Meeting 5 - 19th May 2014
Minutes of the Full Governing Body
FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL
Held on Monday 19th May 2014 - commenced 7.00pm
Present: Mrs. Arscott – Chair
Mrs. Thomson – Staff Governor
Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor
Mr. Thomas – Co-opted Governor
Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted & Training Liaison Governor
Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor
Dr. McKechnie - Co-opted Governor
Mrs. Turner – Parent Governor
Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor
Mrs. Thornley - Parent Governor
Mr. Webb – Parent Governor
Mrs. Sides – Parent Governor
Apologies: Mrs. Reader – Co-opted Governor
Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor
Mr. Shore – Headteacher
In Attendance: Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk
Mrs. Bristow – Deputy Headteacher
Signed: A. Arscott Date: 08/07/14
Apologies were received and accepted from Mrs. Reader, Mr. Shore and Mr. Fillis. The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate.
2. Declaration of pecuniary interests
None were declared for this agenda.
3. Minutes of last meeting, 18th March 2014
The main and confidential minutes of 18th March 2014 were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they were a true record of the meeting.
4. Matters arising
a) The action point list was updated with all open actions recorded as ongoing.
5. LLP Report
The Deputy Headteacher explained that the LLP is the school's Leadership and Learning Partner who usually visits annually. Andy Heyes visited in January and his report was included in the agenda pack. This has been superseded by the Ofsted Inspection report received in March. A governor asked what his role was outside of the LLP. Typically, LLPs are existing, or ex-Headteachers.
7.04pm Mrs. Sides arrived
He took part in a learning walk and his resulting report was disputed by the SLT. It was constructive in its criticism, but they felt it was inaccurate; Mr. Shore compiled a list of corrections and supporting evidence which was sent to Angela Wedgwood. A revised report was later received that still judged the school at a level 3. Ofsted upheld the school's views and awarded a level 2, Good. As the school was in crisis last year, there is still additional support from the LA, and the LLP will continue his involvement with the school in accordance with the SLA.
6. Ofsted actions
The Deputy Headteacher reported that very few actions resulted from the recent Inspection and all are concerned with Assessment for Learning. This includes inconsistencies in marking, challenging the more able children and differentiation - all a work in progress, and included in the SDP. This means that the existing 2-year plan remains unchanged and in place.
7.13pm Mr. Thomas arrived
There were no actions set, as a result of the Ofsted visit, just advice to continue what is in place. A governor asked if there were any surprises during the Inspection. They saw nothing that was not already covered in the SDP; areas to develop are assessment, marking and tracking. They commented on how data-rich the school is in all areas. The next Ofsted Inspection will be due in five years' time, unless the SATs results are poor. The school's aim is for excellence and the target is for 90% at level 4b within two years - no mean feat.
7. Finance and Resources Committee report
The Chair of the Committee asked if there were any questions on the minutes of the last meeting, which were included in the agenda pack. There being none, he went on to highlight the following points:
- The Asset Register is a necessary part of SFVS and should log all valuables in the school. This is proving more of a challenge than expected with the quantity, distribution and range of value of all the items. The aim is to complete it by the end of the summer term and it will be easier to maintain, once there is a baseline to work from
- The whole Committee was hugely impressed with the budget result at the end of the last financial year. Thanks to the work put in by the Headteacher and Finance Officer throughout the year, a surplus of £40k was much better than originally projected
- Since the meeting, a couple of inconsistencies have arisen that have challenged the figures. TLR payments were not included in the forecasted budget, although they are being paid, and a higher pension contribution of 2.3% has been introduced without the school's knowledge. A Hampshire finance software glitch caused the first error and the pension information was not passed on to schools, so everyone is in the same position. Headteachers protested, but there is nothing that can be done about it. This has made a significant impact on planned spending, but it has been re-worked and the IT upgrade will now be phased. The updated budget for 2014/15, which had been distributed to and agreed by the Committee since the last meeting, put forward for approval stands as follows:
Deficit: £ 6,292
Cumulative surplus C/Fwd: £ 37,202
Although different to that expected, this is still a good position to be in. 2015/16 projected budget remains balanced and even though 2016/17 forecasts a deficit, much can happen between now and then.
A governor asked at what point a surplus becomes significant enough to warrant spending it on pupils in school, rather than carry it forward. The planned IT development is necessary and will eat into the surplus. It may be good to have a buffer, in case of emergencies, but the funds must benefit the school. FJSA have consistently supported IT and other items in school, but these additional funds are not relied on - they are raised and paid in for specific reasons and paid straight out again. They are considering a legacy fund for future projects and the school have recently received 60 laptops and books for the library, thanks to the FJSA support.
The revised budget was proposed, seconded and all agreed its approval.
