Governors/School Finance

A message from the Chair of Governors

Welcome to Cambo First School, a school of which I am proud to be Chair of Governors.  Cambo is a small school but a very special one that is at the heart of its community.  In addition to mainstream schooling we have a wraparound facility that provides care and education for all children of preschool age and up to the end of middle school.  In all areas of its work and the curriculum the school is highly creative and the staff are constantly updating their expertise, to the extent that they are asked to share their skills and knowledge with other schools and professionals in Northumberland.  We also aim to work in partnership with our parents and are open to any ideas you can bring that will improve our school.  Should you choose to send your child to Cambo First School you can be assured that they will receive the best possible education in a supportive environment that respects the individual.

Pam Walker

Chair of Governors

The Governing Body are the critical friends of the Head Teacher and the  school. There are several different types of Governor. Some are elected by the school, some by parents and some by the Local Authority. If you have any concerns, worries or thoughts about the school please feel free to contact the head teacher, staff or your elected representatives on the governing body: Paul Cowie or Charlie Bennett. Our aim is, as always, to support you and your child through Cambo’s educational system.

Governor /Staff interests/business interests/financial interests

Governors must declare any relevant business interests as well as the details of any other educational establishments they govern.  The register must also set out any relationships between governors and members of the school staff including spouses, partners and relatives.  It is important to address any perception of a conflict of interest by making clear where such potential personal or pecuniary interests might apply; this might be a conflict between personal interests and the interests of the school or County Council when dealing with outside organisations or individuals.


Examples (potential conflicts):

  • A governor whose spouse/partner is employed by the school – Should not take part in discussion regarding the school’s pay policy or any staffing matter that might impact on their partner. Both direct and indirect decisions might impact on the salary range of senior staff e.g. increasing pupil numbers (PAN) or the age range (first to primary). 
  • A governor on the management committee of a childcare provider or after school club who rent part of the school – Should not be party to discussion involving the use of the school or their charging policy.
  • A governor who is a supplier of goods or services to the school – Should not take part in decisions regarding the letting of contracts for that type of goods or services or where a sub-contract relationship might exist.

Examples (other declarations):

  • Being a governor on another school or academy
  • Relationship to staff members

The register of governor interests must be reviewed and updated on an annual basis.

Associate governors must be included on the register and it should be clear where they have voting rights.

The school is required to maintain a similar register of staff interests that should also be reviewed annually

Member of Governing Body



Governors in another institution date
Mrs. P.A.V Walker nil n/a 27/6/23
Mrs. N. Robson nil n/a 27/6/23
Mrs E. Patterson nil n/a 27/6/23
Mrs. P. Cummings nil n/a 27/6/23
Mr. Paul Cowie nil n/a 27/6/23
Mr.  J Ballantine Grounds Business used by school n/a 3/7/23
Mr. C. Bennett nil n/a 3/7/23
Dr Mike Dowrick nil n/a 3/7/23
Mrs I Anderson nil n/a 3/7/23
Ms M Anderson nil n/a 23/2/24
Mr. B. Ayliffe nil n/a 3/7/23
Mrs L Thompson nil n/a 27/6/23
Staff Interests   date
Kate Freeman nil n/a 3/7/23
Mrs. L. Chalmers nil n/a 3/7/23
Mr G. Flatman nil n/a 3/7/23
Mrs. P. Cummings nil n/a 27/6/23
Mrs. D. Lewins nil n/a 3/7/23
Mrs. S. Birdsall nil n/a 3/7/23
Mrs. C. Flatman nil n/a 3/7/23
Mrs. J. Wilson nil n/a 3/7/23
Mrs. E. Patterson nil n/a 27/6/23
Mrs. H. Boucher nil n/a 9/11/22
C. Stewart nil n/a 3/7/23

Keeping Children Safe in Education  update 2023 post Governor Meeting March 2023- governors have read document



Sept 23 update


summary of changes and additions

Email document

Read and confirmed


Sept 23

NCC Carol Leckie





Oct 23


On line/face to face

Child Protection

Training for staff/community/

governors Aut 22 5/12/22

Carol Leckie NCC

Face to face

Safer Recruitment


E-safety online


Mrs L Thompson Email document 8/11/23 y y Prevent no no no
Mr. B. Ayliffe Email document 07/11/23 y y Prevent yes no no
Mrs. N. Robson Email document 8/11/23 y y Prevent yes no no
Mrs E. Patterson Email document  9/9/23 y y Prevent Deputy DSL yes May 2022 no yes 
Mrs. P. Cummings Email document  2/9/23 y y Prevent DSL July 23 yes updated 22 yes  coordinator
Mr. Paul Cowie Email document 8/10/23 y y Prevent no no no
Mr.  J Ballantine Email document 8/11/23 y y Prevent no no no
Mr. C. Bennett Email document 8/11/23 y y Prevent no no no
Dr Mike Dowrick Email document 8/11/23 y y Prevent yes no no
Mrs I Anderson Email document 9/10/23 y y Prevent yes yes updated 22 yes governance
Margaret Anderson Email document 27/2/24 y y Prevent yes no yes
Mrs. P.A.V Walker Email document  10/10/23 y y Prevent yes yes 2022 yes governance

Diversity In Governing Bodies

The Department for Education (DfE) recognises that diversity is important and wants governing boards to be increasingly be reflective of the communities they serve. The DfE now encourages schools and trusts to collect and publish diversity data about the board and any local academy committees. [With reference to small boards, where individuals can be identified, this data will not be shared on the website. Governors as volunteers, can also exercise their right to not divulge this information].

