Meeting 6 - 4th July 2016
Minutes of the Full Governing Body
FOXHILLS JUNIOR SCHOOL
Held on Monday 4th July 2016 – commenced 4:30pm
Present: Mrs. Arscott – Local Authority Governor and Chair
Mrs. Thornley – Co-opted Governor and Vice Chair
Mr. Shore – Headteacher
Miss Sired – Staff Governor
Mrs. Datlen - Co-opted plus Development and Training Governor
Ms. Scevity – Co-opted Governor
Mr. Marchetti – Co-opted Governor
Mr. White – Co-opted Governor
Mrs. Baker – Parent Governor
Apologies: Mrs. Weatherdon – Parent Governor
Mr. Monk - Co-opted Governor
Dr. Wiley – Co-opted Governor
Absent: Mr. Fillis – Co-opted Governor
In attendance: Mrs. Dulieu – Clerk
Signed: A. Arscott Date: 03/10/2016
Were received and accepted from Mrs. Weatherdon, Mr. Monk and Dr. Wiley. The clerk confirmed that the meeting was quorate.
2. Declaration of pecuniary interests
None were declared.
3. Minutes of last meeting, 16th May 2016
Mrs. Datlen also attended the meeting, recorded under item 12, about the Yellow Bus service but had not been included in the list. With this adjustment, the main and confidential minutes of the last meeting were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they were a true record.
4. Matters arising
a) Update on action points. The action point list was updated with the following noted:
1. Any other organisation is able to use the school minibus and be covered under the insurance, provided that it is not profitable and that the drivers have undergone the necessary driver’s awareness course (MIDAS). Discharged
2. Mr Ian Roberts was thanked. He has offered to service the vehicle at competitive rates. As he is a parent, the Headteacher thought that the school would get a good deal and, as his son may be in the minibus, it would be certain that the work was carried out to a good standard. Discharged
3. Acceptance of the delivery of the minibus was organised during the week of the residential trip to France. Mr. Shore had to send it back the following week as Red Kite (seller) had overlooked the inclusion of an occasional use disabled kit, rear seat quick-removal mechanism and rear parking sensors. All work has now been completed to a good standard. Discharged
4. Mr. Shore has been unable to find any photos of the event. He has asked Helen Normington to contact the Echo to see if the school could have their photos. If that’s possible, then Mr. Shore will save them and print them off for the portfolio. Discharged
Mr. Shore informed governors that he had ordered 15 new cameras which will be distributed (and signed for) to staff, allowing one to be in each classroom.
Mrs. Arscott reported that she had received an email from HCC confirming that they had cut the hedges, as requested.
b) Actions from Committees
Ms Scevity agreed to be the H&S Governor and will be attending the course with Miss Sired, in November. This was the first available course, which is being held in Gosport. Ms Scevity will liaise with John Tomkins and take part in some of his H&S walks, that he completes daily, weekly and monthly. Being in school, staff will be informed that Ms Scevity is the contact for H&S within governors. Mr. Shore has noticed that a draught/smoke excluder is missing from the seal on the front door. Ms Scevity will set up a H&S record book to note visits and issues.
Miss Sired is the subject lead for Science, therefore another governor would be required to take the role of Science Link. A governor asked if there were Link Governors for all subjects. Only the core subjects – Maths, English and now, Science. Subject Leaders provided comprehensive reports to the governors last year, which worked very well. This process will be repeated this year and governors will be able to raise questions on them via the clerk. Governors commented that the reports gave a good insight into the individual subjects last year.
c) Pre School planning application
Planning has been approved.
