Minutes of the Full Governing Body
FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL
Held on Tuesday 14th March 2017 – commenced 4:15pm
Present: Mrs. Arscott – Local Authority Governor and Chair
Mr. Shore – Headteacher
Mrs. Thornley – Co-opted Governor and Vice Chair
Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted plus Development and Training Governor
Dr. Wiley – Co-opted Governor
Mr. White – Co-opted Governor
Mrs. Stockbridge – Co-opted Governor
Miss Sired – Staff Governor
Mrs. Weatherdon – Parent Governor
Mr. T. Kumar – Parent Governor
In attendance: Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk
Apologies: Mr. Marchetti – Co-opted Governor
Signed: A. Arscott Date: 15/05/17
Presentation by Helen Normington and Pupil Voice, on Charters – part of the work towards the Rights Respecting Schools Award.
The children, who are part of Pupil Voice, gave a brief introduction to the award that the school have entered into, which is linked with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, led by UNICEF. The children have created Charters for the classroom, dining hall and playground, which are agreements based on the rights and respects articles applied to every day conduct.
16:25 Mr. Kumar arrived
Governors had the chance to ask questions and the children responded. The following areas were covered:
- How did you decide what to include in the Charters?
- At the Day for Change event, held last year, the whole school looked at the articles and linked them to the CLEAR values. They then chose which could be applied where. The most popular ones were chosen to include in the Charters.
Shirley Junior School’s Learning Ambassadors (their Pupil Voice equivalent) have visited Foxhills and looked at what has been done towards the Award and have become critical friends, swapping ideas and giving praise/criticism where appropriate. They have not been doing it as long as Foxhills, who have been involved since 2013. Both groups now have an idea of what has to be done, in order to achieve the Award and have a clearer direction. An action plan will be discussed at the next PV meeting. The next step will be to look at the school policies and see where the RR language can be incorporated. UNICEF assesses the school, including the policies, to see if RRE (Rights Respecting Education) is reflected and embedded in school practices.
- How will you know that all children understand RRE?
- There will be a big launch of the Award and a display area too. It will be a challenge to see that it’s effective. It is hoped that after the launch assembly, it will be possible to have RR lessons, perhaps every half term.
- Have you enjoyed it?
- Yes, it has made us think!
- When will it be launched?
- As soon as possible. The whole school community will be invited to get involved, including parents and governors.
The Governors thanked Mrs. Normington and Pupil Voice for their enjoyable, informative presentation and look forward to hearing more, once it is launched. Mr. White was also thanked for his involvement in the group.
16:44pm, Mrs. Stockbridge arrived
Apologies were received and accepted from Mr. Marchetti. The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate.
2. Welcome to new governor, Tonmoy Kumar
Mr. Kumar was welcomed to the Board of Governors and introductions were made all round.
3. Declaration of pecuniary interests
No interests were declared for this agenda. Mr. Kumar handed his completed form to the clerk.
4. Minutes of last meeting, 30th January 2017
Circulated in advance, 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) Independent audit of voluntary funds
Mr. Marchetti had checked with HCC FPS, who confirmed that a governor, not connected with the school, was considered independent and could carry out an audit of contributed funds.
b) Update on action points. The action point list was updated with the following noted:
4. This will be deferred until after the French trip this year as the location needs to be suitable before any decision is made for future bookings. Ongoing
6. The Skills Audit form will be sent out with these minutes. Mrs. Datlen will collate the results and present them to the FGB as soon as they’re complete.
ACTION: Mrs. Datlen
8. A date had already been arranged before half term but as most governors were unable to attend, it was agreed that it would be reorganised for the next FGB on Monday 15th May at around 4:15pm, then hold the scheduled meeting earlier than planned, immediately afterwards at 5.00 pm.. Ongoing
The recent farewell tea party, held for Mr. Fillis, was a success, with many ex-colleagues joining the celebrations.
c) Mrs. Weatherdon has attended her Induction Training. She gave a brief précis of the content, noting the value of networking along with the focus on impact, evidence and triangulation.
d) Bartley School were holding their meeting tonight and the agreement should be duly signed.
