Governors Report to Parents

Full Report for Academic Year September 2022 – July 2023 


It is our pleasure to bring to you this year’s Governors’ Report to Parents, which covers the developments within St Mary’s CIW Aided School, from September 2022 to July 2023. We hope you find this report informative, providing you with an insight into our school and its key developments over the past academic year. 

We are delighted to have been able to replace the fencing separating the two playgrounds and around the pond area, and we are hoping to add a pond-dipping platform soon. Thanks to the generosity of PTA we have new gravel in the kitchen garden. The perimeter fence around the school yard and field is also scheduled for renewal, and we hope that this will take place over the summer holiday. We have a new pedestrian entry gate and plan to improve disabled access to the school site. 

Visits and Visitors  

It has been wonderful to be able to welcome parents and visitors into the school again this year, including the Inspectors from His Majesty’s Inspectorate for Education and Training in Wales (Estyn), who compiled a very complementary report about our school. The full report can be found here. 

We have also arranged an array of school trips and in-person visits over the year:  

Hindu workshop Wayne Phillips visit Upbeat Music workshops 
Music lessons (drums, piano, guitar, violin, singing) Alex T. Smith author workshop  Y6 residential trip to Condover  
Swimming lessons & gala Urdd World Cup Jambori Comic Relief sports 
Make Some Noise virtual concert  Maths in Action Bangor Racecourse Y5 Cricket & Tennis in Ellesmere College   
Ma Baker workshops Y6 WWII trip Tatten Hall  PC Hulley visit Safe Haven  
Kindness workshop Y3&4 trip to Wrexham Museum Y1&2 trips to Crosby Beach & Stokesay Castle  
Sport Development sessions with Matthew Jones  Eloise Williams author zoom meeting Welsh Parliament visit for the Student & Eco Councils 
Year 5/6 trip to Dangerpoint Professional storyteller Fiona Collins Secret Garden visiting theatre 
RE immersion week Netball Club  Technocamps workshops 
Y5 Playmakers training Football Club Coronation celebrations  
Trip to Llangollen International Eisteddfod Cricket Club Trip to Blue Planet with Overton Playcentre 

Pupils and parents  

Following the relaxation of the Government Guidelines post-COVID, pupils returned to school in September with a real enthusiasm to get back to normal. The one-way system around the outside of the school building is still used by most people at drop-off and collection times, as although it is no longer mandatory, it is much easier than going “against the flow,” and it also enables brief regular and easy communication with teaching staff. Our open-door policy means that appointments for parents to have longer discussions with staff can always be arranged. 

The staff are embracing the new curriculum with vigour and planning a wide-ranging exciting package of learning experiences with the children, ensuring opportunities and activities meet their needs and their interests, while providing appropriate challenge and support. Class Dojo and See-Saw provide parents with the opportunity to see what pupils have been doing during the day and keep up-to-date with any trips or planned activities.  

As we are a Church Aided School, the Church plays a big part in our lives. Harvest Festival this year was held in the Church and included a presentation from each class on how various religions (including Paganism, Hinduism, Judaism and Christianity) celebrate. At Christmas time, Nursery and Reception entertained their families in the school hall, while Years 1-6 welcomed parents and friends to watch their performance of the Nativity in Church. We held a “Thank You and Good Luck” service in the last week of the Autumn term to say goodbye to Reverend Peter Mackriell who moved away, and welcomed our new Priest in Charge, Father Jeremy Dussek to St Mary’s early in the Spring term. A service featuring lots of audience participation was led by Jo Kember and Paul Whittaker (who regularly attend school to lead Singing Assemblies) as we celebrated Easter in Church with our families. Pupils have produced display boards in Church based on Palm Sunday and Pentecost and Year 4 are currently taking part in the Archbishop’s Young Leaders Award pilot study. 

Summer term saw us hold Open Mornings on Saturday 20th May, and Friday 9th June, a stall at the Overton Village Fete on June 24th the annual Sports Day and the Leavers Services in school and in Church. We also held a History Show where KS2 pupils shared what they have learnt about various periods in history with family and friends and a Gallery Evening to display the works created by pupils during Art Week. 

This year also saw the start of a newly formed Parent Teacher Association (PTA) led by Rashelle Valentine. The PTA have undertaken various fundraising activities throughout the year including a Halloween Sweet Hunt in Overton Park, a kindness disco in the school hall, the Christmas Present Wrap, a movie night and a fete. Funds raised have helped to fund the Upbeat music workshop and Secret Garden theatre.  

