Chestnut Grove Academy
45 Chestnut Grove
Balham, London SW12 8JZ

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Part of the role of the Local Academy Committee is to support the school to deal with the aftermath of pupils missing schooling and to find ways to plug gaps and make provision for the catch-up alongside considering the wellbeing needs of both staff and pupils. Later, in what I share below (2020-21 objectives) you will see that the Local Academy Committee are going to do do to assist the school and prior to that, what impact we feel we have made in the preceding year, 2019-20. I will present the information based on the sub-committee working groups we hold.
Teaching, Learning & Assessment (TLA) sub-committee
Lead: Ryan Summers
Impact Statement for 2019/20
  • We restructured TLA meetings to 'spotlight' on priorities, allowing the committee to get into the detail, with more real case studies. This also links to our commitment to use data effectively to assess if the school is delivering on its curriculum intent.
  • We specifically focused on the School's Improvement Plan areas and the Ofsted priorities coming out of the 2019 report to ensure pupils are routinely stretched and challenged, with the intention to deepen their thinking. We had a case study of how maths are using questioning to improve and solidify pupil's subject matter understanding and able to build on prior knowledge.
  • We provided 100% support to the school's response to Covid-19 and moving the curriculum online - with practical support and advice on Microsoft products. We are fortunate to have Clare Holley as part of the Local Academy Committee, who works at a senior level in Microsoft.
  • We do not evaluate the increased numbers for Ebacc as prioritisation was given to Covid-19 and supporting a Trust-wide risk assessment process for the roll out of the online provision.

Objectives for 2020/21

1.  The teaching, Learning & Assessment committee's overarching priority for the year will be to support the recovery from the impact Covid-19 has had on all our student's attainment.

In particular we will focus on:

  • The specific impact on disadvantaged students (closing the increased gap);
  • Overseeing the use of Pupil Premium Priorities for 2020-21 to access progress
  • Monitoring the offer of effective and sustainable (Tier 1/2/3) catch-up programme to all departments at risk of underachieving
  • Ensuring all departments can access remote learning and are making sustained progress in all tiers
  • Supporting leadership to continue providing personalised financial and wellbeing support for all departments, especially to those who have suffered adversity due to the pandemic

2.  To have oversight to provide challenge to:

  • Improve disadvantaged students' outcomes in mathematics and science
  • Improve Ebacc % for disadvantaged students by boosting the uptake of MFL
  • Improve attendance of disadvantaged students
  • Improve outcomes of disadvantaged students through embedded formative assessment

3.  Provide oversight and challenge regarding Y11 and Y13 catch up and assessment

4.  Monitor staff workload and wellbeing, ensuring mechanisms are in place to prevent burnout

5.  Ensuring School Improvement Plan priorities continue to be addressed, notably the quality of teaching in key stage 3

6.  Feed in to and champion the work to promote an anti-racist approach at CGA, notably within the school curriculum

Children, Families & Community (CFC) sub-committee
Leads: Sarah Coyte & Clare Holley
Impact Statement for 2019-2020