A diversity of thought, voices and perspectives is essential to good governance and the effective running of any organisation. Governors are currently completing the NGA form designed to gather information for the purpose of diversity monitoring. A strategic approach to diversifying the governing board is both setting an example and demonstrating the board’s commitment to achieving diversity and equality at all levels of the school.

The purpose of diversity monitoring is not to promote token diversity – no formula is being applied to determine a representative governing board. Members of the governing board are not recruited solely on the basis of their protected characteristics or lived experience.



Finance Benchmark Comparisons Tool 

Benchmarking information for Cambo First School . Governors can use this tool to compare income and expenditure with similar schools in Northumberland and the Country as a whole. Finance  is zero re costings but our finance costs are part of services, as we buy into Northumberland County Council Service Level Agreements. We do not hold a voluntary account.


Governor Code of Conduct Policy



Northumberland Governor newsletters

Governors Newsletter Autumn 2023



Meeting attendance Autumn 23-Summer 24- Clerk to Governors Helen Pye

Summer Term Governor Meeting  11/6/24 Virtual meeting.  PAV Walker,    M. Anderson, I Anderson, E. Patterson, P Cummings, C Bennett B Ayliffe, J Ballantine,,  L Thompson,  P Cowie, –  Apologies:,Dr M Dowrick, N Robson


Governors summer Visit 16/05/23 Dr Paul Cowie, Dr Mike Dowrick – Science focus

Spring  Term Governor Meeting  7/11/23 PAV Walker,    P Cowie, N Robson E Patterson, P Cummings, C Bennett, Ms M Anderson,  Dr M Dowrick,  B Ayliffe,   Apologies:, I Anderson,J Ballantine,,  L Thompson, 

Governor Visit to School  9/2/24 Safeguarding Governors I Anderson, PAV Walker e-safety focus.  meeting with DSL/esafety lead, staff, children, curriculum , books

OFSTED meeting with inspector Jim Hindess  7/12/24  PAV Walker, I Anderson, B Ayliffe,  All other governors were to attend virtually. Unfortunately the Inspector did not test the links prior to the meeting. The links did not work thus the other governors were unable to take part in the meeting.

Finance Committee meeting 22/12/23 Pay Policy framework N Robson, PAV Walker

Finance Committee meeting SFVS 20.12.23 N Robson, PAV Walker

Governors Autumn Visit 10/10/23 N Robson , PAV Walker History

Autumn Term Governor Meeting  7/11/23 PAV Walker,    E Patterson, P Cummings, C Bennett, Mrs E Aynsley,  Dr M Dowrick,  B Ayliffe, , –                                  Apologies:, I Anderson,J Ballantine, N Robson,  L Thompson,  P Cowie

Staff/Governors -Firewall/Virus Protection CPD 23/10/23 delivered via NCC ICT/Safeguarding team , virtual  training 3.15-4.30pm. Staff/Governors

Equalities – 9/10/23-2pm-5pm  face to face Gill Finch NCC, P Cummings, PAV Walker, I Anderson. Review of Equalities /DDA. Policies in final draft will go onto the website Nov 23

Report for governors:  2023 Governor commentary equalities Cambo

Staff/Governors – Encompass CPD 19/9/23 delivered via Carol Leckie face to face  training 3.15-4.30pm. Virtual option also available  and shared with all staff and governors post cpd for reference or reinforcement

Meeting attendance Autumn 22-Summer 23 – Clerk to Governors Helen Pye

Whole school Governor Meeting – PAV Walker,    E Patterson, P Cummings, Mrs E Aynsley,   N Robson,  L Thompson,  P Cowie, –Apologies: B Ayliffe, I Anderson, Dr M Dowrick,  J Ballantine, C Bennett, [Rescheduled as HT absent  6/6/23 rescheduled to 27th June 23]

Planned Governor Visit – 9/5/23 History focus N Robson and I Anderson  [rescheduled as HT absent]   Took place 12/6/23

Finance Committee – 31/3/23 Budget Meeting PAV Walker, N Robson, P Cummings   [All budget paper work shared with all governors via google share 17/4/23]

Whole school Governor Meeting – PAV Walker,  B Ayliffe,  E Patterson, P Cummings, Mrs E Aynsley, I Anderson, Dr M Dowrick. N Robson, Apologies: L Thompson, C Bennett,  J Ballantine, P Cowie, –

Governors Visit to School 16/02/23/ – B Ayliffe, E Aynsley – Geography [date to be confirmed]

Governors Visit to School 17/01/23/ – P Walker, I Anderson – Safeguarding

Full Governor Meeting 5/12/22 – PAV Walker,  B Ayliffe,  E Patterson, P Cummings, Mrs E Aynsley, I Anderson, Dr M Dowrick. N Robson, L Thompson, C Bennett,  J Ballantine, P Cowie, – Safeguarding with Carol Leckie

Staffing Committee 5/12/22 – P Cummings P Walker, N Robson

Staffing Committee 28/11/22– P. Walker, N Robson, E. Patterson, P Cummings 

Finance Committee 30/11/22 – P. Cummings, N Robson, P Walker 

Finance Committee 28/11/22 – P. Cummings, N Robson, P Walker 

Governors Visit to School 21/11/22 – M Dowrick, P Walker – school data and data into practice within the classroom

