GOVERNING BODY MINUTES – SPRING TERM 2016 (22 March 2016)

NEVILL ROAD JUNIOR SCHOOL GOVERNING BOARD MINUTES

SPRING TERM 2016

Date: 22nd March 2016
Time: 7.00 pm
Venue: The School

GOVERNORS PRESENT

Cllr L Weekes-Holt, Ms M Ridd, Mrs E Owen, Mrs S Cusack, Mr R Reece (Chairperson), Mrs S Kreitzman, Mr M Bush, Mrs G Simm, Mr G Madeley, Mrs H Walters, Miss S Harrison (Headteacher), Miss C Wilson

IN ATTENDANCE

Mrs N Jordan (Associate Member)
Mrs J Hill (Clerk)

1. WELCOME, INTRODUCTIONS AND APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Governors were welcomed to the meeting; a warm welcome was extended to Ms M Ridd and Mrs E Owen, new parent governors.

Apologies for absence were received and accepted from Mrs H Foster-Grime and Mrs J Bell.

2. APPROVAL OF APPOINTMENT OF CO-OPTED GOVENORS

Governors considered the appointment of Mrs H Walters and Mr G Madeley to the positions of Co-opted governor for a four-year term of office commencing 1st January 2016.

The Governing Board unanimously APPROVED the appointments.

3. DECLARATION OF BUSINESS INTERESTS

Governors were asked to declare a personal interest in any agenda items; no declarations were made.  Governors were reminded that they should declare any interest should it arise during the meeting.

4. BUSINESS

a) Previous Governing Board Minutes

It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 17th November 2015, copies circulated previously, be approved and signed by the Chairperson and authorised for publication.

b) Matters Arising from Previous Governing Board Minutes

There were no matters arising.

c) Action Points from Previous Governing Board Minutes

The actions raised at the autumn term meeting were duly reviewed as follows:-

MINUTE POINT ACTION REQUIRED ACTION FOR UPDATE
4(c) Flexible Working & Discipline and Grievance policies to be circulated Chair Completed
4(g) Pen portraits to be forwarded to Mr Madeley (if being updated by governors). Governors Governors that had not completed them were encouraged to send them to Mr Madeley as soon as possible; the reason for the pen portraits was explained to the new governors.  It was agreed that these should be completed by the summer term meeting.
4(g) Governor attendance data to be forwarded to Mr Madeley Clerk Completed
4(j) To circulate the Monitoring committee minutes (21.7.15) GM Completed
7 To circulate the Monitoring committee’s Action Plan Headteacher Completed
7 To confirm that staff safeguarding training will include the Prevent Duty Headteacher One member of staff had attended the training, but had since left the school. The Headteacher has attended the training and will also organise for another member of staff to attend.
8(f) To circulate ANOV when available Headteacher Completed
9(a) To circulate the NGA’s list of Twenty Questions for Governing Bodies JB To be done
12(b) To send a parent governor election pack to the school Clerk Completed

d) Committee minutes

It was RESOLVED that the minutes of the following meetings, copies circulated previously, be approved and signed by the Chairperson and authorised for publication.

  • Joint Committee: 26th November 2015 and 10th March 2016
  • Pupil Progress: 1st March 2016
  • Resources: 11th February 2016

e) Matters Arising from Previous Committee Meetings

Joint Committee

Year 3 parent survey: Changes had been made last year to the transition process from Year 2 to Year 3 and feedback has been sought from parents. Overall, the feedback responses were very positive; the two Headteachers had already met to discuss transition for September 2016.

School meals: the school is looking to change provider to ensure children are receiving the meal they want, and to provide an online payment system for parents.  The Headteacher had visited another primary school which is using the proposed new provider and explained how the system works.  The system has been received positively at the school and there are no issues with the food quality.  The school has to give a term’s notice to the current provider, so by the end of the summer term, the school will be in a position to move to the new provider, Dolce.  The Headteacher further explained that the company covers meal debts for five days then they will follow up any outstanding debts.  The system links in to all the allergens and ensures children can have the meal they have previously selected even if they are eating late.  Will the staff transfer to the new provider too?  The Headteachers were due to meet with the staff the following day; they would TUPE across.  The performance management of staff is also better than with the existing provider.

Parking: once the new “No Waiting” signage is in place, a letter from both Chairs of Governors will be sent to all parents after Easter.

Pupil Progress: progress data had been reviewed.

Mr Madeley in attendance.

Learning and Pastoral Care Manager:  the school has appointed Mr Steve Black to the role; he started earlier in the month and has already been making a difference at lunchtime, concentrating on children with behavioural issues.  Are you going to introduce him to the school community?  Yes, this will be organised in due course.

