Meeting 04 19th March 2013
Minutes of Full Board of Governors
FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL
Held on Tuesday 19th March 2013 - commenced 4.30pm
Present: Mrs. Arscott – Chair
Mr. Shore – Headteacher
Mrs. Thomson – Staff Governor
Mrs. Reader – Co-opted Governor
Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor
Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor
Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor
Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted & Training Liaison Governor
Mrs. Turner – Parent Governor
Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor
Mr. Webb – Parent Governor
Mrs. Sides – Parent Governor
Apologies: Mr. Morris- Co-opted Governor
Mr. Thomas – Co-opted Governor
Mr. Gray – Parent Governor
In Attendance: Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk
Signed: A. Arscott Date: 20/05/13
Apologies were received and accepted from Mr. Morris, Mr. Thomas and Mr. Gray. The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate.2. Declaration of pecuniary interests
Mrs. Reader declared an interest in item 3 of this agenda. No others were declared.3. To consider a proposal to restructure
The confidential papers were circulated with the agenda and there is a separate confidential minute for this item.
4.40pm Mrs. Sides arrived4. Minutes of last meetings
- The minutes of the meeting of 21st January had been prepared to highlight governor responsibilities and the Chair asked for comments on how to proceed in the future. Governors discussed the effectiveness of the coloured text, preparation time of the minutes, cost of copying and that they could be considered too contrived towards an Ofsted inspection rather than a record of meetings. All agreed that questions highlighted in italics would be sufficient and easier to produce (as suggested at the recent forum.) It was also considered easier to format across committee meetings not currently covered by the Clerk. All agreed. The minutes were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they were a true record of the meeting.
- The minutes of the strategy meeting of 29th January 2013 were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they were a true record of the meeting.
5. Matters arising
- The action point list was updated with the following points explained –
1. Ongoing. HCC have responsibility for line painting on the school site but there has been no further progress since the last meeting.
3. The new signs for the school gate arrived today as demonstrated by the Headteacher. The school gates will be closed between 9.30am until 3pm. Governors considered it a deterrent to drivers and were pleased to hear that costs were low at around £40. A governor asked if this would be mentioned in the school newsletter. It will go in the newsletter due out next week and is planned to take effect in April. A governor questioned how its effectiveness could be checked. All agreed that there would be some drivers who wouldn’t stop and close the gate behind them, but the lunchtime staff would see how well it was working fairly quickly. The Headteacher assured governors that this system is used in other schools. Action discharged.
4. The DfE dashboard was emailed to all governors and presented at the recent Children’s Learning and Engagement (CLE) Committee meeting. A graphic view of the school based on the last year’s cohort. Blank class progress grids were shared with governors with the Headteacher explaining how they showed individual children’s progress termly since entry in Year 3. They are updated manually to include the children’s names and their achievements. Staff informed governors that they were an excellent, clear, visual aid that, most importantly, highlighted potential problems and that they were updated termly. A governor asked the Headteacher to explain the points system of progress through the school. He detailed the stages of progress through to the expected 12 points and explained that this was now a minimum expectation and that the school should aim higher. A governor asked if there was a summary available to governors of the whole school’s progress. The school’s tracking system can provide this which will be discussed in the CLE meeting.
6. Ongoing. ToR discussed in the meeting (see item 8 on this agenda) and the need to include different groups of children within the ToR has been identified but not yet actioned.
All other action points have been discharged.6. Headteacher’s and LLP reports
Governors were asked if the new system of questions on the Headteacher’s report (HTR) in advance was more convenient, leaving secondary questions for the meeting. All agreed this was a better system and the Headteacher agreed to prepare his report further in advance in future to give everyone more time on it. See attached question and answer document. He also suggested that, as noted in both the CLE and Self Evaluation Form (SEF) meetings, the data reported is currently a term out of date so his first report of a term should analyse data from the end of the last term, and his second should detail the other news and updates. Governors discussed and agreed that this would be a valuable improvement but that the Autumn term’s second report should be on data as the SATs results should have been validated by then. He invited further questions on the two reports, noting that the LLP report remains confidential so any discussion on that is minuted separately.
- It has been suggested that the school is rated in the HTR on achievements using a red/amber/green system but this hasn’t happened in this report.
- The procedure has yet to be established, although it was discussed in the CLE meeting. The four Ofsted areas plus attendance would be considered key areas to highlight, which already happens in the LLP report and SEF, so would be most beneficial to governors to see. A system will be devised to easily show this in future reports.
- What is the idea behind the early entry system mentioned in item 11?
- It is the practice of bringing the children in ten minutes earlier in the morning so that they are ready to start work at 8.55am instead of the current 9.05am. Some local schools already operate this way and it has highlighted persistent lateness but also generates a calmer start to the day.