Full Governor Meeting 8/11/22 – PAV Walker,  B Ayliffe,  E Patterson, P Cummings, Mrs E Aynsley, I Anderson, Dr M Dowrick. N Robson, L Thompson Apologies: C Bennett,  J Ballantine, P Cowie,

Meeting attendance Autumn 21-Summer 22 – Clerk to Governors Helen Pye

Full Governor Meeting  PAV Walker,  B Ayliffe,  P Cowie, E Patterson, Mrs E Aynsley, I Anderson, Dr M Dowrick.  P CummingsApologies: C Bennett,  J Ballantine, N Robson

Staffing Committee – 16/5/22 Meeting with Alan Johnston re succession planning attendees: E Aynsley, I Anderson, N Robson

Equalities/DDA Accessibility Meeting –  6th May 22 Virtual Meeting Google Meet Gill Finch, P Cummings,  PAV Walker, I Anderson

Finance Committee – 8/4/22 Budget Meeting PAV Walker, N Robson, P Cummings

Governor Visit to School – 5/5/22 9.30-11.45 RE/PSHE, attendees N Robson, I Anderson

Headteacher Performance Management 6/1/22 – A Johnston, PAV Walker, N Robson

Finance/Staffing Committee  Annual Pay Policy review C Bennett, N Robson, P Walker

Finance Committee  SFVS review on behalf of full governing body N Robson P Walker

Full Governors Meeting 9/11/21  PAV Walker,  E Patterson, P Cummings, Mrs E Aynsley, Mrs N Robson , I Anderson, Dr M Dowrick. Apologies: C Bennett,  J Ballantine, B Ayliffe, Dr P Cowie

Governor Visit to School – 2/11/21 9.30-11.45 SEND/Interventions use of PP/Covid Catch Up, attendees E Aynsley/PAV Walker

Report submitted to governors on 9/11/21

Staffing Committee 19/10/21 Virtual Meeting 2pm-3pm -Leave of absence Policy discussion/ratification attendees  P Cummings , P Walker, E Aynsley. No Apologies

Meeting attendance Autumn 20-Summer 21 – meetings held virtually until further notice due to COVID 19 restrictions

Full Governors Meeting  Held Virtually via Google Meet 08/6/21 Mrs P Cummings, Mrs PAV Walker, Mrs E Patterson, Mr B Ayliffe, Dr P Cowie, Mrs E Aynsley, Mrs N Robson , Mr C Bennett. Mr F Cowan. Apologies: Mrs I Anderson, Mr J Ballantine,

Full Governors Meeting  Held Virtually via Google Meet 09/3/21 Mrs P Cummings, Mrs PAV Walker, Mrs E Patterson, Mr B Ayliffe, Dr P Cowie, Mrs E Aynsley, Mrs N Robson , Mr C Bennett, Mrs I AndersonApologies Mr F Cowan, Mr J Ballantine,

Full Governors Meeting  Held Virtually via Google Meet 10/11/20 Mrs P Cummings, Mrs PAV Walker, Mrs E Patterson, Mr B Ayliffe, Dr P Cowie, Mrs E Aynsley, Mrs N Robson Apologies Mr F Cowan, Mr J Ballantine, Mr C Bennett, Mrs I Anderson

Finance Committee 19/10/20 Virtual Meeting 6pm-6.50pm -Pay/Appraisal Policy discussion/ratification attendees Mrs P Cummings , Mrs P Walker, Mr C. Bennett. No Apologies

Staffing Committee 9/10/20 Virtual Meeting 6pm-6.50pm -Leave of absence Policy discussion/ratification attendees Mrs P Cummings , Mrs P Walker, Mr C. Bennett. No Apologies

Meeting attendance Autumn 19-Summer 20

Virtual contact with governors on a regular basis throughout the pandemic to ensure consistent , safe running of the school. Safety, Health and well being of children and staff. Weekly face to face meeting/socially distanced meeting with Chair of Governors during summer term on Fridays to discuss situation/problems/ reopening to further groups. [email

Hub Architecture Meeting 4/8/20 to review plans for the school re proposed change to the building should funding be possible. Governors P Cummings, I Anderson, P Walker. Parent Representative A. Haywood Hub Rep [All other governors sent information and comments relayed/informed meeting.] Face to face/socially distanced

Full Governors Meeting  Held Virtually via Google Meet 7/6/20 Mrs P Cummings, Mrs PAV Walker, Mrs E Patterson, Mr B Ayliffe, Dr P Cowie, Mrs E Aynsley,  Mrs. I Anderson Mrs L Thompson, Mr C Bennett.       Apologies Mr F Cowan, Mrs N Robson, Mr J Ballantine

Equalities/DDA Accessibility Meeting –  3rd June Virtual Meeting Google Meet Gill Finch, P Cummings,  PAV Walker, I Anderson

Full Governors meeting  Held via email due to  COVID 19 .  17/3/20 Responses sent to Helen Pye / Head teacher for response and qualification

Curriculum/Data Committee Meeting incorporating visit to school 29/1/20 Mrs P Cummings, Mr B Ayliffe and Dr P Cowie. Book scrutiny/pupil discussion to take place on 2/3/20