What is the situation regarding the Year 5 assessments?  Year 5 has been a very turbulent year; two teachers are off on long term sickness, and another teacher left at Christmas.  The Senior Leadership Team (SLT) has been very helpful in gathering evidence of progress; Maths is in line and 73% of children are on target to meet the end of year expectations.  Reading has not yet been reviewed, as it is a greater task to gather evidence. Mrs Jordan is putting an action plan in place as it will need to carry on in to Year 6, so needs to also be discussed with Year 6 teachers.  Trial reading tests are being conducted with Year 5, one after Easter and one at the end of the school year; this will highlight any gaps and give a focus for action.  A great deal of time has been spent on book study to assess levels in writing; 43% are currently meeting targets, this needs to be addressed and will be reviewed to see what resources can be put in to place.  Miss Stoker is now in place for the rest of the year, which is essential for the class concerned; she has identified actions to be carried out and will be able to put these in place in the summer term but will need support.  In addition, there are two vulnerable children in the class who have additional needs.

What is the situation regarding Year 6 standards in writing?  The school is assessing children on the basis of government guidance regarding meeting, exceeding or working towards a level.  Children will need to be able to complete all identified actions in order to be able to meet the Year 6 standard.  Governors were reminded that 11 children moved up to Key Stage (KS) 2 at Level 1 or below.  Governors discussed the new format SATs paper and that the school will moderate the written paper itself as well as along with other local schools and Bramhall High School.  The deadline for all writing assessments has now changed to 30th June.

Resources

Ms Kyne was not able to attend the most recent meeting so there were a few issues that could not be answered.  It is likely that there will be a budget surplus at the end of the year, but pupil numbers and therefore income is due to decline, which affects decisions in terms of staffing; pupil numbers are due to drop by 26, a reduction of £90,000 to the budget.  Is this due to the dip in the birth rate?  Yes, but it will rise again, the current Reception has 84 children, compared to 66 in Year 2 and 70 in Year 1.

The Headteacher advised that the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) has been completed and signed, and is ready to be submitted to the Local Authority (LA).

There were no other matters arising.

5. RESOURCES

a) Budget Update

This had been covered in the previous section.  The Headteacher advised that the school has borrowed funding for the rewire and roof repairs; this has been done through the Prudential borrowing scheme over 5 years at 1.23% interest.

b) Approval of the Budget 2016/17

This will be circulated for governor approval at a later date; governors were made aware that the budget needs to be submitted by the end of May. Governors agreed for it to be circulated by email.

c) Approval of School Fund Audit/Audit Arrangements

The account is ready to be audited; the school is still looking for someone to carry out the audit and has been making enquiries within the school community.

d) To Consider and Approve any Changes to the Buyback of L.A. Services

This had been covered at the Resources Committee; there are not many changes. An additional buyback needs to be made for Manual Handling Training and it had been decided to buyback level 2 of the school sports partnership.  This is the middle level, where someone from a Secondary School provides an hour’s tuition at the school.

e) Scheme of Delegation Form 2016/17

This item was deferred to the summer term meeting; the Clerk explained the purpose of the form.

6. HEADTEACHER’S TERMLY REPORT

The Headteacher’s Report had been circulated to the governors prior to the meeting and questions were invited.  The Headteacher explained she was looking at reducing the amount of time putting the report together as papers are sent out prior to Committee meetings so it encourages challenge and is dealt with within the relevant committee.

Why is there such specific information in the report about adopted children?  The school receives funding for pupils adopted from care; this is additional Pupil Premium Grant (PPG) so has to be reported.  It was noted that the school has one Looked After Child.  What can the additional funding be used for?  Anything to support the child’s progress and learning; it could be music lessons, residentials, inclusion within small groups of intervention if there is a learning need, whatever will help that child.  Wherever there is a gap, the funding is there to be used to try to close it.  Is this because of a disadvantaged start?  Yes.

Assessment: until one cohort has been through the new assessments, the school is uncertain what they will look like.  The Headteacher explained the difficulties faced and how they envisage the scoring will work and how levels will be calculated.  Governors acknowledged that the school is not in isolation in this respect, it is a national issue.

The Headteacher stated that the new assessment regime can be disheartening for children, staff are working hard and trying to keep the morale up is very difficult; parents also find it difficult.  How are you proposing to deal with parents’ evenings?  The assessment system colour codes every child, this can presented to parents next week, and the assessment system used is very good.  Parents need to be aware that the criteria of exceeding the year group standard does not exist any longer; it does not mean that a child’s ability is dropping.

