Spring 2016 - Harworth Church of England Academy



Spring 2016 - Harworth Church of England Academy
Harworth Church of England Academy
Meeting title:
Spring term meeting of the governing body
Date and time:
Thursday, 28 January, 2016 at 5:00pm
At the academy
‘A’ denotes absence
In attendance
Mrs G Wratten
Mr B L Batty (vice chair)
Mr I Archer (chair)
Mrs J Dodd
Mrs P Archer
Reverend L Vasey-Saunders
Mr F Hart
Mr P Cullingworth
Mrs E Willis
Miss K Clowes (headteacher)
Mrs S Booker
Mrs W Richards
Mrs R Gok
Mr J Wratten
Mrs S Andrews (clerk to the governors)
Mrs A Wilson (observer and prospective governor)
Mr Archer welcomed governors to the meeting, thanking them for their
Reverend Vasey-Saunders opened the meeting with a prayer.
The chair welcomed Mrs Wilson to her first governing body meeting.
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Mr Cullingworth, and from Mrs Dodd.
Mrs Wratten had informed Reverend Vasey-Saunders that she would not be
attending the meeting.
The clerk drew governors’ attention to Mrs Wratten’s non – attendance at a full
governing body meeting since 26 February, 2015.
The clerk was asked to write to Mrs Wratten, reminding her of the attendance
It was
that the governing body consent to the absences of governors who had offered
their apologies.
The chair thanked governors for the impressive support provided to the school.
There had been numerous visits and involvement in the life of the school from
many governors. It was noted that there is still work to be done to develop the
governing body, but the commitment shown is greatly appreciated.
Declaration of interest
There were no declarations of interest, either direct or indirect, for items of
business on the agenda.
Mr Batty highlighted a business interest which is recorded on the register of
governors’ business interests, but would not impact on any items under discussion
at this meeting.
Minutes of
Autumn term meeting
The minutes of the autumn term meeting held on Thursday, 5 November, 2015,
having been previously circulated (and subject to the following corrections
being made) were confirmed and signed by the chair.
Page 5 GB/41/15- Headteacher’s report
Amend “would asking” to “would be asking”
Amend the date by which children will be expected to have made a full point of
progress to 2014, not 2015 as stated.
Page 6
Amend “use” to “used”
Page 7 GB/42/15 Training Input
Delete “ere”
Amend “may” to “make”
Page 10 GB/48/15 Relevant updates from the MAT Board and LA
Amend to “The clerk agreed to send the chair some additional information on this
issue and the chair would then audit the website and report back if there are any
Matters arising
The chair led governors through the minutes, providing opportunities for comments
or updates.
GB/41/15 Minutes of the Summer term meeting
The clerk advised that she had contacted the Diocese to inform them of Mrs
Wilson’s appointment as an associate member of the governing body. At the
Summer term meeting governors had discussed Mrs Wilson’s appointment as a
governor at the school, but the clerk had advised that there were no vacancies on
the governing body and it was unclear what is actually stated in the Articles of
However, The Diocese had decided that the governing body is “technically not full”
and asked the school to nominate Mrs Wilson as a full governor at the school. Mrs
Wilson had not received the papers in connection with her proposed appointment,
but was provided with copies by the clerk.
Mrs Wilson would remain as an observer, until the Diocese has appointed her as a
GB/45/15 Premises/Asset management/ICT
Governors challenged the headteacher on the historic sealed asbestos at the
school and asked if a survey had been carried out.
Miss Clowes confirmed that this had been completed and it had identified some
sealed areas which continue to be monitored and highlighted.
Training Input – Priorities and development plan 2016/17
Academy improvements Including Curriculum and Standards and minute
sand updates from committees
Governors’ attention was drawn to the information provided in the headteacher’s
report on page 9.
Detailed information on improvement priorities for 2015/16 are contained on pages
11 to 16 of the report, with particular emphasis on what has been done to impact
on outcomes for children.
Governors noted the information, which would be discussed in detail at committee.
Should governors have any questions or comments they were asked to contact
the headteacher to discuss these.
Report from the headteacher including information and updates on
Progress and attainment
School self-evaluation and improvement priorities
HR staffing and recruitment, including appraisals
Pupil premium, rationale and impact of spending
Premises, asset management/ICT
Report from designated LAC teachers
Miss Clowes tabled her report for governors, who had been given time to read the
information before the start of the meeting.
