finished.....eventful and busy!

We are pleased to have successfully appointed a new headteacher and we look forward to working with John Galvin when he takes up his new post in January. I would like to thank my fellow governors for their commitment and professionalism during the interview process. It is a huge responsibility for governors, interviewing and appointing a new leader,  but we are confident that John will build on the current strengths of Petworth Primary School and take us forward.

We are also pleased to welcome our new Rector, Mark Gilbert. As Petworth Primary is a Church School, Father Mark is automatically a member of the Governing Body. As the interviews for our new head were only a couple of days after Mark's 'licensing' ceremony, he was rather thrown in at the deep end! However it was important that he should be part of the process of selecting the new head of the local Church School.

School leaders together with our LEA advisor have been working on the Post OFSTED action plan. However governors have already started to consider how we might best monitor those issues raised as matters of concern by the inspectors.

  • Governors have investigated the allocation of Pupil Premium grant. This additional funding from central government is given to schools to raise the attainment of disadvantaged pupils and close the gap between them and their peers. It is one of the governors' responsibilities to monitor the spending of this grant to ensure that there is an improvement in the performance of pupils in receipt of the grant. Governors considered the allocation of amounts of money on specific projects or items; what were the objectives of this spending and how it was anticipated the pupils would benefit and finally monitoring the actual outcome. Information on Pupil Premium spending can be found on the 'Policy' section of the school website.
  • Governors together with parent representatives have observed children in the hall at lunchtime. OFSTED reported that 'leaders have not ensured that lunchtime arrangements are always orderly and behaviour is good'. The group have spent some time together with staff considering how best lunchtime arrangemnts can be improved.
  • Data review is part of the monitoring role of the Curriculum  Committee. Governors recently reviewed the data from last term which identified standards achieved and progress made. Comparisons were made with local schools as well as against county and national standards. As part of our review we have access to data analysis from outside agencies which clearly identifies the strengths and weaknesses of our school eg are we improving? which curriculum areas are stronger or weaker than others? do boys perform better than girls? do children with Special Needs perform as well as they should? etc

Further updates to follow!

August 2015

Needless to say it was an eventful end to the year......not least a visit from OFSTED!  

The final inspection report acknowledged the many strengths of the school

  • The school is improving and standards are starting to rise at the end of both Key Stages

  • The teaching of reading is improved

  • Marking is more effective

  • Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is monitored effectively

  • Pupils feel safe and well cared for and the school is effective in looking after the needs of pupils with social and emotional needs

  • Leaders have risen to the challenge of staff turnover

However the key findings identified by OFSTED indicate weaknesses which need addressing in order that the school may 'further improve'As a result of the inspection the school was deemed to ‘require improvement’ for several reasons

  • Too few children make ‘good’ progress

  • Teachers do not always have the highest expectations regarding what children can achieve

  • Pupils do not get enough chances to write at length

  • Lunchtime arrangements are not always orderly and behaviour is not always good

  • Teaching in early years is not consistently good to ensure children make the best possible progress

The findings in the report did not come as a surprise to the school. Many of the issues had already been identified and action plans were in place to address the concerns and further improve the school.

As part of the inspection process governors were questioned and relevant paperwork was scrutinised. Our role in school improvement was evaluated and judged accordingly

  • Governors rely on data provided by the school regarding progress of pupils and therefore their view is sometimes too generous

  • Although governors have checked the impact of pupil premium funding, they have not ensured that the money is fairly distributed between eligible pupils in both Key Stages

However OFSTED acknowledged that

  • Governors are well aware of the quality of teaching in the school and the need to ensure a more stable staffing structure

  • Governors are aware of the procedures for managing teachers’ performance and have a clear understanding of what to do to tackle teacher underperformance

As governors we are not complacent and constantly strive to ensure that all pupils receive the best education possible, that children make good progress and overall standards increase. OFSTED reported that ‘Governors are aware that the school requires improvement and minutes of their meetings show that they actively challenge leaders to quickly improve the school’

However the Governing Body recognises that the school needs to address the weaknesses identified in the inspection report. Governors play an important role in the school impovement process and our responsibility will be to actively monitor the implementation and outcome of the ‘post OFSTED Action Plan’ to ensure that when OFSTED next inspects the school that Petworth Primary School is deemed at least ‘good’.

May 2015

Governors have participated in a variety of training sessions recently to ensure that we are up to date with current legislation and developments in the world of education and to further support our role in monitoring the school.

