Thursday 2 May 2013 Wicor Primary School 7

South East Governors’ Forum
Minutes of the meeting held on Monday, 28 September 2015 at 7pm
at Henry Cort Community College, Fareham
Shirley Nellthorpe (Chair)
Martin Ash
Philip Bleckly
Michelle Coleborn
Suzie Creal
Karen Fryatt
June Goble
David Goad
Margaret Gray
Richard Johnson
Angela Jones
Phil Jones
Lin Kitchener
Barry Lamacraft
Kelly Lethbridge
Mike Lodge
Neil Macintyre
Andrew March (Vice Chair)
Rachel Morgan
Wilfred Phillips
Stella Pratt
Joy Preston
Chris Roast
Andrew Turk
Sam Williams
Tina Woodcock (Vice Chair)
Morelands Primary School
Barncroft Primary School
Haselworth Primary School
Alverstoke Community Infant School
Titchfield Primary School
Portchester Community School
Heathfield School
Woodcot Primary School
Mill Hill/Woodcroft Federation
Hook-with-Warsash Primary School
Springwood Federation
Orchard Lea Infant School
Uplands Primary School
Clanfield Junior School
Federation of Bedenham and Holbrook Primary Schools
Hart Plain Junior School
Bidbury Junior School
Henry Cort Community College
St Jude’s Catholic Primary School
Redlands Primary School and Federation of Siskin Schools
St Thomas More’s Primary School
Wallisdean Junior School
Haselworth Primary School
Purbrook Park School
Federation of Northern Infant and Junior Community Schools
Brockhurst Infant School
Tim Austin
Helen Fisk
Frances Moon
Chris Robinson
Amanda Stevens
Lee-on-Solent Junior School
Warren Park Primary School
St Thomas More’s Catholic VA Primary School
Woodcot Primary School
Ranvilles Junior School
In attendance:
Bob West
Karen Frost
Hampshire Governor Services Co-ordinator
Local Authority Cover Clerk
South East Governors’ Forum
Welcome and apologies:
Tina Woodcock opened the meeting and welcomed the governors of the South East Governors’
Forum to the first meeting of the academic year. Apologies were received and accepted as above.
Confirmation of the South East Governors’ Forum Chair/Vice Chair, Elections of the
Representatives and Approval of the Terms of Reference
In accordance with the terms of reference, Tina Woodcock explained that she would now become
one of the Vice Chairs of the Forum and that the new Chair would be Shirley Nellthorpe. Tina
Woodcock thanked everyone for their support during her term as Chair and handed over to Shirley
Shirley Nellthorpe gave some background information about herself and thanked governors for
electing her as Chair for the next academic year.
Governors were informed that one self-nomination for the incoming Vice Chair had been received
from Andrew March at Henry Cort School. As there were no further self-nominations, Andrew
March was unanimously elected as the incoming Vice Chair for the next academic year.
The following representatives for Hampshire Governors’ Association and County Governors’ Forum
were agreed:
Shirley Nellthorpe
Roy Lee
Andy Turk
Academy Representative: Richard Johnson
It was noted that there remained one vacancy for a representative and agreed to discuss it again at
the next meeting of the forum.
Action: Hampshire Governor Services (agenda item)
Governors unanimously approved the terms of reference for the forum that had been circulated
with the agenda.
The Chair drew attention to the document that had been circulated in advance of the meeting
clarifying the expectations of the Chair and Vice Chairs of the Forum.
Agreement of the minutes from last meeting (27 April 2015)
The minutes of the meeting held on 27 April 2015 were agreed as an accurate record of the
meeting. A governor congratulated the Clerk on producing such an accurate set of minutes that
represented the meeting well.
South East Governors’ Forum
Matters Arising
The Chair asked governors if they had any feedback from the recent glazing surveys. As very few
schools had received a copy of their surveys it was agreed to follow up on this and to check when
the reports were due back.
Action: Bob West
The Chair confirmed that glazing was a school responsibility rather than a county responsibility.
Forum discussion topics
Topic 1: How are schools coping with rising pupil obesity? Possible use of sports funding?
The Chair asked whether there was anything in particular that governors wanted to discuss for this
Question: How is pupil obesity being identified, is it through the school nurse?