Particular attention was paid to progress and the updates provided now that a full
term of data is available. Each term children are expected to make one full step of
In all instances throughout school all year groups have made at least one step of
Year one results have now been included and the cohort are doing very well, and
making better than expected progress.
Mr Batty highlighted that during a recent visit he had evidenced for himself how
well children are progressing with their reading skills.
Governors noted the very pleasing results and asked Miss Clowes to pass on their
thanks and congratulations to the staff.
Governors challenged the headteacher on the data provided:
Why hasn’t year 2 got any July targets?
Miss Clowes explained that SATs tests for Year 2 have changed and all schools
are unsure of what the expectation is.
The year is making very good progress and it is anticipated that children will reach
where they need to be by July. Governors noted the difficulties of providing an
accurate picture until expectations are known.
Does this also apply to Year 1?
Miss Clowes briefed governors on changes to the curriculum and how at KS1 it is
difficult to give July targets. Children are being assessed term by term, but is was
encouraging to see that progress is again very rapid.
Can you explain how Year 6 are going to be assessed this year?
Mrs Booker explained the new assessment system without levels, and how
children need to achieve 100 to meet national expectations. If they achieve 100,
they are assumed to be ready to go to secondary education and have met
They may also not meet these expectations, or may exceed them.
Governors asked about progress and how the 100 benchmark is arrived at. It was
noted that what is expected to achieve the 100, and importantly what is needed to
exceed this, is still unresolved. Thresholds will be set post marking, so it is difficult
to know what will be expected for example from higher achievers.
Governors raised their concerns over this uncertainty and recognised the
difficulties of teaching with these unknown factors.
Mrs Booker confirmed that the school will aim for 130 or 140, to be confident of
exceeding expectations.
Governors further challenged Miss Clowes on why years 3 and 4 have July
Miss Clowes explained that at KS 2 there is a longer time to complete the
curriculum, and there are three full steps to make each year to achieve this, and
the curriculum is set out to achieve this. It is more measured in KS2 and there is a
longer period to get through the curriculum- in KS1 there is only two years.
Governors challenged Miss Clowes on whether she is confident that children will
make the required progress and achieve the correct outcomes, even though there
is uncertainty on what the targets are.
Miss Clowes confirmed she is very confident that this will be the case as any
children whose performance is dipping, will be identified straight away and support
given, which gives children time to then catch up.
Governors asked the following question:
Why is the prediction for the Foundation Stage level of development
on exit much higher than last year? I can see that last year the
outcome was 75% and the prediction this year is 85% that is a big
Miss Clowes explained that this is cohort driven. Children are progressing rapidly.
The entry level is no higher but children are making very good progress. As
teachers grow more confident with the curriculum and with excellent teaching
standards, there is year on year improvements.
Governors noted and further challenged the headteacher on why 25% of children
did not make a good level of development on leaving the foundation Stage.
Miss Clowes highlighted that the data shows both age related expectation and
also those who will make better than age related expectations, which is known as
a good level of development. This is above the national level.
Governors drilled down into the data provided and challenged Miss Clowes on
Year 4, where children had made less than one step of progress.
Miss Clowes confirmed that this is the case but the progress had been only very
slightly below what is required and is not significant. Many individuals will have
made the one step of progress and more.
Governors asked:
What do you think the best strategy is for closing the gap for learners
with SENDs?
Mrs Richards briefed governors on the data contained within the report and
stressed how important it is that children are identified early. Base line
assessments are completed on children on entry and if there are dipping, a
support plan intervention is put in place. This might take place in the class or
outside and is always specific and individual to the child.
When children are causing concerns support is provided and parents involved.
There are for example, daily support plans in place for phonics, five minute
number box and Mrs Richards gave further examples of support provided.
TAs concentrate daily on phonics and children are tracked and work scrutinised.
Any issues are investigated.
In addition, children with English as an additional language (EAL) and Pupil
Premium (PP) children get additional tailored support.
It was confirmed that PP children include free school meal children (including any
eligibility over the last 6 years), children who have ever been looked after (Ever
LAC) and forces children.
There is much support provided to close the gap.
Governors noted that Year 5 has no SEND children and also has the highest
percentage of FSMs. The high proportion of higher ability children was discussed
and the data investigated.
Miss Clowes stressed how cohorts differ each year and the impact that this has on
data. It was noted that “League Tables” form the DFE do not provide the
information behind the data, for example on cohort ability.
Governors’ attention was drawn to the data provided and at 94.74% this is less
than the national average. This term is an improving picture and the school is
doing what it can to raise the importance of good attendance with parents.
