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Meeting 4 - 17th March 2015

Minutes of the Full Governing Body

FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL

Held on Tuesday 17th March - commenced 4:30pm

 

Present:                  Mrs. Arscott – Chair

                             Mr. Shore – Headteacher

                             Mrs. Thomson – Staff Governor

                             Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted & Training Liaison Governor

                             Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor

                             Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor

                             Mr. Thomas – Co-opted Governor

                             Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor

                             Mrs. Thornley - Parent Governor

                             Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor

                             Mr. Webb – Parent Governor

                             Mrs. Sides – Parent Governor

                             Mr. Taylor – Parent Governor     

 

Apologies:              Dr. McKechnie - Co-opted Governor

                           Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk

                            

In Attendance:        Miss Sired – Teacher

                            Mr. Goodchild – Teacher                                         

 

 

Signed:     A. Arscott                                                     Date:       18/05/15

 

1. Apologies

Apologies were received and accepted from Mrs. Dulieu. In the absence of the clerk, Mrs. Datlen agreed to minute the meeting and confirmed that it was quorate.

 

The Chair welcomed Revd. Paul Holley, the new Co-opted governor, and two members of staff who attended as part of their CPD, adding that they should feel free to ask questions. Governors introduced themselves.

2. Declaration of pecuniary interests

None were declared. Mr. Thomas will leave the meeting before item 14 is discussed due to a conflict of interests.

3. Minutes of last meeting, 26th January 2015

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

4. Matters arising

a) The Action Point list was updated, with the following noted:

1. Mr. Shore has consulted with Pupil Voice, Governors and met with the Designer who came in to see the school.

16:35 Mr. Thomas arrived

Many suggestions have been received from different sources - pupils, staff and governors. A governor commented that Pupil Voice presented the logo to classes and it was nice that everyone had the opportunity to comment. The Designer will create a sample for final approval. The logo can be embroidered onto the jumpers. The final design should have a contemporary feel. A quick response to this sample would be required to ensure Skoolkit can produce the uniform in time for September. Old jumpers will be accepted but phased out.

16:38 Mr. Taylor arrived

2. Waiting for a training course closer to home to be organised for Mrs. Thornley. Ongoing

3. Enquiry 21138597 raised with HCC Carriageway 09/02/15 regarding hedge-trimming. Ongoing

4. Mr. Thomas was asked if the RAISEonline access codes had been distributed yet. They haven’t, but Mr. Thomas will email to governors along with new information generated by the Headteacher once available. New action raised for this.

ACTION: Mr. Shore/Mr. Thomas

Mr. Shore gave a brief overview on RAISEonline for the benefit of the new governor and staff. Access for all governors and teachers was discussed and agreed it should be arranged by the Headteacher.

ACTION: Mr. Shore

5. Mr. Monk asked for a brief meeting to be arranged with the Headteacher in order to move this forward; Mr. Shore has prepared most of the Pay Policy and it now just needs finishing off. Ongoing[A1] 

8. Notes are not required from parents on a child’s return to school following any absence as it is not statutory however it is a school policy, similar to that at Bartley. It is difficult to police absence notes but a governor suggested a communication page for absences similar to that in the Hounsdown Log book. Mr. Shore will investigate an addition to the Planner for September. Discharged

ACTION: Mr. Shore

b) School logo: Discussed under item 4a (1)

c) KAG Working Party:

Mrs. Arscott gave a brief overview of the situation and explained that she had stepped down from the group as she felt uncomfortable being part of it whilst at the same time supporting the BM proposal resulting in a conflict of interest. She was also concerned. Although a governor suggested that it would be of benefit to have representation ‘on the inside,’ the majority considered it futile given the history of the situation and that the GB’s purpose was to govern the school.

16:53 Mr. Webb arrived

A governor commented that the school is responsible for the children once on the school grounds but had none for parking, which should be with the Authority. The Headteacher explained that the school does have a responsibility (hence the School Travel Plan) but he is concerned over the amount of governors’ time given to travel and parking issues Referring to a KAG email that stated ‘the school has done very little,’ and a claim that the school was increasing intake by 200 children, the Headteacher felt that KAG’s misinformation was scaremongering and unacceptable.

16:56 Mrs. Sides arrived

All agreed that the GB will not continue the association with the working party.