Answer: The school nursing team goes to most primary schools. They have strict guidelines to
follow that aren’t necessarily right as a child can be marked as obese when they are only
slightly over the expected weight for their age.
Governors were asked what engagement they have with the Sports Premium and if they are
satisfied with how the funding is being used. A governor said that they monitor the spend in
curriculum committee meetings and the impact is made visible through the termly Headteacher’s
A governor drew attention to a recent school communication about the Sports Premium which
advised schools using outside provision to make sure they are using Hampshire approved
organisations. It was suggested that this is to ensure safeguarding and value for money.
A governor suggested the following ways that governing bodies could be mindful about the spend
of the sports premium:
Asking questions about whether any children find it difficult to take part in sports and whether
any provision could be put in place for them.
Looking at the menu provided by the school and making sure healthy options are available.
Asking questions about how many children still bring in packed lunches.
Considering how the school communicates with parents. It was noted that parent
responsibility is important as at the far end of the spectrum, obese children are considered to
be at risk and over feeding can be seen as neglect.
A governor gave an example of a primary school in which every pupil runs a mile every day. By
addressing the physical education the school has found there has been an improvement in the
behaviour and academic achievement of their pupils. A governor said this was more positive than
labelling children as obese. It is better to address the issue through a healthy living point of view.
South East Governors’ Forum
A governor said there is an AMEND project being held at Brune Park for obese children and their
families. The school is considering using the Sports Premium to fund transport to the AMEND
sessions. A governor questioned whether it would be an effective use of the Sports Premium
funding to send a small section of the school’s community to that type of activity.
Bob West highlighted an issue with the way the funding is currently being used. If a school buys
into outside provision then when the funding stops so does the provision. Schools need to
consider longer lasting use of the money so that it leaves a legacy. If schools are using outside
provision then consideration needs to be given to how far the funding is being used to develop staff
in the school to increase their capacity to deliver sports education in the future.
Bob West said that the spend of the Sports Premium has become a bigger focus for Ofsted now
who will be looking at how effectively the Sports Premium is being spent and what the impact of
the spend has been. Governors were advised to monitor the spend of the premium in FGB and
committee meetings.
Topic 2: Current practice for staggered starts for Year R. Do other primary schools endorse this
A governor spoke about a recent parental complaint they had dealt with about the school’s policy
of staggered starts in Year R. The parent had a lot of issues with the policy, one of which was the
problem of childcare as the parents worked. The governor looked into whether there were any
legalities around staggered starts and found that the HCC policy does not endorse staggered starts
but isn’t opposed to them either. The governor also looked at whether there had been any
successful challenges and found that there had been one in the West Country. That particular case
went to court and as a result they were allowed to start the child full time. Governors were asked
whether they had experienced any challenges like this and how they were solved.
Governors said that although there had been some challenges, they had been dealt with by the
school and had not been referred to governors.
Question: Do you know whether the case in the West Country was Case Law or whether the
decision was specific to the case?
Answer: The Local Authority was said to be at fault and they had to change their policy which was
specific about staggered starts. The HCC policy doesn’t state that schools have to
provide staggered starts but instead leaves the decision to individual schools.
A governor drew attention to a recent press release from the Department of Education about the
Government’s intention to give summer born children the right to start reception at the age of 5.
Governors discussed the affect this would have on the school leaving age. The Chair explained that
children are able to leave school on the last Friday of June as long as they are 16 but must stay in
some form of education or training until their 17th birthday. From next year it will be until their 18th
birthday. The Government is increasing the number of apprenticeships available.
South East Governors’ Forum
There was a discussion about staggered starts. Governors said that the decision about whether to
have staggered starts should be made primarily in the best interests of the children and then in the
best interests of the school community. The decision should not be made because of parents’ work
patterns or childcare concerns as schools are not childcare providers. Some children will be ready
to start school full time and some will not. It is up to the school to hold conversations with the
parents. A governor said that she felt that schools need to bear in mind that more parents do work
A governor said that she felt that HCC needs to make a decision about whether schools should
provide staggered starts or not and reflect this in the policy. It was agreed to raise this through the
HGA but governors were mindful that it may be that HCC want to leave the decision up to individual
Action: HGA Representatives
Agreement of future discussion topics
There was a discussion about future topics. Governors agreed on the following topics for the next
The new Ofsted Framework – actual experiences from schools who have had an Ofsted
inspection and how the new guidance is being interpreted.