Quality of teaching: governors need to continue to ask questions, this area falls under the remit of the Pupil Progress and Monitoring Committee.  The Headteacher explained that she had met with the School Improvement Adviser and had had a very good meeting with her.  The SEF has been updated and the Headteacher will send it out to governors; all senior leaders had identified the same issues as the Headteacher, as had the SIA.  All teaching in the school is Good; the Headteacher is looking at any areas where there are issues.

Headteacher’s absence: governors were reminded that the Headteacher will be absent for the first half of the summer term. Governors were requested to contact Mrs Jordan if they felt they could offer support with recruitment.

Physical interventions: there have been 12 since October which is very high, a governor had witnessed one whilst present in school.  The majority of these interventions are for one child although a couple of interventions are for other children.  The Headteacher commented that more children are coming in to the school with additional needs; the school is looking to see what it can do to meet the needs of children.  A governor commented that it may be beneficial for governors to contact the LA to see if there is any finance available to help support the pupils.  The rate of interventions is now decreasing, partly due to the structure that has now been put in to place and partly due to the fact that two of the children are not learning. The school is managing their conditions, as learning cannot take place until the conditions are managed.  The Headteacher explained that one key reason for Mr Black’s employment is that he has a wealth of experience in dealing with children with additional needs; there has been a whole shift in focus even amongst teaching staff, to ensure that the medical needs of children are always met.

Is there a rule about parents staying with children in the playground when bringing them to school in the morning? A governor expressed concern that there did not seem to be many parents present in the playground, yet there were a lot of children.  The Headteacher responded that parents are advised that children should not be on site until 8.40am as that is when all teaching staff are on site; this will be reiterated in a letter.

What is the situation regarding absences? School attendance was greatly affected by illness prior to the half term; 14 children were off in one class alone.  A deep clean of the school was carried out during the half term; attendance since then has improved greatly.  Governors noted that a child has been off with scarlet fever; the school was not required to inform parents of this.

The Headteacher has reiterated to parents that children should not return to school until 48 hours after their last bout of sickness or diarrhoea as some come back to school the next day.

Is it possible to separate out those children that are late compared to absent? If a child arrives after 9am, they are marked as absent.  Are the same children persistently late or absent?  It can be, and if this is the case it is reported to the Young People’s Worker (YPW), who comes in to school and checks the registers each half term.  A series of warning letters are sent to parents of persistent absentees or persistently late children, then the process escalates and finally will lead to the issue of an Educational Penalty Notice (EPN).  Is this managed by the school?  The Headteacher explained the process; the majority of it is managed by the YPW at the LA.

Do holidays that are not authorised follow the same process? Absence is only authorised in exceptional circumstances, for example some parents have fixed holidays from work in which case a letter has to be provided from the workplace.  If a child is on holiday in term time, their overall absence will drop, but this will only be picked up as a concern once the absence goes below 96%.  Does the school issue fines?  The school does not issue fines, although it was noted that Bramhall High School will issue them on occasion. The Headteacher will look at each case and will authorise exceptional cases.

Is the racist incident anything to be concerned about? No, the Headteacher explained the process, what classes as a racist incident and that they are notifiable to the LA and governors.

Headteacher’s absence: The Headteacher from another local school will be helping out two days a week (Thursday and Friday) to support Mrs Jordan; Mrs Jordan will be Acting Headteacher on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  As soon as the other Governing Board approves it, a letter will be sent to parents at both schools simultaneously; the support staff needs to be informed too.  There will be a cost to the school but the school will claim on the absence insurance for the Headteacher’s absence.

The Headteacher was thanked for her report and there not being any further questions it was RESOLVED that the Headteacher’s report be received.

7. STANDING ITEMS

a) School Improvement Plan (SIP)/School Development Plan (SDP) Update

This will be updated based on the new Self Evaluation Form (SEF) and will be circulated when it is completed.

b) Appraisal Update

These are usually carried out at the start of the summer term; Mrs Jordan will carry out the main scale teachers’ appraisals, the Headteacher usually carries out those on UPS or higher.  This may be something the temporary Headteacher can take over; governors agreed these need to be completed.

c) Report on Racist, Bullying, Homophobic Incidents

The Headteacher reported that there had been one incident of racist behaviour during the autumn term; this had been reported to Services to People using the approved recording methods.

The Clerk provided a Governors’ Monitoring form, which was completed and signed by the Headteacher and Chairperson; the Clerk then undertook to return the form to the appropriate section within Services to People.

The Headteacher reported that there had not been any incidents of bullying or homophobic behaviour during the autumn term.

d) Report on Physical Incidents

The Headteacher reported that there had been four incidents during the autumn term where the use of physical intervention procedures had been necessary; these had been reported to Services to People using the approved recording methods.

e) Young Carers Update

This is covered in the Headteacher’s report.