Charities: Charities supported this year were: 

Remembrance Poppy Appeal Downs Syndrome 
Children in Need Little Princess Trust  
UNICEF Ukraine relief Hope House 

Staff September 2022-July 2023 

Early Years: Mrs L Burton, Miss A Owens and Mrs K Edwards 

Year 1: Mrs K Lawrenson,  

Year 2: Mrs J Richards,   

Year 3: Mrs J Neal,   

Year 4: Miss Nia Williams,   

Year 5: Mr D Morris, (Mrs L Owen from late Autumn)* 

Year 6: Mrs L Williams,   

Foundation Phase Teaching Assistants: Mrs Angela, Mrs K Edwards, Mrs C Garnett. 

KS2 Teaching Assistants: Mrs K Davies, Miss Ll Evans, Mrs K Jones 

School Secretary: Miss Rachel Upton 

Midday Supervisors: Mrs J Davies, Mrs H Clarke, Mrs K Jones,  Mrs G Farley (early Autumn Term)  Ms C Fowles (from late Autumn to early Summer Term), Mrs W O’Grady (from Summer Term),  

Cleaners: Mrs L Conaghan, Miss H Eastop (also Caretaker during Autumn Term) 

Caretaker and Cleaner: Mr R Simon (from Spring Term). 

Our Catering Team is provided by Wrexham Local Authority. 

Before and After School Club is managed by Overton Playcentre CIO. 

 *Our Headteacher, Mrs Louise Williams was absent due to ill health from late Autumn onwards, resigning in May 2023, therefore Mr Morris became Acting Headteacher, Mrs Richards became Acting Deputy-headteacher and Mrs Owen took day-to-day responsibility for Year 5. 

Staff September 2023: 

Headteacher: Acting Headteacher Mr D Morris 

Class Teachers:  Mrs Louisa Burton (Early Years); Mrs Kay Lawrenson (Year 1); Mrs Jo Richards (Year 2); Mrs Jen Neal (Year 3); Miss Nia Williams (Year 4); Mrs Lyndsey Owen (Year 5); Mrs Lindsay Williams (Year 6). 

Teaching Assistants: Mrs A Hughes, Mrs K Davies, Mrs K Edwards, Miss Ll Evans, Mrs C Garnett, Mrs K Jones, Mrs S Maddock 

School Secretary: Miss Rachel Upton 

Midday Supervisors: Mrs H Clarke, Mrs J Davies, Mrs W O’Grady, Mrs K Jones 

Cleaners: Mrs L Conaghan, Miss H Eastop, Mr R Simon.  Caretaker: Mr R Simon  

Sport and Wellbeing 

Participating in sport and keeping active is a vital part of leading a healthy lifestyle and St Mary’s has a group of specially trained Playmaker pupils in year 5 who encourage other pupils to be active at break times. 

Of course, being active is not just restricted to break times. At St Mary’s we give our pupils the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of sporting activities. We have regular PE lessons to encourage pupils to participate in a wide range of sports. Our pupils enjoyed learning to play Football, Netball, Tennis, Dodgeball, Cricket and touch Rugby. Pupils took part in a football festival, a tennis festival and a netball tournament as well as Field Games with Wrexham Active. Weekly swimming lessons for KS2 pupils were held at Chirk swimming pool followed by a swimming gala. Year 6 were able to take part in the week-long Bikeability course which provided them with important safety skills for riding their bikes on the public road. 

Our annual Sports Day was split over three sessions again this summer, with parents, carers, grandparents and younger siblings watching the action from the track-side as pupils competed against their classmates.  

Health and wellbeing are also enhanced by spending time outdoors and having 4 qualified Level 3 Forest School providers (Miss Nia Williams, Mr Morris, Mrs Lawrenson and Mrs Richards), and Mrs Burton with an Outdoor Learning qualification, means that pupils in every class have access to Forest School provision. Forest School gives pupils an opportunity to learn skills in a different way. Teaching is immersive and undertaken in (almost) any weather, with pupils able to draw on nature to understand concepts in mathematics, literature, art, music and science.  

Within their Relationships and Sexuality education our pupils are following the Jigsaw PSHE scheme which provides every class with age-appropriate, structured and wide-ranging education on a range of topics relating to wellbeing including physical development, celebrating differences (which discourages bullying), staying safe online and how we each fit into the world around us.  