Full Governing Body Meeting 26/11/19 Mrs P Walker, Mrs P Cummings, Mrs I Anderson, Mrs N Robson, Dr P Cowie, Mr B Ayliffe, Mrs L Thompson, Mr J Ballantine

Apologies – Mr C Bennett, Mrs E Patterson, Mr F Cowan

Finance Committee 15/11/19 Mrs P. Walker, Mr C. Bennett, Mrs P. Cummings

Finance Committee 20/11/19 Mrs P. Walker, Mr C. Bennett, Mrs P. Cummings

Staffing Committee 24/9/19 Mrs P. Walker, Mr C. Bennett, Mrs P. Cummings

Autumn 18-Summer 19:

Curriculum Visit – Mrs P. Walker, Mrs N Robson 3/7/19

Whole School Governors Meeting  4/6/19 Mrs P. Walker, Dr Paul Cowie, Mrs Liz Patterson, Mr Barry Ayliffe, Mrs Paula Cummings, Mrs Lindsay Rutherford, Mr Frank Cowan

Apologies: Mr John Ballantine, Mrs Nanette Robson, Mrs Linda Thompson, Mr Charlie Bennett, Mrs Isobel Anderson

School Clerk to the Governing Body – Mrs Helen Pye

Staffing Committee – 10/5/19 References/Additional Needs Appointment Mrs. P. Cummings, Mrs PAV Walker,Mrs I Anderson

Staffing Committee- 29/4/19 at 9.30am. Short Listing  SEND Assistant. Mrs I. Anderson Mrs P. Cummings, Mrs. P. Walker

Finance Committee- 24/4/19 at 9.30am. Budget 19/20. Mrs E. Patterson, Mrs P. Cummings, Mr C Bennett, Mrs P Walker

Whole School Governors Meeting – 19/3/19 Mrs Pam Walker, Dr Paul Cowie, Mrs Nanette Robson, Mrs Isobel Anderson, Mrs Liz Patterson, Mr Charlie Bennett, Mr Barry Ayliffe, Mrs Paula Cummings.

Apologies Mr Frank Cowan, Mrs Lindsay Rutherford, Mrs Linda Thompson

School Clerk to the Governing Body – Mrs Helen Pye

Governor visit to school SIP – Mrs P Walker GDPR – Policy into Practice 12/10/18

Staffing Committee – Pay Policy – Dr Paul Cowie, Mr Barry Ayliffe, Mrs Paula Cummings  24/10/18

Finance Committee – SFVS Mrs Pamela Walker, Mrs Nanette Robson, Mrs Paula Cummings  16/10/18

Autumn Full Governors Meeting  13/11/18

Governors Present
Chair Mrs Pamela Walker  [chaired the meeting], Mrs Nanette Robson Vice ChairHeadteacher – Mrs Paula Cummings, Teacher Governor – Mrs Elizabeth Patterson
Co-opted Governor – Mr Barry Ayliffe, Co-opted Governor – Mrs Isobel Anderson, Parent Governor – Mr Paul Cowie, Co-opted Governor – Mr John Ballantine, Parent Governor – Mrs Lindsay Rutherford, Parent Governor – Mrs Linda Thompson, Co-opted Governor – Mr Frank Cowan

Governors Apologies-LA Governor – Mr Charles Bennett

School Clerk to the Governing Body – Mrs Helen Pye

Governor Visit to school Mrs Pamela Walker /Mrs Nanette Robson Data update/book scrutiny/observation 11/3/19

Governor Training/Visit to school with Gill Finch NCC – Safeguarding Checklist, compliance equalities tool kit. Mrs Isobel Anderson/Mrs Pam Walker/ Mrs Paula Cummings 13/3/19

Governor visit to school DATA and Progress across the school Mr Barry Ayliffe/ Dr Paul Cowie 22/10/19

Finance Committee – Dr Paul Cowie/Mr Barry Ayliffe/Mrs Paula Cummings The Budget/Ratification of the budget  26/4/19

Staffing Committee – Mr Charles Bennett/Mrs Pam Walker TBC – Health and Well being of staff 9/5/19

Staffing Committee – Mrs Paula Cummings/Mrs Isobel Anderson/ Mrs Pam Walker/ Mrs Linda Thompson – Application pack for SEND TA  first meeting -TBC


Meeting attendance from Autumn 17-18:

Governors Meeting 12-6-18 summer meeting

spring meeting of govs 18

17-18 meeting aut spring govs

Autumn Committee Meetings of Governors 17

Autumn Meeting of Governors 17

summer meeting attendance govs


Governance -terms of reference 

governors terms of office

Name Committees Type of Governor Term of office
Mrs Pam Walker all as necessary Chair of Governors co-opted 17/9/15-  16/9/27
Mr Barry Ayliffe all as necessary  Co-opted governor
Mrs Paula Cummings all as necessary Head Teacher Governor 1/1/04-Ongoing
Mrs. Elizabeth Patterson all as necessary Staff Governor
Mrs Isobel Anderson all as necessary Co-opted governor
Margaret Anderson all as necessary Parent Governor 26/02/24-25/02/28
Mrs Linda Thompson all as necessary Co-opted governor
Dr Paul Cowie all as necessary Community Governor 24/05/2022-3/5/26
Mrs. Nanette Robson all as necessary Vice Chair Co Opted governor
17/09/15 – 2/3/2027
Dr Mike Dowrick all as necessary Parent Governor 10/11/20/-9/11/24
Mr. Charlie Bennett all as necessary LA Governor 30/03/17-29/03/25
Mr. Johnny Ballantine all as necessary Co Opted Governor

occupation links to gov body(PJC)


Committee structure

Cambo First School amended 2015 vii

Our School Clerk to the governors is Ms Helen Pye. If parents wish to contact any governor on Cambo School Governing body then they can do so by ringing the school head teacher on 01670 774210 or by contacting  Helen Pye on 01670 623604

All information regarding the governing body are held in the school prospectus. We also have a Governors hand book in the school office for any governor/parent to peruse.