4:43pm Mrs. Thornley arrived
d) Update on Yellow Bus service
In order for the service to run without the need for additional funding, the school needed to guarantee to fill 67 places for every journey. Only 17 junior school parents and 2 infant school parents signed up to pay termly, in advance. Hounsdown may provide a bus for the first term only, on a pay-as-you-go basis but run the risk of having to subsidise the service of anything from £4k to £11k. Wheelers’ coach company were slightly cheaper than the Yellow Bus. Current fares are £1 single and £1.90 return. There is an opportunity for the school to run the service independently but the risk is that costs will be incurred should insufficient people travel on it every day. Governors discussed the issue in depth, covering the following issues:
- Funding would have to be provided from the school budget for the benefit of a small group of pupils
- 5 parents emailed the school with concerns about the service being withdrawn
- There was concern from the Infant School that children as young as four may be travelling unsupervised
4:48pm Miss Sired arrived
- Not all children use it every day or for both journeys to and from school
- Any rise in fares to cover a possible shortfall could mean hardship for families with more than one child travelling on the bus
- Up to 80 children have been known to use the service in the evenings
- It is the parents’ responsibility to get their children to school and home again
- It might be possible to offer the school minibus in the mornings, if a driver would be willing but this could be difficult next term, when the sports afternoons start again. The minibus would be out at tournaments and unable to return children to their pick up points
4:50pm Miss Sired left the meeting
- It may impact attendance – this should be monitored closely – although it may also present an opportunity to engage with those parents that don’t usually come into school
- Mrs. Turvey, of Hounsdown School, will be running a bus so the team will monitor its use and see how it turns out
4:53pm Miss Sired returned
The Headteacher proposed that the school should not underwrite the operation of a bus service as it could expose the school to potentially high losses; this would be directing a portion of the budget to a minority of children in the school.
Governors voted and unanimously agreed with the Headteacher, with none against and no abstentions. They will continue to monitor the situation and leave it under constant review for the time being.
Mr. Shore agreed to write to parents, informing them of this decision and keep governors updated with any progress on the Hounsdown bus.
ACTION: Mr. Shore
NB Since this meeting Hounsdown School have announced they are unable to run the bus service due to lack of support
5. Headteacher’s written report
The report was sent out in advance of the meeting and questions responded to – see attached. All questions were asked by one governor on this occasion and Mr. Shore apologised for the report not being sent with the agenda papers. A governor commented that it was a very comprehensive report. Guidance remains vague on the teacher assessments and what exactly A.R.E. is. Mr. Shore explained that, because of this, schools are making their own judgements on what children need to have completed in order to achieve Age Related Expectation. The SATs results are due out tomorrow and it is hoped that more will be known then. It is widespread chaos but everyone is in the same position, which is kind of comforting. There is no guidance at all on how the scaled scores are going to be calculated. Writing can be judged as ‘Working at greater depth,’ but that won’t apply to either Maths or Reading as they will have test scores rather than teacher assessed marks. A governor commented that the whole process was a nightmare and made them feel very uncomfortable and vulnerable as a governor. They have always relied on the teachers to tell them how their child is performing but they can’t make head nor tail of this new system. It is important to note that the teaching staff could not have done more for the children and, if the results are disappointing, this is no reflection on the staff’s performance. Governors will support the staff if this turns out to be the case. Mr. Shore agreed that the team have worked very hard and whatever the end result, they could not have done anything else to improve the outcome for this cohort. He also commented that this was the first year of these tests and that everyone will be in the same situation. Year 6 should be a year of consolidation, not one of intense teaching to a test. Perspective Lite is the programme used for the SATs results, which will be available online from 5am tomorrow, Tuesday 5th July.
A governor noted that there is a common theme why the school will not be judged as Outstanding in the report – not enough progress made by the vulnerable groups. Has the reason been identified and, if so, what more can be done to close the gaps? Where there are known issues, interventions are in place but the biggest setback is the gap inherited from the infant schools on entry. Discussions are taking place with the new Headteacher in Foxhills Infant School to ensure that she is aware of the judgements that have been made in the past. Next year, two LSAs will be employed to ensure that all children are able to read by the end of Year 3 and will engage parents. Reading allows them easier access to the curriculum in every way. Mr. Shore directed governors to Mrs. Bristow’s PP report for further details on what’s been put in place. Governors have also seen evidence of the focus on vulnerable children during the learning walks. He also suggested that perhaps LSAs could be employed by the junior school and put into the infant school – it could be time for radical or creative thinking.
