Meeting 3 - 1st February 2016
Minutes of the Full Governing Body
FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL
Held on Monday 1st February – commenced 6pm
Present: Mrs. Arscott – Local Authority Governor and Chair
Mr. Shore – Headteacher
Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor
Revd. Holley – Co-opted Governor
Mr. Marchetti – Co-opted Governor
Mr. White – Co-opted Governor
Dr. Wiley – Co-opted Governor
Mrs. Thornley – Co-opted Governor
Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor
Apologies: Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor
Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor
Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted plus Development and Training Governor
Miss Sired – Staff Governor
Absent Mr. Taylor – Parent Governor
In Attendance: Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk
Signed: A. Arscott Date: 22/03/16
Were received and accepted from Mr. Fillis, Mr. Monk, Mrs. Datlen and Miss Sired. Mr. Taylor had offered his apologies ‘until further notice’ in December, and has not communicated since. Whilst sympathetic and supportive of his health problems, governors felt that offering apologies on this basis was not acceptable. It was agreed he should be contacted, offering sympathy for his situation, and hopefully to have some indication of when he will be well enough to return to the GB.
ACTION: Clerk/Mrs. Arscott
Mr. Monk has indicated that work commitments over the next 6 weeks may prevent him attending any meetings in that period, but he will continue, behind the scenes, to contribute to the GB work and to submit the SFVS by the deadline in March. Governors agreed to this arrangement which will be reviewed again in early April.
The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate.
2. Declaration of pecuniary interests
None were declared.
3. Minutes of last meeting, 1st December 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/i) HCC maintains that the hedges, at the end of the drive, have been trimmed. Concern remains that they have not been cut back sufficiently to not impede pedestrian access by the railings. Ongoing
2. The figures quoted in the forecast budget have been confirmed as correct and minuted as such in the F&R minutes, distributed with the agenda papers. Discharged
3/ii) Mrs. Arscott has written to the Authority and is awaiting reply. Ongoing
i) No funding is available for the purchase of land, in order to provide a cycle path into the school. Mrs. Arscott has explored different options and has been told that there are no funds available as HCC have had their budget cut by £98 million. Should land adjacent to the school be developed in the future HCC would be prepared to work with NFDC to secure improved access to the school as part of the developer contribution. Hampshire Highways will raise the issue with the NFDC transport strategy team and should the Travel Plan come up with other, low cost solutions, they may be added to the 2017/18 minor works programme.
Urgent Chairman’s business
Bartley Junior School GB has requested a collaboration agreement to be set up with Foxhills in order to resolve a complaint. This agreement, which was circulated at the meeting, would require a panel of three governors from Foxhills to be set up to hear an appeal. Although unable to discuss the nature of the complaint, governors discussed the process, time involved and effect of any decisions taken. The agreement, once in place, would be reciprocal and would need to be reviewed annually. The GB agreed, unanimously, to the collaboration proposal with governors happy to work in co-operation with a neighbouring school. The panel will be formed from Mrs. Arscott, Mr. Monk, Mrs. Thornley, Mr. White and Dr. Wiley, depending on who is available once the meeting is arranged. Mrs. Dulieu will coordinate the process; her costs will be covered by Bartley. Mrs. Arscott will sign the agreement and send it to Bartley.
5. Headteacher’s verbal report
Area 1: Effectiveness of Leadership and Management
Restructure of Leadership Team.
There has been a restructuring of the SLT, from two Phase Leaders to three Team Leaders. It was decided that this was a good time to trial a new system as the Phase Leader model was not working as anticipated. The Team Leaders will share similar roles but this offers greater distributive leadership. The new team includes Natalie Hogbourne, Hayley Sired and Matt Goodchild. They are all ambitious teachers; the school will develop and support them in their new roles. In recognition of her role and further training to date (high level of CPD – Fire, Performance Management and Safeguarding and developing leadership) Miss Hogbourne has been awarded a permanent TLR as ‘Senior Teacher’ and will be third in line, should the Head and Deputy be off site simultaneously. Miss Sired and Mr. Goodchild will receive temporary TLRs, until the end of this academic year, when the success of the system will be reviewed.
Staffing issues leaves the school vulnerable, temporarily, but not in a serious position. Two experienced teachers left at the end of last term and were replaced by temporary staff; three in leadership, two NQTs, two in their first year of teaching, two on or nearing maternity leave, one due to retire and one unsure if they’re staying. The Headteacher is confident that the school will recover effectively and quickly from this. A governor asked if there had been any concerns expressed by parents over the staff changes. No, the new teachers are liked and the transition smooth. A governor asked whether there were any concerns regarding subject leadership provision. As Mrs. Thomson had led Science, the redistribution of subject leadership is in progress. Mrs. Searle led History and is now on maternity leave too. Discussions are being held in SLT meetings for this area for development.
