I was very proud to be elected Chair of the Governors at The Dean Academy in September 2017. At that time we were still in Special Measures, but having been a parent governor since February 2016 I had seen the school make such advances towards giving our children a better quality of education that I felt confident that not only were we moving in the right direction, but with Karen Frost our previous Chair and National Lead in Governance mentoring me, that I could help to be a strong leader in continuing our journey to ‘Good’ and beyond.
As a parent governor I always had a vested interest in the success of the school, but also as a resident of Lydney I have always been committed to helping ensure our community has a school that our young people deserve, our town can be proud of and one that local parents and carers feel happy sending their children to.
One of my key focuses has been on establishing strong links with that community. We now have a full governing body made up of parents, local business figures, school staff and community leaders. Within that structure we have closer ties with Lydney Town Council and local community groups. The mix of governors is crucial to the strong governance and leadership of the school, and with the combination of skills and experience I am proud to chair a governing body that challenges and supports the leadership of the school — making sure that promises are met, standards are maintained and that we continue to strive towards the vision of a strong and successful school which is the pride of our community. Together we provide a vibrant and challenging Governing Body with a solid foundation of different strengths.
Another priority for me and the whole governing body is raising the aspirations of our students, and supporting the school in showing them they can achieve so much more than they might think.
Fundamental to this journey is my relationship with Mr Brand, our Head Teacher. Mr Brand started in the middle of the pandemic and first lockdown which was a task the governing body and I saw him rise to with each new challenge.
The governing body has a strong relationship with the senior leadership team and it is one based on mutual respect and a shared vision. Always central to our work, discussions and decisions are the young people we work for
Along with the support of the Governing body, Mr Brand and his leadership team, the support from the Athelstan Trust is crucial to the continued improvement of the school. The Trust is an educational one, with the focus being on the outcomes and successes of our learners. There is a wealth of experience and support that the school, Mr Brand and I can and do draw from. During my time as governor and chair it has been apparent to me that we have much to offer to the Trust from our own experiences and expertise and it is clear that the relationship between us and the other schools in the Trust is mutually beneficial.
Both of my children attended The Dean Academy and achieved results which saw them move onto their chosen next steps and although they have now left the school as a Lydney resident I am still committed to the vision of the Dean Academy being the school of choice for our young people and families.
Professionally I work in student engagement, representation and engagement at Hartpury University and College and am currently undertaking a Masters in Student Engagement in Higher Education. As such I am absolutely dedicated to fair and free access to quality education locally. I know what quality education looks like and feels like and I know it starts with strong leadership and governance — for that reason I was delighted that in our November 2017 Ofsted Inspection Leadership and Governance was rated as “Good”.
This is such a terrific turn around and achievement, and those dog walkers among you will understand when I say “Where the head leads, the body follows”. We know we have a long journey ahead of us until we can say that our students have access to the standard of schooling that they deserve, but if I didn’t think we could get there I wouldn’t be chairing the team that is helping us do so. We are confident that we are moving in the right direction to achieve ‘good’
Without the support of parents, carers and the wider community we will struggle, so my plea to all of you is to help us — let us know what we’re doing right and what we need to change. You can contact me via the school office and I’m happy to chat about any ideas, questions or concerns you have.
The pandemic has shown us how resilient our young people are and what they can achieve in the face of huge challenge, how supportive their parents and carers are and how committed and skilled our staff are. Together we can give Lydney the school it deserves.
I will continue to give my full support to the values of the Dean Academy and The Athelstan Trust. I’ve been to the school many times as a governor and mum and I can see the values of “Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Ready” supporting our vision of “Enjoyment — Achievement — Community” at every visit. I feel honoured to be able to uphold and further those values and hope you feel the same.
Chair Of Governors