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Meeting 2 - 2nd December 2014

 

Present:                 Mrs. Arscott – Chair

                             Mr. Shore – Headteacher

                             Mrs. Thomson – Staff Governor

                             Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor   

                             Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor

                             Dr. McKechnie - Co-opted Governor

                             Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor

                             Mr. Webb – Parent Governor

                             Mrs. Sides – Parent Governor

                             Mr. Taylor – Parent Governor     

 

Apologies:              Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted & Training Liaison Governor

                             Mr. Thomas – Co-opted Governor

                             Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor

                             Mrs. Thornley - Parent Governor

 

In Attendance:        Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk

                                               

 

 

Signed:               A. Arscott                                                Date:              26/01/15

 

 

Mr. Monk chaired the meeting as Mrs. Arscott had just returned from a trip to Australia.

New Parent Governor, Ron Taylor was welcomed and introductions made.

 

1. Apologies

Apologies were received and accepted from Mrs. Datlen, Mr. Thomas, Ms. Scevity and Mrs. Thornley. The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate.

 

2. Declaration of pecuniary interests

None were declared. Mr. Taylor completed a form and returned it to the clerk.

3. Report on Parent Governor Election

One application was received by the deadline and Mr. Ron Taylor was therefore duly elected.

 

4. Minutes of last meeting, 6th October 2014

The main and confidential minutes of the last meeting were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they were a true record.

 

5. Matters arising

a) The action point list was updated. See attached, with the following noted:

1. A 5-year view was considered impractical at present although plans are in place for the future, which are discussed in other committee meetings. It was agreed to discharge this item

2. Training for Dr. McKechnie has been discussed. Discharged

3. There is no urgency to change the school logo and consultations with parents and pupils will take place. Ongoing

4. Will be covered by F&R report. Discharged

5. The new Vicar has been a governor in the past and is interested in working with the school, although he is part-time. Phone messages have been swapped between the Vicar and Mr. Shore, to arrange a visit. Ongoing

6. A suitable skills audit for this GB is being devised. Ongoing

8. Mrs. Thornley shared the DBS declaration form and it will be amended for use in the school. This will require staff to sign annually, to declare they have had no convictions etc. in the previous 12 months. Ongoing – see item b, below

 

b) Update on item 15, 06/10/14, outstanding CRB checks: The new form mentioned in no. 8 of item a will cover staff who joined the school before CRBs were introduced for the time being. All staff are on a three-year rolling programme of checking now, so all staff will be captured by the end of next year. Ofsted checked and agreed the safeguarding aspect during their last inspection. There remains one member of the cleaning staff who has no photo ID – Mr. Shore will check with Mrs. Cooper on the progress of this check tomorrow. Ongoing

 ACTION: Mr. Shore

c) Update on item 17c 06/10/14, hedge cutting:

Ongoing. No news from HCC regarding the hedge that overhangs the path outside of the school, but the school has purchased a hedge trimmer for John to use. As it is petrol-powered, it must be kept off-site.

 

d) Item 17d 06/10/14, Access Policy review: Parking remains a daily issue on the site. The Headteacher would like to restrict access permits to blue badge-holders only, unless children have a diagnosis that would make walking down the pathway hazardous or difficult e.g. autism. Governors discussed the current rule of a letter from the G.P. and the issue of temporary permits in cases of broken limbs etc. A governor asked how many permits have been issued this year. There are only four from the Junior School, but it isn’t known how many have been issued from the other two schools. This needs a common approach from the whole site whilst allowing individual cases to be considered. A governor questioned why a blue badge holder would need to apply for a permit. Although they cannot be refused access, the schools need to know how many cars are coming onto the campus and whether they stay for the day, or just drop off and collect children. The ‘no drive’ restriction from 8:45 – 9:10am and 3:10 – 3.40pm applies to all drivers and this has improved the safety of cyclists since it was introduced. A governor asked if two gate wardens were now employed and if so, why. The Infant School decided they would prefer two and are funding both wardens, by reimbursing the Junior School with the cost of their wages. Governors[A1]  agreed to the removal of the G.P. letter in the policy and that temporary passes may still be issued as individual cases are considered necessary. These temporary passes will be time-limited and colour coded for ease of checking by the gate wardens. Amendments will be made to the policy, which will be reviewed next year to see if it has had the desired effect.

ACTION: Clerk

6. Raiseonline data for 2013/14

Although this item was listed separately, the information was largely covered by the Headteacher’s report. In summary, the Headteacher explained that 12.6 points of progress from KS1 is now flagging up as schools have achieved more than this. SEN and PP progress is still an issue and more must be done to close the gap. Foxhills achieved green in this data, which is a great result. A governor asked if there was a general governor password for access to this data online. Mr. Shore will apply for access for all governors that don’t have it.

