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 2014 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 have a vested interest in the success of the school, but also as a resident of Lydney I have always been committed to helping our community have a school that our young people deserve, our town can be proud of and one that local parents feel happy sending their children to.
One of my key focuses is 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 we are starting to make strong relationships with our feeder primary schools. 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.
Fundamental to this journey is my relationship with Mr Beveridge, our Head of School. We are both new to our roles, and we both bring enthusiasm, mutual respect and a loyalty to the children we work for. There’s a good amount of humour in the mix and together we work well to raise the aspirations of everyone at the Dean Academy.
Along with the support of the Governing body, Mr Beveridge and his 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 Beveridge and I can and do draw from. Over the last two years it has also become apparent to me that from our own experiences we have much to offer to the Trust and it is clear that the relationship between us and the other 2 schools in the Trust is mutually beneficial.
As I said before, I am a parent of 2 children in the school and a Lydney resident. When not Governing I work at Hartpury College where I established and manage the Students’ Union (not the bar, as some may think — I do the student activism, experience and representation bit) and 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 Ofsted Inspection (you remember — the one that took us out of special measures!) 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 children 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. I don’t for one second want parents to think that because we can say we’re out of Special Measures that we are in anyway complacent — we know the next stage is going to be tough. We know we have a long way to go. We also know that the new structure and processes are having a really positive impact on the outcomes for our learners, but we still have more to do. Without the support of parents 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 (I’m very easy to find — no Jason Bourne skills needed. I’m either at Tesco, Tae Kwondo or on Facebook, either finding out which Game of Thrones character I am or watching videos of otters); encourage your children to see that they can 100% achieve what they want to with resilience and hard work; and work with us to 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 excellence, collaboration, respect and resilience at every visit — honestly, it’s better every time. I feel honoured to be able to uphold and further those values and hope you feel the same.
Onwards and upwards my friends!
Chair Of Governors