Chair of Governors Blog

Message from the Chair of Governors

Thursday, 15th May 2019


A revamped website with a big, shiny link to the "chair of governors blog" is just the jolt I need to starting posting again after a bit of a gap. But what to say first when I've not messaged for some time?  As it's been a while, I've decided to go with two topics - one is a massive shout-out to our Early Years team and the other is a few remarks about the school's financial situation.


This month, Rivelin's Early Years provision - that's the reception classes and the nursery - was accredited with the Sheffield Charter for Quality for the 5th year running. This is an amazing achievement, supported by brilliant comments from the local authority assessors. But it came as absolutely no surprise to me at all. Mrs Leggatt's team do incredible work with the youngest children in the school and I have lost count of the number of reports and inspections I have read praising their efforts. 


Even more important than the views of the education professionals are those of parents who regularly tell governors about the fantastic things happening with their children in the Foundation Stage. And you don't need to be an education expert to work out that, if the children are get an outstanding level of provision when they first arrive at Rivelin, this is the base for everything else we are striving for through the rest of the school.


It would be great if we could spread this message far-and-wide (or at least around the north of Sheffield). There are a falling number of young children living in this part of the city, which means that our reception classes are not full. If parents from further afield knew about the quality teaching happening in our Early Years, I'm sure this would change very quickly.


A quick gear-change now to Rivelin's finances. 


I really don't want to go into a lot of detail but I think a bit of reassurance is always a good thing at this time of year, when budgets are being set. There continues to be a lot in the news about the parlous state of school budgets across the country, peppered with talk of redundancies, parents having to buy essential equipment and subjects being cut. And you'll have no doubt seen that a delegation of headteachers from Sheffield heading to Downing Street to highlight the city's poor financial deal compared with other regions. 


While it's important to point out that money is as tight at Rivelin as it is elsewhere, it's important that the governors reassurance everyone that we have not been forced into any of the draconian measures mentioned above as we plan for the financial year ahead. That we are in this position is not just a matter of luck, though. Mrs Powell and her team have worked extremely hard over the last couple of years to make sure Rivelin's limited budget works for the children and this has meant taking a number of tough decisions about how the school works.  And we always have to remember that it's very difficult to predict what's around the corner. That's the same for all schools at the moment.  The funding of schools is far from certain at a local or a national level. 


At Rivelin, we always try to prioritise the financing what directly influences classroom provision but this has to be balanced against the demands of our magnificent, but creaking 100-year-old buildings. Occasionally, windows and roofs have to come before books.


I hope everyone enjoys the start of the summer and please look out for further posts soon. If you want to get in touch, please contact the school through in the first instance.


Dave Higgens