ACTION: Mr. Shore

7. Headteacher’s written report

As per the new procedure, the report was sent to governors, whose questions were collated and responded to in advance of the meeting. The Headteacher was thanked for his detailed responses and governors agreed that they find this a very useful process. A governor commented that this was the best system they had encountered. Supplementary points were raised as follows:

  • Congratulations to the school on children achieving Level 6 in reading – there are Outstanding schools that don’t achieve this!
  • More children achieve Level 5 than ever before
  • Maths results are acceptable and Writing is improving
  • Guided Reading procedures are changing and the school is working with Houndsdown for added support
  • Lunchtime supervisors – if there is a flyer available, a governor offered to put one up in the local shops and suggested approaching the parish magazine. Currently, the SLT are covering duties in the hall and playground at lunchtime

 

8. Report from CLA Committee

In the absence of the Chair of this committee, the minutes of which had been circulated with the agenda, were taken as his report. There is a choice of two learning walks for governors to attend – 4th or 10th December at 8.45am. All welcome. The walk will focus on the three Ofsted points, which will include how work is differentiated for higher attainers. This will evidence how governors monitor.

 

A governor asked for more information on the cycling proficiency question raised. The Headteacher is meeting a cycle training organisation called Star Cycling and investigating options regarding cycle training for Year 6 pupils towards the end of the summer term. Governors discussed the value of cycle training and road awareness for children and the responsibility for parents to teach them these skills too. The Headteacher has an issue with promoting cycling as a form of transport to school because of the danger in Foxhills Lane, but not with teaching children road skills. The initial cycle scheme was run by the PTA as parents wanted to teach the children; when cycling proficiency ended, a government backed scheme called Bikeability was introduced. They both used the school facilities to train the children. A governor commented that in their experience, cycle training would not prepare children for Foxhills Lane in any case as it is an entirely different situation out there.

 

9. Report from Pupil Premium Working Party

The group has been unable to meet as yet this term. PP was discussed in the Finance meeting, but the Chair asked that this item be deferred until the next meeting for a full report to be made. Chris Bristow and Ruth Easton have met and analysed the data from the progress meetings, allowing them to identify those in need of additional interventions. The gap is starting to close.

 

10. Report from F&R Committee

As the meeting was held last Friday, the minutes were not available and the Chair of the committee highlighted the main points raised.

  • The Committee ToR were tabled and recommended for adoption. The main changes are that the H&S Committee reports to the F&R rather than FGB now, and the delegation of power to the committee to approve budget changes in November before ratification at FGB in December. All agreed and the amended ToR were adopted
  • There are no significant overspends year to date on the budget and a surplus is forecasted for the end of this financial year. This will be less than it could be as part of the surplus brought forward from last year is being used on IT improvements
  • Mid-year budget figures stand at:

 

Amount (£)

Amount in words

Total Income:

 £    1,348,263.87

One million, three hundred and forty eight thousand, two hundred and sixty three pounds, eighty seven pence

Total expenditure:

 £       823,403.22

Eight hundred and twenty three thousand, four hundred and three pounds, twenty two pence

In-year surplus

 £       524,860.65

Five hundred and twenty four thousand, eight hundred and sixty pounds, sixty five pence

Balance b/fwd:

 £        40,568.24

Forty thousand, five hundred and sixty eight pounds, twenty four pence

Cumulative surplus:

 £       565,428.89

Five hundred and sixty five thousand, four hundred and twenty eight pounds, eighty nine pence

It was noted that the forecasted surplus carried forward had been predicted as 3% into 2014/15, 5% into 2015/16 and 5% into 2016/17, but with the IT and infrastructure changes in place, this has changed to 2% (£20k), 3% (£40k) and 2%, respectively. The £50k surplus being carried forward was considered a significant sum that, although nice to have a buffer, should be spent on children in school now. Claire Cooper (Finance Officer) has worked closely with the Headteacher to make the projections as accurate as possible with known facts and estimated pay awards; this allows governors to work from a realistic budget forecast which is looking very positive for the next three years. Pay is performance related and therefore subject to change, but standard increases have been pre-empted and included. The school team are to be commended for their team effort to improve the budget to this stage. The budget was proposed, seconded and all agreed.

a) The Complaints Policy has been amended to include deadlines for all stages, except the initial complaint. This arose as the previous policy would allow anyone to appeal at any time following the Chair of Governor’s or school’s response to a complaint. A governor suggested that the original complaint should be time-limited too. This was discussed at some length, regarding the right to complain and time taken so far to lodge concerns after any incident. Legal advice sought from Amanda Scally, at HCC, offered that complaints could be time-limited but cases should be considered individually if circumstances prevented them being reported within the timescale. It was generally agreed that although there should be deadlines from Stage 2 onwards, it was not practical to limit complaints before they’ve been made. Therefore, the recommendations agreed were as follows:

If the matter has not been resolved…refer to the Headteacher as soon as practicably possible

Remove ‘straight away’ from Stage 1

In Stage 2, final line – should be investigated by the Chair of Governors (not ‘other member of staff’)

A separate heading for complaints against the Headteacher that should proceed to Stage 3 if not resolved at Stage 1

With these amendments, the policy was proposed, seconded and all agreed that it should be adopted and reviewed in the normal three-year cycle.