5. Headteacher’s report

The report had been circulated with the agenda, along with responses to questions asked in advance. Secondary questions were invited.

  • How do individuals cascade information gained from training?
    • Via staff meetings, where areas of development are discussed
  • Is it the responsibility of the individual to address any issues?
    • Issues in statutory subjects e.g. French are prioritised through CPD and areas identified for development in the SDP
  • What costs are implied in becoming an Academy, compared to buying Hampshire services?
    • This was explored last year, with WGBT on the topic, in association with the Infant School and governors decided there was no financial or educational advantage in becoming an academy.
  • A school this size would not usually benefit from becoming an Academy but it may possibly join a chain
    • Having spoken to a Headteacher whose school has converted, they now feel restricted and would opt out, given the opportunity

6. Report CLA Committee

As the meeting took place only five days ago, the minutes were not yet available. The Chair praised the briefings given by the subject leaders and invited Miss Sired to explain. She outlined the ICT plan and will be approaching the Friends of Foxhills for funding of £10k. A governor suggested that a proposal be put together so that local companies may be approached for additional sponsorship. Miss Sired would appreciate help from any governors who have experience in pitching to companies and volunteers should get in touch with Mr. Thomas. A governor asked why £10k rather than a phased investment.  Essential upgrade and investment is necessary now, to bring ICT provision up to an acceptable standard.

Mr. Thomas outlined Behaviour for Learning (BfL) following recent learning walks and explained that it meant taking key aspects of learning then embedding the principles e.g. through assemblies and displays. A governor asked if there is a typical learner and which theories provide the framework. Mr. Shore gave examples of various educational theories. Governors who took part in the learning walk were impressed by the Maths leader’s work in addressing how Maths is now taught and suggested that others should attend one of his lessons.. Revd Holley would particularly like to be involved as it is a great way to learn more about the school. Mr. Shore commented that the school is also looking at developing reading.

Mr. Thomas will circulate dates of the next learning walks.

ACTION: Mr. Thomas

7. Report on SFVS

Mr. Monk explained that this new process was introduced last year and is an audit of the school’s financial processes. Last submitted in March 2014, it is an annual return that must be approved by the F&R Committee and adopted by the FGB by the deadline of 31st March 2015. He further reported that the school is in a strong position financially and there are no concerns. The document was proposed, seconded and all agreed to adopt and submit in time to meet the deadline. Mr. Monk will send a paper copy to the clerk.

ACTION: Mr. Monk

8. Report on updating school policies

Mrs. Arscott thanked the clerk for the enormous amount of work she has put in to updating the policies and creating a diary of review. The Headteacher reported that all statutory policies are now up to date, with the exception of two that are under review. Mrs. Dulieu has created a table of policy review so that they can be tracked and ensures timely revisions are completed.

9. Self-Evaluation Form Review

Circulated with the agenda pack, this is an annual requirement in which all governors should participate and a report must be published on the school website. Further questions and comments were invited.

  • A good idea for committees to elect Vice Chairs to prevent cancellations or re-scheduling meetings. It’s also useful for succession planning
  • Governors must ensure that agendas and papers are with the clerk within the correct timescale. Mrs. Dulieu works in school and has time restraints, which adds pressure when papers are delayed
  • If the sub-committees are functioning correctly, the grade can be raised to 1
    • Not yet – the FGB is close, but not there yet
  • Learning walks should be data-led. The impact of policies should be evident
    • It is the role of the SLT to determine that policies are being implemented
  • On the policy training, governors were informed that they should be able to determine the impact of a policy but they don’t feel qualified to judge that. The Headteacher could be asked to provide such evidence
    • Certainly, if standards were falling, governors would be justified in asking for detail and more in-depth questioning
  • The information provided by the Headteacher is excellent, governors are more supportive now
  • Could the FGB be more rigorous in holding the SLT to account?
    • Senior and Middle Leaders will become more involved in reporting back to governors
  • The Health & Safety committee is being led by Dr. McKechnie and will move forward at a pace allowed by his time constraints

10. Skills Audit

Distributed with the agenda pack, Mr. Taylor had prepared a summary and report of the recent skills audit results for governors. He explained that average scores were judged, not individual results, although those scoring less than a three could consider further training needs and were advised to discuss their thoughts with the TLG.  Mr. Taylor highlighted certain skill areas:

  • A high level of expertise in governance, chairing committees and being a board member
  • Half of the governors scored 4 out of 5 for project management – they could help to upskill lower scoring members
  • Governors across the board scored low in financial oversight, but members of the F&R Committee scored high. This could be something to look at – Mr. Monk was asked if he could arrange a presentation on funding, how budgets work and are allocated to a future FGB meeting

ACTION: Mr. Monk

Governors briefly discussed the possibility of linking with a local Chamber of Commerce or similar organisation and agreed that a piece be included in the school newsletter, encouraging parents who may help develop these links to contact the school.