- How soon would this be brought in to effect?
- This is still to be discussed and agreed and would be a useful topic for the parent forum to get their opinions and feedback.
The LLP report was discussed and there is a separate, confidential minute for this item.
7. Report from Finance and Resources Committee
With the meeting having been held a week ago, the minutes were distributed to the remaining members of the Board and the Chair highlighted the following key points:
- The budget spend is being closely monitored and cost savings made where possible as funds are so tight – section 4 shows these discussions.
- A large part of the meeting was taken up with the detail of the Schools Financial Value Standards (SFVS) as the completed report must be submitted by 31st March 2013. The Chair explained the process to governors and asked that it be approved on the recommendation of the Committee. All agreed. The completed document will be submitted electronically in time to meet the deadline.
- A skills matrix has been completed by the Committee members as part of the SFVS requirement but it is suggested that all governors complete one as evidence of for Ofsted and to highlight training needs. The Chair of Governors (CoG) and Training Liaison Governor (TLG) agreed to organise this.
- The Statement of Financial Expectations is a standard County, procedural document which must be adopted annually and is recommended as such by the Committee. All agreed.
- The budget, year to date, shows an overspend of approximately £10k against the forecast. This is the result of a combination of factors which will be taken into consideration for next year’s expectations. The budget share due in May for 2013/14 will likely be £17k less than this year and SEN funding has changed; schools will have to fund the first £6k of each statemented child which effectively reduces the budget share to £24k less than previously, assuming the same level of provision for those individuals. This is the same in all schools so must be accepted. More cost effective ways of providing support will be investigated. Discretionary spend is limited already and this will prove a challenging change. A governor asked if statemented children attracted additional funding. They do, but the school will have to fund the first £6k of their support from April 2013. The Headteacher explained the funding process.
- Number on Roll (NoR) from September 2013 is predicted as 90 – a positive result.
- Building issues have been discussed. The CoG has contacted the Infant School CoG who will raise the issue of sharing site maintenance costs with the Headteacher and at their next meeting.
A governor raised the question of money for sport (an Olympic legacy) being received in Hampshire and asked if it would affect Foxhills Junior. The Headteacher informed governors that he had received an initial email about the subject, but as yet, no further details were available.
The Chair of the Committee was thanked for his report.8. Report from Children’s Learning and Engagement Committee (CLE)
The minutes of the last meeting were distributed a few days before the meeting and in the absence of the Chair of the Committee, another member offered to highlight the key points and take questions.
- The ToR need clarity on groups of children and will be amended.
- Tools for monitoring the school include Governor visits, curriculum reports, Headteacher reports and data. Guidance on recording visits and the importance of focusing the visits relative to the school priorities was discussed.
- An annual subject report will be received in the future.
- Measures of a child’s well-being (Spiritual, Moral, Social, Cultural – SMSC) is also under discussion.
A governor commented that protocol for Governor visits has been discussed in the past and a policy exists for this; there may be more information available online, including working models should this need updating.
The date of the next meeting is yet to be set and the Headteacher noted that an amended version of these minutes had been sent to the Chair. They will be sent to the Clerk so that the correct copy can be filed.
The Committee were thanked for their report.
9. Annual Parent Survey
The last version of the questionnaire was circulated with the agenda and is used to collect parents’ views on the school annually. The Headteacher distributed an updated questionnaire which included explanations of procedures in school as parents often don’t have all the information they need to make an informed judgement or give constructive feedback; this would help to address that. The questionnaire would be sent out in April for analysis in the May FGB meeting. Governors suggested that less acronyms be used as parents wouldn’t know what LSA/ELSA/IEP stood for and thought that a briefer version would be most useful. The layout was discussed and all agreed that questions should be separated by boxes, the language and explanations simplified. The Headteacher agreed to amend and email a draft copy to governors for comments before distribution to parents next term.
A governor asked if it were possible to include an anonymous parent survey on the school website, e.g. Survey Monkey which seems to be fairly simple to set up. The Headteacher agreed that this could be the way forward and will look into it.
10. WGBT on Ofsted regulations – actions for GB
Two actions were taken from the extremely good training session in January:
1. SEF – now complete, the Chair will email to governors for discussion in the May FGB meeting
2. Understanding data – a governor has just completed the RAISEonline training and another will attend a meeting later this week; Ongoing input from Headteacher via HT reports/dashboard. Feedback from the two courses will be sent with the next meeting’s agenda.
