The Governors at Thomas Bewick School are intent on having the best possible provision for pupils with autism. Presently, Thomas Bewick School is a school built through PFI (Private Finance Initiative) and we are very grateful that Newcastle City Council identified the need for this provision within the City. Although much thought has gone in to the design of the school we also have to be assured that the best teaching methods and care are provided. Being an all age school for children and young people from 3 years up to 19 years it is important that the education is appropriate for each individual and for each phase of development. The Headteacher and his staff are particularly skilled in PECS and TEACCH, for example, to ensure that the opportunities for communication and learning are enhanced through a person centred approach in the teaching.
We know that there are a range of services that many parents with children with autism have difficulty accessing. The school links carefully with other services on site – the health services, the National Autistic Society, Connexions service, and have developed therapeutic services within the school, to name just a few. There is still much to do to inform others – the government, local authorities, health trusts, social services – to understand the experiences of children and their families and what is needed to transform their lives.
The Loacl Advisory Committee of the school is composed of eleven members. The Governors are appointed and elected not just to meet the official categories required but to offer expertise to support the school. The main role of the governors is one of monitoring and evaluation to support the head and her staff. We have Governors who have expertise in
- Education for children and young people with autism
- Special needs
- Child care, child protection and safeguarding
- Finance and IT
- Businesses and Fundraising
Our governors are appointed in a number of ways; by the Local Authority, elected by the parents, elected by the other governors, from the community, staff governors (elected by the staff), and finally the headteacher. Apart form the Headteacher, all governors serve for a period of four years. Governors can be re-elected to continue for further service thus giving a degree of continuity to the activities of the Governing body. The Local Advisory Committee elects a Chair and a Vice-Chair from its membership each year.
The Local Advisory Committee is responsible for agreeing the strategic direction of the school and policies within which the school will operate. They also have the responsibility of agreeing the school budget and then the monitoring of the financial performance against that budget. Governors are there to help and support the school. They provide advice but can also act as watchdogs in their role as ‘critical friends’. Governors are involved in the recruitment and appointment of staff for the school and also in performance management of the headteacher.
Further information can be found here on the DfE website.