A copy of the school Improvement Plan/ School Self Evaluation Plan are also available in the school office and group room for any Governor/Staff Member/Parent to peruse and comment upon.

OFSTED Dashboard Data

2246 – Ofsted Inspection Dashboard 2016

2246 – 2015 Validated Inspection Dashboard-2


School Improvement Partners/Adviser

Every school has an independent School Improvement Adviser. This Adviser is paid for via the school/NCC. At Cambo our School Improvement Adviser is Mr. Alan Johnson. Mr Johnson submits a report to the Head teacher and the Governing body three times per year after his focused visits to school. This includes the observation of teaching and learning.  This gives us a snapshot of our school and the school development. Until now we have never really shared this with parents, no matter how good they have always been, as they are private documents. In view of outstanding schools not being inspected, I really feel that parents need to know what our school continues to be like and to know that we are rigorously assessed each term, thus I have been given permission to publish the first page of our SIP report. I will update this as and when a newer version becomes applicable. The areas we have chosen to develop, improve are linked to the new assessment changes for 2015.

Local Authority Advisory Report Spring 2023

Quality of Education

Evidence to support the school’s self-evaluation

  • This is a school that approaches curriculum delivery differently than most. The school no longer choses to assign individuals to lead subject areas. Instead, they maximise the learning of staff and children alike by using a collaborative approach. Each member of teaching staff has responsibility for the coordination of subject areas and works as part of a team to monitor and evaluate each subject’s effectiveness. This policy is now firmly established, with a comprehensive ‘Shared Subject Coordinator Policy’ which details how the approach operates. Leaders are very confident that curriculum delivery across the school is excellent.
  • The school’s phonics provision supports all pupils to become fluent readers so that they can access the full curriculum. Leaders place great emphasis on the teaching of reading. Children read regularly in school and at home.
  • Last year, the school changed their phonics delivery to use Twinkl as their main model of phonological development and the basis for the school’s scheme of work. This provides children with a sound knowledge of phonics e.g. initial sounds, blends and sight vocabulary to decode/read words, tricky words and promotes fluent reading. All members of both teaching and support staff are fully trained to use Twinkl and Read Write Inc. Children experience phonics through small group work, which is also often shared with parents. Staff are also trained to use NELI (Nuffield Early Language Intervention) – and was developed as an early intervention programme that delivers three small group sessions and two individual sessions a week to a small, targeted group of pupils for up to 20 weeks. Collectively, these approaches ensure a heavy emphasis on phonics development, and provide interventions appropriate to the child in order that they make at least the required progress. The Class 1 teacher led on this work, and she and the Headteacher are clear that this has been very successful; it has brought greater structure to phonics teaching, for example with each week ending with a book on Friday, which children are really enjoying. It has also helped reduce teacher workload. Currently, all but one pupil (who was recently admitted to the school) in Y1 is expected to meet the required standard in phonics testing. This year, no children in Y2 need to re-visit the phonics assessment.
  • The reading scheme is carefully graded to give children broad experience at each level of their reading development. Beginner reading books reflect their phonological development. The children are also encouraged to use reference books and to read for information as well as enjoyment.
  • The school also uses ‘Lexia Core5 Reading’ as a method of moving children on with their reading and fluency. The standard of reading heard during my visits is consistently high, with many children exceeding age-related expectations. Consistently over the years, pupils in Class 2 are fluent readers, and most leave Year 4 with attainment in reading above, and at times well above, levels expected for their age. This is true currently; school assessment data shows that all pupils in both Y2 and Y4 will be at expected or above in reading by the end of this year.
  • As a small school, all staff know children very well and are always talking to each other about pupils’ learning needs. Regular formative assessments of progress in reading are a natural part of teaching. The Headteacher hears pupils read regularly to check that they are reading at an age-appropriate level and with fluency. She is proud of the excellent record keeping staff undertake not just in reading, but across the curriculum.
  • Much of this success is also achieved by the way the school finds ways to support reading in everyday life. For example –

➢ Staff read with individual children at least once a week and encourage parents to read with children on a daily basis, completing any games/activities sent home with books.

➢ Guided Reading takes place in both classes once a week for each year group.

➢ Members of the community come into school on a voluntary basis to support reading.

➢ Interventions are put in place to support reading/phonics /sight vocabulary e.g., Read Write Inc, Neli, Precision Teaching

➢ The County Library Bus comes to school fortnightly, and the children are encouraged to choose a book to read themselves or share with a peer/adult/parent.

➢ The school hosts a book week (which includes inviting authors into school) and a book fayre annually.

➢ Staff model good reading habits and share stories regularly.

➢ Pupils enjoy Peer/Peer reading on Friday afternoons and whilst swimming.

➢ There is a library of books in each classroom which children can use for free reading/taking home to share.