Management of finances – it was agreed to invite a representative from finance to the
Action: Bob West
Governors discussed the issue of deficit budget management. It was agreed that the most
significant cost in schools is the staff costs. A governor said that schools need to be mindful about
having too many experienced teachers who are at the top of the pay scale and also look at how
many site and admin staff they have. Another governor said that if a school has got teachers at the
top of the pay scale who are still motivated and who have lots of experience, then that should be
fantastic and schools should address the issue of how to pay them. It was agreed that the first step
in avoiding a redundancy situation is to consider all vacant positions and whether to replace them.
A governor said that every year it looks like the school is going into deficit in future years but then it
Bob West said that the Government is looking to bring in a fair funding formula. A governor
questioned whether this would bring about any immediate changes.
It was noted that the Fareham MP, Suella Fernandes, is on the Education Select Committee if
governors felt strongly about this matter and wanted to raise it as an issue of real concern to
South East Governors’ Forum
Feedback from meetings
 Hampshire Governors’ Association: 14 May 2015.
 County Forum: 2 June 2015
 Schools’ Forum: 8 July 2015
County Forum
Andrew Turk summarised the main points raised at the County Forum:
John Coughlan talked about the public consultation to look at the £96 million of efficiency
savings, of which £20 million will come from Children’s Services. Officers remain very
confident that there will still be a robust school improvement service.
Issues with the IBC were discussed.
Replacement of levels: A comment was made that the changes will be very challenging for
Headteachers. Courses on the changes are being run by Governor Services. It was suggested
that governors watch Tim Oates’ short film if they wanted to better understand how
assessment without levels will work.
Outdoor Education Visits and Trips: Last year the team in Hampshire approved 8,611 visits
with 210,796 participants. Hampshire uses a web based tool called Evolve. If governors want
to get more involved they can request a sign on to the system.
New Ofsted Framework: A summary of Ofsted inspection outcomes was provided. Key
messages coming out of the reports include: the best schools focus on high quality teaching
and learning, leadership and management and governance have the biggest impact on school
improvement, work is needed to explore why the south east is the worst place for low income
families. Governors need to be questioning senior leadership on how they are measuring
progress. Too many secondary schools are not building on the work that children have done in
primary schools. Parent View will be updated with an open text box which is fraught with risk
for schools.
Personnel: Improvement work on the MOPP is ongoing. There is a feedback mechanism for
changes. A recruitment fair is planned for January 2016.
Schools’ Forum
Andrew Turk summarised the main points raised at the Schools’ Forum, saying that the 2014/15
budget showed an underspend of £3.5 million. An academy governor asked whether academy
governors are able to attend the School’s Forum. It was agreed to find out.
Action: Andrew Turk
Current Issues from the Local Authority
Annual Quality of Service Questionnaire
Governors were asked to look at the annual Governor Services quality of service questionnaire that
has recently been distributed. The team are continuing to work on improving the Governor
Services website.
South East Governors’ Forum
Training Courses
Bob West said that there are still places available on the following training courses:
Life after Levels. 1 December 2015. Bridgemary School, Gosport.
Ofsted Framework Briefing. 6 October 2015. Explosion. Royal Naval Museum, Gosport.
The Constitution of Governing Bodies of Maintained Schools
Bob West reported that updated statutory guidance on the constitution of maintained schools was
released in August 2015. All schools are expected to follow the guidance unless they can put up a
good case as to why not. The key points were highlighted:
Governing bodies should be no bigger than necessary to secure the range of skills they need.
Smaller governing bodies are likely to be more cohesive and dynamic.
A key consideration in the appointment and election of all new governors should be the skills
and experience the governing body needs to be effective.
Governing bodies should use a skills audit to identify any specific gaps that need to be filled in
the skills, knowledge and experience of existing governors.
Anyone appointing governors to the governing body must appoint someone they believe has
the skills to contribute to effective governance and the success of the school. Their decisions
should be informed by interviews and references.
Do you know how many governor vacancies there are across the county at the
moment compared to before the reconstitution?
Before the reconstitution it was 14%, historically is has been 11%. Currently in
Fareham and Gosport it is 14.93% compared to the county figure of 16%. Of
those vacancies, 65% are for Co-opted Governors, 16% for Parent Governors and
7% for Staff Governors.
