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Meeting 6 - 7th July 2015

Minutes of the Full Governing Body

FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL

Held on Tuesday 7th July 2015 - commenced 4.30pm

 

Present:                  Mrs. Arscott – Chair

                             Mr. Shore – Headteacher

                             Mrs. Thomson – Staff Governor

                             Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted & Training Liaison Governor

                             Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor

                             Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor

                             Revd. Holley – Co-opted Governor

                             Mrs. Thornley - Parent Governor

                             Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor

                             Mr. Taylor – Parent Governor     

                            

 

Apologies:                Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor

                             Mr. Webb – Parent Governor

                                                         

In Attendance:          Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk

                             Miss Hogbourne – Phase Leader                               

 

 

Signed:        A. Arscott                                                     Date:    05/10/15

 

Miss Hogbourne, Phase Leader, was welcomed to the meeting and brief introductions made.

1. Apologies

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

2. Declaration of pecuniary interests

None were declared. A new form was included in the agenda pack and all attending returned it to the clerk for inclusion on the school website from September.

3. Minutes of last meeting, 18th May 2015

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

4. Membership of the Board of Governors

Mrs. Sides who, with regret finds her work commitments in Brentwood, Essex too much to allow her to continue, has resigned. This means there are now three vacancies on the Board.

5. Matters arising

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

1. There are currently no SR training courses in this area although Mrs. Thornley will be completing this training through her new position at the pre-school. Once a course is available, closer to home, the DTG will book a place. Ongoing

2. The overhanging hedge has been registered with HCC by John Tompkins, Ann Arscott and the Parish Council – it’s a long way down the list!! Mrs. Arscott also registered the re-painting of the zig-zag lines and that it has been included in the two-month programme of works, so may be completed before the new term starts. Ongoing

4. Nobody has requested access to RAISEonline but all outdated access has been revoked. Discharged

5. An absence page has been designed and will be included in the new planner. It will show an attendance table, termly targets and achievements and information on the impact of absence. Discharged

7. See item 11. Ongoing

8. Oliver Coleman and an Authority Architect have met the Headteacher to discuss the feasibility of  an all weather court in the bottom corner of the school field. Quotes have been received for between £57-65k; around £28k is already saved and the devolved budget code funds can be used towards it, giving a further £6-8k. Using the SLA, HCC will tender and apply for planning etc. on behalf of the school for around £5k – money well-spent for this help. Currently, the project is now awaiting visits from surveyors. The drains will be unblocked at a cost of £1000, a 50/50 split with Hampshire. A high fence will surround the court but no lighting is planned at present as this would add further cost.  A governor asked how long this is likely to take to build. Planning should be fairly straight forward so it could be as fast as six to eight months – possibly operational for this winter. The school is planning to seek additional funding from local businesses to make up the balance. No planning permission is required for the outdoor classroom in the woods.

b) Mrs. Arscott informed governors of the process she witnessed at the recent planning meeting, where the Barker Mill proposal for the small build, cycleway and car park was rejected. She explained who was for and against it and how it was declined. Mrs. Arscott and Mr. Shore will continue to work with HCC with regard to improving safety in Foxhills.

The working party initiated by KAGG members met last week and Mrs. Arscott attended the meeting.  The group did not have any suggestions for improving access that had not already been considered by the schools and rejected as dangerous e.g. a drop-off zone on the school car park, or in Foxhills Lane; or which the Travel Team felt did not warrant further investigation at present e.g. building a path on the edge of the allotments. Other suggestions e.g. walking bus,, Park on my Drive, had already been incorporated into the Travel Plan Mrs. Arscott has asked for the minutes of the meeting to be amended, as they did not accurately reflect all that she had said.

UPDATE.09/07/15  David Hurd, New Forest Parking Manager, confirmed that he would not approve a drop off zone in Foxhills, it would create more traffic danger than currently exists, and he considered that a drop off zone on the school car park would have a similar effect, plus it would add to the traffic chaos in Foxhills as cars entered and exited the school site via the narrow school drive.

6. Presentation on school budget planning

As Mr. Monk was unable to attend, this item was deferred until the next meeting.

