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Welcome from the Chair - Stewart Defriend Chair of Governors


Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Stewart Defriend and I am the Chair of Governors at Pencalenick School. My involvement with Pencalenick School began in September 2020 when my son joined the school as a student. As a parent, I have seen first-hand the positive, transformative outcomes that this school provides and I felt it was my obligation to give something back to the school that has brought so much joy and comfort to my family. I became a school governor in 2022 and I am truly excited and proud to be supporting Gary and the inspirational team that represent, as far as I am concerned, the highest standard of professional and compassionate support in education.

Pencalenick School is a unique school specialising in supporting children with Complex Learning Disabilities with associated anxieties and social needs. The school is part of the Special Partnership Trust (SPT). As part of SPT, we are partners with five other special schools and four Area Resource Bases (ARBs). Having a co-ordinated approach with a number of different schools, enables us to share ideas, knowledge and training opportunities with each-other, working together to expand our skill set. Ultimately, this provides us with the best structures and staff in place, to enable students to achieve the best outcomes.

The school operates through the Local Governing Body who work closely with the head-teacher, Gary Oak, as well as our senior leadership team, to ensure that the school functions at the highest level and all pupils are part of a school they are proud of.

The team of governors recognise that effective governance is an essential part of the success of Pencalenick School. We hold regular meetings with senior leadership, playing a key role in the direction of the school. Our role is provide support to the school, whilst also challenging our leadership team; safety and outcomes for students are our highest priorities. We also work with the pastoral management team, who provide additional support to students, as well as our boarding facility. This, we believe, will ensure the school is providing the best education for the students.

The Local Governing Body meet once a term to explore the strategic business of the school; this meeting enables the governors to liaise with the CEO and Trustees of the SPT who hold overall responsibility and accountability. In addition to this, governors hold regular meetings (Cabinet meetings and workshops). The Governor Workshop is an open meeting where staff and students are welcome to attend – they can ask questions and provide feedback. We understand that communication is fundamental to the success of the school. The governors are also involved in monitoring visits, where we see for ourselves, the excellent educational package our students receive. Further details of governance can be found within the Governance section of the website.

As governors, we feel incredibly proud and privileged to be part of this very special school where we provide a flexible, broad challenging and ambitious curriculum. It is clear to me as a parent and a governor, that this is a school where students can thrive in a safe, happy and enriching environment, supported by the most hard-working, caring and dedicated staff. By the time our students graduate at the end of Year 11, we aim to have given our young people, not just the academic outcomes, but the skills and confidence to move into their post 16 lives. We know how difficult their lives can be; they deserve the very best!

Stewart Defriend
Chair of Governors

Address: c/o Pencalenick School, St Clement, Truro, TR1 1TE