8. GOVERNOR DEVELOPMENT

a) Governing Board Development Plan

In the absence of Mrs Bell, Mrs Walters had been asked to update governors that the Chairs of Committee had met with Howard Bousefield (School Improvement Adviser) before a monitoring committee meeting to obtain his views on the role of governors.  Notes were taken by Mrs Bell, once finalised she will circulate them to all governors.

Governors were encouraged to attend training courses made available by Governor Services.  It was noted that there were not any governors who had been able to attend the Governor Conference held recently.

9. BRIEFING PAPERS FROM STOCKPORT LOCAL AUTHORITY

a) Schools’ Finance Update

Guidance upon the completion of the SFVS was noted.  The return is to be submitted to the L.A. by 31st March 2016. [ACTION]

Governors have previously discussed the low funding Stockport schools receive.  If the fairer funding formula is applied, Stockport schools should benefit from this.

b) Personal Development, Behaviour and Welfare (including Safeguarding) Toolkit

Governors were made aware that the Toolkit – containing key documents and supporting materials relating to an Ofsted inspection – was available via Office Online.  The Headteacher stated that the toolkit was very good, it is helpful to have everything documented for inspection; under the new process it is good to be thoroughly prepared, and it helps to identify where training needs are, such as around the Prevent agenda.

c) Early Years Update

Governors noted the guidance.

10. DATES

a) Full Governing Board

Thursday 7th July 2016 at 7.00pm

b) Committee Meetings

Resources: Tuesday 21st June 2016 at 6.00pm
Pupil Progress: Tuesday 28th June 2016 at 6.00pm
Steering: Tuesday 17th May 2016 2016
Joint Committee: To be confirmed
Pay committee: To be confirmed
Monitoring committee: Tuesday 26th April 2016

Monitoring Committee: Mr Madeley apologised for his late arrival and advised governors of the format of the recent monitoring committee meeting.  The meeting had been held in two parts, governors had met with Mr Bousefield without teaching staff, then for the second half of the meeting with teaching staff and a discussion was held on how to proceed.  It was decided that the Committee should remain as a separate committee, distinct from the Pupil Progress Meetings.  The Committee will not meet as frequently, but will meet twice more before the end of the academic year.  The Monitoring Committee will be focused around the SEF and examining evidence rather than accepting what has been stated in a report.  Governors on the committee should visit school to observe on a more regular basis, there should also be governor links to specific subjects or year groups to involve governors more.  The action plan will be revamped to be linked in to the SEF.  The Chair of Governors commented that he liked the idea of governors being linked to subjects and having a remit to review their subject.  Is there a governor visits policy?  One has been drafted, but it has not been formally approved.  Governors discussed the benefits of subject links and that it would need to be agreed by all staff.

11. ANY OTHER BUSINESS

a) NGA – Sharing Contact Details

The Clerk explained that as part of the Local Authority’s standard membership package with the NGA, all governors were entitled to receive weekly e-newsletters; three nominated governors would also receive the bi-monthly Governing Matters magazine by post.  It was confirmed that personal information would not be used or shared outside the NGA.

Governors duly AGREED the request to pass contact details to the NGA.

b) Approval of Policies

The following policies had been circulated to the governing board by email prior to the meeting:

  • Employee Relations
  • Flexible Working
  • Discipline and Grievance
  • Anti-Bullying

The policies were duly APPROVED by the governing board.

c) Approval of 2016 – 2017 Inset Dates

  • Thursday and Friday 1st and 2nd September 2016
  • Friday 23rd December 2016
  • Thursday 4th May 2017
  • Friday 28th July 2017

Governors were informed that the school will be closed on 23rd June 2016; this will be an exceptional closure as inset days had already been agreed.  The closure is for voting on the EU referendum.

d) Academy status

Governors noted that a white paper introduced the previous week stated that all schools should become an academy by 2020. There are different forms of Academy status and governors need to start looking in to the process.  The Headteacher advised that a good deal of guidance will likely come from the LA, which is a high performing LA, and one of a few that still has an education department.  None of the schools within the cluster believe in academisation, but feel if they are forced down this route, they want to be with other local schools.  The Headteacher suggested the school should not rush in to anything and Phil Beswick, Director of Education Services, will want schools to retain as much autonomy as possible.  The complexity of the process and the types of academy were also discussed.  The school needs to make the relevant enquiries and consider the potential pitfalls as well, for example a proposed partner school may have a negative budget or be underperforming.  Would it be possible to meet governors from the local cluster?  The Headteacher will look in to this.  Does the Governing Board decide what type of academy the school will become?  Yes.  It was agreed that Academy status should be a standing item on each full Governing Board meeting agenda.

With there being no further business to discuss, the Chairperson thanked everyone for attending and the meeting closed at 8.50 pm.