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Meeting 03 21st January 2013

Minutes of Full Board of Governors

FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL

Held on Monday 21st January - commenced 7pm

 

Present:                  Mrs. Arscott – Chair         

                              Mr. Shore – Headteacher

                              Mrs. Thomson – Staff Governor

                              Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor

                              Mr. Thomas – Co-opted Governor

                              Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor   

                              Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor

                              Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted Governor & Training Liaison   

Mr. Gray – Parent Governor

                              Mrs. Turner – Parent Governor

                              Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor

                              Mr. Webb – Parent Governor

                              Mrs. Sides – Parent Governor

 

Apologies:               Mr. Morris- Co-opted Governor

                              Mrs. Reader – Co-opted Governor

 

In Attendance:        Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk

 

 

 

Signed:              A. Arscott                                                    Date:    19/03/13

 

 

 

Since this meeting and in light of the Ofsted training and the need to show the effectiveness of the GB, it has been suggested that the minutes clearly reflect the four focus areas of Support, Accountability, Strategy and Challenge. It has been suggested that these areas be highlighted, so each section will be coloured as above in this first trial – where it covers more than one area, 2 colours will be shown. Should it prove successful, a key will be provided on future minutes. Thank you – Sandie Dulieu, Clerk.   1. Apologies

Apologies were received and accepted from Mr. Morris and Mrs. Reader. The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate. The Chair presented certificates and Hampshire Hog badges for 4-years service to Mr. Monk and Ms Scevity, who were congratulated by all present. Mrs. Armitage-Smith will be presented with hers in school.

7.03pm Mr. Fillis, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Webb arrived

2. Declaration of pecuniary interests

None were declared for this agenda. Two of the new Parent Governors handed their completed forms to the clerk.

3. Reconstitution and membership of the GB
  1. The new instrument of government distributed with the agenda details the new structure of the GB with effect from 14th January 2013.
  2. Governors must be appointed/co-opted in their new status at this meeting and guidance notes were included in the agenda packMrs. Arscott has been recommended by the local councillor for appointment as the Local Authority Governor which the GB ratified with all in agreement. The Headteacher has chosen to be a Governor, who has no fixed term, and the staff have elected Mrs. Thomson as their representative and she will serve out her term which started on 1st January 2013. The 7 Co-opted Governors will start a new term of office of 4 years with effect from 14th January but may resign their post at any time. The Chair asked that as much notice as possible be given in this circumstance as it can be difficult to find replacement candidates that are not associated with the school (to give as broad a spectrum of opinion as possible). All agreed that the 7 governors be approved. These appointments do not affect current Chairs or members of committees. Mr. Gray and Mrs. Turner will continue their terms of office, unaffected by this reconstitution, which end on 24th January 2015 and 20th October 2013 respectively.

7.07pm Mrs. Sides arrived

The remaining three Parent Governors, Mrs. Baker, Mr. Webb and Mrs. Side’s terms run from 1st January 2013 until 31st December 2016.

A governor asked what ratio of parent governors made up the Governing Body. The Chair explained that each section was approximately one third – parents, staff and community/other. It is good practice to keep to this as far as possible, to keep a broad range of viewpoints on the Board.

4. Minutes of last meetings
  1. Both unrestricted and confidential minutes of the meeting of 27th November 2012 were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they were a true record of the meeting.
  2. The confidential minutes of the meeting of 17th December 2012 were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they were a true record of the meeting.

 

5. Matters arising

  1. The action point list was updated with the following points explained  –

1. Discharged. Governor files have been added to the school system now and once it has been tested; details will be passed to governors on how to access it.

 

6. There is still no clarification over responsibility for the line painting. The Headteacher is still looking into this.

Action Point: Headteacher

7. Discharged. The Infant School have been more stringent with the issue of only ten permits this year as opposed to twenty last year.  

 

8. Not all members of the Finance Committee have received their access permits. They were asked to give their car details to the Headteacher who would ensure they were issued the next day.