ACTION: Mr. Shore/Mrs. Arscott

11. Governor training reports

Mr. Taylor gave a presentation and feedback on the recent policy training.

18:04 Mrs. Sides left the meeting

Thanking him for his presentation, Mr. Shore commented on the use of active policies that governors are responsible for. A discussion followed on how best to manage the review of such policies.

18:08 Miss Sired left the meeting

Options for review include responsibility for individual governors or working parties. The clerk has created a template naming all the policies and committee responsibility for review. This should be added as an agenda item for the next meeting to see how it works.

12. Western Governor Forum meeting 24th February

Mrs. Arscott gave feedback on the recent Forum presentations and topics covered including the pressure on HCC’s budget. Hampshire is a desirable place to live, so many people are moving into the area (in-migration), adding strain to budgets that are already receiving less funding from central Government. An additional 11 primary schools will be needed in Hampshire. A presentation on the Integrated Business Centre also explained the new system of cash and invoicing where schools have the choice of paying their own invoices or going through the Authority. Although it seems to be working well, the general feeling is that it was poorly rolled out.

Governors were encouraged to attend Forums as they are useful for networking as well as the information imparted.

13. Governor Training

The TLG distributed the latest training booklets and informed governors of forthcoming conferences, Forum and briefings.

16. Any other business

a) A visit from Trace’ Williams, from the National Park Land Services is planned for tomorrow.  She will assess our woodland for its suitability to be included in a project called Our Past, Our Future .  The National Park is hoping to secure a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and needs woodland which can benefit from sensitive management to improve wildlife habitats. Children would be involved in this project

b) Governors’ help would be appreciated for the Summer fete being organised by the Friends of Foxhills. Governors that are willing to take part should contact Mrs. Thornley.

c) Help will be needed for the Ashurst and Colbury Parish fete in early September. Contact Mrs. Datlen or Mrs. Thornley.

18:29pm Mr. Thomas and Mr. Goodchild left the meeting

14. Barker Mill proposal update

Mrs. Arscott circulated the brochure from BM that has been sent to residents and other interested parties. A variety of surveys have taken place, including a bat and reptile survey. A response document was circulated, a draft, which requires governors’ comments. Although the school supports the proposal, governors were reminded that they must act appropriately and were not to pressurise anyone with their views. Governor suggestions included:

  • Delete  paragraph 5
  • Paragraph 7 should read, “After 20 years of…” to “seeking a solution to…”
  • The school needs to instil confidence in parents about how the new scheme will work to dissuade parents from poor parking habits
    • The school can offer rewards, promote safe cycling, escorted walking buses etc. but it is difficult to see how it can prevent inconsiderate  parents from parking in the wrong place

A short discussion took place on how the school can promote the new scheme and persuade parents to park in designated areas.

  • Is enough being done to address worries such as travellers parking on the new car park?
  • If more children take up cycling, will more cycle sheds be provided?
    • Other facilities are under discussion with Tim Jobling, BM Trustee

Governors discussed how to reassure residents that, in the GB’s view, the scheme will achieve better traffic management and it was suggested an article be put in the Parish Magazine.  However the Editorial Committee is believed to have agreed that the magazine should preserve a neutral stance on this matter and would probably not agree to publish.

 

It is possible that a representative from the school will be invited to speak for three minutes at a planning meeting. All agreed that Mrs. Arscott should do this if necessary.

15. Learning walk dates for the Spring term

This item was not discussed although dates will be emailed to governors when known.

 

Thanking all for attending, the meeting ended at 6:59pm.

 

Next meeting dates:

 

Monday 18th May and Tuesday 7th July.

Meetings on Mondays run from 6-8pm and Tuesdays, 4.30-6.30pm.