ACTION: Clerk

11. To adopt the new Teachers’ Pay Policy

Two of the twenty eight pages of this document were included with the agenda, as this policy has been approved by the Pay Committee and recommend it for adoption. Governors can request a full copy to be emailed to them, should they choose to do so. The main changes to this model 2013 policy are to do with the Leadership. It changes teachers’ pay from 6 to an 11 point scale and leaders from 43 to 86 points. This policy includes performance related pay for both teachers and Headteachers and details pay ranges and differentials e.g. TLRs. There are decisions to be made and completed within the document and the Pay Committee will meet with the Headteacher to finalise these details, reporting back to the FGB once completed.

ACTION: Pay Committee

The governors agreed to delegate this responsibility to the Pay Committee and the policy was proposed, seconded and all agreed that it be adopted to allow it to be in place immediately it has been personalised to the school.

 

12. To adopt the revised Complaints Policy

The policy was included in the agenda pack and was discussed and adopted under item 10 of this agenda.

 

13. Training Liaison Governor’s report

In the absence of the TLG, the clerk reported that the new training booklets had been distributed with the agenda papers and that those governors who’d requested the policy training had been reserved places.

 

14. Correspondence from the Keep Ashurst Green Group

The Chair of Governors reported that correspondence had been received from KAGG and this and responses to it were read out. It has been agreed between the Headteachers and Chairs of Governors that Mrs. Arscott be the nominated contact between KAGG and the schools for ease of communication.

The main points of the letters were as follows:

a) Letter to Ellie Bolton,(referred to school) School Travel Plan Adviser, requesting that data gathered in our School Travel Survey be sent to KAG to enable them to do their own analysis. Ellie was also invited to join a community working party looking at alternative solutions to the one proposed by BM for safe travel to school.

b) Letters to both HTs requesting urgent meetings with them and the CoGs to discuss the schools’ requirements for safer access, and look for alternatives.  They were similarly invited to join the working group.

 

The group offered no information as to who comprises KAGG, other than stating they had approx. 400 supporters. The Chair asked them to provide names of the Steering Committee, which they did, and under whose mandate they were forming a community working party.  The group is self- appointed, and the decision to form a community group was initiated by the steering committee of four people. On request, the group provided draft ToR for the working party, who they hope will comprise a Parish Council representative, an Ashurst and Colbury Community Group representative, community police, HTs and CoG from both schools, and Ellie Bolton.

Response to requests

  1. The School Travel Survey is covered by the Data Protection Act, until such time as it is anonymised and included in the School Travel Plan (not yet complete).  Furthermore the data was collected from parents on the understanding that it would benefit the school, and releasing it to this group would be a breach of trust.  Therefore this request was refused, but KAGG were provided with a catchment map indicating where pupils came from and how they travelled to school.  Ms Bolton will not attend the Working Party, as this is outside her remit with the Foxhills Schools.
  2. Request that KAGG meet urgently with the HTs/CoGs.  All agreed that this would be a pointless and time consuming exercise until such time as KAGG put forward an alternative proposal.
  3. Attendance at Working Party meetings.  This raised questions as follows:
  • The HTs and governors of both schools support the BM proposal, and have made it quite clear to KAGG that they will continue to do so unless a viable, funded alternative is identified.  It is questionable whether attendance at such meetings is the best use of time, especially as KAGG has not put any alternative proposals forward. (It was noted that responding to letters and emails has already been time consuming)
  • KAGG are suggesting monthly WP meetings, with greater frequency initially; this is a big time commitment
  • Concern that attendance at WP meetings could be construed as supporting this pressure group.

 

Governors agreed that whereas maintaining a dialogue with KAG was acceptable, the time commitment for HTs and CoGs was not.  The governors had strong reservations as to whether sending a representative was appropriate, especially as it has already been made clear that if KAGG can formulate a reasonable proposal, the schools are prepared to discuss it with them.   It is noted that the parking/safe travel problem has been under discussion for 20 years, and this is the first and only proposal that has been put forward which will address it.

 

After some debate it was agreed that:

  • Mrs. Arscott could attend working party meetings on behalf of the schools
  • She must make it quite clear that such attendance must not be interpreted as support for KAGG, and that this should be minuted by the WP, as must the schools’ support for the BM proposal.
  • That she would withdraw from the WP should its demands be excessive and impinge on her duties as a governor, or if she felt that attendance was non-productive and not a reasonable use of her time.

 

The WP meeting minutes will be shared with governors, and reviewed at the next meeting.   

Mrs. Arscott to contact KAGG to inform them of the GB decision

ACTION: Mrs. Arscott

 

(NB. As of 11 Dec 2014 KAGG have not set up a working party meeting)

 

15. Any other business

a) A governor informed the Headteacher that the New Forest Post will to print a photo and 100-word piece on the school if it placed an advert for prospective parents/pupils. The Headteacher appreciated the information although there is no need to advertise for more pupils at this stage. The recent tours have been popular and seemingly successful.

 

Thanking all for attending, the meeting ended at 6.35pm.

 

Next meeting dates:

 

Monday 19th January 2015, Tuesday 17th March, Monday 18th May and Tuesday 7th July.

Meetings on Mondays run from 7-9pm and Tuesdays, 4.30-6.30pm.