School Development Planning 

Each year, the school and Governors work together to create a School Development Plan. This is an ongoing process where we evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the school, and identify areas which can be improved, then set out a plan of how to affect those improvements. We use a resource called @TEB to aid us in the self-evaluation process and pupils give us an insight into their perceptions of school by completing questionnaires. 

Towards the end of each academic year we look at how effective our changes have been and decide whether we need to do more to achieve our objectives or whether we can move on to new objectives the following year. Our objectives for 2022/23 were:  

Priority 1: To continue to raise standards in Cymraeg and to introduce modern foreign languages into our school. 

Priority 2: To ensure robust evaluation, improvement and accountability procedures support school effectiveness 

Priority 3: To improve effectiveness in pupil learning. 

Priority 4: To implement and embed the Curriculum for Wales and to develop appropriate assessment and tracking processes to secure pupil progress 

Progress against these objectives has been made as outlined below. 

P1: Pupils chose to learn Spanish as a modern foreign language, and this was introduced initially to Year 5 & 6. This will be rolled out to all pupils with a whole school celebration of Spanish Day on October 12th. We have worked with the Advisory Team for Welsh to enhance our Helpwr Heddiw sessions and the Estyn inspectors were pleased with pupils’ knowledge of Wales and their written Cymraeg. We continue our work to improve pupils’ confidence in their use of spoken Cymraeg and this will form one of the priorities for next year. 

P2: This priority has been fully met, with use of the school self-evaluation tool @TEB being superseded by the new NFEIA format. Staff and governors have transferred the information already gathered into the new format which will be fully operational by September. 

P3: The Pupils’ Attitude to School Survey shows that pupils are happy at St Mary’s and have positive attitudes to learning. The Estyn inspectors suggested that pupils should be given more freedom in how they present their work and that school needed to ensure feedback is consistent, therefore we will continue this work next year. 

P4: Staff have formulated a two-year cycle to cover all the Statements of What Matters within the new curriculum and received training on use of the SIMS system which tracks assessments for all pupils and will be a bespoke system for St Mary’s. We therefore feel that this priority has been fully met. 

Our priorities for 2023/24 will therefore be: 

Priority 1: To develop pupils’ Welsh language speaking skills and introduce modern foreign languages to the whole school. 

Priority 2: Provide more opportunities for pupils to make their own decisions about how they respond to tasks and organise and present their work. 

Priority 3: Ensure the quality of teachers’ feedback is focused on the next steps in pupils’ learning. 

Health, Safety and Safeguarding 

Keeping our pupils physically safe is of great importance to us, and we conduct regular Health and Safety reviews and monitor the suitability and safety of school buildings. 

St Mary’s has an equal opportunities policy which means that we do not discriminate between pupils. As part of this equality, we aim to cater for a wide range of both physical, mental and spiritual needs. We have age-appropriate cloakrooms and toilets located throughout the school. There is a disabled toilet near the Headteacher’s office, nursery and reception toilets by the Reception classroom, Year 1 and 2 toilets by the KS2 changing rooms, KS2 toilets by the KS2 cloakrooms, additional toilets by Year 1 and the Library and a changing room for pupils with additional needs. 

Safeguarding is taken very seriously, with posters throughout the school to illustrate which staff and governors are responsible for dealing with any safeguarding issues and what steps to take to report any concerns. Visitors must sign in and out and wear a lanyard. Pupils are aware that they can approach any member of staff to discuss any concerns they have. 

Communication and Partnership with Parents and the local Community 

While we want our pupils to be independent, we need to ensure that they are safe whilst they are exploring that independence. We educate the pupils on internet safety and although more and more of our communication these days is online, we try our best to ensure that all pupil and parent data is protected. We use the Class Dojo system to share information safely about day to day activities of pupils between staff and parents via an electronic medium. Pupils in several classes use the online Studyladder scheme for homework and parents are able to pay for school trips and school dinners online via ParentPay.  

The school enjoys strong links with the following: 

Overton Playcentre 

St Mary’s Church 

Women’s Institute 

Community Council  

Our Student Council successfully obtained a grant from Overton Community Council to update the defibrillator situated by the school entrance, ensuring that it is fully functioning and available to serve both the school and the local community. 