9. Governors were asked if they preferred a group photo for the main entrance or individual pictures. The consensus was for individual pictures as a group photo would have to be re-taken after any changes to membership.
6. To consider co-opting Mr. Ed Cooper to the GB
Mr. Cooper is well-known in school and the husband of Claire Cooper, Finance Officer. He met with Mrs. Arscott and Mr. White yesterday. He is very committed to the school and an active parent of a child in Year 4, who has helped with cutting trees and digging concrete! He has a Health and Safety background and a practical outlook. Governors had read his application and it was proposed, seconded and unanimously agreed to invite him to join the Board as a co-opted governor.
7. Headteacher’s written report
The report had been circulated with the agenda papers and questions raised in advance, which had been answered but not circulated with enough time prior to the meeting. Copies were tabled at the meeting, although some governors had read it on email, and questions invited. The following points were noted:
- The Safer Recruitment training should be in the form of attending a course – it is considered too complicated to undertake as e-learning modules. In addition to the courses provided by Governor Services a course is available at a cost of £30 which has recently been undertaken by staff. A second governor is needed to undertake Safer Recruitment training, Mrs. Weatherdon volunteered, as she is shadowing Mrs. Arscott in this role. Mrs. Cooper will need to book her on the course.
ACTION: Mr. Shore/Mrs. Cooper
- A very thorough report, more time would be appreciated to study it and ask questions in advance. Mr. Shore agreed to send out his written report earlier, separately from the agenda, so that governors have more time to raise any questions. The effectiveness of a written report, with the chance to ask questions/further information, is a very good and one that is not available in all schools. The governors appreciate the effort and content that Mr. Shore clearly puts in to his termly report.
- A termly Headteacher’s report is mandatory for the GB but it was noted that not all are as comprehensive as Mr. Shore’s.
- Congratulations were extended to Miss Sired for her successful application to the Women into Leadership course.
- The school will approach Barker Mill and request funding towards the 50th Anniversary artwork project as Peter Barker Mill was involved in producing the mosaic murals when the school opened . A submission is needed this term. Governors briefly discussed the project and were invited to produce a tile. The design may yet evolve; Mr. Shore will keep governors informed.
Mr. Shore was thanked for his report.
8. Report from Finance and Resources Committee
In the absence of Mr. Marchetti, the clerk gave a brief overview of the meeting, which was held last Friday. The minutes will be circulated with this meeting’s minutes.
The meeting covered:
Value for Money of using directly employed staff against Supply Teachers
The Committee will be reviewing the SLA for Grounds Maintenance
The SFVS audit has been completed and is recommended to the FGB for adoption. The document was proposed, seconded and unanimously agreed for submission to HCC by the deadline. The clerk will pass it to Mrs. Cooper
The budget for the year to date was reviewed – details will be included in the F&R minutes
Benchmarking data was looked at and the school is in the top quarter for efficiency now except for one area – buildings – which is due to the monies spent on canopies, fencing etc. The school used to be among the top spenders but is no longer and all matters can be explained
There has been a change in school funding, which has been in the news. It looks like Foxhills will be better off – see the F&R Committee minutes for more details. Chairs have been asked to write to their MPs on behalf of those who will be financially worse off. The Governors discussed the issue and decided that it would be unfair to write without the full facts and, as they were not convinced that the funding was incorrect, it would be wrong to make a judgement. Mrs. Arscott will not be writing on behalf of the GB.
9. Subject Leaders’ reports
Circulated with the agenda papers for the last FGB, Governors had read and enjoyed the comprehensive reports. They will be looked at, in more detail, at the next CLA meeting when Governors will be able to discuss the content and whether it is what they need for monitoring purposes. All agreed that they were a useful resource to fill gaps in subject knowledge annually. They appreciated being informed on the other subjects and what is happening in school. They can be compared with reports from the previous year to see progress made against targets set. The clerk will circulate the last year’s reports and add an agenda item to the CLA meeting.