➢ We run specific events linked to reading e.g., a challenge to read 25 books at bedtime on the run up to Christmas.

➢ Teacher’s read to and with children daily.

➢ Leaders buy in SEND interventions where required and support this development via interventions with Teaching Assistants.

  • When developing writing skills, teachers focus on enabling children to express their ideas in a variety of ways, using accurate spelling, grammar and punctuation. From Y2 onwards, staff use Read Write Inc to develop spelling, thus retaining the link to phonics. Where necessary, specialist help is sought; the school currently has a specialist working with a dyslexic child – who also supports two Y1 pupils to improve their phonological awareness. This is typical of the way leaders think – always seeking to identify opportunities and maximise the impact of support for all children. Additionally, a speech therapist currently supports a child with global delay once a week, which is ensuring they make excellent progress. Pupils are also encouraged to develop a cursive handwriting style and to show good presentation. All staff encourage children to take pride in their work.
  • A literacy lesson takes place in each class daily.
  • All children have a daily dedicated mathematics lesson. In mathematics, concepts and skills are taught in extended blocks which allows sufficient time for children to practise, refine and ultimately master the subject. Mathematical learning is also spread into and across the curriculum.


ICT (Information and Computer Technology) is used both within and outside of lessons to support, reinforce and develop children’s mathematical concepts and speed or application, for example through Active Learn, Times Tables Rockstars and RM Maths.

  • In Science, the curriculum is covered through experimentation and investigation. Teachers focus strongly on children developing their own learning and encourage then to take a lead as the ‘Expert,’ especially in homework, for example by using concept cartoons with their parents. Science is seen as an opportunity to extend and enable pupils to practise the skills of language, literacy and numeracy.
  • The History and Geography curricula both take place over a two-year rolling programme as the school has mixed-age classes. In both areas, lessons develop key skills through project-based activity where possible. A strength of the school is the way they have developed educational visits and visitors into school to support project-based learning to enhance learning and effectively brings learning to life, for example through field trips, visit to London, Newcastle (including to the Cathedral), Cambo, Iskon Hindu Temple, and Brinkburn Priory.
  • Pupils develop an interest in learning French in a way that is enjoyable and stimulating. The school’s MFL (Modern Foreign Language) teacher teaches across the school for one lesson per week.
  • The school enlisted the support of Gail Van Schalkwyk, a Specialist SEND teacher (Dyslexia & Dyscalculia), for 2 days a week to work alongside a TA (Teaching Assistant), who supported for the other 3 days, to provide extra daily tutoring for 2 pupils.
  • The school holds many awards for its work, including the following –

➢ The PSQM Gilt award in science, accreditation in May 2020 ➢ A Gold Arts Mark School

➢ The School Games Gold Award for PE

➢ The Food for Life Silver Award and a Flagship Food for Life School

➢ Healthy Schools Status

  • Pupils take part with wholehearted enthusiasm in learning activities, where they are motivated by high-quality first teaching to work hard and are eager to do well. Staff consistently encourage children to be good communicators with both confidence when speaking and courtesy when listening characterise their contributions in lessons. They are keen to respond to questions and confidently offer good answers, such as when they must explain the reasons for their reply. Teachers are skilled at developing children’s capacity to listen with attention and understand the viewpoint expressed by others. The quality of work, presentation and knowledge of older pupils is excellent.
  • Parents and carers are entirely supportive of the quality of education provided. They strongly agree that the school helps them to support their child’s learning, supports a healthy lifestyle, and prepares children well for the future so that they can become happy and productive members of society.


Behaviours and Attitudes Evidence to support the school’s self-evaluation

  • Staff have close and regular contact with children and through this, all adults in the school insist on the same high standards of behaviour, modelling and implementing effective strategies which promote these. Across the school, there is an expectation of co-operation, fairness and honesty which clearly demonstrates respect and provides a sound basis for the growth of self-esteem.
  • Staff constantly create overt opportunities for the development of children’s self-esteem and work with parents to ensure children grow up with a positive sense of self-worth, aware of their rights and responsibilities in a community.
  • Children understand the need for kindness to others. They are encouraged to think about the feelings and needs of others and to help wherever possible, in and around school and within the community.
  • Leaders use both regular pupil voice and parental feedback to check that pupils feel safe, and pupils tell me they feel entirely safe. They have an extensive knowledge of the importance of looking after their health and well-being and they make a most creditable contribution to their school and local community. Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development is outstanding, safeguarding procedures are excellent and the pupils are exceptionally well prepared for their future lives.
  • Classes devise their own class rules at the beginning of the year and copies of the ‘agreed rules’ can be found around the school. The school operates a positive’ behaviour system which rewards positive behaviour and children are aware of the consequences of not following rules, as noted in the behaviour policy.
  • Pupils are strongly of the view that they feel safe and free from bullying and anti-social behaviour. They have a very good grasp of the need for healthy eating, physical activity and personal hygiene to keep themselves well. Attendance is above average and persistent absence is nil.
  • Behaviour for learning is a real strength because, with small numbers of children, it is simply a natural part of school life, with everyone involved and listened to.
  • Attendance is currently 96%. With small numbers of pupils, a single pupil illness can have a disproportionate effect on statistics.
  • In the playground, pupils play very well with each other. Older pupils look after younger pupils and act as impressive role models.

