Partnership governor recruitment

Our Governing Body currently has a vacancy for a Partnership Governor. Parents of children currently attending Charles Dickens are not eligible for this post under our Constitution: but we’d love you to encourage your friends, neighbours and colleagues to apply.

Being a school governor is a privilege and a commitment. The role of the Governing Body is to provide support and challenge to the leaders of the school to ensure the best outcomes for our children – this is entrusted to all governors on behalf of the school community. The Governing Body sets strategy and targets, scrutinises the progress and attainment of pupils, approves the annual Budget, and is accountable for how the school spends its money including the Pupil Premium allocation intended to close gaps between children from low-income families and others.

Charles Dickens Primary School is a diverse, inclusive and high-achieving school which has been Ofsted-rated ‘outstanding’ since 2007. Creative arts play a central role in our rich curriculum, and we have been awarded the Arts Council’s Gold award three times. We have strong links with the local Southwark community via our work with a range of artistic and community organisations, including the Rambert Dance Company, the Globe Theatre, the Unicorn Theatre, and local businesses including Mercato Metropolitano and Borough Market. We are particularly keen to hear from candidates who are involved with an artistic or other local organisation.

Being a governor involves a commitment of time, based around three full GB meetings and further termly sub-committee meetings. Meetings usually take place in the late afternoon or early evening, although further meetings are occasionally arranged at other times of day to fit with governors’ schedules. Serving governors will tell you that it is more than simply this time, there is also an increasing expectation that you will want to, and will take time to, learn more about the school (both through reading and/or visiting us), and taking on additional tasks as needed.

The governing body especially welcome applications from parts of the community under-represented amongst school governors, including people who have not held non-executive posts before. To become a partnership governor, you do not have to already know the school in detail, nor are you expected to have previous experience as a governor or in education. Full training and support will be given. 

I have attached a list of essential and desirable skills sought at this time for our partnership governors. Please note that parents of children currently attending our school are not eligible to be Partnership Governors.

To apply, please send an email to by Friday 30 March telling us why you would like to be a governor at our School and what you would bring to the role. We will hold interviews with shortlisted candidates after the Easter holidays.

For more information about our School and governing body, including minutes of governors’ meetings and our School Improvement Plan, please visit our website at

If you would like an informal conversation before deciding to apply, please send a note to the same address and we will arrange to speak to you by phone.

Parent Survey 2014


Thank you for your responses to the parent survey in December. We received 63 replies from a possible 215 families. The results were broadly very positive and have been discussed in detail at the Children and Families Governors Committee this month.

In addition to the questions, parents had an opportunity to write freely to identify the strengths and areas for improvement for the school.

The strengths were many. They included the teaching staff, the school leadership, the sense of community, the care provided for children, the creative arts and the school ethos. Thank you for all of these. All the staff work incredibly hard and to have their efforts recognised is hugely rewarding for them and for me.

I have also looked at each of the suggested areas for improvement with governors and have provided responses below.

1. Improve the communication and administration of clubs for children after school.

School Response: Whilst we do our very best to provide clubs, all of which are run for pupil enjoyment and many at no cost to pupils,I am looking into online systems which will make this fairer and easier for working parents. If you are a parent with positive experience of any electronic system, then please do share your ideas.

2. Larger playground and more play space.

School Response: The new building plans will not increase the quantity of play space but will improve the quality of the spaces including landscaping and additional play equipment.  

3. Preventing pupils from losing uniform

School Response: We encourage all parents to write their children’s name on their clothes or iron on a fabric label. Left uniform can be found on pegs in the halls on which they are left or in the lost property box. Reception classes have their own lost property box. 

4.  Changes to the teacher feedback during parents evening (less academic, more long term ambitions) or further structure to teacher’s feedback.

School Response: We will be asking all parents for your feedback on this topic following parents evening this term.. 

5. Provide Secondary Transition support to parents in year 5 and Year 4.

School Response: We agree that this is an excellent idea and a secondary transfer meeting will take place later this term for year 5  -dates to follow. 

