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Meeting 05 20th May 2013

Minutes of Full Board of Governors

FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL

Held on Monday 20th May 2013 - commenced 7.05pm

 

Present:                   Mrs. Arscott – Chair         

                              Mr. Shore – Headteacher

                              Mrs. Thomson – Staff Governor

                              Mrs. Reader – Co-opted Governor

                              Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor

                              Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor   

                              Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor

                              Mr. Thomas – Co-opted Governor

                              Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted & Training Liaison Governor   

                              Mr. Gray – Parent Governor

                              Mrs. Turner – Parent Governor

                              Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor

                              Mr. Webb – Parent Governor

                             

Apologies:                Mr. Morris- Co-opted Governor

                             Mrs. Sides – Parent Governor

                             

In Attendance:         Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk

 

 

 

Signed:                       A. Arscott                                   Date:      09/07/13

 

 

 

1. Apologies

Apologies were received and accepted from Mr. Morris, and Mrs. Sides. The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate.

2. Declaration of pecuniary interests

None were declared.

3. Minutes of last meeting

a) Unrestricted and b) Confidential minutes - The minutes were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they were a true record of the meeting.

7.09pm Mr. Shore arrived

4. Matters arising

a)Update on action points: The list was updated (see attached) with the following noted:

1. Responsibility for line painting remains ongoing

2. The Committee ToR will be updated at the next meeting which will include a name change to Children's Learning and Attainment (CLA) Committee

3. Future Headteacher's reports will include achievement in key areas so the action will be discharged at the next meeting once practice is established

4. See item 8 of this agenda

5. Skills matrix now with the TLG who will email to the Clerk for distribution and completion by governors

6. The CL&A Committee meeting was held at 6pm tonight and minutes will be sent to the Clerk when available

7.  See item 10 of this agenda

13. New signing in sheet in reception

14. Ongoing until practice established

 

b)Correspondence with Oliver Coleman ref drainage: The Chair received a letter of apology for the lack of action and an explanation that HCC have confirmed responsibility for their maintenance. The drains are blocked and an attempt to clear them has not been successful thus far. The Chair replied by email and is awaiting further response.

5. Schedule of GB visits/Performance Data Group

The Chair explained that it is essential that records are kept of all governor visits and feedback. The suggested proforma was distributed with the agenda papers and governors were asked if it fulfilled the requirements in their opinion. There was a short discussion, where it was agreed that visits should be generated, in the main, by the two main committees who should feedback to their Chairs and the Chair of Governors (CoG); the reports should then be filed centrally by the Clerk in school as evidence for Ofsted, although copies would be sent to the Headteacher and CoG. The Headteacher informed governors that he had carried out an in-depth review of the Governor Visit Protocol with a Staff Governor, which would be emailed to the Clerk for distribution with the minutes.

ACTION: HT/Clerk

All governors should read the revised policy and note any comments for the next meeting.

 ACTION: All

The Performance Data Group comprised of three governors met with the Deputy and Headteacher. The data document circulated with the agenda was discussed, raising the following points:

  • The Headteacher has been working with the Infant School to moderate attainment in Year 3. This is ongoing and will take time
  • Data in white shows children working at national average, pink and red are below
  • Years 4-6 are working broadly in the bottom 25% for progress
  • Year 6 leavers attaining 4c is looking better but the statistics may not make the national rate of progress as those entering Year 3 with a level 3 should make at least a level 5 when they leave
  • An action plan has been put in place this term for all children to make at least one sub-level of progress before the end of July which can be measured in the autumn
  • The notes from this meeting will be available once complete and actions included

A governor asked if there were trigger points to move children from one category to the next i.e. average, below, well-below. The Headteacher explained that the tracking system, presented to governors in a previous meeting, was used to highlight children's progress and from the autumn triggers would be lower in order to help individuals sooner.

The LLP (Stella Counsell) visited school today and reviewed the data set on the system. This term's data is yet to be input so figures look worse than they really are - it will catch up again at the end of this term for analysis in the autumn. Data will be included in each Headteacher's report but not necessarily a printed analysis.

 

6. To review the Schedule of GB responsibilities

Now that the Governor SEF is complete, actions must be agreed. Governors were asked to comment on the schedule, prepared by the Chair, which was emailed after the last meeting. The Finance Committee have included actions in their timetable and ToR. All agreed that it was a good working document that would be reviewed termly and in detail in October.