Area 2: Quality of Teaching, Learning and Assessment
The Headteacher thanked governors for their feedback, following the assessment training held on Monday 18th January. He will be finishing his final draft to parents that will be discussed with Dr. Wiley before it is released.
Development of T&L
Precision teaching is rolling out well: coaching by Matt Goodchild and Natalie Hogbourne. Chris Bristow is leading LSA training on this.
Spring observations focus on the question, ‘To what extent does teaching facilitate good learning?’ The results will be ‘Fully, Mostly, Partially or Not at All.’
With seven lessons observed, so far 100% have delivered a result of ‘mostly.’ (2 in Year 3 – 3 in Year 4 – 1 in Year 5 and 1 in Year 6) No formal judgements are being made; rather areas to develop by coaching are being identified. The aim is to identify what makes a difference to the children and what can improve. The Headteacher is content to say that quality staff are delivering good standards of teaching in school.
Area 3: Personal development, Behaviour and Welfare of pupils
Inclusion: There are three children in school with EHC plans and a further two pending – this is quite high compared to similar schools. There could be three more with these plans in the new Y3 intake for September 2016, showing a changing demographic for the school and the requirement to meet those needs.
New intake update – although there is no confirmed number for September 2016 yet, it is known that the number of children within the first three criteria (medical, in catchment with a sibling in school and in catchment) is 97 children with Foxhills as a first choice of school. If those out of catchment, with a sibling in school, are included, there are a further 10 children giving a potential intake of 103 next year. A further 9 are in local feeder infant schools. The school’s PAN (Published Admission Number) is currently 90. 93 were taken last year to avoid lengthy appeals.
Safeguarding: All staff training will be held on 12th February, 9am-12pm (approx.) Governors have been invited to join the team. This will be held in the Junior School now, as there will be around 80 people attending. For those unable to be there that day, the Headteacher will deliver similar training at another time. Mrs. Thornley, Mr. White, Revd. Holley, Dr. Wiley and Mrs. Arscott will be attending and Mrs. Baker, Ms Scevity, Mrs. Datlen and Mrs. Dulieu will be there as members of staff. Mrs. Dulieu will inform Mrs. Cooper of governors intending being there.
The Headteacher will be on his DSL training on 9th March 2016.
Area 4: Outcomes for Pupils
Y6 outcomes Due to the fact that the school is still in the very early stages of the new system of assessment, the Headteacher was not able to say at this stage the projected outcome for July but recent Y6 mock tests (sample papers) sat by the children seem to suggest that the cohort is on track to achieve the 75% target. The school is anticipating that Progress, overall, will remain low due to the high entry level from KS1 although there has been quite a high turnover of children - there are currently 81 in the year group, with a lot of learning issues in the mix.
- Garden – The Friends of Foxhills have offered to contribute an increased amount of money towards developing the Reflective Garden. This is instead of contributing towards more laptop computers for classroom use. Mr. Shore is meeting a landscape gardener on Wednesday for a further quote and Mrs. Dulieu will contact Bridget Bancroft to see if she is willing to visit and provide costings too.
- Football pitch – had a survey and it is looking less likely as a viable proposition in this uncertain financial climate
- Glass doors for the Year 4 shared area and canopies for the back of the school have been ordered. The doors are being installed on 11th April 2016
- Logo – A new logo has been designed by the third company approached – the same company that provides the school website. The Pupil Voice group have chosen 5 trees (the values) in a box (for thinking outside of it!) with colours representing the four houses (and orange for a fox’s tail!). A governor asked whether the combination of colours would present a problem of increased printing cost for uniform etc. There are no additional costs for up to 16 colours and with the increase in electronic communication now, much less printing of letters etc. so costs will be minimal. New sports kit is being planned too. The new uniform will be run alongside the old for a number of years, to allow hand-me-downs etc. although in past experience, parents want the new logo uniform as soon as possible
6. Report from Finance and Resources Committee
The main points of the minutes, which were included in the agenda pack, were highlighted to governors as follows:
- The Committee are happy with the financial standing as reported in the minutes
The budget approved stands at:
Amount in words
One million, four hundred and fourteen thousand, two hundred and seventy seven pounds
Year to date spend:
One million, one hundred and nine thousand, five hundred and forty six pounds
Three hundred and four thousand, seven hundred and thirty one pounds
Ninety five thousand, one hundred and thirty seven pounds
Year to date surplus:
Three hundred and ninety nine thousand, eight hundred and sixty nine pounds
a) Terms of Reference, included in the agenda pack, had been updated to define the delegation of authority to the Headteacher and were recommended for adoption by the FGB. They were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they be adopted
b) To adopt the SFVS. Prepared by Mr. Monk and recommended by the committee for adoption by the FGB, the document had been included in the agenda pack. It was noted that the yes/no responses were missing from page 7 onwards, although the explanations were completed. Mrs. Dulieu will check with Mr. Monk that this has been corrected and check how it should be submitted by 31st March.
