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Meeting 1 - 7th October 2013

Minutes of Full Board of Governors

FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL

Held on Monday 7th October 2013 - commenced 7pm

 

Present:                  Mrs. Arscott – Chair         

                             Mr. Shore – Headteacher

                             Mrs. Thomson – Staff Governor

                             Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor

                             Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor   

                             Mrs. Reader – Co-opted Governor

                             Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor

                             Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted & Training Liaison Governor   

                             Mrs. Turner – Parent Governor

                             Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor

                             Mr. Webb – Parent Governor                

Apologies:                Mr. Thomas – Co-opted Governor

Absent:                   Mrs. Sides – Parent Governor

In Attendance:         Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk

 

 

 

Signed:                A. Arscott                                                       Date:       26/11/13

 

 

 

 

1. Apologies

Apologies were received and accepted from Mr. Thomas. The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate.

 

2. Declaration of pecuniary interests

Forms were completed by those present. The Clerk will send forms to those not at the meeting for completion as soon as possible.

ACTION POINT: Clerk

3. Minutes of last meeting

Both the unrestricted and confidential minutes of 9th July 2013 were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they were a true record of the meeting.

7.03pm Mr Webb arrived

 

4. Matters arising

a)Update on action points: The list was updated - see attached.

 

The Chair informed governors of the resignation of Mr. Morris due to work pressures and that Mr. Gray would be stepping down at the end of this term.

 

5. Election of Chair, Vice Chair and TLG

 

Election statements were submitted, in advance of the meeting, with the agenda pack by both the Chair and Vice Chair; the Clerk conducted the proceedings resulting in Ann Arscott being unanimously elected for another two year term of office. It was agreed that the end date of this term would be 31st October 2015 to ensure that the first meeting would be held before the this was met. Don Monk was also re-elected for another two year term ending on 31st October 2015. Mrs. Arscott thanked governors for their vote of confidence but asked that they consider who would succeed her and Mr Monk before the event of either of them stepping down. Both positions carry a great deal of work and responsibility and current governors interested in progressing would be welcome to shadow them to learn the role. Mr. Monk also commented that the Chairs Development course was superb for anyone considering taking it on, including Committee Chairs. Mrs. Datlen was re-elected as TLG and was commended for a job well done.

 

6. Committees

 

All governors must serve on at least one committee and the proposed list of members was included in the agenda pack. Governors were asked if they were happy with their current membership and for volunteers to fill vacancies. All agreed with the following amendments:

Health and Safety - Mrs. Turner, Mrs. Reader

CLA - Mrs. Thomson noted that she had been missed off the list

HT Performance Management - Mrs. Baker will replace Mrs. Sides who has resigned due to other commitments

The Clerk will amend the list and send out with the minutes.

ACTION POINT: Clerk

7. Headteacher's Report

 

a) and b) Attendance: The attendance target set for 2012/13 is 95.5%: The school achieved end of year attendance of 96% (National 95%). A governor asked if it is realistic to achieve higher than 96%. The Headteacher confirmed that it is and explained the attendance/absence process for those children who fall into the 'persistent absence' category and that he is working closely with the other schools to achieve the best results. The school has had a massive drive on this and the figures have improved showing that the initiatives are working. When asked if the statistics allow for long-term illness the Headteacher explained that all absences are included, but there are separate codes for different reasons.

 

 Amendments to the 2006 regulations have removed any references to family holiday and extended leave, as well as the statutory threshold of ten school days. (These should have only ever been granted for ‘exceptional’ circumstances). More applications have been received for weddings abroad and other special occasions! How can you deal with those applications you feel may not be genuine? HCC are yet to give guidance on this and have not applied any fines this term. Any time taken for holiday will be recorded as unauthorised from now on. Sickness is 'authorised' but other triggers are in place for time taken. How many parents are still applying for holiday? A few, but as there is a blanket ban now, it is anticipated that parents will no longer apply and will just take their children out of school without a request, or phone in sick. The theory is that if the curriculum is engaging and the children are enjoying school, they won't want to miss out and will be disappointed if they can't attend.

