Messages from the Chair of Governors

17th July 2015

Dear Oldfield Staff and Parents

You will be aware of the issues raised last year following an Ofsted visit to Oldfield in December 2013 and the resulting review of governance.  Subsequent to the review we were required to establish an Interim Academy Board (IAB) to oversee governance of the school and implement an action plan to address the issues raised. 

Following completion of the action plan, an External Review of Governance was concluded last month by the National Leader of Governance who took part in last year’s review.  Based on her findings and recommendations, I am pleased to inform you that the Regional Schools’ Commissioner for the South West has agreed to the dissolution of the IAB, and the return of full governance responsibility to the Oldfield Governing Body.  By far the most important outcome of the past year and a half has been the continuing high standard of teaching and learning for students which has been ensured by the commitment and professionalism of Oldfield School staff, under the leadership of our new head teacher.  Governors and IAB members are very grateful for the forbearance, assistance and support of staff, parents and the many others who have willingly given their time and advice.

It has been another busy and eventful year for everyone involved with the school. This has included a number of innovative changes introduced or planned by Mr Woodville in order to further enhance the educational experience of Oldfield students.  I am very confident that, once again, we end the year as a better place to learn and work.

Yours ever

Stuart Weatherall
Chair of Governors

17th July 2014

Dear Oldfield Staff and Parents

Following a thorough recruitment process I am very pleased to be able to inform you that Matthew Woodville, currently acting Head, was selected from a very competitive field of candidates to lead Oldfield School forward as our new Headteacher. I was reassured, by the number and quality of applicants for the position, that Oldfield is seen as a highly attractive school to lead. The culmination of the recruitment, on Monday and Tuesday, involved staff, students and governors putting the final candidates through their paces to inform the main selection panel.

I am very grateful for the input from everybody involved and particularly to Chris Healy (Headteacher of Balcarras Academy), Stephen Ward (Emeritus Professor from Bath Spa) and Emma Yates (Headteacher of Hayesfield) who, with me, formed the main selection panel. I know that you will also be interested in the 5 year strategic plan for the School which we had hoped to be able to launch with an open evening before the end of this term. Practicalities will mean that this will now need to be held next term. The plan itself will however, be on the website by the end of this term and implemented from September. The plan itself will be regularly updated and developed. I would urge you to read it and we would welcome any feed back at the Open Evening or any other opportunity.

Following a series of discussions and consultations, I am also pleased to announce that Oldfield will be joining the Bath Education Trust (BET). BET is a partnership and collaboration of key education providers and businesses in Bath, with the aim to improve the educational experience of young people in our schools and colleges and prepare them for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life. Our membership will provide a number of opportunities to improve the learning experience of our students and enhance our involvement with the wider education community. It will not change our status as a single academy trust.

Could I also take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support for Oldfield School. It has been an eventful year and I am very confident that we end it as a better place to learn and work.

Yours ever

Stuart Weatherall
Chair of Governors

1st May 2014

Dear Oldfield Staff and Parents,

I am writing to let you know that Mrs Kim Sparling has resigned as Headteacher of Oldfield School with effect from 30 April 2014. In the interests of the School, all associated with it and Mrs Sparling, the resignation has been accepted.

A recruitment process will be undertaken with a view to appointing a new Headteacher to lead the School forward and maintain the 'outstanding' Ofsted grading for the benefit of the School and its community. Matthew Woodville will continue to hold the position of Acting Headteacher.

The Governing Body is fully committed to working to address all concerns that have been raised.

Yours ever

Stuart Weatherall
Chair of Governors

29th April 2014

Dear Oldfield Staff and Parents,

At last night's meeting of the Oldfield School, Full Governing Body a resolution was passed to establish an Interim Academy Board (IAB). Governors delegated all of their powers and functions to the IAB until the end of August 2015 to allow the IAB to review and revise the School's governance and address issues raised by the Section 8 Ofsted letter and subsequent EFA led review of governance. The 6 members of the IAB will comprise the Chair of Governors, the chairs of our Finance and General Purposes, Personnel and Curriculum Committees, Keith Clover (a National Leader of Governance) and Stephen Ward (Emeritus Professor and former Dean of Education at Bath Spa University). The existing Governing Body will continue to act on the IAB's behalf in many areas of governance and will additionally, challenge, interrogate and monitor the IAB.

Our Action Plan will be on the School website today (Wednesday) and copies will be available at the staff and parents' open meetings on Thursday at 3:30pm and 7:30pm respectively. When the EFA report on their review of governance is available, it will also be put on the website, as will any other significant information ahead of the meetings. For those attending either meeting, I look forward to discussing our plans for the future of Oldfield School.