11. Reports from governors’ training courses
a) Governors’ Strategic Role – A brilliant course and recommended for all governors. The course papers have been kept should anyone wish to read them. Questions were invited: Is there any follow up to the actions raised? Training is a standing item on all governor meeting agendas so these actions may be raised here in the future. Governors need to know the School Development Plan (SDP) (previously known as the School Improvement Plan – SIP – or School Strategic Plan – SSP!) and will be involved in its development next term. Accountability is also key, with a focus on Value For Money (VFM). Governors agreed that certain actions be included in the Action Point List distributed with the minutes each meeting.
Post meeting note from Clerk on actions noted in this training feedback report: Governors’ training needs are being addressed by the TLG. A list of training attended is held on file and updated by Governor Services. An updated list is easily obtained. Not all governors have provided a feedback form on their training courses, the last one being the WGBT on Ofsted. Hopefully you’ll agree that the minutes are recorded accurately and reflect strategy, support, challenge and accountability – the colour-coded minutes of the last meeting should help to prove that. Therefore, no actions to record at present.
b) Understanding the Primary Curriculum – Two governors attended this course which was a look at the changes to come - an information evening rather than anything else resulting in no actions to follow up. They will be attending their Induction courses in April and July.
c) The Governors’ Role in School Improvement – Governor Visits should be a standing agenda item to include policy implementation, seeing it in action and its impact. The Clerk will add a new standing agenda item to future meeting agendas.
Three to four visits per term are recommended to visit and assess. The format of such visits was raised in the CLE meeting recently, but is yet to be defined. Visits must have a purpose e.g. attending assembly, monitoring the new reading initiative, School Council etc. and should be linked to the SDP to monitor effectiveness. Governors briefly discussed visits and what form they should take and how they could be reported. It was agreed that the committee ToR cover policy responsibilities which should be diarised for review and this could facilitate a rolling cycle of visits and monitoring. Visits would be recorded in the meeting minutes but proof of visits is required. The Headteacher will discuss this with the Clerk who will produce a signing in sheet to record the visit and its purpose. Governors will need to inform the clerk of any information to be included in the minutes in advance of any meeting.
12. Governor training
New training booklets were distributed to governors reminding them of training available. The full list of courses has been emailed already, but governors requiring further detail should contact the TLG.
The RAISEonline course has been hugely oversubscribed and additional courses put on.
A governor asked how to access the governor intranet. There is a link on the website that will prompt an email to admin for those who have lost their intranet ID, failing that, contact Governor Services who will also help with access.
13. Any other business
a) Notes on BM meeting - A governor pointed out that there was an error in this inasmuch as 140 cars should read 146 cars, and all had Foxhills children as passengers. The Chair commented that this underlines the need for safe cycleways to get some of these children cycling, and safe car parking to alleviate congestions in Foxhills/Whartons Lane.
b) School Travel Plan - Ruth Linsley has met with Ellie Bolton from HCC School Travel Plan Team. She is aware of the BM proposal and will work with the schools to ascertain how many children/adults travel to school daily and mode of transport. She may be able to help with some changes to the site layout. Assuming the BM proposal goes ahead she will work to ensure children’s travel to school is safe whilst the development takes place, and will collaborate with the Pre School, Infant and Junior Schools to educate parents and children to maximise the benefits of the cycleways and parking, and to devise a safe traffic flow system. It is suggested that Sally Arnold, Chair Of Ashurst PC is involved in this, plus representatives from the schools.
c) The Headteacher has provided a draft Whistleblowing Policy, which the Clerk showed to governors, and as it is a standard County policy, asked them to adopt it in its current form. All agreed. The policy will be emailed to governors after the meeting for any comments.
d) With the field flooding again, the Headteacher asked that the GB write to HCC on behalf of the school for some action on drainage. The Chair agreed to write to Oliver Coleman.
e) The Ashurst and Colbury Village Fete will be held on Saturday 7th September 2013 at which the school holds a stall and often provides children’s sports demonstrations. New governors were asked particularly to get involved, if possible, with setting up on the day from 7.30am and manning the stall. The Fete runs from 11-4pm at Wharton’s Lane Park.
f) Governors are invited to attend the school Production of Alice on Tuesday and Wednesday 26th and 27th March from 7pm. Please ask for a ticket from the school office.
g) The children loved the coppicing day with the New Forest Park visitors, which was very educational but bitterly cold! Thanks to Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Reader.
6.27pm Mrs. Turner left the meeting
h) A governor has been approached by an employee of HSBC who positively encourage their staff to become governors. He is currently a governor at Redbridge Secondary School but is keen to become involved in a Primary school. The Chair noted this interest but commented that there were no vacancies at present.
The Chair thanked governors and the meeting ended at 6.30pm.
Dates of next meetings:
Monday 20th May – 7-9pm
Tuesday 9th July – 4.30-6.30pm