 

c) Unratified SATs results: The tracking system last year predicted 48% combined level 4 results with a floor target of 60%. At the end of last year, the system of calculating outcomes was changed and the revised predicted percentage rose to 73%. English has been devolved into Reading and Writing and combined with Maths giving an unratified result of 66% attained last year which although is below that hoped for, is still a good result and higher than other local schools. This is also a 2% rise on the 64% attained over the last two years - an amazing achievement. Unfortunately, progress from KS1 to KS2 remains poor and this remains the focus area in school.

A governor asked if the floor level is still at 60%.  For now, but it is expected to be raised to 65%. Individually, subject attainment is good: Maths, 84%; Reading, 82% and Writing (Teacher assessed) at 74%. For an Ofsted judgement of 'Good' the school should attain a minimum of 80% (combined) and currently, the crossover reduces the score. As a school, an aspirational target of 85% combined is in place. How will this 85% be judged achievable? Through termly tracking data and pupil progress check meetings.

 

Progress across the board is low and is especially poor for FSM and SEN children, being in the lowest quartile for these groups. Mrs. Easton has identified the individuals and a strategic, precision intervention plan will be put in place for these children. The points and levels of progress were shared and discussed at length with the Data Group, the minutes of which will be distributed with the minutes of this meeting, which all governors should  read - especially if they are unclear about the difference.

ACTION POINT: Clerk

The Fischer Family Trust Dashboard (included with the agenda papers) gives general SATs results but not in any detail. The Headteacher showed governors a document giving  further breakdown of the figures, including traffic light colouring, and agreed to copy it to all.

ACTION POINT: Headteacher

Other information conveyed to governors:

 

Achievement of Pupils

Special Education Needs                  

  • More focused role – Early identification of SEN and pupil observations

 

Children eligible for Pupil Premium (PP) – Ever 6 and Ever 3 pupils

  • 42 pupils in total eligible for the Pupil Premium (Y3 – 10, Y4 – 8, Y5 – 13, Y6 – 11)
  • Managed by Ruth Easton: identification of needs, monitoring and evaluation of achievement
  • Jennie Bailey and Shelagh Hogdson – targeted interventions by qualified teachers - this is a focus area for the spend of PP funding

 

Quality of Teaching and Learning

 

What we do well

  • Marking/ feedback – consistent practice across school. Teachers have worked very hard
  • Daily phonics, spelling, sentence surgery in every year group
  • Guided reading carousel  - T/ LSA/ Paired reading (3-5, 4-6), comprehension, Project
  • Breakaway learning – use of pre and in-lesson assessment to support individual pupils and groups (identifying next steps)
  • Integrated learning (curriculum) EPIC learning – context, purpose and audience. The feedback received from Teachers is that the first topic was jilted in the beginning but the next topics are looking much more exciting and Teachers will have more ownership
  • Coaching and Mentoring roles – regular peer observations/support

 

CPD

  • Autumn INSET – Integrated Curriculum – Behaviour policy – school aims – Phonics - a full but informative and worthwhile two days
  • Two Teachers developing the use of the fantastic outdoors enjoyed here

 

 

Behaviour and Safety of pupils

  • Behaviour continues to be of a very good standard
  • New Behaviour policy launch – highly successful and popular with parents and already improving independence with children understanding their targets, progress, next steps and embracing the reward policy
  • Children responding very well

 

Safeguarding

  • No recorded racist incidents this term
  • No recorded reports of bullying this term
  • The need identified to qualify 'bullying' which currently includes arguments and friendship fall-outs by children and parents alike

 

OTHER AREAS

Resources: Finance             

  • The budget continues to be managed carefully. We have moved our 10 hour per week LSAs on to 16.25 hrs per week contracts, to cut down on the amount of ad-hoc hours being claimed for and to enable our staff to benefit from more secure contracts. Four LSAs are working in the afternoons too
  • Performance Related Pay - Since the new document has been received detailing expectations of staff at all grades, performance management has been halted so that this new information can be included

 

Resources: Personnel  

  • Confidential information was reported to governors and a separate, confidential minute has been made for this item.

 

Staff absences

  • Two members of staff are currently off on long-term sick leave

 

Resources: Premises 

  • During the summer holidays, John Tompkins and colleague began a refurbishment programme  - the interior is looking bright , clean and welcoming. This will continue over the next two years
  • The complete outside of the school has been repainted

 

The Chair thanked the Headteacher for his comprehensive report.

 

8. LLP Report

A separate, confidential minute has been made for this report.