A governor commented that the Early Years system is changing and PP funding will be awarded using parents’ National Insurance numbers, which may have an impact as children will be identified earlier. A governor asked if there would always be a gap between these groups. The gap can be narrowed but the school looks at the reasons for it in the individuals. London schools are cited as having no gap with their PP children but that is because a whole school may have only PP children in it. A more practical comparison is made with local schools. A governor noted that they hadn’t appreciated the inherited gap when the children start in the school. It is not that the school is blaming anybody and the barriers have to be identified for all individuals.
Governors were concerned to hear that HCC have advised that no penalty notices should be applied to parents taking their children out of school. This undermines everything the school is doing to improve attendance. The Isle of Wight’s target is 90% and HCC’s is 95% and it should stand by that. A governor asked if attendance had been affected since the recent court ruling on the Isle of Wight. Attendance stands at 97.4% currently. There have been a few barbed comments and one family have taken a holiday although this won’t be pursued as the child’s attendance is above 90%. It was noted that the DfE is funding the costs for the LA in the appeal at the Supreme Court; they are seeking clarification of ‘regular attendance’ that formed part of the ruling.
6. Update on admission numbers for September 2016
The expected number for September in Year 3 is currently 94, which includes two children with EHCPs (Education Health Care Plans – the old statements). The school has contacted the SEN department to let them know how crammed the classes are with 31 or more children as this may be detrimental to children with SEN. There are also three more EHCPs pending within that 94; the process started in the infant schools. It is flattering to be so popular but it would be difficult to accommodate any more. Mr. Shore considered this to be due to Foxhills Infants’ being a 3-form entry combined with a higher number of children coming from other schools this year – ten from Hazel Wood, where only one or two have come in the past.
7. Report from CLA Committee
The minutes of the last meeting, held on 10th June, were included in the agenda pack and the Chair of the Committee thanked the clerk for her thorough record of the meeting. A.R.E. took a large part of the discussion and it was decided that the dates for the learning walks will be set for the year in advance. This should help to make them more effective as staff can plan for them and governors can keep the dates free in their diaries. There are actions outstanding for Mr. Shore to send the draft Link Governor Policy to the committee members and to complete the data required for the Equality Policy. The Terms of Reference will be drafted in time for adoption at the next FGB meeting in the Autumn term.
Another concern raised at the meeting was for the security of the school boundary (to be discussed further on this agenda). This is more pertinent to the F&R Committee as there will be cost implications; the subject was raised as a safeguarding issue.
The appointment of a Science Link Governor was brought to the FGB as it is open to all governors, although they would report back to the CLA. Mrs. Weatherdon will work with Mr. White as English Link Governor. A meeting is set up for later this month, with Chris Boalch (although he doesn’t officially start until September), to discuss the expectations and split of responsibility. It is anticipated that one will concentrate on the subject whilst the other focuses on Reading. Helena Callister will be the Reading Champion on her return from maternity leave. She will be responsible for the library and will be encouraging reading inside and outside of the Curriculum.
The Year 5 learning walk has been completed and the report will follow, once it has been agreed with Mr. Goodchild. The governors found it much more useful going round individually, rather than in a group. It is easier to talk to the staff one to one and they felt that they could talk more in depth than they could in a small group. They also reiterated that learning walks helped them to gain a much better understanding of the school‘s approach to Maths thanks to Mr. Goodchild, who was great at explaining things. Governors discussed the benefit of visiting individual lessons and the direct feedback from the children.
8. Report from forward strategy group
The report was included in the agenda pack, sent out in advance of the meeting. It detailed a meeting of a small group made up of the Chair of Governors and those of the two main committees, with Mr. Shore. The aim was to look forward at the projects that the Headteacher has proposed to improve the school. The report was discussed in depth with the following highlighted:
- Possibility of grants for the MUGA from local councillors is slim as there are set criteria
- Barker Mill are not granting funds in Ashurst at present
- Sponsorship for the MUGA from local businesses is a possibility however we have sufficient funds to enable it to go ahead as soon as Planning Permission is received
- An alternative to the Eco-classroom is being explored via Mr. Thornley. A working party may be organised through the PTA to erect it, once the design has been chosen. It will cost approximately £8-9k and will provide a woodland classroom in the nature trail. Further expansion will include picnic tables etc. later, which will open up other possibilities e.g. outside groups using the space. The children are writing the activities as part of their project
- Solar panels are being investigated. Costs and benefits were discussed
- Increasing car parking by using the island at the front of the building will cost £7.5k and could be funded by the junior school but would benefit all on site. The Strategy Group recommended that this project should not go ahead, especially as there would not be any financial input from other schools on the site. As Government subsidies have been removed, this is not a financially viable option to pursue, at present. They will review again, if the Government's position on subsidies changes.