Action Point: Headteacher (ongoing)

12. Discharged. The Headteacher met with staff after the meeting in November to discuss the RAISEonline results.

 

14. The new sign for the school gates is on order.

Action Point: Headteacher (ongoing)

6. Finance Committee Report

Although the minutes were circulated in advance of the meeting, the Chair of the Committee distributed copies and apologised for the late circulation, explaining that the meeting had only taken place five days previously. He highlighted the following key points:

  • Sandie Dulieu has agreed to clerk future Finance Committee meetings in light of the Ofsted emphasis on governance to document correctly and the expansion of the committee to include Resources.
  • New Terms of Reference have been drafted for the new Finance and Resources committee which are recommended for adoption by the FGB. All agreed.
  • The main task of the committee remains the monitoring of spend vs. budget and to identify issues or discrepancies. The Chair was pleased to report that there were no surprises and although the Supply costs were over budget (due to staff sickness), the insurance covering salary cost could not be changed until 2014.
  • There has been a necessary overspend on IT to upgrade the server.
  • The Pupil Premium has not been examined in detail before but the tracking system will help and will form part of the committee remit going forward.
  • Pupil numbers are currently stable. This is the last year of a three form intake at the Infant School, which will have a 2 form entry from Sept 2013.   This will impact on FJS pupil numbers unless we have an increase in out of catchment numbers.. The committee is unsure of the Infant School’s future pupil recruitment strategy. 
  • School improvement priorities, training budget and SEN provision will form part of future analysis by the committee.
  • SFVS requirements are in hand and will be completed in time for the document to be presented to the FGB meeting in March in order to meet the deadline of 31st.
  • Benchmarking is an annual practice to compare financial performance of Foxhills against other schools locally and nationally. This is considered a useful exercise that identifies priorities from a financial perspective. A governor commented that the premises costs were low. The Chair agreed it was astonishingly low and showed that energy-saving initiatives in school were working well. Resources in general are well managed. This process highlights trends and this is a positive result.

The Chair thanked the committee for their report.

 

7. Update on Deputy Head Teacher appointment

The Headteacher explained that the process is in the application stage and that the closing date was 28th January at 12pm with a short listing meeting planned for the afternoon. Eight potential candidates have been booked in who each have a half to three-quarter hour tour with the Headteacher.  There have been a couple of strong candidates but he has concerns that the salary point offered may have a negative impact. If the right person is not found as a result of this round of interviews, the Headteacher assured governors that there was sufficient time to re-advertise and analyse why the position wasn’t filled on this occasion.  Stella Counsell, LLP (Learning Leadership Partner) has been involved with the format of interview day and governors will be kept informed of progress.

 

According to new guidance, it is recommended that the Headteacher give a written or verbal report, alternating at each FGB meeting. The Chair invited the Headteacher to give a verbal report as he had provided a written one at the November meeting.

 

All progress check meetings have been held with staff and the data held on the tracking system is now up to date. There are slight discrepancies at this stage as not all the assessments were carried out at the same time but this will be standardised in the future to take place in the last two weeks of each term.

Year 4 attainment is looking healthy at 90% on course for a level 4 result in English, 95% for a level 4 in Maths giving a combined result of 88-89% at level 4  which is very high. The issue is still writing (at approximately 73%) but Ofsted will look at progress levels in which there is still work to do. By the end of Year 4, children should have made 6 points of progress – English should be within parameters, but Maths is under scrutiny and the subject leader is looking at this in a twilight INSET. Writing is being addressed through INSET and staff meetings so that lack of progress can be identified and remedied early.

Year 6 figures were worrying in the last report at 47% combined English and Maths – the floor target is 60% - anything below that would automatically trigger an Ofsted inspection. The team have worked exceptionally hard and they are now looking at 63% - an increase of 16% - admirable on the team’s part. Writing is still a concern but this is only one term’s input so far. Progress will be an issue with this cohort which includes gender progress differences too but the school is aware of this and the team are targeting individuals with precision teaching. This is very intensive work and they are seeing daily results. With the SATs tests due in May, there is a very short time to make big improvements, but a result of 70% at level 4 for combined English and Maths would be a great achievement, considering their starting point at the beginning of the year. Efforts to improve can be demonstrated as the evidence is there and congratulations were offered to all involved.

A governor asked for clarification of the progress expected which the Headteacher explained, including how it could be tracked from KS1 to KS4 i.e. a secure level 2 at KS1 leading to level 4 at KS2 giving an expected minimum of Grade C at GCSE. He went on to clarify the differences in gender attainment that girls usually out-perform boys in writing and boys achieve more in Maths; Foxhills bucks this trend and will be looking at the curriculum and activities to tailor it to those needs. Years 3 and 4 have more boys than girls.