ACTION: Clerk/Mr. Monk
A governor commented that it looked in ‘good shape;’ a proactive approach explaining what happens, why and justification of the statements.
Mr. Monk was thanked for putting it together.
7. School Policies
Approved by Committees for adoption:
The three policies, approved by the F&R Committee for adoption were sent out with the agenda.
a) Access Policy
Written in collaboration with the other two schools on site, governors were happy with the content.
b) School Lettings Policy
With changes to the Statement of Intent and the addition of a safeguarding statement (e), governors agreed to the new wording.
c) Governors’ Expenses Policy
Due for its three-year review, no changes were considered necessary to this policy.
All three policies were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they be adopted.
8. School Development Plan
Mr. Shore explained that he had been to a presentation by Essex Education Authority, who provide the Tracker system, regarding a new tool to measure school effectiveness. The school is taking part in the early stages of a trial for a self-assessment tool. Explaining the theory behind the system, Mr. Shore distributed copies of the 25 characteristics of outstanding schools, showing governors how each section feeds in to produce a plan for improvement. He wants to create a working team of governors and SLT to input the information and gather the evidence to back it up. It is anticipated that it will take up to two days to make a start and will give governors the insight and confidence to complete the governance section. Half of the weighting is made up of the information entered by staff/governors, the remaining half by questionnaires. By collating the evidence and entering it into the system, a plan of priorities for improvement is produced. It is hoped that this will become the SDP, making the process of self-assessment and planning more manageable – all in one document. It could replace the Governor SEF that Ms Scevity and Mrs. Baker were going to look at. Governors were pleased to be involved with the school in this manner and volunteers to take part included Mr. Marchetti, Dr. Wiley, Mr. White, Mrs. Thornley and Mrs. Baker. Mrs. Arscott will be involved as she has access to input the data on behalf of governors and Mrs. Dulieu will likely have fastest access to any evidence required. Mr. Shore will set a date and governors able to attend will be able to drop in/out during the sessions as necessary.
ACTION: Mr. Shore
9. Pupil Premium report
Distributed with the agenda papers, questions were invited in advance of the meeting on this report prepared by Mrs. Bristow. In response, one governor commented as follows:
‘Firstly, thank you to Chris Bristow for her comprehensive report. I do not have any specific questions, having attended the Governor Information Evening which focused on ‘Closing the Gap,’ and a recent learning walk where we were able to see some of the strategies described in the classroom. I would like to congratulate staff on their achievement in enabling 77% of YR PP children to obtain appropriate levels in Reading, Writing, and Maths, against a countywide level of 65%.’
Mrs. Thornley had recently met Mrs. Bristow where she was shown evidence which gave her a clear idea on PP children and the school strategies in place to achieve the best they possibly can. As Manager of the Preschool, it was an eye-opener to the prospect of reaching out to families as early as possible to give those entitled to the funding the best start. Free school meals are being offered in the Preschool now, provided by the Junior School kitchen. It has recently been shown that early interventions have more impact on FSM children. In addition, Mrs. Thornley commented on Mrs. Bristow’s passion for those in her care and how tirelessly she works for them. She also asked that her workload be monitored as there is much involved in PP children as well as the SEN and others she takes care of in her SENCo role. The links between the Junior and Preschools are developing really well.
A governor asked if the research into online teaching would impact school as it has been shown to be more effective than staff support in class. Mr. Shore stated that the support staff in school are skilled and valued in the work they do, with results to back it up, more skilled than they may have been when this study was taken, four years ago. The role of Professionals vs technology is still under discussion and classes with no technology at all are on the increase because human intervention is worth more.
10. Learning Walk report
This report will follow with the minutes as it was not ready in time for the meeting. Governors saw how adults in class supported and helped to increase understanding with the children in their groups. An all-inclusive experience, with staff sat on the floor with the children in some classes. They saw how the 1:1 children had been integrated into the class and how the dynamics worked so well, even in classes with many adults in the room. A follow-up visit to Year 5 will be arranged as there was insufficient time to see them on this occasion and another booked for the summer. Governors found the experience most valuable and interesting.