 

9. To approve policies

 

a) Performance Related Pay Policy

The Headteacher explained the basis of this new policy to governors, part of which had been circulated with the agenda papers, informing them that a full copy could be emailed to them by the Clerk if necessary. Evidence for this new procedure is triangulated and differentiated according to the teacher's place on their career path. Staff Governors commented that there had been no feedback from other members of staff so assumed there were no issues.  It seems to be a fair system with clear expectations set for all, including higher paid teachers. There are now eleven pay grades instead of six.

The policy was proposed, seconded and all agreed that it be adopted with none against and no abstentions.

 

 

b) Manual of Personnel Procedures and Practice

The Manual was proposed, seconded and all agreed that it be adopted with none against and no abstentions. A governor asked if the school would be covered in the event of being wrongly advised by the Authority on any subject. There is a highly skilled legal team in place that would deal with this unlikely scenario, covered by the SLA.

 

10. Report from the CLA Committee

 

The Data Group minutes were tabled at the meeting which the Headteacher agreed to  email to the Clerk for her records.

ACTION POINT: Headteacher

Progress in Maths was poorest in last year's Year 6 cohort. A long discussion in the Data Group meeting explained the process of 'points of progress' to governors so it was suggested that anyone unclear about this should read the minutes as it should become clearer; these points of progress are a focus area in school. It was noted that, as yet, there is no clear guidance on measuring progress from the Government, so the existing system is being continued for now. Any governor is welcome to join the Group - Mrs. Turner expressed an interest and agreed to contact Mr. Thomas to arrange this.

ACTION POINT: Mrs. Turner

11. To approve off-site visits

 

It is routine to give a blanket approval for all off-site visits, both day and residential, although the Chair has further paperwork to complete with regard to the residential visits. The Headteacher explained that the school has been reviewing the French trip in Year 6 as only 56 children out of 90 took part last year and alternatives are being sought. A survey of parents returned that cost is the main barrier for this trip. Other possibilities in this country cost from £320-350 against the current £450 for France. One is an activity week on Hayling Island. When asked how many have expressed an interest in this trip, the Headteacher replied that 50 children have so far. A comment was made that Hounsdown offer a similar weekend trip in Year 7 to Osmington Bay.  A governor asked what the take up for the Year 5 Beer trip was this year. The rivers project is no longer included in the curriculum so this visit is no longer relevant and will not take place. Alternatives are being looked into by the Year 5 team. Parents will be advised of the discontinuation, reasons why and other options soon. Governors discussed the numbers involved and agreed that whatever trip is chosen needs to be organised well and far enough in advance to be practical for this coming summer.

 

Questioning whether the success of trips is reviewed by anyone, governors agreed that the cost effectiveness is measured by the F&R Committee and that the CLA Committee should look at the wider experience of the children on trips. School visits also include visitors coming into the school and will be included in the next Headteacher's report.

 

All agreed that off-site visits be approved for this academic year.

 

12. GB membership update

 

a) A Parent Governor election held earlier this term resulted in Mrs. Turner being re-elected and one application received after the deadline. After consulting Governor Services and the legal team, this late application could not be considered.  Congratulations to Mrs. Turner who also received a certificate and badge for four years' service.

Having insufficient applications to fill the vacancies means that the GB can appoint a Parent Governor, taking into account their expertise and needs of the Board. Two other parents have shown an interest although only one will be submitting an application. This will be discussed at the next FGB.

ACTION POINT: Clerk

b) Mr. Morris has left a Co-Opted Governor vacancy and an application has been received from an interested party. The application was tabled and governors read the 'election' statements. Although he currently has a child in the Infant School and ideally the vacancy should be filled by someone from the community, after a short discussion, it was agreed that it would be beneficial to appoint a keen applicant with a positive approach. Governors unanimously agreed to appoint this person who will be contacted by the Chair and invited to the next meeting.

ACTION POINT: Mrs. Arscott

 

13. To review GB's work of last year and establish priorities for 2013-14

 

The current Ofsted crib, distributed with the agenda pack, has been finalised. It was agreed that this, with the Terms of Reference and the inclusion of feedback on the effect of restructuring on standards would be most valuable.

 

The effectiveness of the spending of Pupil Premium funding is being checked as shown in the notes of the meeting held with the two Chairs of Committees and Mr. Shore. There is a crossover between the two committees so this Working Party was set up to ensure clear lines of communication and no duplication of questioning. The group report back to their respective committees.