Everyone agreed that the Teachers should be congratulated when achievements are noted and feedback should be given on all of the reports via Miss Sired, as Staff Governor. The reports are evidence that the processes reported to Governors, by Mr. Shore, are in place and form part of the role of holding the Headteacher to account. The triangulation is receiving internal information then corroboration by observation and finally, the independent view of the LLP.
10. To approve appointing Mrs. Stockbridge to the HT Performance Management Committee
A third member is required to join the Performance Management Committee, to replace Mrs. Baker. Mrs. Stockbridge agreed to join and Mr. Wiley, who has attended the training, agreed to send her his notes.
ACTION: Mr. Wiley
Her appointment was proposed, seconded and all agreed to Mrs. Stockbridge joining the committee. Mrs. Datlen will book an appropriate training course.
ACTION: Mrs. Datlen
11. Pupil Voice: report on visit to Houses of Parliament
Mr. White had accompanied Pupil Voice on their trip to the Houses of Parliament and his report was distributed with the agenda pack. He was complimented on a great report and he invited questions. The following points were noted:
- Mr. White praised the children for their exemplary behaviour and engagement with the whole experience
- A governor asked how the children were chosen to join Pupil Voice. Mr. White explained the democratic process of class election and that children may be chosen more than once although there has not been a child who has run for two years in a row to date
- PV have introduced a Buddy Bench system, where children may sit if they are feeling lonely or disrespected and will be approached by a Pupil Buddy
- PV forms part of a leadership programme that, it is hoped, will dovetail with Hounsdown
- A governor was concerned that the opportunity would only be available to a small number of children. The Pupil Buddies are a much larger group but PV couldn’t operate effectively any other way. There used to be two representatives per class but it was too many to coordinate effective meetings with. There are also House Captains and other opportunities for children to become involved with the leadership programme. PV may be separated from RRE too as the process evolves as the PV agenda has other issues to consider, outside of RRE. It was also pointed out that the children do all the extra work in their own time and there will be a considerable amount of work in RRE, in addition to their PV responsibilities
- A governor noticed that the majority on PV were girls. This was not the case last year. This is child-led and they have to be excellent role models
- The recent Holi outcome for Year 3 was wonderful and the children loved it. A governor commented that her son would never forget it – outside learning just as it should be!
5:42pm Mrs. Thornley left the meeting
- A governor suggested that an article be submitted to the Parish Magazine. Miss Sired agreed to organise this, hopefully for the May edition
ACTION: Miss Sired
12. Brief report on template for monitoring and assessment of performance ref: Holding Leaders to Account training
Mr. Shore, Mr. Wiley and Mrs Arscott had met to look for improved ways to monitor and assess, using a comprehensive document. They looked at what drove evaluation and decided that the school Values wouldn’t work so the Ofsted four areas will remain for the time being. Trying to make everything evidence-based is difficult as some things are purely anecdotal, which can’t be captured, for example, the PV presentation at the beginning of this meeting. Minutes support the event taking place and show monitoring. Recording evidence for governance is easier than the school’s SEF but this will generate SDP priorities. The Governors’ SEF will be recorded separately from the school’s so that there is no blurring of lines of responsibility. Mr. Shore read out the governors’ focus areas and explained that the form is a work in progress. His plan is to take the leadership team off site and each will work on a different area then the governors can add their view to it. The source of information will be checked against the three points of triangulation to ensure that a balance of input is being achieved. Mr. Shore will have one year’s information to work with by September. The CLA will look at the document in more detail.
13. Governor Training
- Guidance on e-learning has been circulated. It is now easier to find and more user-friendly. Each session lasts up to twenty minutes and governors were asked to print out their certificate and pass it to Mrs. Datlen for evidence of training completed
- Recent training includes Ofsted, attended by Mrs. Datlen and Mrs. Thornley. A report will be shared at the next meeting
- The Infant School WGBT will be on Ofsted – Mrs. Datlen is anticipating an invitation for Junior School governors to join them
- Mr. Kumar is booked on the Strategic Finance course
- Mrs. Datlen agreed to look for dates for the Financial Matters for New Governors courses for members of the F&R Committee
ACTION: Mrs. Datlen
a) Report on Disadvantaged Pupils training
A good course, the report was included in the agenda pack. Mr. White was struck by the key facts and messages and recording of actions. Governors discussed the benefits and disadvantages of offering incentives to parents for applying for FSM and how Foxhills approach parents that are entitled to claim. The funding changes will be affected by this now. Ofsted are interested in the impact on learning rather than strategies used, including demonstrating this for the most able pupils too. Mr. White
A comprehensive review of PP practice has taken place and a governor commented that it is well-managed. The focus was on disadvantaged children not achieving ARE and monitoring the number that made ARE last year. That information will be put into a table for the next CLA meeting.