ACTION: Clerk

7. Headteacher’s report

Circulated with the agenda papers and advance questions asked, the responses were distributed to governors. Two additional items were reported by the Headteacher:

  • Martin Beales, LLP (Lead Learning Partner) visited the school last week and took part in learning walks to monitor teaching and learning and spend time with the SLT. He agreed the SEF (Self Evaluation Form) and confirmed that the school has improved since the last Ofsted Inspection, judging it to be a secure ‘Good.’ This is great news and Foxhills is now considered to be a low priority for support.
  • The SATs results were received today, showing teacher assessments to be quite accurate. The outcomes for Level 4+ are as follows: Reading, 96.6%; SPAG, 85.4%; Maths, 94.4% and Writing, 94.4%; giving a combined result of 91%. Level 5+ achieved 33%. The floor target currently remains 65%; last year, the cohort achieved 79%. This is a huge outcome for everyone but especially the Year 6 team, who have been under pressure. A big thank you to the team for this positive outcome. The SLT are looking forward to seeing the ranking of Foxhills in the ratified results in November. Next year will still be fraught but congratulations to everyone involved. A governor commented that Mrs. Bristow played a significant role, covering Mr. Shore during his absence along with Mrs. Kelly and Miss Hogbourne. All staff have taken on extra responsibilities during this time and have done an excellent job. The Chair will write to Year 6 and the SLT to formally thank them on behalf of the GB. Although not wanting to put a dampener on the celebrations, Mr. Shore pointed out that the KS1 entry levels are still the biggest ‘enemy’ as even with these fantastic achievements, in Reading for example, with 97% of children making Level 4+ (only 3 children didn’t achieve level 4), 90% made expected progress only. A governor commented that the school has been on a huge journey under strong leadership.

8. To agree the future composition of the Board of Governors

This was briefly discussed at the last meeting and governors were asked to consider two things – restructuring, to ensure the necessary skills mix is in place and reducing – changing the number of governors from fifteen to fourteen. Recent advice from Governor Services is that restructuring should be regularly considered, depending on the number of governors, skills in place and those needed. Points raised and considered included:

  • The GB is led by the skills audit, which should show gaps in experience
  • Every member should actively contribute
  • Skills and experience are relative and nothing de-valued
  • Co-opting vs election pros and cons
  • Appointing more staff members restricts the population of some committees
  • Parents can be co-opted, although it is still not good practice to overwhelm the Board with one particular group having greater representation than others.
  • Finance is a weak area and people may be upskilled with training but a background in finance for future members is more desirable
  • Four years is the term of office for all governor posts
  • The structure of Academy GBs was considered
  • The process for removal of different types of governor, if ineffective
  • Governors regularly communicate with parents through a newsletter
  • The school has significantly improved in the last three years, and it was felt a reduction to fourteen governors would be able to cope with the work load. The suggestion of a further reduction to twelve was not agreed. Too small a governing body can have significant disadvantages as the responsibility  demanded of governors increases

5:17pm Mr. Shore left the meeting

  • It is hard to attract governors from outside of the school – church schools have the Diocese that appoints people from other backgrounds – maintained schools don’t have this opportunity and must find people from the community themselves
  • Parents seem to prefer to be appointed and the election process puts some parents off applying
  • If encouraging people outside of education and the school, meeting times may need to be reconsidered as most work and would be unable to make meetings arranged in the daytime

5:20pm Mr. Shore returned

The Governing Body agreed to reconstitute with fourteen in post. The clerk will organise this for September.

ACTION: Clerk

9. To review educational visits, particularly the viability of residential visits

The Headteacher asked governors whether they still supported residential visits abroad for Year 6 and the value of such a trip to the pupils.  The following points were raised during the discussion with governor comments, or questions, shown in italics:

  • The uptake remains approximately 60% with activities organised for the 40% who stay behind
  • Organise residential trips that build from Year 3 through to Year 6 abroad
  • Perhaps an overnight camping event on the school field could be organised for Year 4s, whose parents are not keen on a residential visit elsewhere
  • Year 5 trip to Marwell had a majority attendance with only a handful not going – it was affordable, close to home and great fun
  • The reaction of the children abroad is priceless – they are exposed to a different language and culture, build confidence and gain independence – an enormous effect and achievement for some who would not get the opportunity to travel with their family. They spoke the language and used money in shops – they loved it!
  • A child was injured on the recent trip so safety concerns would need to be addressed or an alternative location organised for any future visit
  • Although there is sympathy for those who can’t afford it, governors thought that this should not preclude everyone from the experience
  • Savings plans can be started in Year 3 so that costs are spread across the four years and may be refunded before the trip is booked, for individuals unable to go

It was proposed, seconded and unanimously agreed that residential trips abroad should continue to be offered, with shorter trips for lower year groups building up to the Year 6 visit; also to offer a savings plan for parents to begin from Year 3.

10. Report on CLA Committee

The minutes were circulated with the agenda papers, giving governors the opportunity to read them in advance. Mr. Taylor, Chair of the CLA, summarised the meeting, focusing on the Literacy Leader’s briefing. It has been decided that a Vice Chair be appointed to support the Chair and cover meetings etc. as necessary. Governors were asked to consider standing for the position, which will be offered to new governors joining in the autumn term. The reports from the last FGB meeting were considered in more depth and questions raised, with responses, were attached with the minutes. A number of policies have been reviewed and approved for adoption on this agenda.