- The security of the building has been raised as a concern and costs have been sought to raise the height of the fence along the playground, next to the bike sheds. Mrs. Standish has been involved with assessing the feasibility of a hedge along the front of the Year 6 classrooms. This would increase security (when it has grown) and retain the rural setting, rather than a fence. The school is working with Hilliers on suitable shrubs for this
- Outside doors will be fitted with scanners that can only be opened by the use of staff pass cards. There will be no key pad for entry
- HCC do not provide funding for the increase in security
- Improvements to the IT suite are under way
- Old furniture is being replaced. The Pre School will be interested in taking some of the excess items to furnish their new classroom
- The new glass partition in the Year 3 and 4 shared area is sound proof but has opened it out. A governor commented that it looks very much better now
It was noted that the funds for this spending ‘spree’ are available and this has been confirmed by Mr. Monk, Chair of the F&R Committee.
9. Protecting children – report on meeting with Mrs. Bristow
Mrs. Arscott and Mrs. Weatherdon met Mrs. Bristow, Safeguarding Lead. They were satisfied that there is sufficient expertise in school and all staff know how to raise a concern. All volunteers have a DBS check (which replaced the old CRBs). The Child Protection Policy has been reviewed and a copy tabled at the meeting. This new policy now comes in three parts and includes a Safeguarding Policy and a Staff Code of Conduct – both of which were distributed to governors. They will also be emailed to governors with the minutes of this meeting.
The Hampshire model policies have been tailored to fit Foxhills and comments will be welcomed but the clerk asked if governors were happy to adopt the policies so that they are in place, soonest. The policies were proposed, seconded and all agreed that they be adopted with none against and no abstentions.
A Hays package (DfE recognised) has been purchased at a cost of £600 that will provide online safeguarding training – valid for two years - for all staff, including governors. More governors are required to attend the full Governor Services course on Safeguarding, Child Protection and Prevent Duty. Mrs. Datlen will check for details of the next courses available.
ACTION: Mrs. Datlen
Mr. Marchetti has completed the Safer Recruitment course and Mr. White volunteered to attend the safeguarding training.
Mrs. Arscott was going to prepare a Governors’ Safeguarding file but it has been decided that an appendix will be added to Mrs. Bristow’s folder instead, as it will keep it all in one place.
10. Clerks’ meeting update
The clerk attended the support meeting on 26th June where the latest changes to legislation were reported. There have been new items added to the list of documents that should be included on the school website but otherwise there was nothing major to report. Mrs. Dulieu apologised for not having her file with her; she will email the details of the training to governors with the minutes.
11. Governor Training and reports
A governor asked if there was access to Perspective Lite for governors. Not at present. It consists of a few graphs as it is not the full package. It is not anticipated to replace RAISEonline. It was also noted that the FFT information appears to have taken a back seat for now.
A topic for the WGBT session should be chosen as soon as possible. Suggestions include: Health and Safety, Curriculum or Protecting Children. Governors were asked to offer their ideas to Mrs. Datlen by email.
It was suggested that, with the change of Headteacher, it may be a good time to re-engage with the infant school GB for training.
The new training booklets have been emailed to governors, who confirmed they had received it. There is little detail in the list but Mrs. Datlen will give further information on request. Governors were encouraged to attend courses as all training is included in the price paid annually to Governor Services. The same governors attend courses regularly although participation has dropped this year; others were asked to look at what is on offer. The Clerks’ Support meetings are booked up to a year in advance for Mrs. Dulieu. A governor asked if online training was available. It was trialled in the past and governors decided at the time that it wasn’t as beneficial as attending a course and so the option has not been taken up since. Governors agreed to look at the training courses and book at least one each.