A governor noted that there was a discussion over data validity with staff at the last meeting and asked if it had been resolved. The Headteacher explained that the difference concerned interpretation of data and confirmed that it had been resolved. All staff now track children on grids so that everyone, including the Year Leaders, is aware of where those children are, who needs extra help etc. Provision maps are being created and interventions put in place. Children are then plotted on a graph which can be shared at the next meeting.

Action Point: AS

Year 6 should consolidate teaching and learning gained throughout the school although this year there is the added pressure of an additional grammar test of the technical side of writing. It is expected that the current situation of precision teaching to enable individuals to attain level 4 be resolved within two years. A governor queried whether the additional hours spent with those individuals was at the expense of those in the Pupil Premium category. The Headteacher explained that, at this stage, it was important to raise the percentage of children attaining a combined level 4 in Maths and English which meant targeting specific individuals. If the tracking system proved successful, it should be unnecessary to do such intense work in the future. 72% is the most that can be expected at level 4 in this cohort and it is important to get as many there as possible. The Pupil Premium individuals have been identified and the school have to show how funds are spent along with the impact it has had. This will form part of a new report showing how the 5% eligible are progressing in relation to others. The new budget will allow £900 per child.

The Chair thanked the Headteacher for his report.

 

8. Committee membership and policy responsibility for 2013

The Chair thanked governors for volunteering for their respective committees and referred to the committee list and policy responsibilities that were circulated with the agenda. The Access Policy must be added to the GB ToR and the committee list updated.

Action Point: Clerk

See attached committee list for membership for this academic year. It will be revised at the beginning of each Autumn term.

The Learning and Engagement Committee must revise their ToR to include Free School Meal and Pupil Premium/Service families funding at their first meeting.

Action Point: MT

 

9. To approve amended policies

a) Standing Orders

The revised document circulated with the agenda was further updated to change the following:

Item 7 – the appointment of staff below Senior Leadership Team rather than Deputy Head.

Item 7 – the MoPP was amended in 2012

With these amendments, all governors agreed to adopt the Standing Orders. The Chair reminded governors to sign in to the Visitors Book as a record of official visits and requested that they report back to the FGB on their activities in school.

 

b) School Lettings

This policy, circulated at the November meeting has been updated to include the requirement for public liability insurance to be held by those using school premises. A governor asked if there was a minimum amount required. The Headteacher will check this with the Bursar and report back. With this amendment and pending the minimum requirement, all governors agreed that the policy be adopted.

 

c) Access Policy

Although this policy was discussed in the November meeting, it wasn’t formally adopted and minuted. To this end, governors agreed that the policy be approved for adoption.

 

10. Report on Barker-Mills presentation to Ashurst Parish Council

The Chair gave an overview of the meeting held by the Parish Council with Barker-Mills which a number of the governors attended. The proposal for land development was made public and it was emphasised that it was very much at the consultation stage and would not proceed without the community’s support. Stuart Irvine, planning consultant to Barker-Mills, has agreed to explain the proposals to both IS and JS GBs on 5th March at 7pm.  A PreSchool representative will also be invited as will Oliver Coleman, HCC Property Management. Copies of the outline proposal were distributed and the Chair asked that governors look at it then email any questions back so that agreed points may be sent to Stuart in advance. The main concern currently is the position of the proposed cycle way as it crosses the main traffic entrance. Governors discussed the proposal during which it was reiterated that nothing will go ahead without the housing element and that Barker-Mills will only proceed if the village values the development. A governor pointed out that the cycle path entrance into school would need to be lockable as it leads in to the campus behind the main gate which could be a security issue. The Chair noted this comment and suggested that could be clarified at the meeting in March. The Chair asked that comments be passed to her as soon as possible.

Action Point: All

 

11. To consider draft agenda for the Future Strategy meeting on 29th January

The agenda was sent with the agenda papers and is still in draft form. The Chair has consulted with the Headteacher and Angela Wedgwood regarding content. After a brief discussion, governors agreed that although a demonstration of the tracking system would be useful, it would not be appropriate for that meeting, and that Angela be asked if the start time could be changed from 7pm to 6pm in consideration of the work/life balance ethic for staff.