Personal Development  Evidence to support the school’s self-evaluation

  • At this visit, the Headteacher and I discussed the school’s approach to promoting the personal development of children. Central to this is ensuring that all pupils have full access to an outstanding curriculum which draws upon the experience and resources available within the school, the local area and the Morpeth partnership of schools. Their curriculum is arranged in a way that develops pupils’ knowledge and skills very successfully. For example, the heavy emphasis the school places on reading fluency so that children can access the rest of the curriculum. Pupils have an exceedingly rich range of opportunities to take part in physical and culturally related activities in and out of school. Outstanding use of partnerships, for example, with the owners of the estate which includes the school, promotes activities associated with the countryside and rural economy and makes the curriculum exciting and relevant to all. International links and work in the humanities and arts widen pupils’ perspectives of life in and beyond the United Kingdom. Such partnerships enrich pupils’ skills and understanding and make a vital contribution to their outstanding spiritual, physical, social and cultural development. Visitors to school and trips out of are both regular and always have element of personal development. For example, in the week of my visit, Pupils who have been learning about the Stone age and Iron age were visited by a specialist who explained to them how they made pots, which the children then had a go at. It is typical of the level of enquiry that is a natural part of teaching and learning that the pupils themselves asked whether this session was a history lesson, or D & T, or Art or even a creative activity!
  • This is a school which excels is ensuring suitably challenging ambitions for all pupils. The leader’s approach to any potential barriers, for example for SEND pupils, is simply to say, ‘It is what it is – it’s our job to make sure we adapt provision in order to ensure access.” For example, staff will often change their style of teaching to achieve this. They also focus relentlessly on what each child can achieve. In many of my observations of teaching over the years, I am regularly struck by how difficult it is to identify those pupils in the class who are disadvantaged or SEND. This shows the extent to which ‘different’ or ‘additional provision’ is simply but inherently built into teaching and learning. This is without doubt one of the greatest strengths of the school and is clearly a result of the very stable staffing (over many years) who work extremely well and very flexibly together to meet the needs of all pupils. Leaders track pupil outcomes very regularly to insure they are improving in line with their ambitions and this information is regularly shared with staff so that everyone is aware of any different or additional provision which is being made for individual pupils. As a result, all pupils, including those disadvantaged or with SEND are very well prepared for their next steps in education. For example, A Y4 SEND child is currently working at depth across the board, and a child with global delay is making excellent progress.
  • Pupils are encouraged to treat others as they would wish to be treated themselves. They learn how to be part of a community, manage their feelings and form relationships. The school has an ethos of inclusivity where different views, faiths and cultures are valued. This tangible culture of care for individuals offers outstanding pastoral support and assures the welfare of all pupils.
  • Pupil wellbeing continues to be a significant strength of the school.
  • Provision such as the breakfast club (which operates from Monday – Friday, 8am to 9am), an after-school club (Monday to Friday, from 3.15pm – 6.00pm), and a holiday club enhance pupil’s social development. For families who are struggling, or with social work involvement, breakfast and after school provisions are madeavailable at no cost. Leaders and staff meet regularly with such families and ask what the school can do to help. An example of this is the current practice of the Headteacher to regularly bring a child to school and to take them home.
  • Links with the pre-school provision, which is on-site, enhances the continuity and progression pupils and families experience.
  • The school has always listened attentively to the pupil voice. There is an active School Council, a special need assistant’s group (SNAG) and an Eco Council, and children are involved in all of these. For example, the Eco group have been involved recently in the new toilet design, issues of safety in the car park and how to be ‘power friendly’ in school – i.e., looking for ways to save power. The SNAG team have been working on the termly choice of menus, healthy eating issues and making eating in hall a better experience for all pupils. Each of these groups meet once a month.
  • The school’s Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) policy, including SRE (Sex and Relationships Education) (Sex and Relationships Education), has been reviewed to reflect the national changes that have recently been made. SRE sits within the PSHE scheme of work and long-term planning. It is also included in the science curriculum. A variety of resources are used e.g., Jigsaw, Discovery RE, the mindful approach to PSHE, ‘SEAL’ and the ‘Lucinda and Godfrey’ scheme for SRE. Most of the time, SRE is delivered by the children’s class teacher within the weekly PSHE lesson. Historically, visitors and visits are incorporated into all learning where possible.
  • Through the PHSE (Personal, Health and Social Education) curriculum, children are encouraged to build a positive sense of themselves. Activities such as ‘Safety Week’ and ‘Anti-Bullying Week,’ empower children to make informed, safe, moral choices, and activities such as the celebration of Armistice Day help them understand the importance of liberty.
  • The school works to broaden children’s’ horizons also helps to contextualise and develop pupils’ personal and social skills, for example through visits to other schools and the explicit teaching of risk. The school sadly was unable to return to its usual plans to undertake a yearly trip taking pupils to London as there was just no availability this year (it is already being planned for 2024) and the residential at Duke’s House Wood. Along with other schools, leaders fund and organise excellent specialist sports tuition; pupils enjoy activities such as archery, athletics, cricket, gymnastics, football, rugby and swimming. Currently, extra lunchtime activities offer recorders and Newspaper club. Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development (SMSC) is embedded within school through the many opportunities offered for pupils and staff to talk to each other. As well as being a regular part of the curriculum, I have already mentioned the extensive pupil voice activities which clearly show how staff both respect pupils’ views and indeed regularly act on these. SMSC is all-encompassing not only across the curriculum, but in books, the choice of visitors and visits outside school. The recent involvement in red Nose Day and a ‘Great Cake Bake’ are good examples of this.
  • Children’s awareness of democracy begins on entry to school, where younger children are given the opportunity to cultivate self-confidence and self-awareness, developing collaboration and decision-making skills. As children mature, they are encouraged to work together, take turns and negotiate outcomes in both learning and play situations. Classes choose their own end of term rewards and have an input into areas of learning, and many opportunities are given for pupils to vote about curricular learning. The pupil-elected school council have a say in many issues such as what they will learn about, themes for charitable fundraising and deciding which charity to donate to, identifying areas for school rewards, choosing playground equipment and evaluating learning opportunities. Pupil questionnaires are completed at the end of each year, and from this, an action plan is devised.