Yours ever

Stuart Weatherall
Chair of Governors

11th April 2014

Dear Oldfield Staff and Parents,

I said that I would update you on our progress in addressing the issues facing the School.  We have established a relationship with Balcarras School, a Teaching School in Cheltenham, through the National College for Teaching and Leadership who will be providing advice and practical support to Oldfield School until the end of this calendar year, and beyond if needed.  I am in regular contact with a National Leader of Governance who has generously agreed to assist with governor training and the development of the School’s Action Plan.  To reinforce the Senior Leadership Team we have engaged an experienced educational consultant and former Headteacher, Vanessa Armstrong, to provide support until at least the end of the summer term.

It is not clear when the EFA report into their governance review will be published but I am confident enough in our developing Action Plan for the School and Governing Body to invite you to an Open Evening in the School at 7.30pm on Thursday 1st May 2014 where we will explain our plans and answer questions.  There will be a similar meeting for staff earlier in the day.

Yours ever

Stuart Weatherall
Chair of Governors

28th March 2014

Dear Parents and Staff of Oldfield School,

You may be aware that the Head teacher, has been away from the school due to sickness. During her absence the Deputy Head teacher, Matthew Woodville, will continue as acting Head teacher. He has my full confidence, as do the remainder of the school’s Senior Leadership Team and staff.

Yours ever

Stuart Weatherall
Chairman of Governors

24th March 2014

Dear Oldfield Parents and Staff,

Many of you, I know, are regular readers of the school's website and will already have read my initial statement after my recent appointment as Chairman of Governors. For those who have not yet had the opportunity to read it online I include it below. You may also be aware of the public meeting which has been called on the evening of 26th March to discuss recent matters surrounding the school. I will be attending the meeting and will do my best to answer questions that you or others may have. However you will appreciate that I must ensure that matters that are confidential remain confidential in the interest of all concerned.

The Governing Body has also decided to hold an open meeting for parents, at the school, after we receive the report from the recent Department for Education (DfE)/Educational Funding Agency (EFA) review. I anticipate that this will be before the end of this term and will provide an opportunity for the Governors to answer your questions on the issues raised by the report and our plans to address them.

In relation to some specific matters which have been raised recently, the Governing Body will undertake to carry out a thorough review in accordance with their internal procedures, and we can confirm that in the interest of all concerned these matters will be dealt with in a confidential manner.

I am looking forward to the concert on Wednesday and would like to extend my best wishes to all those preparing to perform and to the members of staff who support them. I look forward to the future when the focus of media attention on Oldfield will rightly be on similar events and the many achievements of our fine young people and staff.

Yours ever

Stuart Weatherall
Chairman of Governors

14th March 2014

Dear Oldfield Parents and Staff

At a meeting of the Oldfield School Full Governing Body (FGB) on 13 March I was appointed as Chairman to succeed Julie Cope with immediate effect. Julie has been a committed member of the Governing Body over a number of years and her resolute leadership as chair was invaluable during, and after, the school's transition to an academy. I am particularly grateful that she has agreed to stay as Vice Chairman, at least until the end of this academic year, in order to support me.

Recent weeks have been difficult for Oldfield School and we, the governing body, recognise the vital importance of regaining the trust of parents, staff and the wider community. We are determined to address the issues facing the school, including those arising from the OFSTED inspection in December 2013, and subsequently, from staff and others. We will be placing the safeguarding and achievement of students at the centre of everything we do and will be engaging with parents, staff, TUs, the LEA and others to understand their concerns and take appropriate action to address them. Informed by the findings of the recent Department for Education/Educational Funding Agency review we will be developing an action plan which we will share with you. Some measures however, have already been taken to give greater reassurance to staff and parents:

  • All mail addressed to the Chair of the Governors will be personally opened by me.
  • We are engaging HR consultants to conduct a staff attitude survey in order to get a clearer understanding of views across the whole school staff. This will also allow the Governing Body to benchmark progress against some of the actions which I anticipate will be in our action plan. When complete, the results of the survey will be published on the school website.
  • We will have an anti-bullying and harassment policy dealing specifically with our staff and clarifying our commitment to an environment at Oldfield, where all staff and students feel valued and able to contribute fully without fear of harassment or bullying.
  • We are revising our Grievance procedures to reflect best practice.

The school is very fortunate that, despite recent distractions, we have benefited from an able and committed staff who have concentrated on providing the first class education that their own high standards demand and our students deserve. On my visits to the school I am always impressed by the confidence and enthusiasm for learning demonstrated by the students. Levels of academic attainment are unquestionably outstanding. I am heartened by the commitment of all the governors and leadership team who, I know, are working hard to ensure we provide the leadership and support needed to restore the school's reputation, capitalise on the schools many strengths and ensure that Oldfield School is genuinely a great place to learn and work. I will keep you updated on our progress.

Yours ever

Stuart Weatherall
Chairman of Governors