11. School Travel Plan

This has finally been completed and will be on the school website by Friday 10th July. It includes an action plan, which Mrs. Arscott recommended governors should read, the main report being about 80 pages!  A copy will be emailed to governors this week.

12. To approve policies

Circulated with the agenda pack, having been recommended for adoption by the CLA, were:

a) Sex and relationships education

b) Supporting children with medical needs

c) Behaviour principles written statement

d) Home/school agreement

e) Health and Safety

All policies are standard models, ‘tweaked’ for Foxhills School. No smoking ‘on the school site’ was added to the Health and Safety Policy. Governors unanimously agreed to adopt these policies.

Additionally, the Child Protection Policy was tabled as a new model had been recently issued and tailored to the school. This includes the new terminology for child protection officers.  A governor pointed out that a named governor is responsible for complaints against the Headteacher but is not in the document. The named governor is the Chair of Governors, as stated in the complaints policy. This could be clarified. A governor requested that ‘guardian’ be added to the parent section on the first page. With this amendment, the policy was adopted. 

The Chair thanked Mr. Taylor and Mrs. Dulieu for all the work they had done with the policies.

13. Governor training

a) Training feedback reports had been circulated with the agenda and the following noted:

  1. That on the G&T training, they focused on the negatives of being identified as more able by pointing out the pitfalls which seemed odd. The DTG asked if that feedback had been noted on the form given at the end of the course as Governor Services are self-critical and will take all comments on board.
  2. SEN training was the best course the governor had been on.
  3. The recent Conference was excellent and a feedback form will be distributed when available. Mrs. Arscott summarised the talk by John Clark, Children Services, on the quality of HCC. The session on governors’ strategic role, suggested an annual strategy meeting. Governors agreed that this was a good idea. Engaging parents was also discussed, following the suggestion of a whole class parent meeting with the teacher. Those present felt they already have a good relationship with parents, who have the opportunity to speak to them at the end of each day in the playground. Governors saw the benefit of parents being engaged in their children’s learning and recognise that there are groups in place to achieve this e.g. Parent Voice. There was an apology from John Clarke for the poor introduction of the new Integrated Business Centre system for staff and an announcement that Carolyn Millar is taking early retirement. Governors were saddened by this news as Carolyn has been of great support in the past but wished her well.

b) The DTG had circulated a list of subject areas to be considered as the focus for the WGBT next year. Finance has been identified as a training gap, but Mrs. Datlen felt that it was not necessarily a topic for all governors. SMSC (Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural) education is now a focus area under the heading of ‘British Values,’ and is included in the new Ofsted Framework. After a short discussion, this was agreed by all. Mrs. Datlen will ask for a tailored session combining SMSC and British Values for the WGBT.

ACTION: Mrs. Datlen

14. Dates of meetings for 2015/16

The dates for next year were noted as:

Monday 5th October 2015

Tuesday 1st December 2015

Monday 1st February 2016

Tuesday 22nd March 2016

Monday 16th May 2016

Tuesday 5th July 2016

Monday meetings start at 6pm, Tuesdays at 4.30pm.

15. Any other business

a) Contributions for Ruth Easton’s retirement were collected and a card signed.

b) Governors will be invited to the final assembly at the end of term. Details will be emailed.

c) New Ofsted regulations have been published on the Gov.uk website for a little light reading!

d) Parent questionnaires will be sent out before the end of term.

e) The autumn governor Forum will be held at Foxhills Junior on 22nd September. Any help to set up and clear up, or just attending, would be much appreciated.

f) The Parish Council Fete will be held on 5th September. Governors will run their stall and the Friends of Foxhills will be running the refreshments. Any help will be most welcome on either stall please. The event runs from 10am until 5pm and helpers will get a Foxhills T-shirt!

6:10pm Revd Holley left the meeting

g) Mrs. Linsley, Headteacher of Foxhills Infant School, has recently resigned.

h) Friends of Foxhills ran their fete on Friday 3rd and were grateful for the help of the Year 6 children in setting up and running stalls. They asked that these thanks were passed on to the children as their help was invaluable and they impressed everyone with their manners. Mrs. Thornley will email the school so that it can be sent to the Year 6s. Final figures are not yet available but it is thought that around £1200 was raised. Thanks to everyone who helped, including Parish Councillor, Clive White.

ACTION: Mrs. Thornley

Thanking all for attending, the meeting ended at 6:22pm.

 

Next meeting dates:

Monday 5th October 2015

Tuesday 1st December 2015

Monday 1st February 2016

Tuesday 22nd March 2016

Monday 16th May 2016

Tuesday 5th July 2016

Monday meetings start at 6pm, Tuesdays at 4.30pm.