Minutes of the Full Governing Body
FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL
Held on Monday 18th May - commenced 6.00pm
Present: Mrs. Arscott – Chair
Mrs. Thomson – Staff Governor
Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted & Training Liaison Governor
Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor
Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor
Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor
Revd. Holley – Co-opted Governor
Mr. Webb – Parent Governor
Mrs. Thornley - Parent Governor
Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor
Mr. Taylor – Parent Governor
Apologies: Mr. Shore – Headteacher
Absent: Mrs. Sides – Parent Governor
In Attendance: Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk
Mrs. Bristow – Deputy Head
Signed: A. Arscott Date: 07/07/15
Apologies were received and accepted from Mr. Shore, who is making a slow recovery and due back in school after half term. The Chair thanked the Mrs. Bristow for standing in as Headteacher and doing a sterling job. The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate. Mr. Monk had advised that he would be arriving late. Post meeting note. An email was sent to the clerk by Mrs. Sides apologising for her absence from the meeting.
2. Declaration of pecuniary interests
None were declared.
3. Minutes of last meeting, 17th March 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. All actions remain ongoing. Mr. Monk will prepare a brief presentation on budgets for the next meeting.
b) The planning meeting takes place tomorrow to consider the Barker Mill proposal. Both the Chair and Headteacher will attend. The Planning Officer has recommended a refusal but twelve of the thirteen statutory consultees have not objected, therefore it will be up to the Committee. Representatives have three minutes to speak; Tim Jobling and the Parish Council will speak in favour, a KAGG member, against.
c) The Company charged with offering designs for the school logo has not followed the brief given; consequently other options are being sought. Mrs. Bristow gave a brief overview of concepts offered and a reduced cost of £100 paid for work done to date. It is hoped that a suitable design will be available for discussion by the end of term.
d) Trace’ Williams, National Park Land Services, visited the school to consider the nature trail under a lottery grant scheme for unmanaged woodland. After half term, Ian Ralphs of the HCC Biodiversity Group will take a baseline survey of the plants and trees growing there. It is all free of charge and could be an exciting project.
5. Headteacher’s report
a) Staffing matters – confidential information was shared, and there is a separate, confidential minute for this item.
b) Admission numbers – For September 2015, the admission number is 93, although one has since dropped out. This was agreed to avoid lengthy appeals. It is not known, at this stage, whether a replacement will be allowed to take the last place. Governor questions:
The Infant School are increasing size by one class from September. Mrs. Arscott has spoken to the Admissions Officer who has advised that future PANs will be looked at. They are being proactive and will plan for known future numbers.
c) Other urgent matters - confidential information was shared, and there is a separate, confidential minute for this item.
There are now four CPLOs in place – in addition to Mr. Shore and Mrs. Bristow, Mrs. Kelly and Miss Hogbourne are now trained.
SATs have been completed. The children enjoyed breakfast in school, which was a lovely social event and set the tone for the day. They had a good week. A parent governor thanked the teachers and all staff involved for a great week. Their child was so confident and it all ran so smoothly. The key is to practise and get the stress out of the way before the tests so children are not daunted. It was also important that the children understood that SATS are not a measure of them, just of how they perform on a given day. The tests seemed fair but firm and all schools will be feeling the same. 82% combined Level 4 has been predicted – we’ll see! A governor asked if there’d been any absences for the tests. No, and fourteen children sat the Level 6 tests – an achievement in itself. The papers were on the table in the staff room for governors to read through at their leisure. A governor asked what if they don’t pass the tests. Secondary schools have received funding for booster classes of £300 per pupil but that is being withdrawn next year. Not all children will make Level 4 for a variety of reasons but support is in place.
INSET days for 2015-16 are proposed for: 1st September, 22nd and 23rd October 2015; 12th February and 27th June 2016. It was suggested that the October dates be school closures and the time spread over twilight sessions for teachers and other staff for parent training courses in Literacy, numeracy and parenting skills. It is hoped that by working with parents, the most vulnerable children will be more supported at home as well as in school. Teachers also need to be trained and their evenings cannot be directed. If the school closes for a day, three evening sessions of two hours each can be organised for EP training, first aid, maths, SENCo input on autism, dyspraxia etc. A governor appreciated how hard it is to organise training during the day in the childcare industry. Staff would appreciate the balance. Specialists in additional needs are available more often for evening training sessions. A governor asked if this was a long term development for parents. The needs of the catchment are changing – three ELSAs are no longer enough to cover situations arising now. This should not be patronising but a personalised approach which must be carefully organised. A governor asked if there was a need for a community worker to be in school to help build relationships. Youth and Family Matters fill this role and are in weekly, but they offer nurture rather than educational support. The idea is to widen the purpose of the school whilst improving efficiency. Links are already strong with parents. Agreement was sought from governors to use twilight training to offset a day closure in school; it was proposed, seconded and all agreed, with none against and no abstentions.
Transition arrangements are in place with Hounsdown and entry to Year 3.