8. Children’s Learning and Attainment Committee report
The minutes were distributed with the agenda pack. The Chair of the Committee highlighted the following points:
- The recent learning walks were very valuable for seeing what happens in school on a daily basis and the de-brief with the Deputy Head afterwards was most informative. It is recommended that all governors take part in one, if possible
- Focus areas remain the same for the next half term – reshaping learning and moving forward; not just revising skills the children have already learnt
- A governor is organising a learning walk after half term. Open to everyone, Mrs. Thornley will email dates for a Tuesday morning from 9.30
ACTION: Mrs. Thornley
- Pupil Premium and Data Group meetings, once held termly, will now be held twice a year – once in the autumn term and again at the end of the spring term. It is considered that this will be sufficient and more effective
- Levels and progress are expected to be greatly increased in the Year 6 SATs results this year. The current floor target is to be raised next year to 85% of children achieving a level 4b by the end of 2016 – a huge leap from the last result of 66%, in just two years. The target this year, set by the school, is 79%
- With the abolishment of the current levels system, the school will be categorising children’s achievements into ‘Working towards, at, or beyond’ national standards in the next reports to parents. They can ask for the level within those boundaries at parents’ consultations
- The tests in 2016, that the current Year 4s will face, are different than those on offer now. Mental maths tests will go, the calculator paper has already gone, and children will sit two 40-minute papers of problem solving questions and another 30-minute paper. There are no models available just yet. A governor asked if all schools were facing the same changes. Yes, this is being implemented nationally. The information is being drip-fed via the Authority but has already been changed within the last month! It is expected that the new curriculum for maths will include the teaching of roman numerals, imperial and metric measurements and will be taught to a higher level. A governor asked if there will be a need for more INSET training for staff, to cover the changes. There is nothing planned at present as it is constantly changing but it is ever in the SLT and staff meetings and the school has the capacity to change rapidly. Writing is currently teacher assessed and moderated, but it is expected that a writing test will be re-introduced alongside the reading and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) tests already in place
- Revised Terms of Reference have been discussed and will be brought to the FGB in the autumn for approval
9. Headteacher's verbal report
A confidential matter was discussed and there is a separate, confidential minute for this item.
Steph Mander has been appointed as Literacy Consultant to the Portswood Alliance and will be released for 5 days per year. The school will be paid for her absence; she is covering Hampshire and Southampton areas. This means she is considered an expert in the field and will be a good career step.
Chris Bristow is responsible for Looked After Children (LAC). There are currently 6 children in school, with 2 more arriving soon.
A rat infestation is being dealt with although rat-proof crates need to be purchased for the rubbish bags to be stored. Obviously there is a cost involved in this.
The infant school is increasing in size from September 2016 by one class. They have asked if they can use part of the junior school land for a temporary class room. It is suggested that the area currently being used by the gardening club be allocated for this. Governors asked how long the building would remain there for and what would happen if it became ‘permanent.’ As no agreement has been made, it was agreed that governors would be involved in any discussions and plans so that all implications could be considered. Mrs. Arscott, Mr. Monk and Mrs. Sides agreed to take part.
A thanks to parents from the SLT for their support in the recent Living Streets project of park and stride, called Walk on Wednesday, as a difference in congestion has been noticed. Living Streets have donated £20k towards building a second pathway down the school drive – planning permission is being sought. From a Health and Safety perspective, lights are desperately needed and it is hoped that the new path and lights will improve safety into school.
10. Governors' SEF
This document was sent out with the agenda pack. The Chair explained that it would be completed annually and was last updated in 2013 as Ofsted came in just as a review was planned. The Chair has reviewed it, evidenced parts through the minutes and updated where necessary. These changes were highlighted in the document. The main area for concern is school policies; the Chair is not confident that they are being effectively reviewed, nor their impact appraised. The Finance Committee Chair agreed that, not only is there a need for a rolling program of review, but there is also no time allowed for reflection on effectiveness of those policies. Support and Challenge have seen the most improvement, with WGBT sessions having a positive impact, moving the GB on tremendously. This review is sufficient for this year, but next year the SEF will have to looked at by a working party and the GB cannot become complacent. A governor suggested that although the recent Ofsted was ‘Good,’ they consider some areas to be ‘Outstanding.’ This is why the GB as a whole should review the document next year.
12. Governor Training
The April Forum minutes are available online and governors can read about the school sports funding discussion, amongst other items. The next Forum is on Tuesday 23rd September at South Wonston Primary School in Winchester. Anyone can go and details will be emailed. Reconstituion was on the agenda with school issues discussed and listed in addition to the minutes. This will also be emailed to governors.
ACTION: Mrs. Datlen
Two places are booked for the Summer Conference, at the Holiday Inn, Winchester, on 20th June. The flyer will be emailed with the agenda. If any governors are interested in attending, please let Mrs. Datlen know by Friday 23rd May.
The WGBT session booked for 24th June at 7pm, will be on Academy Status and offered to the infant school governors to attend as guests. The recent infants’ WGBT on Moving your school from Good to Outstanding was interesting but nothing new to report from it.