6. Improved communication from the Governing Body in relation to Foundation Status. T

Children And Families Committee Response: This was considered this in depth. They concluded that there was a full and statutory consultation period including meetings for parents and the local community. The committee agree  the initial letter to parents was not clear and this unduly raised concerns. The committee felt that the governing body had learnt from the consultation experience and the Governing Body has a focus on communication this year. 

7. More emails and text alerts rather than paper letters.

School Response: We have increased the use of emails and texts this year. We are also exploring how to send letters electronically which request parent consent. 

8. A concern that some teaching assistants are not as positive as others.

School Response: All the teaching assistants enjoy working with children and are providing a good or in many cases outstanding contribution to pupil progress and enjoyment of school. Each teaching assistant receives rigorous appraisal on al aspects of their role. Parents can feedback on any individual teaching assistant at any time via my direct email

9. A request for PTA meetings in the evenings

School Response: this request has been forwarded to the PTA chair.

10. Ensuring that any consequences for inappropriate behaviour of 1 pupil do not lead to an entire class missing playtime

School Response:  On the rare occasion when a class does not move around the school silently, the whole class will practice this, This will include all pupils including those who managed the appropriate behaviour first time. 

There were also 2 suggestions which related to meeting the needs of particular pupils. If this was your concern, please do get in touch with the school office to make an appointment.

Also within the survey, were questions and answers, Within each set of answers to the questions, I have included where appropriate response from myself or the Children and Families Committee.There were two negative survey responses and these provide the negative responses throughout the survey. Mrs Buchanan has met with one of the two parents  ( the other was anonymous) to understand the negative response and to ensure the school learns from this feedback.

Thank you for your ongoing support. We always welcome your feedback and involvement in ensuring that our school remains a happy, safe and fun centre of excellence.

Mrs Buchanan.

My child is happy at this school

My child is happy at this school

Strong disagreeing are 2 parents. Following a meeting with the Headteacher, one of these parents now feels their child is happy at the school. The other response was anonymous.

My child feels safe at this school
My child feels safe at this school

Strongly disagreeing are 2 parents who also strongly disagreed with question 1. Disagreeing are 3 parents. If this was your response, please do contact the school office or Mrs Buchanan directly to discuss your concerns. 

My child makes good progress at this school
My child makes good progress at this school

1 parent disagreeing and 1 parent strongly disagreeing.

My child is well looked after at this school
My child is well looked after at this school

1 parent disagreed and 4 parents stated that they didn’t know

My child is taught well at this school
My child is taught well at this school

3 parents stated that they did not know.

My child receives appropriate homework for their age
My child receives appropriate homework for their age

Parents who disagreed fell into two groups. Some of these parents asked for more home learning and some asked for no or less home learning tasks. It will be difficult to please everyone’s preferences however children report that they enjoy home learning , especially the creative projects.

This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved
This school makes sure its pupils are well behaved

Those disagreeing are as question 1 and 2. Those parents who were unsure included some Reception parents but also a parent in Year 3/4.

This school deals effectively with bullying
This school deals effectively with bullying

The parents stating that they did not know were in Key Stage 1 and EYFS. Hopefully this is due to the very rare incidence of bullying in the school. However, the school leadership have recently included an information section on anti-bullying in the school newsletter. The school also celebrates positive friendship in ‘Friendship Week’ where pupils do learn and create lovely relationships with other pupils of all ages. These weeks are also an opportunity to discuss what bullying is and how the school will support children who feel that they are being bullied. During the Spring Term friendship week, we will share children’s learning on keeping safe from bullying, including online and from peers outside of school.

This school is well led and managed
This school is well led and managed

1 parent disagreed on this as they did on all areas. 5 parents stated that they did not know. I parent felt that the governing body could have managed the process of conversion to a  Foundation school with more skill and better communication to parents. The Children and Families Committee have accepted that this is the opinion of some parents and are working on ways to further improve communication to and from parents.

This school responds well to any concerns I raise
This school responds well to any concerns I raise

4 parents disagreed – I  have met with 3 of the 4 parents and there relate to moving sports day due to rain, adequate provision for a pupil with additional needs and frustration about the distribution of after school club places. All these parents have no ongoing concerns.

I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress
I receive valuable information from the school about my child’s progress

2 parents disagreed.

