Chair of Governors Update
Chair’s Update Autumn Term 2018
The first half term of this academic year is already over and, as always, the College is buzzing with activity.
In September we were lucky enough to have visits from three best-selling authors, Andy Cope, Maz Evans and Michael Rosen, who spoke to over 1,700 students. Our post 16 students have been on a history trip to London and a group of students from years 8 and 9 attended an educational challenge day at The Gryphon School in Dorset, whilst the Exmouth Art Group exhibition included a section of art work from our GCSE and A level students, which is always of an extremely high standard. In the meantime, rehearsals are well underway for both the Spectacular Music concert on 13th November and our production of “Les Misérables” in December. If you have the opportunity to come along to these events, I would encourage you to do so – I am sure they will both be fantastic performances.
We have good reason in Exmouth to be proud of many of our students for their actions and achievements on a daily basis. This term saw one of our year 13 students from last year, Hattie Musgrove, selected for the National Youth Dance Company of England. Hattie is one of only 30 young people from across the country to successfully audition for the company. In October two of our students were chosen to be representatives of the Lord-Lieutenant, because of their selfless work for the community, integrity, and initiative. This is an enormous honour, because they are two of only six students to be selected from the whole of Devon. Another group of our students raised an estimated £500 for the Teenage Cancer Trust Charity, by cycling 22 miles from College to Exeter Quay along the Exe Valley Trail in wet and windy conditions.
No doubt you will have seen in the local press in August that we were pleased with our exam results this year. The number of students achieving 5 Grades 9-4 including English and Mathematics, rose to 60.4% which is amongst the highest rates the College has ever achieved, with students achieving both English and Mathematics at Grade 4 or above, rising to 66% despite the new more rigorous and difficult GCSE examinations. Overall progress has improved considerably for students in English, Mathematics and, in particular, Science, where the department posted great results for both separate Sciences and the Double Award Science course. These efforts resulted in a 5% increase to our overall English and Mathematics strong (Grade 5+) GCSE pass rate which we expect to be above, both the Local Authority and National figure. At A level we surpassed even last year’s best ever results. 20% of students achieved A* - A grades, 70% of students achieved A*- C grades and 97% of students passed all their examinations (A*- E). Vocational and BTEC results once again were very successful with 60% of results being at the top grades of either Distinction or Distinction Star. Most importantly, the vast majority of our students gained places at their university of choice, apprenticeship or employment. These results were a real tribute to all the staff and students. We are optimistic, therefore, that when Ofsted make their interim visit in this next half term to check on our progress following the inspection last year, that they will agree that we are well on the way to achieving a “good” rating when they return next year.
I hope that you have had the chance to look at the College’s new website. Alongside the launch of this, the College has also set up its own Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter accounts. The sites are being used to try to keep you well informed about all College activities, key dates and useful information. They also provide details on how to contact the College if you need to do so. The College wants to keep parents well informed and to be open and accessible if you need to get in touch. Added to this, the Principal is also continuing the parents’ forums he set up last year.
The College is well aware of the increasing issues with mental health for children and young people and in October all year groups had assemblies focusing on Mental Health as part of Mental Health Awareness week. We wanted to ensure all students know that there are people in College who can provide help and support when needed and encouraged them to feel able to ask for help.
We had two very well attended Open Evenings for the current Year 6 who are in the process of selecting a secondary school for next year and Year 11 who are considering their post 16 options. Parents’ evenings for all year groups take place throughout the year and this is your opportunity to meet your children’s teachers and discuss their progress. There is always a Governors’ table at these evenings, usually in the main hall, and there is no need to book an appointment with us, just come and find us if you want a chat or to discuss anything.
Finally, we have had some changes to the Governing Board this year. When we established ourselves as an Academy in 2011, all the Governors at that time became Directors, Trustees and Members. For most Academies the titles of Director, Trustee and Governor are used fairly interchangeably. However, Members fulfil a different function. As the Academy structures have developed across the country and particularly as Multi Academy Trusts have become more common place, typically the roles of Members and Trustees/Directors/Governors are separated. Members have, essentially, a very “hands off” role. For example; whilst the annual audited accounts will be presented to the Members, it is the Governing Board and the Chair of Governors who approve, sign them and send them to Companies House. Members only meet once or twice a year and their primary role is formally to appoint the Governors. Consequently, the operation, membership and responsibilities of the Full Governing Board will not change. I am very pleased that Elizabeth Lee, Robert Worrell, Alison Maddaford, Linda Brown and Barbara Mason have all agreed to become Members for the College. Those of you who remember these particular individuals will know that they each contributed a great deal in their time as Governors and were very committed to supporting the College. As the Chair of Governors, I will also remain a Member so there will be six of us in total. All other Governors including myself remain as Trustees/Directors.
Four Governors resigned during last year; Lyn Edwardson, Sally Webster, Ruth Jones and Clare Babbage. Lyn was one of our staff Governors and left us only because her role as SEND coordinator within the College means that she has limited time to give to the Board. We appreciate the fact that she managed both for as long as she did. Sally was only with us for a year, but her role at the Commando camp meant that she could bring useful insights to the needs of our Service Children. Ruth had been a Governor since 2006, initially as a parent and then later a community Governor. In her time, she chaired both the Premises and Admissions Committees. Clare joined as a parent Governor in 2011 and as Chair of the Finance Committee and the lead Governor for our Pupil Premium students contributed significantly to the work of the Board. All will be missed and we wish them well for the future. We have four new Governors; Emily McGrath joins us as a community Governor, Clare Tate and Rebecca Haywood are our two new parent Governors and Suzie Loader, one of our English teachers is the new staff Governor. Biographies of all Members and Governors can be found on the website as can minutes from Full Governing Board meetings
Chair of Governors