The nub of the matter

We have been pleased recently to welcome several trustees into the three Trust schools to conduct their monitoring visits. They have been scrutinising the implementation of important policies and making any suggestions for improvement. These policies cover the following aspects of school life: Admissions and attendance; Pupils’ well-being, including anti-bullying; Pupil behaviour, rewards and sanctions; SEND including EAL, Accessibility Plan; Complaints; PSHE, RSE, Fundamental British Values.

We are, of course, required to have certain policies (available on the website) and these policies need to contain key elements if they are to be compliant with the Independent School Standards Regulations – of which there are over 400! LGS Stoneygate was inspected against these regulations (Regulatory Compliance Inspection) in early December, and its main policies are held in common with the Grammar School. You will be pleased to know that the school was found to be fully compliant; the report is not the most exciting read, but it reassures parents that all expected measures are in place to ensure the safety, well-being and appropriate progress of their children.

As an inspector, the question which is always to the fore of my mind is: “So what?” A school can have the most fabulous facilities and boast that it has highly qualified teachers who organise a remarkable array of activities, but what difference does that make to the achievements and personal development of the pupils? It is the impact and outcomes which count – although their excellence can in reality only stem from excellent teaching and care.

In the same way, it is the role of trustees to monitor and to challenge, and to look beyond the well-worded policies and reports to what is actually happening ‘on the ground’. Our monitoring visits help them to gain a better understanding of the schools and their effectiveness, as do the Education, Safeguarding and Well-being, and Finance and General Purposes Committees – which also provide a forum to interrogate both policy and practice. We are grateful to our trustees, who give generously of their time and expertise to the role (and whose brief biographies can be found here.) Although not often seen by parents, they are as committed as our staff to the Trust’s mission: To be an inspiring centre for co-educational excellence in academic and personal development, within a Christian ethos.

Fine words, certainly, but it is the difference it makes to your child’s life which is the nub of the matter.

Best wishes,

John Watson