Would you recommend this school to another parent?
Would you recommend this school to another parent?

1 parent disagreed.

The school newsletter, website and blogs give me the information I need about the school
The school newsletter, website and blogs give me the information I need about the school

1 parent disagreed.

I would know how to communicate a question or comment to the school
I would know how to communicate a question or comment to the school

1 parent disagreed.

Foundation Status Consultation

The school is consulting with all stakeholders on the proposal to become a Foundation School. Stakeholders have been given a set of questions and answers. The parents forum have met to discuss the proposal and during that meeting other questions pertinent to the parents were generated. The chair of the parents forum then met with the headteacher, Mrs Cassie Buchanan who then answered these additional questions  – available below.

All parents and local residents are invited to meetings on Thursday 26th June to have the opportunity discuss the proposal with members of the governing body and the school’s solicitors, Baker Small.

Parents – 4pm middle hall

Parents and Local Residents – 6pm middle hall

Additional Q and A for parents – foundation status consultation 2014

Meeting C Buchanan 9th June 14

School Improvement Plan – with updates from Spring Term

Here is a copy of our school improvement plan for 2013/4. We have 6 key areas of focus as well as maintaining outstanding levels of teaching and learning and ensuring pupils are safe and happy.

Each term we review our progress against these ‘targets’ for the year and set ourself ‘next steps’ in order that we are successful in our plans for the year.

Charles Dickens Primary School Improvment Plan 2013 – 2014 -April update

CSI Week – The Great Diamond Mystery!

Throughout last week, our children had the opportunity to become expert Crime Scene Investigators, by helping our local police officers solve the mystery of the stolen Charles Dickens Diamond.

Nursery and Reception classes joined in the fun by searching for footprints and getting suited-up as forensic scientists to investigate the crime scene.

Year 1/2 transformed into fingerprint analysts and chromatographers (to identify whose pen had written a shopping list found at the scene).

Year 3/4 discovered the intricacies of DNA which saw them creating their own giant molecules from marshmallows and liquorice lace. Year 5/6 made careful observations of blood and fabric samples, using microscopes borrowed from Dulwich College science department, and were treated to a talk from one of our reception class’ parents, Katia Mahn, who taught them all about DNA and it’s uses in criminology.

We also had a visit from Andy Mayer, our governor responsible for science, who talked to the children about his work in chemical manufacturing at BASF, as well as a visit from Joyce Chang, a Scene of Crimes Officer from the Met Police, who demonstrated the art of collecting fingerprints from a crime scene.

Both children and teachers were so wrapped up in their investigations and collected so much evidence that, by Friday, we were able to name the culprit as… Miss Sumner! However, following her arrest, we all learnt that she was not as guilty as we had all been lead to believe… She revealed that the whole week had been set up by Miss Chapleo, to form this year’s Science Week! So the Charles Dickens Diamond is safe again… Thank goodness for that!

A special thank you to the talented Miss Chapleo for leading such an fun and science packed week.

Here is the video which introduced the CSI week to the school.

Would you like to be a parent governor?

Parent Governor Election
A vacancy has arisen for a parent governor on the School’s Governing Body, and we would like to invite nominations for the position.

All parents and guardians of children who attend the school are eligible to vote in the election. Parent governors are very important in the life of the school, contributing their skills and experience to assist the senior management team, and giving a parent’s perspective on the strategic issues facing the school. Anyone with legal, HR, journalistic background or planning experience would be a particular asset to the school.

School governors attend one Full Governing Body meeting per term, and also serve on one or more Sub-Committees. They also usually become a Link Governor in one particular academic subject area. The normal term of office for a school governor is four years and provided they are still eligible they may serve for further terms.

If you would like to put your name forward, you will need to send an email to the school office at the following address:

In your email ( or letter delivered to the office if you prefer) you will need to include your name, the names of your children currently in the school and a short description of your experience and how you hope to be an effective parent governor of Charles Dickens Primary School. All these nominees will then be shared with all parents and parents will have the opportunity to vote. It is therefore helpful to attach a photograph of yourself too!

If you have any questions about the role of the Governing Body or the role of parent governors, please contact the Chair of Governors, Claire Maugham on