Leadership and Management   Evidence to support the school’s self-evaluation

  • The school continues to be well led by a very determined and highly effective headteacher. She is supported by a highly skilled and motivated team who play a huge part in ensuring that all children thrive.
  • High quality leadership, management and governance is reflected in the way senior staff and the governing body review the school’s work assiduously and have an accurate picture of its work. Their development planning focuses consistently on raising attainment and progress.
  • This high-quality leadership maintains the caring ethos and positive climate for learning evident throughout the school. Partnership working with neighbouring schools has been particularly beneficial in fostering improvement. By drawing on experience and sharing expertise, senior staff promote proficiency in teaching and have enhanced the effectiveness of the curriculum.
  • School data and monitoring provides a clear and detailed overview of the attainment and progress of all pupil groups and across all year groups. Data is clearly benchmarked against national comparators and shows in-school trends over time.
  • The school development plan is informed by outcome data from the previous school year. Targets for pupil outcomes are set in October, in consultation with staff; these are personalised to both classes the cohorts of pupils and collectively this ensures appropriate ambition across the school.
  • Governance is excellent. The governing body’s close involvement with the school leads to a clear understanding of strengths and weaknesses. Governors enhance their knowledge and roles through informative reports, seeing the impact of development work for themselves and by participation in rigorous evaluation, which in turn provides well thought out and timely support and challenge to the school.
  • Leaders have created and continue to sustain a very inclusive school. Parents unanimously say that the school is safe, happy and progressive; a place where all strengths and diversities are encouraged. Leaders understand, track and evaluate the character of every pupil, for example, optimism, wisdom and energy. This helps staff to develop pupils’ resilience and ability to deal with problems, setbacks and difficult situations in their learning and life. Vulnerable pupils and those with high needs are looked after with great care and attention.
  • In response to the DfE (Department for Education) expectation that all schools offer at least 32.5 hours per week from September 2023, leaders propose to change the school starting time to 8:45am from this September to comply with this. Discussions with school transport etc. have already taken place to ensure this can be achieved smoothly.


Early Years    Evidence to support the school’s self-evaluation

  • Children in early years make excellent progress, whatever their starting points, Staff assess their skills and next steps well. Additionally, they promote and encourage a culture of exploration and investigation. The children are clearly enthused by being able to do this and the early years setting exudes a ‘buzz’ of continual enjoyment.
  • Children make particularly good progress in their personal development, literacy and mathematical development and their knowledge and understanding of the world. Well-established routines and the effective way staff emphasise courtesy and consideration throughout the day enable children to form positive relationships and to conduct themselves impeccably. Parents and carers are delighted with the way their children settle into Class 1 and are justifiably proud of the progress they make.
  • All adults work and plan effectively together as a coherent team in this exceptionally well led and managed stage of children’s education. The productive partnership between staff in the pre-school provision on site leads to clear continuity of learning and a seamless transition into Class 1.
  • Rigorous assessment procedures identify individual learning needs and expert teaching ensures children make excellent progress. Children learn by working very well together or independently. They readily make effective use of the indoor and outdoor facilities which support all areas of learning.
  • Targeted support quickly enables those identified as underachieving to catch up, and the most able to be challenged to extend their own learning.
  • This year, 100% of pupils achieved a GLD (Good Level of Development) at the end of reception. The consistency of outcomes across all 17 areas of learning is a real strength of the school. Outcomes are consistently at or above national averages.
  • Leaders ensure that children have a sound knowledge of phonics e.g., initial sounds, blends and sight vocabulary to decode/read words, tricky words and that they are well on the way to becoming readers when they leave EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage).
  • School data also shows that, year on year, there are absolutely no gender differences in achievement levels and that disadvantaged pupils and those with SEND achieve as well as, or even better than, their peers.
  • The school reading scheme is carefully graded to give children broad experience at each level of their reading development. Staff model good reading habits and share stories regularly.
  • The early years environment is bright, vibrant, and very well resourced. This promotes children’s independence and enjoyment. There is a real purpose to learning. Teachers provide innovative and exciting activities to underpin all learning areas.
  • Right from the time they start school, children are encouraged and helped to manage their own feelings and learn to work and play happily with their peers. Positive behaviours and attitudes are constantly recognised and praised. Children are taught how to keep themselves healthy and safe from harm.

The intake into reception this September was 16 pupils (applications were over-subscribed), with 9 children from within catchment and 7 from elsewhere. This perfectly illustrates the high regard the school is held in.

Finance information

There are no staff in school who earn over 100,000 pounds in wages

Cambo First School Financial Benchmarking for 2019/20