ACTION: Mr. Wiley
The PP report should be available from Mrs. Bristow, in time for the next CLA. Mrs. Arscott will contact her to see if it can be ready.
ACTION: Mrs. Arscott
Staff are tracking ARE progress termly with a focus on vulnerable children. Legislation dictates that PP information should be included on the school website. Governors recognised that there is more information on the school website than can be found on others; the whole PP report is published on there, which should cover all eventualities.
b) Induction training report
This was covered under item 5c of this agenda.
c) Governor Forum
Mrs. Arscott attended the recent Forum and found the most interesting part to be the Inspector taking about marking and assessment; teachers should not be expected to be working hard at night. Governors, who are also members of staff, commented that Mr. Shore chastises people for working too late! Marking should be productive and help the child, not a pointless exercise. The marking expectation was briefly discussed and although it was suggested that an agenda item for marking strategy be included in the CLA meeting, governors will have an opportunity to discuss it and see it during the Learning Walk tomorrow. They will then report back. Children know their next steps, the meaning of the pink and green marks and what is expected of them. The impact on staff is less marking and the effectiveness of instant feedback, which is much more valuable to the children. Although marking is expected by parents, it has little impact on learning. A ‘V’ in the margin denotes verbal feedback given in the lesson and children’s work in purple pen shows their response to that guidance. Governors discussed the value of marking and recent Press attention on learning styles.
The Forum included a good presentation on Hampshire Police and Schools, which included drugs, cyber bullying etc. but it was a little too long.
Also noted was the difficulty in recruiting governors, especially those with no involvement with the school.
14. Report from fundraising group
Mrs. Arscott, Mrs. Datlen, Mrs. Cooper and Mr. Shore met with the intention of looking for ways to attract funding from local companies for the 50th Anniversary tile structure and MUGA. They discussed aims, an action plan, the production of a brochure and linking with the PTA. Setting priorities e.g. who to approach, establishing relationships etc. was also considered, along with combining use of other funding such as Sports, specifically for the MUGA. A governor asked if the tenders were in for the MUGA and if so, how much is was likely to cost. Mr. Shore will check. A governor reported that the PTA were sending a letter to parents about the summer fair that includes a plea for fundraising matching.
15. Any other business
No items were raised.
Thanking all for attending, the meeting ended at 6:17pm
A Learning Walk is to take place tomorrow, Wednesday 15th March at 9am, with a focus on the role and impact of middle leaders.
Statement of impact of this meeting on school improvement
Presentation from Pupil Voice on Rights Respecting Education
Item 02 – pecuniary interests register updated
Item 06 Changes to GB membership – governor co-opted on skills
Item 07 – Headteacher’s report
Item 08 – SFVS completed and will meet deadline of 31st March 2017
Item 09 – Subject Leader reports
Item 10 – Committee membership completed
Item 11 – Governor visit report
Item 12 – Improving process for monitoring and assessment of performance
Item 13 – Training reports shared
Item 13 – training requirements for Governors to establish and maintain effective GB
Item 14 – Fundraising opportunities to be explored
Item 15 – Learning walk booked to monitor role and impact of middle Leaders
Next meeting dates:
FGB - Monday 15th May, Tuesday 4th July.
N.B. Meeting on 15th May will start at 5.00 pm, and will be preceded by an informal ‘get to know you’ meeting with teachers at 4.15 pm.
Monday meetings start at 6:00pm; Tuesdays at 4:30pm
CLA – 31st March; 9th June; Fridays at 9:00am
F&R - 5th May; Friday at 12:30 pm