  • All governors attended a session on ‘Understanding our Roles and Responsibilities’ organised by the West Sussex governor support team. As a Governing Body we discussed such questions as our vision for the future; our strategic direction; how we gather information; to whom we are accountable; how we compare with other schools; what are our priorities; what we do well and how could we improve; what are our core functions and the role we play in school improvement.


  • The use of data and data analysis is a crucial element of governors monitoring pupil progress and achievement. A group of governors attended a training session on ‘Using RAISEonline to Improve Our Schools’. RAISEonline is a web- based system that provides schools, local authorities and inspectors with a range of analyses including attainment at the end of Key Stages; progress from Key Stage 1 to 2; performance of different pupil groups and subjects within a school; data on absences and exclusions and the characteristics or context of pupils and the school. For each type of analysis schools are compared with the national averages for primary schools.


  • Members of the Finance Committee attended a session on ‘Financial Efficiencies’. Based on a recent report on ‘review of efficiency in the school system’, governors considered how they could balance economy and effectiveness, discussing issues such as developing high quality teaching and teachers; having the appropriate balance between teachers and support staff; having an effective business manager; managing and running the office; making good use of financial benchmarking and comparing our spending with other schools and having governors who challenge the school’s spending.

  • Recently the government produced a new School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions document. This explains the new arrangements for teachers’ pay and conditions of employment. The document sets out how teacher’s pay progression will be dependent upon their success in the classroom. Clearly this has implications, not only for appraising teacher’s performance but also for the school budget. Governors from the ‘Pay and Capability Committee’ attended a training session on Performance Related Pay to ensure they were fully informed as to how the process should be implemented.


  • The governor representatives nominated by the Church attended the Annual Deanery Briefing which was led by Ann Holt, the new Diocesan Director of Education. Ann spoke of her vision for the Diocesan Board of Education, the work that had been carried out and what still needed to be implemented to create an ‘education team fit for purpose’ and a Board of Education which is can support and advise its Church schools.


  • The head teacher and chair of governors attend termly Chair’s Briefings organised by the Local Authority to keep governors up to speed with changes in legislation, policy and practice.


February 2015

Schools increasingly use a range of data to assess their performance. As governors, it is part of our statutory duty to have a good grasp of this data to enable us to both support and challenge school leaders and ultimately hold the headteacher and senior staff to account for the achievement of our pupils.

It is important therefore that as governors we have access to good quality, timely data to able us to ask challenging questions so that we better understand the strengths and weaknesses of our school, what works well and what we could improve.

At Petworth Primary School governors receive a variety of data from a variety of sources:

  • regular headteacher’s reports

  • termly Teaching and Learning report

  • attainment results from statutory tests eg end of Key Stages

  • on-going monitoring of pupil tracking progress

  • OFSTED school performance ‘data dashboard’

  • Local Authority data

  • governors’ monitoring visits to school

  • discussions with staff

  • attendance at the annual review of data with senior leaders

However our role as governors is not to simply receive the data but to question, challenge and seek clarification.

  • How does attainment and progress at my school compare to national averages and the government’s floor target?

  • How do we compare with similar local schools?

  • Are there subject areas of strength?

  • Are there subject areas in which pupils do not achieve as well as we would expect?

  • Are there marked differences in attainment/progress between the sexes?

  • Do we have any under-performing groups of pupils, or are there wide gaps in attainment between some groups of pupils eg those with Special Needs?

  • How might the particular characteristics of our school affect our performance?

  • How does our pupil attendance compare to national targets?

This data analysis allows the Governing Body to inform and support discussion about school improvement rather than just make absolute judgements about the effectiveness of the school. 

December 2014

As most of you are aware the Governors sent out a questionnaire to all parents and carers last term to ascertain views on school-home communication.

Responses were generally very encouraging with many positive comments such as

  • The school is friendly and welcoming

  • Class teachers are approachable and genuinely care

  • My child is stimulated and engages in his learning

  • Children enjoy topic based activities and learning is fun

  • Information is accessible

  • The school is great at giving children confidence so that they can do their best

  • Education is a partnership.

  • Concerns are dealt with as soon as they arise

  • A great holistic education

  • Emphasis on outdoor learning

  • The school is good with academic subjects and offers the children new experiences

However there were some areas of concern as well as areas of school-home communication that parents felt could be improved.  As a Governing Body we are always seeking to improve the school; we take parental views seriously and value feedback on the school.  In response to the issues highlighted in both the ‘communications’ questionnaire and the annual OFSTED questionnaire, we set up a group of governors and staff to specifically address the concerns or questions which parents had raised.