 

7. Headteacher's report

Two documents, distributed with the agenda, formed this report - the first having been covered by the Performance Data Group. The Headteacher considered immediate actions to be the most important to inform governors highlighting the following points:
  • The new Deputy Head has arrived with great speed and energy. Much had been put on hold but now issues are being tackled head on
  • Staff are feeling the pressure but there is a lot to achieve
  •  The new Literacy Leader is having a big impact on the curriculum.
  • There has been a confidentiality issue regarding staff changes - the source is unknown but everyone has been reminded, and governors were asked, to keep confidential issues to themselves
  • Teaching and Learning is progressing at a fast pace
  • Stella Counsell is fairly confident that good results are attainable within a year or so but we are having a good impact on results already anyway
  • Teaching and Learning (T&L) has been delegated to  the Deputy Head.Immediate actions have been taken in some instances and there are short and long term plans that will be included in the School Development Plan
  • Foxhills has been identified as a high priority school which attracts a whole package of support from the Local Authority (LA) for T&L, Literacy, Maths and SEN. Part funded by the LA and the school's HIAS budget, this is a comprehensive package with a mid-way review being held on 24th June to evaluate the impact of the support which will be attended by both the Headteacher and CoG
  • SATs have been completed and sent off so now just awaiting the results - 68% is predicted
  • Tracking system showed 46% at the beginning of the year, the floor target is now 60%, Year 6 staff have been very strategic with their interventions to achieve this brilliant improvement

A governor asked how this has been achieved. Through the good use of data to identify specific individuals, targeting resources and the quality of teaching which has been verified by the LA who were pleased with what they saw.

  • Clare Prest has been successfully appointed as a Phase Leader at Wordsworth School and will be leaving at the end of this week. It will be sad to see her go and she will be greatly missed. Kelly Hedges returns from maternity leave and will take Clare's class. Year 3 will remain unchanged.
  • Interviews are being held on Thursday for a new teaching post - 7 were shortlisted, interviewing 2
  • One NQT has been successfully appointed to start in September

A governor commented that NQTs need additional support and asked how will that be managed? Two members of staff have asked if they can offer this support and the LA have a programme of support for NQTs too.

  • There has been 1 exclusion for a pupil who was aggressive towards a member of staff. How long was this for?  2 days. If it should happen again, this can be increased but if it should be more than 5 days, governors will be involved. The school is working with the parents and set expectations for the child's return in a meeting. A governor asked about the process for exclusion which the Headteacher explained.

The Chair thanked the Headteacher for his report.

 

8. Draft School Improvement Plan

Distributed at the meeting, the name has been changed to the School Development Plan (SDP) and is still in draft form at this stage. Staff met to study the latest Ofsted criteria and generate areas of concern. Four key areas are set as priorities:

To improve the quality of Teaching and Learning

Develop an integrated curriculum

Leadership capacity

Behaviour

Governors scanned the document and asked what 2 of the abbreviations stood for: PPA (Planning, Preparation & Assessment) and NCT (Non Contact Time).

The Headteacher explained that success indicators should be shown at the front and explained the concept:

  • Four main headings which have further priorities behind them
  • Not much detail, each will develop a plan of their own e.g. inclusion has only one entry on this document, but will be backed up by another plan behind it
  • Priority 3 shows the leadership focus area which will include Year Coaches who will be existing teachers working alongside another member of staff for guidance and coaching to improve

How will this impact on staffing levels and the class if individuals are working as coaches? It all has to be balanced out but may involve an hour a week where the HLTA can cover a class to allow teachers to plan together.  Not a full day then? No, this will be very specific, targeting a particular area, using skills already in school, sharing and developing those strengths.

It is suggested that the SDP will guide future training, governor meetings, accountability and objectives; will drive termly focus areas, link to the Governor SEF, guide governor visits, the budget and show progress across the school. Governors were asked to read it in advance of the next meeting where it can be discussed in more detail.

ACTION: All

Any questions regarding abbreviations, terminology etc. may be emailed to the Headteacher for explanation before the next meeting. 

A governor asked to what extent are the staff in support of the SDP and improvement? Staff governors confirmed that the teaching staff are committed to change and improvement and are on board with the SDP.