 

A governor suggested that the Governor Review mirror the headings on the SDP.  It will tie-in but as yet has not been referenced, all agreed that it should.

 

The support for Pupil Voice/School Council has not been included in this review - two governors have been involved this last year and will continue. Parent View will also be included. The Chair agreed to update the document.

ACTION POINT: Mrs. Arscott

The Chair asked governors to consider whether the Ofsted crib is sufficient or should a file with the latest information be held in school. All to let her know their decision, once made.

ACTION POINT: All governors

 

Governors were confident that their accountability is proven by the work of the committees and that multiple membership by some individuals ensure correct questions are being asked appropriately and effectively.

 

14. Governor Training

 

The recently held WGBT on what Ofsted Inspectors are looking for was found to be useful and interesting by everyone that attended.

The latest training booklets were sent out with the agenda along with a document detailing the change to charging for Full Access training and Governor Services. As Government funding has been withdrawn, the increased cost for support from Governor Services and attendance at training sessions will be £1495 based on the number of children on roll now rather than the GB constitution. This is still the best option as recommended by the TLG. The F&R Committee Chair commented that although this is an increase of approximately £500 it is still value for money as the courses offered are excellent and the access to support and advice invaluable. Governors agreed that, training apart, it would be impossible to function effectively without the support received this term alone. It has been agreed that cancellation charges for non-attendance will not be introduced, but there are sometimes waiting lists for courses, so governors were strongly advised to let the TLG or Governor Services know if they can't get to a course they've been booked on. The full SLA was tabled at the meeting and it was unanimously agreed that the Full Access option be taken.

 

15. Report on Barker-Mill project Steering Group meeting

 

This matter is temporarily confidential and a separate, confidential minute has been made for this item.

 

16. Any other business

 

Items a-e: Documents were sent out in the agenda pack for governor information included: Training feedback reports on Governor Induction, Safer Recruitment and Strategic Finance; the minutes of a meeting held on 20th September by the Pupil Premium Working Party and a Glossary of Acronyms compiled by Mrs. Turner.

 

f) A governor was concerned about the status and relevance of the school website, especially as it would be something considered by Ofsted. A company has been employed to revamp the website and work is under way. This decision was taken as the service they offer means that updating can be carried out by more than one person and each year group will have access to their own space. What are the cost implications? The school are using the same company as the Infants who currently charge £300 per year giving flexibility and the opportunity for children to access it. It will be self-maintained by all groups including Pupil Voice and governors who will manage their own areas. Is this work in progress sufficient in the case of an Ofsted visit? Yes, but it would be useful to have an 'under construction' banner on the existing website. Mr. Shore will look into this.

ACTION POINT: Headteacher

g) The recent Ashurst and Colbury fete was a success, including the school performance of a hockey match - the result of a great team effort! The local Co Op are donating the proceeds of their stall to the school and will visit Assembly on Friday morning this week to present their cheque. A good day was had by all. A governor commented that the school's stall could be improved with a banner which was agreed and Mrs. Datlen welcomes all contributions by governors for next year's event.

 

h) To make the curriculum more realistic for the children, the Year 5 teachers told them that the GB is considering a letter from a building company asking to buy land, which is currently the nature reserve, so that they can build houses on it. They are tasked with writing a persuasive campaign to influence the governors on their decision on why the offer should not be accepted. The children were genuinely outraged! Governors are requested to attend a meeting at 9.10am on 25th October to receive the children's request to deny the builders permission and why. Two governors agreed to attend - Mr. Monk and Mr. Webb, some were disappointed to be away but all are welcome that can make it. Governors were also invited to see the amazing results of the recent home learning task, which was to build a space model. All manner of models are up in the Year 5 area, including a 2m long shuttle!

 

i) The FJSA and Infant PTA Firework display will be held on Friday 8th November - any help from governors on the night will be much appreciated. Please let Mrs. Datlen know if you will be available.       

 

The Chair thanked the governors for a good meeting. The meeting ended at 9.15pm.

 

Date of next meetings: Tuesday 26th November at 4.30pm, Monday 20th January 2014 at 7pm, Tuesday 18th March at 4.30pm, Monday 19th May at 7pm and Tuesday 8th July at 4.30pm