Parent Information events are held for both Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2 each September. Parents evenings are usually held each term to update parents or guardians on the progress of their individual children, with a written report in the Summer term.  

Parents can take an active part in the school by joining the Parent Teacher Association and our Governing Body. Governor terms are 4 years and the Governing Body meets in full six times a year with various subcommittees meeting more frequently as the need arises. 

The Governing Body 

Chair: Angharad Veneklaas Slots Foundation Governor 

Vice-Chair: Rachel Harris Foundation Governor 

Rev. Peter Mackriell / Father Jeremy Dussek (ex-Officio) Foundation Governor 

Sarah Carpenter Parent Foundation Governor  

Charlotte Copeman Foundation Governor  

Sarah Evans Parent Foundation Governor  

Emilienne Rebel Foundation Governor 

Louise Williams Headteacher Governor / Darren Morris Acting Headteacher Governor 

Kay Lawrenson Teacher Governor  

Annie Owens / Kate Davies Staff Governor 

Jo Holland Parent Governor 

John McCusker Local Authority Governor 

Paul Ashton Community Governor 

Adrienne Jones/ Jane Williams/ Hannah Williams Clerk to the Governors  

Additional Needs and Attendance 

Each pupil is an individual, with their own unique needs and abilities. Class teachers and teaching assistants work together to support pupils on their learning journey. We aim to give each pupil the best chance of achieving their maximum potential, regardless of their ability in comparison to their classmates. 15% of the total school population of 153 pupils is currently classed as having some form of Additional Educational Needs. 

While staff do their best to encourage children to develop an enthusiasm for learning, they can only do so while the pupils are engaging with school. Incidences of unauthorised or unexplained absence at our school remain very low (0.14%) with a whole school average attendance of 94% but there was a huge increase in the number of requests for holidays in the first four weeks of the Autumn term. Although we are sympathetic to families who may have had their holiday plans disrupted by the pandemic and understand that certain holiday activities are valuable life and learning experiences, St Mary’s has adopted the Wrexham Attendance Policy. This means that families will now receive official letters when their child’s attendance falls below 90% for whatever reason. We aim to keep the whole school attendance average above 95% as this reduces the chances of pupils falling behind their peers academically. We therefore respectfully request that parents try to ensure that family holidays are not taken during term time as this disrupts the flow of teaching. Late attendance and pupil attendance are monitored by the Headteacher and the Educational Social Worker. The Welsh Assembly is keen to improve attendance in all schools and introduced a fixed penalty system used by Wrexham Local Authority. 

Term dates 

Term dates for 2023/24 are as follows: 

Term Term Opens End of Half Term Term Opens End of Term 
Autumn Monday 4th September Friday 27th October Monday 6th November Thursday 21st  December 
Spring Monday 8th January Friday 9th February Monday 19th February Friday 22nd March 
Summer Monday 8th April Friday 24th May Monday 3rd June Friday 19th July 

Staff training/School Development days  

Autumn Term 1st & 4th September, 22nd December 
Spring Term 8th January, 8th April 
Summer Term 28th June 

Once pupils have reached the end of Year 6, we bid them farewell and they continue their education at other settings.  

The destination of 2023’s Year 6 Leavers was as follows: 

Maelor School, Penley 18 
Oswestry School 

We wish them well in the next step of their education and hope that the skills and values of St Mary’s help them to prosper. 

School Finance  

The Governors are responsible for ensuring that school funds are spent prudently, and we try to maintain a good ratio of staff to pupils. Here is a breakdown of the school Budget, for the financial year ending March 2023: 

 School’s Budget (£) Final Outturn (£) Balance (£) 
Employees 672,154.00 713,531.13 -41,377.13 
Premises 27,859.00 23,791.66 4,067.34 
Supplies 21,968.00 23,691.76 -1,723.76 
Third Party Payments 62,372.00 3,929.41 58,442.59 
Support Services 39,286.00 42,199.38 -2,913.38 
Income -161,944.00 -194,963.92 33,019.92 
Total 661,695.00 612,179.42 49,515.58 

Our school prospectus and parent information booklet are available from the school office, and our website can be found at 

We hope you have found this an interesting and informative report. We are sure you’ll agree it has been a busy year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish all staff, pupils and parents of St Mary’s a happy and prosperous 2023/24 school year. 

The Governing Body of St Mary’s Church in Wales VA School, Overton.