 

9. Report from Finance and Resources Committee

The Chair of the committee distributed the minutes of the last meeting which had been held recently and highlighted the following points:

  • Pupil Premium is a focus area and summarised well in the minutes
  • Value For Money (VFM) actions are detailed e.g. sharing site costs etc. Being custodians of public money means evidencing effective and appropriate use of those funds
  • School trips being self-funded or subsidised is under scrutiny
  • Nothing unexpected in the financial review - areas of note have been identified
  • Supply budget was expected to be over budget but finished on budget - a significant achievement mainly due to the utilisation of the HLTA
  • Training overspend seen as an investment in staff and should be realistically set
  • IT will be a focus for committee visits to identify where money has been spent and its effective use
  • SLAs being reviewed in October this year
  • Discretionary spend is under review

A governor asked why staff costs were increased by £6k by year 3 but it was explained that no staffing changes are included in the forecast and there is a formula built in to the system which automatically generates these figures.

How can a £55k excess be used so quickly? It was created by the delay in appointing a Deputy and cheaper staff as experienced people left. It sounds high, but doesn't take long to use and although it seems prudent to protect a surplus, it should be used on the children in school today given the attainment as it stands.

 

  • The budget and forecast forms a major part of the committee work and the Bursar has recently had a visit from the LA Finance Officer to ensure it is realistic and manageable. The Chair explained the budget document showing income and the main expenditure which for the last financial year stands at:

£26,361 deficit for the year

£55,000 surplus brought forward from last year

£28,639 surplus carried forward into this year

The next year's expected deficit will be covered by this year's surplus carried forward but shows that in three years' time, a deficit is inevitable based on current income and expenditure. This budget assumes maximum LSA hours and no staff changes. 2015/16 is too far away to need immediate action. The committee consider this budget to be realistic and appreciate that it shows a deficit in three years but much will happen and there will be time to adjust before then. On this basis asked governors to adopt the budget. It was proposed, seconded and all agreed.

 

  • Pupil Premium will become a standing agenda item and will cross over all committees. There is a need to identify focus children, measure effectiveness of spending and impact on education

A governor asked if a child's circumstances change and they suddenly attract Pupil Premium, is this paid immediately? No, a census takes place in January which sets the funding based on those in school at that time. If a child leaves, the funding stays with this school, equally, if a new child starts here, their funding stays with their old school. The school must deploy the money strategically to improve outcomes across a cohort. This differs with statemented children as their funding follows them to whatever school they attend.

  • School assets register has escalated into a much bigger task than first anticipated. The Caretaker will complete an inventory over the summer to include vulnerable items. This will lead to security marking etc.

Governors thanked the Chair of the committee for his report.

10. Report on annual Parents' survey

The analysis was included in the agenda pack and governors discussed the results noting the response this time may have been slightly higher than previous years and that 95% of parents agreed with the statements. Stella Counsell had commented that 29% was a low response for forest schools. After a long discussion on the comments, the following were highlighted:

  • Some comments can be linked to one incident
  • The school needs to address parent perceptions
  • If complaints are not made directly to the school, they can't be dealt with
  • Improve communication with parents - what is happening and why
  • Children do feel safe in school
  • To increase the percentage of responses, show the impact of feedback received
  • Approximately 75% of questionnaires were named
  • A letter of response (also included in the agenda pack) will go out next week
  • There is no evidence of persistent, targeted bullying in school - fall outs occur which are dealt with at the time and every incident is followed up
  • Behaviour impacts on whole classes and is dealt with in circle time and assemblies

11. Report on GB audit

Notes and report of the feedback meeting held on 10th May were emailed to governors last Monday, 13th, showing GB strengths and actions required. The report suggests a Working Party be formed in preparation for an Ofsted visit - Mrs. Arscott, Mr. Monk, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Shore will take this role which will be discussed in a meeting on Friday.

Carolyn Millar has offered her services to formulate an action plan. The Chair asked if this would be a useful exercise. The CL&A committee Chair spoke to Carolyn today and is confident about setting priorities for governor visits this term. He suggested that telephone support may be sufficient for now. The role of a governor is to hold the school to account. Carolyn clarified this by saying that governors evaluate the evaluations! The WGBT in September will be on support and challenge which will be tailored to this GB. The TLG has spoken to Governor Services and a tutor is being sought for 23rd at 7pm.