Everyone confirmed that they are receiving the fortnightly updates by email.
12. School participation in Ashurst Village fete
The fete will take place on Saturday 10th September and governors usually run an information stall about the school. Mrs. Thornley and her husband will run the BBQ again, with help from governors, following the success of the stall last year. Mrs. Weatherdon may recruit help from the PTA, Mrs. Baker, Miss Sired, Ms Scevity and Mr. Shore all volunteered to help. Mrs. Datlen and Mrs. Dulieu will be there if they can but the event clashes with a cadet event in Brockenhurst that they are already committed for. Mr. White will be at the event as he is helping to organise it. Governors discussed the need for a gazebo, promotional flag and banners with the new school logo on them. Mr. Shore will look into purchasing the items in time for the event.
ACTION: Mr. Shore
The Parish magazine always credits Foxhills School for helping set up on the day. A governor asked that the junior school be specified in the next article. Governors discussed, but rejected, the possibility of showing the new minibus at the fete. It looks fabulous with the new logo on the side. Mr. Shore told governors that the new sports kit stood out in the last competition and looks brilliant. A governor asked if the new minibus had been used much yet. A little - it will come into use more in the Autumn when the football tournaments start. The infant school have used it and the charge is £1 per mile, with a minimum charge of £10, to include fuel. This is based on advice from Noadswood School. The school receive 53p per mile from HCC but the calculations have not been made yet to ensure that costs are covered. The school is not allowed to make a profit from others using the bus and a User Agreement is in place. This will be discussed further at the Finance meeting.
13. Any other business
a) Dates for diaries:
- Thursday 14th July, 5pm, Year 6 Leavers’ party – summer attire for the big celebration that should finish at around 7:30pm. There will be a mocktail bar and bouncy castle
- Year 6 Production – Tuesday 12h July, 1:30pm and Wednesday 13th at 6:00pm
b) The cadets have had their building closed temporarily, for safety reasons and have asked for a home for their parade nights in a local school. Costs for the hire have been requested and they may be able to help with the clearing of the nature trail, if required. A governor presumed that they would be very well supervised. Yes, their parade nights are structured to include drill and greens exercises which the nature trail would be ideal for.
c) A governor asked if the school would consider early evening use for a youth club for the area as there are currently no facilities for that age group in the village. Normal letting procedures, in line with the policy will apply. More information would be required as, usually, youth clubs would need storage for equipment and would not just be using a room.
d) A governor reported that a family, who had a low opinion of the school, had completely changed their views following a meeting with Miss Hogbourne.
14. Proposed dates of meetings for 2016/17
Monday October 3rd, Tuesday Nov 29th, Monday Jan 30th
Tuesday March 14th, Monday May 15th, Tuesday July 4th
Governors were asked if they wished to continue with Monday and Tuesday evenings for the main meetings and at the times agreed until now. All agreed that the alternate evenings work as do the early and later start times.
15. Statement of impact of this meeting on school improvement
- Appointment of H&S Governor; discussed the need for a Science Link Governor
- Deciding not to subsidise the Yellow Bus service out of school funds
- Discussing SATs and ARE judgements
- Headteacher’s report and strategies to close the gap in vulnerable groups’ progress
- New Year 3 intake
- CLA planning for learning walks to improve effectiveness
- Learning walks may involve visits to classes by individual governors to improve the understanding of the school
- Item 8 – forward planning and affordability of proposed projects
- Safeguarding Link Governor met with Designated Safeguarding Lead
- Safeguarding training to be undertaken by Mr. White and any other volunteers
- Clerk attended the support meeting, reporting changes to the website documentation requirements
- WGBT topic planning for next year
- Governors to book one training session each
- Governor participation in community event
Thanking all for attending, the meeting ended at 6:24 pm
Next meeting dates:
FGB - Monday 3rd October, Tuesday 29th Nov, Monday 30th Jan, Tuesday 14th March, Monday 15th May, Tuesday 4th July.
Monday meetings start at 6:00pm; Tuesdays at 4:30pm
CLA and F&R Meeting dates TBC