11. To consider response to HCC consultation on the school buses
A letter (attached) was sent to parents today to inform them that HCC have opened a consultation on the withdrawal of subsidy to the yellow school bus service. Due to the cut of £98m to their budget, they will be unable to subsidise the service from September 2016. It is predicted that fares (currently £1 each way or £1.90 return) and will rise substantially without the subsidy, possibly making the service unviable, as parents will find it cheaper to bring children to school by car. This affects an average of 67 children who currently use the morning bus and 80 plus for the afternoon service. Governors discussed the effect on parents, attendance and the probable increase in the number of cars on the road outside of school. Alternatives were also discussed – cycling being the most hazardous, with two accidents occurring last term – and concern for those without their own transport. The consultation closes on 19th February. Mrs. Arscott will write, on behalf of the governors, to HCC to express their concerns and also approach the Parish Council as it will impact local roads.
ACTION: Mrs. Arscott
Governors also considered the possibility of running their own minibus service although costs would have to be looked into. Parents would have to cover this in its entirety with there being no room in the budget to fund such a service. Mr Shore will be meeting with Mr. Marchetti who has experience of running school minibuses at another school. Hounsdown School are also considering organising a replacement service and there is a possibility it could be shared by Foxhills; again, parents would have to fund the service and costs are not known at this stage.
HCC offer choices within the consultation – Provide your own service, funded by parents/schools; the bus company maintains a commercial service, without subsidy and finally that parents find their own way to get their children to school. Governors were most frustrated that, after the last few years’ efforts to reduce traffic, this action could be taken by the Authority, especially as many vulnerable families use this service. It is obvious that the school must plan ahead, with the assumption that the buses will stop in September, as there doesn’t seem to be an option that will allow it to continue with support from the Authority. Those affected have been given a survey to complete. The welfare of the children is uppermost and the increase in cars will impact everyone travelling to school. Mr. Shore agreed to send statistics to Mrs. Arscott on recent incidents and numbers of children affected, for inclusion in her letter.
ACTION: Mr. Shore
He will also explore the possibility of a shared service with Hounsdown.
12. GB Skills Audit
This was completed last year but is in need of updating. The form will be emailed to governors.
13. Governor training
a) Full Access training package
It is time to renew the agreement with Governor Services to provide training and their services for the next year. A governor asked if the package included e-learning. No. It has been used in the past but governors preferred to attend a course and didn’t find the online training easy to access and felt isolated doing it at home. It was proposed, seconded and all agreed that the Full Access option be purchased again this year. Governors who are unable to attend a course they have booked were asked to contact Governor Services as soon as possible, as they often have waiting lists and have been frustrated when delegates have not turned up.
b) Training reports
Three training reports were circulated with the agenda on useful and informative courses, recently attended. The Conference is a one-day event and recommended to governors who are able to attend. There is a need for more governors to be trained in Performance Management as Mrs. Arscott and Mr. Marchetti are the only two to have attended the course recently. Revd. Holley and Mrs. Baker were advised to seek out the nearest course available as they serve on this committee. Mr. White asked if he could be included. Mrs. Datlen will be asked to email him with the dates available.
ACTION: Mrs. Datlen
Safer Recruitment training was an intensive course and although recently updated, the procedures had not changed substantially. Mr. Marchetti will organise a refresher through his other school.
The recent Ofsted and Life without Levels training evening was very useful.
c) Review of GB training to date
As Mrs. Datlen was unable to make the meeting, no detail was discussed. She has a list of courses attended and is looking at gaps in training.
14. Proposal to purchase a school minibus
This item to be deferred as Mr. Shore will be meeting Mr. Marchetti to explore options on Friday 5th February. It is under discussion as some sports funding can be used for this and transport to school sporting events has been an issue.
15. Any other business
a) Nothing has been heard regarding the archaeological dig in the nature reserve yet.
b) Two governors requested a password reset for RAISEonline.
c) The payment has been received from the Infant School for the new path.
d) In an attempt to reduce costs and time, the clerk asked governors to express a preference for hard copy or electronic version of meeting papers and noted their responses.
Thanking all for attending, the meeting ended at 7:55pm
Next meeting dates:
Monday 29th February 7pm – WGBT on SMSC
Tuesday 22nd March 2016
Monday 16th May 2016
Tuesday 5th July 2016
NB: Monday meetings start at 6pm, Tuesdays at 4.30pm.