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

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Governance Impact Statement 2020/21  |  Goals 2021/22
Chestnut Grove Local Academy Committee


The following are the well-known three Core Functions of Governance, however most recently the National Governance Association (NGA) have recommended a fourth, which as a Local Academy Committee (LAC), we want to fully embrace along with the others:

  1. Ensuring clarity of vision, ethos and strategic direction;
  2. Holding the head teacher to account for the educational performance of the school and its pupils, and the performance management of staff;
  3. Monitoring the financial performance of the organisation and making sure its money is well spent.
  4. Stakeholder engagement in a meaningful way contributes powerfully and directly to providing enriching experiences and high quality education for our children.

Normally the word ‘crazy’ would not be used in a governance statement but we believe all would agree that it is an understatement for what we have been dealing with since March 2020 and even more so in the last few weeks (Feb/Mar 22). The turmoil generated in the world has impacted our children in extreme ways and the commitment of the LAC is to work closely with the senior leaders at Chestnut Grove Academy (CGA) to implement rigorous and creative ways to address any losses and move us forward, stronger and better. I want to share a little about who we are, though all our details will be on the school website.

Our committee makeup  |  12 members

  • Chair - is a community governor, previously a parent governor
  • The Deputy Chair - is a community governor and leads on our financial oversight
  • Chair of the Teaching, Learning & Assessment sub-committee - is a community governor and a current CGA parent, bringing a strong business head
  • Chair of the Children, Families and Communities sub-committee - is a community governor and technological expertise
  • 2 Parent Governors - elected by CGA parents, bringing a track record of educational leadership and government knowledge, respectively
  • 3 Staff governors - two teachers and one support staff member, providing a variety of skills from languages, 6th form support and drama
  • 1 Community governor - who is a current CGA parent and leading our work on diversity & inclusion
  • 1 Community governor - who is currently supporting the school with discussions on tutoring and the Artsmark award
  • Headteacher - also Co-CEO of Wandle Learning Trust

The LAC bring an excellent cross section of skills and expertise, which we are confident will underpin all current endeavours in a robust way and support us with succession planning.

The Local Academy Committee (LAC) is formed of 3 sub-committees:

  1. Policy & Resources (providing oversight for all subcommittees and liaising with Wandle Learning Trust regarding finances, for which they are fully accountable)
  2. Teaching, Learning & Assessment
  3. Children, Families and Communities

Our Impact

Teaching, Learning & Assessment (TLA) Committee

Achievements in 2020/21 (Ryan Summers - Previous Chair)

  • TLA meetings focused 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.
  • Focused on the School Improvement Plan areas and particularly the Ofsted priorities (coming out of the 2019 report) to ensure pupils are routinely stretched and challenged, with the intention to deepen their thinking.
  • Provided support throughout the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic as the school moved in and out of lockdown, moved the curriculum online and coped with the other non-curriculum impacts on teaching such as testing and absence due to illness. 

Children, Families & Community (CFC) sub-committee

Achievements in 2020/21 (Leads: Sarah Coyte to June 2021 & Clare Holley)

  • Audited the Covid-19 Risk Assessment: the committee fed back from an external view, teacher view and parental viewpoint
  • Supported the ability to access funding to support Covid-19 response pressures
  • Accessibility focused objective in terms of challenging in light of Covid-19 restrictions across learning, teaching and leading.
  • 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.
  • Focus was given 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, and can evolve as restrictions flex and change.
  • We provide regular HR checks and to ensure vetting processes are adhered to through the Single Central Record procedure.
  • We ensure that safeguarding training is 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 (updated 2021).
  • Maintained and updated training for Safeguarding Link Governor, 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 as 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 - linked 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.
  • Committee members support, offer guidance and perspective to school SLT in all matters arising around Parental complaints.


The TLA & CFC committee's overaching priority for the year will be to support the roadmap back to full recovery from the impact Covid-19 has had on all out students, support staff and teachers and to deliver CGA's "catch up" commitments alongside ensuring the well-being of our total community.

TLA Objectives for 2021/22

Will focus on:

  1. The impact on students (closing the garp) including disadvantaged children:
    a.  Overseeing the use of Pupil Premium Priorities for 2021-22 to drive progress goals.
    b.  Reviewing the "Gifted & Talented" policies.
    c.  Improve attendance.
    d.  Improve students' outcomes (particularly in mathematics and science) and EBACC% for disadvantaged students by boosting the uptake of MFL.
  2. Monitoring the offer of effective and sustainable (Tier 1/2/3) catch-up programmes to all departments at risk of underachieving and our response to new Government proposals around exam preparation for Summer 2022 and the new tutoring programme.
  3. Ensuring School improvement Plan priorities continue to be addressed, notably the quality of teaching in Key Stage 3.
  4. Supporting SLT, IC and support staff by focusing on mental health and well-being for all departments in response to the distributed leadership that has resulted from Covid-19
  5. Improve outsomes through supporting the SLT in embedding deep learning across the school including personal learning plans (PLP) and formative assessment.
  6. Helping all who come to CGA welcome and thrive to the maximum of their talent by counteracting systemic inequalities and historic bias:
    a.  Through supporting professional training
    b.  Through measures that identify a baseline and track improvements
    c.  Through scrutiny of curriculum and learning materials to undo historic bias (decolonise).

CFC Objectives for 2021/22:

Will focus on:

  1. To have more contact across the whole school, diversifying across the roles/levels to obtain a real pulse of the community to feedback into SLT Action Plan for change.
  2. Staff well-being 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 21/22.
  5. Parental engagement: accessing what this 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.

Joint Objective

Supporting SLT, Raising Standard Leaders, heads of departments and support staff by focusing on mental health and well-being for all departments in response to the distributed leadership that has resulted from Covid-19.


I think you will agree that we have our work cut out for us! That said, what you can be assured of is that you have a committed group of volunteers that are passionate about our children and staff - supporting them to offer the highest quality of education, within a safe and caring environment. This will ensure the best outcomes for all.

'It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge'.  -  Albert Einstein


Judi Dumont-Barter
LAC Chair, Chestnut Grove Academy