Rather than try to tackle every minor concern we decided to prioritise the issues as indicated by parents

  • Parent consultations

  • Reading records as a method of communication

  • Curriculum letters

  • Playground behaviour and supervision

  • After school clubs

  • The website


Some of these topics have already been addressed, such as the way parent consultations are organised, others will take a little longer for any changes to be implemented and some will be ongoing projects for governors to monitor on a regular basis. Parents will be kept informed as to the progress of any initiatives and as always we as governors would welcome any constructive feedback.


September 2014

Welcome to the new school year!
I am sure that this year will be just as action packed and exciting as last year.....
There are several changes at Petworth Primary this term. We welcome both new staff and children and of course new parents to our school. The school is also implementing a New National Curriculum....and having been involved in recent INSET days, I am confident that the children will have some fun packed and stimulating learning experiences!

We also have some changes to the membership of our Governing Body. We were very sorry to say goodbye to Anne Dallyn, Andy Rowland and Gary Chandler at the end of last term. We shall miss their commitment to and support for the school and  would like to thank them all for being such an important part of PPS for many years and say how much we will miss them.
Welcome to Lisa Whitby and Judy Howard who are joining us as Parent and Foundation Governors respectively. I am sure that they will find being part of the school both rewarding and fulfilling!

July 2014

As many of you may be aware the Government is encouraging all state schools to become Academies. The Midhurst and Petworth Observer recently reported that Fernhurst Primary School have made the decision to convert to an Academy as from September 2014.

Together with other Governors in our locality, we at Petworth Primary have been exploring the possibility of becoming an Academy, either alone or together with other local schools in what is known as a Multi-Academy Trust.

At the moment we are only at an exploratory stage. We are 'fact finding' and exploring all the options available before making any decision as to whether becoming an Academy is the best option for our school community.

Academy schools are funded directly from central government instead of receiving funds via the Local Authority. This means that as an Academy, a school operates outside Local Authority control and as such has greater freedom than other state schools over issues such as finance, the curriculum, teachers’ pay and conditions.

At the present the Governors are only at a very early stage in considering whether to convert to an Academy. Once we feel we are fully informed as to all the relevant issues and if we believe that is in the best interests of Petworth Primary and that the school would significantly benefit from becoming an Academy, at that stage we would fully inform and involve all stakeholders, including parents, in the decision as to our future.’’

May 2014

Petworth Primary School prides itself on being very much a community school and a school at the heart of the local community. However we recognise that we are also part of a much wider community, not just locally but world-wide!

We have strong links with our immediate locality through the local Church, Petworth House, Rotherlea and Bushy Leith Copse to name but a few and regularly contribute to Petworth Fete in the Park, the annual fair, Petworth Festival as well as participating in Remembrance Day parade and of course remembering the Boy’s School Memorial service.

However we are also keen to foster links with both other parts of the UK, through our association with Christ Church School in Streatham and the wider world, through our annual Giving Tree and support for Nagybereg Orphanage in Ukraine. Children are encouraged to appreciate and value the diversity of backgrounds and circumstances and develop strong and positive relationships in school and the wider community.

Shirley Baring – Johnstone is the Governor with responsibility for monitoring ‘Community Cohesion’ and ensuring that as a Governing Body we promote and celebrate a sense of belonging to diverse and varied communities.
Petworth Primary prides itself on being very much a community school and a school at the heart of the local community. However we recognise that we are also part of a much wider community, not just locally but world-wide!

Three of Shirley’s recent reports involved
• spending an afternoon in Bushy Copse as part of our successful Forest School initiative  ‘’Groups collected water, made origami boats, lit fires in a shell and gathered firewood. There was a boat race later on. Exploring and climbing was  part of the programme. All children were focused and interested throughout, there were no instances of unruly behaviour. The children included me in their activities with great enthusiasm and confidence. The class teacher said that it brought out different dynamics and groupings, it was invaluable for her.

• accompanying the children to London to visit Church Streatham School (a multi-cultural school in a very contrasting neighbourhood to Petworth!).
 “ The Year 6 class were amazed at the business of  London and the multi-ethnicity. At the school we enjoyed a West Indian lunch followed by an impromptu football game on the school’s  limited concrete area – local rules prevailed! This was a natural mixer. Brixton Market  again assaulted us with unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells”.

• being guided round Petworth House as part of a Young Curators after school club.
 ''I was impressed by the children’s enthusiasm. They spoke clearly and with self possession. It was not just talking – we were asked to look and find! I learned things I hadn’t known from numerous visits!''