Training sessions are being booked but not across the whole GB. The 'Staff as Governors' course is being held on Tuesday 25th June at 4.30pm - one governor agreed to attend.

20:48pm Mr. Shore left the meeting

All governors on the F&R committee should attend the 'Understanding Finance' course and all members of the CL&A committee should attend a curriculum course. All courses can be arranged through Mrs. Datlen or by individuals. Responsibilities must be spread through the whole GB which will take commitment and hard work by all.

Congratulations to the Clerk as her minuting was commended.

20:50pm Mr. Shore returned

 

12. Reports from governors' training courses

a) RAISEonline for governors attended by Mrs. Sides and Mrs. Arscott was a good course on the interpretation of data - so in demand that they ran 5 courses! The report was distributed with the minutes.

b) Teachers' pay briefing attended by Mrs. Arscott, Ms. Scevity and Mr. Monk last Thursday was on the changes due in September 2013. Their report was distributed at the meeting.

Teachers' pay will be performance related from this September, the policy for which is will be available from 15th July to include a letter to teachers. This model policy should be adopted in October. Education Personnel Services (EPS) are doing all the work on this, for which we should be eternally grateful! There may be a need for a separate Pay Committee but this will be discussed on Friday. A governor asked if teachers' pay would be protected. No salaries will be reduced, but higher paid teachers will have explicit criteria to meet as they should have substantial and sustainable impact across the school. It is not known yet what would happen if they don't meet this. TLRs will be on fixed term contracts or specific time-related projects. Will this performance-related pay be applied to support staff too? There are no plans to at present and the Headteacher stated that this would be unfair as LSAs can't be held to account in this way.

There are clear expectations and performance management conducted by the Headteacher for staff and by governors for the HT. Misuse of public funds and VFM factor here too.

 

13.  Governor training

WGBT training booked on 23rd September 2013 at 7pm. All to attend.

Cluster training will be held on 17th September on Protecting Children for governors - more details will follow.

ACTION: Mrs. Datlen

Mrs. Sides will attend Performance Management for Headteachers in September.

Mr. Thomas and Mrs. Sides will attend the Summer Conference.

A Pupil Premium course is being sought for Ms. Scevity.

If governors book any courses directly with Governor Services, please email Mrs. Datlen with the course details.

 

14. Any other business

a) Mr. Gray has tendered his resignation with effect from the end of the summer term. The Board are very sorry to be losing him. There will need to be a Parent Governor election at the beginning of the autumn term to fill this vacancy. The letter will be prepared in time for the new parents' evening so that the election can take place at the beginning of September.

ACTION: Clerk/CoG

b) The heavy workload is impacting on everyone and anyone wishing to join the GB as it must comply with regulations. If governors feel they are unable to commit to these responsibilities, please let the Chair know as soon as possible. It is vital that there is an even distribution of leadership and duties in this ever increasing role.

ACTION: All

c) Governors have already raised the need for more effective communication with parents regarding changes in school but how can this be achieved? The school is due an Ofsted inspection at any moment and if the SATs results are down again this year, the school will be judged as 'requires improvement' if not given a 'notice to improve.' Remembering governors' reaction at the beginning of the year, it will be a shock to parents now. It was suggested that constructive documents be shared to explain the position of the school and the action plan in advance of any inspection. Write to parents explaining the status in September and issues addressed to the position now - the letter should be from both governors and the Headteacher. Outline the plans in place to raise standards, explain the change in Ofsted criteria and response to those changes with no blame apportioned to anyone. The Headteacher agreed to draft a letter and email to governors for comments after half term.

ACTION: Headteacher

All governors should read and return comments as soon as possible so that it can be sent to parents.

ACTION: All

d) The school has been invited to send some children to CBBC's live wildlife programme on Saturday 15th June in the New Forest Wildlife Park. The programme is called 'Wild' so please look out for it. The children will not be in school uniform.

 

e) The Health and Safety Audit will be carried out after half term.

 

f) Show Family and Friends/Link day will be held on 3rd July from 5.30pm with the new parents' evening following at 7pm. As many governors to attend as possible please. Year 6 Ambassadors will be guiding visitors as usual.

 

The Chair thanked governors and the meeting ended at 9.15pm.

 

Date of next meeting:

 

Tuesday 9th July – 4.30-6.30pm