Bob West said that now there has been a move away from the stakeholder model of governance,
governing bodies need to have meaningful and effective ways of engaging with parents, staff and
the wider community. Governing bodies should review their effectiveness regularly, including the
extent to which their size and structure is fit for purpose and their members have the necessary
skills to provide effective governance.
Bob West said that not many governing bodies reduced in size during the reconstitution. A
governor said that if there is a smaller number of governors on the Governing Body that puts more
pressure on the remaining governors who will have to give more.
Governors discussed the issue of governor workload. A governor said that it would be interesting
to know what the average term of a governor is. Some governors leave because they can’t believe
South East Governors’ Forum
how much work there is and how much paperwork there is. Another governor said that some
members of Senior Leadership Team do not appreciate that the governor role is voluntary.
A governor said that sometimes governors can be their own worst enemy by delving into
operational matters rather than remaining in their strategic role. Governors’ obligations are
around setting policy and ensuring that proper systems and processes are in place to ensure that
the policy is fulfilled.
However another governor said that now that governance is judged as part of leadership and
management there will be sometimes when governors need to get involved in the operational,
particularly if statutory things aren’t being done.
A governor questioned why they are expected to get so heavily involved in the SFVS process which
is at a very operational level. Governors were in agreement that they felt they are being drawn
into the operational by County. However it was noted that financial probity and value for money is
one of the key strategic roles for a governing body and that governors do have a role to play in
audit, even if it is just making sure that their audit responsibilities are discharged. It was agreed to
raise the subject of governor involvement with the SFVS at the next meeting with the
representative from finance and also to raise it at the County Forum.
Action: Chair of the Forum and County Forum Reps
A governor said that as governing bodies are being squeezed they need to be smarter with their
monitoring and evaluation and that planning is crucial.
Question: You said that we have moved away from the stakeholder model now, at the moment we
have 2 parent governors and 1 local authority governor, is that no longer the case?
Answer: Even if you have parent governors as part of your constitution, when you advertise to the
parent body you need to say which skills and attributes the governing body is looking
for. Some governing bodies are even interviewing parent governors.
Bob West said that governing bodies need to be looking at making the expectations of governors
clear so that new governors are not shocked when they join. Governing bodies need to make the
time commitment clear to people so that they know what they are taking on. There is now the
expectation that governing bodies have a code of conduct in which they will cover these matters.
A governor said the move away from the previous framework, which reflected the community in
each school, seems to be totally contradictory with British Values and community cohesion. Bob
West said that because of the move away from the stakeholder model, governing bodies need to
have meaningful and effective engagement with parents, staff and the wider community. A
governor said that engagement with the community does not have to be done by people being
members of the governing body as there are other methods of engagement. A governor said that a
lot of companies ensure they have a diverse board with representation from across the community.
South East Governors’ Forum
Bob West said that from September, governing bodies are required to publish certain information
on their websites including:
the structure and remit of the governing body and any committees, and the full names of the
chair of each
for each governor who has served at any point over the past 12 months: their full names, date
of appointment, term of office, date they stepped down (where applicable), who appointed
them (in accordance with the governing body’s instrument of government)
relevant business and pecuniary interests (as recorded in the register of interests) including:
governance roles in other educational institutions; any material interests arising from
relationships between governors or relationships between governors and school staff
(including spouses, partners and close relatives); and
their attendance record at governing body and committee meetings over the last academic
The fact that governors will need to make this information available for publication should be made
clear in the governing bodies’ code of conduct.
Statement of Financial Expectation
Bob West said that the Statement of Financial Expectation has been updated for 2015.
Prevent Duty
Bob West reported that statutory guidance about the Prevent Duty has been released. The Chair
advised governors to make sure that their Child Protection and Safeguarding policies mention the
Prevent Duty as this has been picked up in recent Ofsted inspections. Another governor said that
FGM and sexual exploitation of children is also needed in the policy.
Items from the floor
A governor asked whether there is anything governors could do about the possibility that Free
School Meals for infant children will be stopped. Another governor said that it was a political issue
and this it is likely that county will have their own lobbyist.
Next meeting date for this academic year
The next meeting will take place on Monday, 8 February 2015 at 7pm and be held at Henry Cort
Community College.