Year 6 are going to Paulton’s Park on Thursday and to France on 22nd June.
Mrs. Bristow was thanked for her report.
6. Committee responsibilities
a) CLA - The role of Chair of the CLA Committee has become vacant. Mr. Taylor was thanked for his offer to fill the post and unanimously appointed.
b) Health and Safety – A short discussion took place on the role of a governor with Health and Safety responsibilities. The Committee currently consists of Mrs. Datlen, Mrs. Thomson and Mr. Fillis. Mr. Taylor offered to fill the post in the short term and will meet with Mrs. Datlen to ensure the correct systems are in place.
c) Additional committee members – Revd. Holley agreed to join both the Performance Management and CLA Committees. It was agreed that a new governor, once appointed, should preferably have skills in finance and join the F&R Committee.
7. Report on CLA Committee
The reports distributed with the agenda from Phase Leaders, PP, LAC and SENCo will be routed through the CLA, where they can be discussed in more detail. The Data Group will no longer be required and information from this considered at committee meetings now.
PP children are the most vulnerable nationally and financial obligations in the budget of around £57k mean that this should remain a focus area. There is still a huge gap when children join Year 3 and the school is working closely with the infant school to rectify this. Those in Years 3-5 have accelerated their progress, but are yet to close the gap significantly. Year 6’s gap has widened but this will close in future year groups now. Many actions are in place and detailed in the report.
The number of SEND children has reduced from 68 to 37, since the changes in the Code of Practice, with the most vulnerable group being in Year 5. This includes three children with statements, one LAC and six on the autistic spectrum, totalling fifteen with additional educational needs. Teachers know their children and are being upskilled to further close the gaps. AEN children in Year 3 are flying. There are lower expectations on their progress as allowances are made for transition and settling in. The focus on AEN Level 1 children is paying off as many are Level 2 already. The changes are working and the gaps are no longer widening.
The Upper Phase Leader report had just been received and sent to governors before the meeting but showed 82% predicted (combined) Level 4 and 27% combined Level 5 in Year 6. This will be above national average, if achieved. Although the data looks very different for the next Year 6 cohort, a similar prediction is hoped for. Initiatives are in place and Phase Leaders are taking an active role. Should governors have any questions on any of the reports, they should email them to the clerk who will collate them and get responses back before the CLA meeting on 18th June.
A maths specialist comes into school every Thursday for intervention work in Year 5. Two other teachers are also working with the year group, targeting vulnerable children with gaps and barriers to learning. Mrs. Bailey continues her work with PP children and covers PPA in the afternoons.
Mr. Taylor gave a brief overview of the last CLA meeting minutes, which had been distributed previously. He will be meeting with the clerk on Thursday to discuss policies and organising learning walks with Mr. Shore on his return to work.
Staff were thanked for their comprehensive reports.
8. School Travel Plan
There is a requirement to have a Travel plan in place and it is updated every two to three years. It is prepared in consultation with Ellie Bolton, Travel Advisor, and is 120 pages long including all data from surveys. Actions are being defined from it which will change should the Barker Mill proposal go through. It will be published on the school website. The group involved in the production of the plan include the Pre-School, Infant School and a member of the Parish Council. Parents and residents can also be included. An enormous amount of work, the Chair explained the process and considerations taken in its production. The walking bus was discussed where, in Ashurst, volunteers are needed in order for it to run and increasing the number of days from Ashurst Bridge.
7:18pm Mr. Monk arrived
A governor asked what key improvements are hoped to be gained from the plan. More children walking to school; parents parking further away to reduce parking issues; 37% in a recent travel survey said they’d prefer to cycle but the road is too dangerous at present. The Chair will email the report when it’s available.
ACTION: Mrs. Arscott
9. Report on F&R Committee and approval of the budget
Circulated with the agenda pack, the minutes of the last meeting and the current budget show just how much control has been taken of the budget giving a sizeable surplus at the end of the financial year. A governor asked why it hasn’t been spent. There is not a single reason, rather a number of underspends e.g. supply teachers, general maintenance, utility bills, IT (due to equipment not being purchased as planned yet), staff changes and educational supplies all being under predicted spend. In combination, this equates to £40k underspent. With the surplus carried forward from last year, there is a staggering £95k surplus this year. This must be spent wisely and efficiently. Part of it will naturally be used as costs increase but some suggestions for improvement have been suggested now that this opportunity has presented itself. A shelter over the quad area; playground equipment updating; an all-weather court on the field – especially in light of a solution to the recent flooding problems and the benefit to the local community this could present – all of which are detailed in the minutes. A quote of £30-35k has been suggested – less than anticipated – and an appropriate legacy for such a surplus. Governors discussed the possible benefits of such a facility. Mr. Monk commended Mr. Shore and Mrs. Cooper, Finance Officer, on their phenomenal work to control the budget. A governor asked what had been factored in to the projected figures for 2015-16. The canopy, playground equipment updates and known staffing changes are all included to make the projected figures as accurate as possible. In summary, the 2015/16 carried forward surplus is £95,137, a small deficit projected for 2016/17 and a small, but growing, deficit predicted for 2017/18. It was remembered that the quite significant projected deficit for this year has not come to fruition, so although it must be noted, governors are also aware that the situation can change – sometimes dramatically. Mr. Monk explained the figures and projections on the form. A governor asked if the additional class for 2016 in Year 3 had been included. It has not yet been confirmed so it hasn’t been factored in. Governors should bear in mind though, that an increase in pupil numbers attracts additional funding. A governor asked if future year deficits are predicted, should the surplus be kept back to cover such eventualities or could HCC claw back funds if they are too high. Funds should be spent within the allocated school year, or at least projects planned for its use. HCC will not claw back funds if appropriate planning is in place to use the funds and must be significant amounts before they consider doing that. Quotes for all work are being sought and once figures are obtained for the sports court, governors will discuss it further. There is no F&R meeting planned this term, but that will change should the quotes be in before July. Governors discussed outside funding, should it be necessary, from local companies. Mrs. Arscott agreed to look into preliminary planning requirements.