Training booklets have been distributed, please let the TLG know if you book a course, or would like one booked. All training is included in the full access package purchased. Training Feedback forms provide both interest to other governors who may be thinking about attending a course and an audit trail for Ofsted, who did look at them when they inspected.
A governor asked if there was an e-learning package available. There is, at an additional cost. The school have bought-in to this service before, but governors found it laborious and preferred attending courses. It was expensive and the GB considered that it didn’t add any value.
Mr. Thomas attended Understanding Raiseonline – a tool used by the Government to publish league tables and analyse SATs results in November, for the previous year’s cohort. It was an interesting course that cleared up some misunderstandings and incorrect assumptions.
A Health and Safety course will be attended by Mrs. Thomson, Dr. McKechnie, Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Datlen on 16th June.
Mrs. Baker attended a Curriculum course which was fascinating, although the school already has many of the recommended practices in place. Many schools are bewildered by the new process and it was heartening to know that Foxhills appears to be ahead of the game.
The TLG was thanked for her report.
13. Confidential Item
A confidential matter was discussed and there is a separate, confidential minute for this item.
14. Any other business
a) The Headteacher would like the governors’ permission to introduce a family lunch on the last day of term, 23rd July. Family, friends and the infants school will be invited to join the children and staff for lunch on the field (weather willing) then the children will be returned to class for registration before the school closes at 1.30pm. There are contingency plans if the weather is not good. Most of the teachers are changing classrooms for September and there are plans in place for decorating the school over the summer, which means some of the classrooms must be emptied. Although some teachers’ time can be directed, it is not fair to ask the already dedicated staff to give up their holidays to clear rooms. It would be advantageous to close the school for a half day to allow this to happen within the school day. Governors discussed this, and commented that it is line with the secondary school which suits parents with older children. It is not known whether the infant school will choose to follow suit at this time and it was noted that it would affect the bus company too. The Deputy Head was asked to let Mrs. Datlen know about their decision so that she could arrange it with the bus company. With a letter going out before half term to parents, it was agreed that any problems could be ironed out in time for the end of term closure. Governors voted on the proposed half day closure, with all in favour, none against and no abstentions.
b) The Ashurst and Colbury Village Fete Committee have approached the school, asking for help again this year. Governors will be running the stand and any extra help for setting up etc., would be much appreciated. Teachers have been asked to save some good examples of work to display. Mr. Monk is providing a gazebo.
c) The Foxy column in the Ashurst and Colbury Parish magazine will be resurrected by Mrs. Datlen, as it was well-received in the past.
d) A governor asked if the proposed pathway down the school drive was a confidential item. Not confidential, but there is no planning consent yet.
11. Update on Barker-Mill proposal
This next item presents a conflict of interests for two of the governors who had been advised that they should not take part in any discussion. A governor stated that she wished to leave the meeting. Following advice received from Governorline, one governor disagreed that there was a conflict of interests and asked for the GB to take a vote on the matter. A short discussion on why certain actions had been taken and how that affected the corporate decision taken by the GB took place.
9.12pm A governor left the meeting
The vote was cast on whether governors believed there was a conflict of interest for this item, resulting in 7 in favour and 3 against.
The governor concerned thanked the GB for listening and at 9.14pm left the meeting.
Following the public consultation with local residents, Barker Mill has amended the proposal for the development next to the school. The number of houses has been reduced to 11, the community hall has been removed, but the cycle path remains in place. Barker Mill are committed to provide affordable housing in the area and will retain ownership of 7 of the houses for rental and the remaining 4 will be owned by a housing association. The GB have been asked to comment on this amended, pre-planning proposal and whether it will still benefit the school. There are plans to include a Park and Stride facility off the link road from the A326, with a cycle path linking West Totton and a crossing across Knellers Lane.
Governors commented that this was a significant drop in size of the original proposal and made a stark contrast to the recent building in Vixen Close. As the GB has spent many hours discussing road safety concerns over the years, this is a welcome development in the safety of children travelling to school from both Ashurst and West Totton. The number of cars in Foxhills and Whartons Lane should be significantly reduced, making the route safer for those cycling from Ashurst. The affordable housing would help to keep residents’ children in the area who, currently, would be unable to find accommodation within financial reach. It may be within the National Park, but is not green belt land and there is an obligation to provide for future housing needs in the area.
A governor asked if any influence could be exerted over the questionnaires sent to residents, as previously they have been very leading or biased. The concern will be passed on, but it is a separate company producing the information sent out.
It was agreed that the school and Governing Body must support this proposal as it provides significant safety features for everyone on the site. Governors may comment as individuals on the feedback forms provided.
Thanking all for attending, the meeting ended at 9.32pm.
Date of next meetings: WGBT – Tuesday 24th June at 7pm; FGB - Tuesday 8th July at 4.30pm