  • Audited the Covid-19 Risk Assessment : the committee fed back from an external view, teacher view and parental viewpoint
  • Committee supported and fed back on the first Covid-19 school event, procedure changed and updated for future events
  • Safeguarding - is an enduring focus, we met the objective to ensure stringent requirements are met. Additionally, our focus was to ensure policies were introduced and executed on and around remote learning and interaction. An in depth review was conducted into the policies introduced to ensure all are fit for purpose now, and can evolve as restrictions flex and change. CFC provides random staff checks and vetting processes are adhered to. Making safeguarding training a 'must have' for all Local Academy Committee members
  • Reviewed and challenged Chestnut Grove Senior Leadership Team (SLT) around 'Keeping Children Safe in Education', Department for Education guidance, as it had been updated from 2018-2019
  • Maintained and updated training for Safeguarding Link Member, to support school SLT
  • Disadvantaged students focus, ordinarily (pre-Covid-19) - link visits with staff would have been conducted, to specifically understand how support and interventions were working for disadvantaged pupils. Link visit along with engagement with pupils at various different levels, will be actioned in the Spring Term 2021 via Teams
  • Equalities and anti-racism strategy reviewed and challenged and a plan of action executed around how external contributions can be made at this strategy is evolved with school
  • Focused on and continued to address the equality issues arising and challenged the Chestnut Grove SLT
  • Continue to address any equality issues identified in terms of pupils accessing education (attendance, punctuality and behaviour), enrichment during school and career opportunities post education - recommendations made and review plan in place.
  • Parental engagement - link up with Friends of Chestnut Grove to support methods to connect with parental groups; used Parentkind Report (NGA) to inform practice and produce a questionnaire that answers what Local Academy Committee members need to know
  • Accessed funding to support Covid-19 response pressures
  • Committee members support, offer guidance and perspective to school SLT in all matters arising around Parental complaints
  • Accessibility focused objective in terms of challenging in light of Covid-19 restrictions across learning, teaching and leading

Objectives for 2020/21:

1.  Committee to have more contact across the full school, diversifying across roles/levels to obtain a real pulse of the community to feedback into SLT Action Plan for change

2.  Staff wellbeing focus, seek to understand and then work to contribute to staff handbook/ Personal Development Plans

3.  Disadvantaged students - focus on holding the school and its community accountable around the widening gap regarding digital poverty

4.  Focus on the continuance of the Covid-19 Risk Assessment and anti-racism strategies for 20/21

5. Parental engagement: accessing what looks like beyond attendance at parent evening events. Development of bespoke questionnaires and online interviews with parents of specific cohorts of children e.g: SEND

Finance & Resources sub-committee
Leads: Jehangir Byramji & Sarah Marshall
Impact Statement for 2019-20

  • We successfully transitioned the sub-committee leadership and improved communication and clarity of responsibility between the Trust and the school
  • We worked collaboratively and managed a smooth transfer of responsibilities from the Trust Director of Finance to CGA Business Partner on governance and school specific finance leadership to ensure prudent financial management continued
  • We worked closely with SLT and the business partner to monitor and challenge the 2019-20 budget
  • We monitored Covid-19 impact and supported the school to adapt in real time to the impact of Coronavirus, ensuring responsible financial management and budgeting despite significant hits to school's income levels, for example for facilities lettings
  • We maintained oversight on two important operating decisions for the school during the year (new catering contract and the new Sixth Form building)
  • We monitored staff wellbeing through lockdown to understand the impact of home learning and teaching
  • We shaped a conservative budget for 2020/21 in light of experience of the first Coronavirus wave

Objectives for 2020/21:

1.  We will work with SLT to monitor a challenging 2020-2021 budget

2.  We will continue to oversee the development of the Sixth Form expansion and ensure completion without significant financial impact on the school

3.  We will work with the business partner to continue to reassess budget and forecasts considering Covid-19 constraints and recovery timetables (e.g lettings income, incremental costs)

4.  We will continue to recognise the importance of staff wellbeing and continue to monitor SLT to ensure that we prioritise responding to their needs in a time of extra pressure on capacity

You will notice that there are a number of repeating themes for all three of our sub-committees. I hope that this exemplifies to you that we are working collaboratively, and are committed and aligned with the best interests of our pupils at the centre of all we do. We do this while supporting our staff team to bring their best, even during times of challenge and we hold our senior leadership to account to deliver first class education, through teaching that keeps pace with change; within an environment that has us all proud of the school that we are creating together. 

A HUGE thank you to my team:
Christian Kingsley
Ryan Summers
Sarah Marshall
Sarah Coyte
Jehangir Byramji
Clare Holley
Conrad Withey
Sarah Guera
Deborah Sturrock
Elspeth Bracken
Rose Caldwell (who completed in June 2020)

Judi Dumont-Barter
Chair, Chestnut Grove Local Academy Committee