ACTION: Mrs. Arscott
Should the September 2016 Year 3 intake be a 4-form entry, the need to improve the currently inadequate playground area will become more important and the all-weather court could help to alleviate.
Mr. Monk explained that behind the headlines there is a raft of information that the Committee receive a significant summary of; further detail is drilled down as necessary.
The budget, approved by the F&R Committee for adoption by the FGB stands as follows:
Amount in words
One million, three hundred and ninety four thousand, three hundred and sixty two pounds, nine pence
One million, three hundred and thirty nine thousand, seven hundred and ninety three pounds, four pence
£ 54, 569.05
Fifty four thousand, five hundred and sixty nine pounds, five pence
Forty thousand, five hundred and sixty eight pounds, twenty four pence
Ninety five thousand, one hundred and thirty seven pounds, twenty nine pence
Adoption of the budget was proposed, seconded and all agreed, with none against and no abstentions.
Mr. Monk was thanked for his report.
10. Reconstitution of the Governing Body
Triggered by the resignation of two governors and changes to the guidance, a summary of what this means to a governing body was distributed with the agenda. Governors are encouraged to appoint on a skills basis according to the needs of the Board. This would mean reclassifying, not reducing numbers, as succession planning and movement between committees must not be restrictive as it is currently. This point was shown earlier in the meeting, where appointment to the F&R Committee has been postponed due to governor availability. Governors discussed appointing from outside of the school community, the benefits and restrictions. It is expected that all governors must be active members of the Board, and undertake a fair share of its work, in accordance with its increasingly professional and responsible role. Ofsted inspect the GB as part of the Leadership of the school and non-effective governance can contribute to a poor report on Leadership and Management, one of the key areas of the report.. A discussion took place on the need for a diversity of views, without being elitist, and noting that parents have become invaluable members of the team. There has been a lack of applicants for recent parent governor elections – and only one election has taken place in the last eight years, where more applied than there were posts available. Governors generally agreed to a reconstitution, which will be further discussed with the Headteacher at the next FGB in July. Governors were asked to consider, before the next meeting, whether to reduce the size to 14 and if that would give sufficient numbers to carry out the work expected now.
11. Governor training
Training booklets are out and courses available to book online for the next year. Details are limited in the booklets, so please ask Mrs. Datlen for further details if necessary. The TLG suggested a number of courses to consider e.g. holding leaders to account and chairing matters.
Inductions have been completed by two governors who have experience of governance in other schools.
Two places have been booked for the Conference in Winchester.
Training on British Values has been booked for Mr. Shore and Mrs. Datlen.
Governors will consider the subject for WGBT at the next meeting.
12. Any other business
a) Confidential information was shared, and there is a separate, confidential minute for this item.
b) Congratulations to Mrs. Thornley, who has been appointed to run the Pre-School from September and replaces ‘Auntie’ Pam when she retires at the end of this year. Mrs. Thornley will start on 1st June as Pre-School Manager/Supervisor and checked that she could remain a governor. Yes!
c) Thank you to governors who agreed to attend the Year 3 outcome and sale of plants that have been grown, as part of the project. It will last for half an hour and will also be attended by representatives from the Allotment Society.
d) A member of staff has shown an interest in attending a governor meeting and has asked if she may come to the July meeting. This was agreed.
e) It was suggested that a ‘meet the teachers’ tea party be held so that governors become known by staff, and vice versa – perhaps this could become an annual event. All agreed. A date will be set and sent to governors.
f) Friday 3rd July is the school summer fete, which will be held from 3-5pm. Governors were asked for help running stalls etc. A list will be emailed by Mrs. Thornley.
Thanking all for attending, the meeting ended at 8.32pm.
Next meeting dates: Tuesday 7th July 4.30pm