Action Point: Chair

All agreed that the purpose is to agree a process to ensure the GB’s effectiveness in holding the Leadership Team to account and establish clear guidelines for monitoring and evolving.

 

12. Governor training

The TLG updated governors on training courses booked and requested feedback on the WGBT session held recently.

Action Point: All

There are currently two governors trained in Safer Recruitment enabling them to form part of an interview panel. Other governors should ideally be trained and the next one-day course available in this area is being held on 1st March. Interested governors should email the Clerk or TLG as soon as possible.

Action Point: All

The new training booklet detailing all available courses is now available electronically. The Clerk will email it to all – Mrs. Datlen will always answer any questions about any of the courses listed if required.                                                                       Action Point: Clerk

Hantsweb has a shared practice page which is very worthwhile. All governors have access to this service and are requested to look at it regularly.

The next forum is being held on 26th February at South Wonston Primary School – anyone can attend.

8.30pm Ms Scevity left the meeting

a) Action points following WGBT

Clear messages from the training included understanding of governor activities in school and how to challenge effectively.  This needs to be broken down into individual components which will form a checklist of things to do in a school year. The eventuality of the Chair being unavailable during an inspection must be covered and the person stepping in must be able to articulate answers and know where to find the evidence.

Governors should:

  • understand RAISEonline
  • know expected progress and achievement
  • check that targets have been met and if not, why not
  • evidence of how the GB have challenged
  • formulate and formalise information/evidence

Governors would like to find out what information they need which would lead to what questions they should ask - much of this should be discussed at the meeting on 29th January.

8.40pm Ms Scevity returned

b) Future training needs

Ofsted emphasis on Leadership and Management includes governors, and the school views training as an investment in people. The existing Finance Committee Chair is now trained and the TLG will be looking at courses for all governors, including staff, to attend as this will help the GB to become more effective. A development plan will be drafted by Mrs. Datlen and training will be discussed as part of the strategy meeting on 29th January.

c) To approve full access for Governor training

An excellent, value for money service offered by Governor Services which covers all courses attended and includes one WGBT session will cost £825 this year. E-learning is an additional £150 but this has been tried before and proved ineffective for this GB. The TLG recommended that the full access option be taken up and all agreed.

 

13. Presentation on the role of HLTA

Mrs. Datlen presented an outline of the role of a Higher Level Teaching Assistant (HLTA), having sent her report with the agenda pack, and invited questions or comments. The Headteacher commented that it was a role he wished to further develop in school and that Ofsted would judge not only the HLTA in class but would look to the Teacher for their direction and the quality of learning. This role gives the school scope for flexibility and impacts favourably on supply costs whilst working well for both the school and its children.

The Chair thanked Mrs. Datlen for her report.

14. Any other business

There was none.

 

15.  Presentation by Michael Thomas

A proposal, circulated with the agenda, was put forward by Mr. Thomas to authorise a sub-committee to  investigate ways of financing  an alternative development to that proposed by Barker Mills, to benefit all children. Governors discussed the idea and asked questions regarding this proposal.

Whilst the Headteacher supported ideas that improved the education of children, the proposed additional access to the school site and additional parking was not negotiable. Governors had no objections to investigating the possibility of funding for a project which was supported by the HT, although it was generally agreed that any building should be on the school site. A governor was concerned, considering that the GB’s uphill challenge to improve the school for its Ofsted inspection was enough to contend with for now and suggested that it would be significantly hindered by a distraction of this kind. A governor commented that this was just an idea and without a clear proposal for a particular wish it was inappropriate to have this discussion at this time.

9.20pm Ms Scevity left the meeting

A vote was taken on forming a sub-committee to further discuss this proposal with a result of 3 in favour, 6 against and 3 abstentions.

The question was asked whether the school should open a dialogue with Barker Mills in regard to future development of an educational nature. This would have to be agreed with the other two schools on the campus first. Governors voted 9 in favour, none against and 3 abstentions.

No further action will be taken on this proposal for now.

 

Governors were reminded of the shared training with the Infant School Governors on 13th February 2013 6-8pm.

 

The Chair thanked governors for their patience. The meeting ended at 9.25pm.

 

Dates of next meetings:

 

Tuesday 19th March – 4.30-6.30pm (Mr. Thomas has given his apologies for this date)

Monday 20th May – 7-9pm

Tuesday 9th July – 4.30-6.30pm