Governors asked how much of the absences noted are for illness and how much
for holidays. Miss Clowes said the problem is with holidays. All absences for
holidays are unauthorised and it had been confirmed that NCC will issue Penalty
Notices to parents on behalf of the academy, even though the school is part of the
Governors noted that it is expected that younger children would have a higher
level of absence.
Governors asked whether Penalty Notices and fines would increase attendance
levels. Miss Clowes said that this is unknown, but the academy must do all that it
can to raise attendance.
Governors discussed how children with English as an additional language may
require longer holiday periods, but it was highlighted that this is not currently an
Governors raised their concerns that fining parents, might well encourage
dishonesty and impact on relationships between the academy and parents.
Governors discussed ways of providing parents with information on the impact that
poor attendance has on attainment.
Miss Clowes drew governors’ attention to training undertaken and an update on
staffing provide in the report.
Governors were pleased to note that there had been no racial incidents or bullying
Safeguarding training had been completed and also the Channel online training
which is part of the Government’s Prevent Strategy. A number of governors have
also completed this. Details of the requirements over safeguarding training were
Mrs Willis highlighted that she had completed safeguarding training.
Improvement priorities
Governors’ attention was drawn to the priorities and progress to date.
Information has been provided on the mathematics priority and spelling and
grammar priority which feeds into the development of English.
Academy improvements are listed in detail on pages 15 and 16.
These were noted by governors.
Governors asked:
How is “Mathletics” impacting on learning and attainment so far?
Miss Clowes briefed governors on the intervention and also on the Five Card
Trick. It was stressed how enjoyment of maths is at the heart of the online
package and certificates and points can be earnt by children.
Children are very enthusiastic about “Mathletics” and are asking for this to be
given as homework. There is also an after school club on “Mathletics” which is
very popular.
Mrs Gok confirmed how popular this is and how there is a “buzz” around school
and also amongst parents about this initiative.
Parents are engaged and supporting their children and they are seeing the impact
this is having.
The Five Card trick has been in use for a full term and evidence is available to see
its impact. Children can win house points and governors noted how even though
there is no technology involved, it is working well and engaging children.
Mrs Willis confirmed that her children have benefited from both these schemes
and use the “Mathletics” at home and at after school clubs.
Quality of teaching and learning
Governors noted the information provided and the updates on performance
management. Pupil progress meetings will take place at February half term.
Headteacher’s Appraisal – confidential minute removed – see separate
All staff withdrew from the meeting at this point.
Governors asked if teaching at the school has been at least good, since the last
Miss Clowes confirmed that this is the case and briefed governors on in-house
training recently completed.
Reverend Vasey-Saunders confirmed that she had been in classes and attended
observations and has seen how teaching is monitored.
Governors noted the report.
Premises and health and safety
Attention was drawn to the tree survey and it was noted that the health and safety
report has been completed.
Governors discussed risk assessments and how these are completed.
Pupil Premium
Governors were referred to the information provided on pages 20 to 21 of
Miss Clowes’ report.
The impact of the PP spending is provided so that governors can not only see
what has been spent but what the outcomes are.
This information is also provided on the website as required.
Miss Clowes was thanked for her detailed report.
Finance and Legal
Governors noted the updated information in the headteacher’s report.
The most recent Management Accounts Report had been annotated and
governors are pleased to note that one third into the financial year, approximately
one third of the budget has been used as expected.
The academy is awaiting a visit for the MAT Finance Officer.
Some money has been moved across to support additional staff development in
Governors highlighted that the budget is very tight.
Reverend Vasey-Saunders confirmed that she has a cheque from the Brailsford
Trust for the school.
Governors challenged the headteacher on the tight budget and asked how new
laptops could be provided.
Confidential minute removed – see separate sheet.
Governors highlighted that staffing and the budget is a longer term issue, but the
immediate need is for equipment.
Governors discussed possible funding streams available. Governors stressed how
technology is essential to maintain and drive forward improvements.
The headteacher, chair and Mrs Wilson agreed to meet to look into possible
Church funding.
Mrs Willis confirmed there may be funds from the PTA available.
Reverend Vasey-Saunders highlighted possible Diocesan funds and would
investigate the criteria for accessing this.
Rev V-S
Governors discussed how they need to obtain three quotations for the purchase of
laptops and Mr Batty advised that he may be able to secure some discount for the
Mrs Wilson also highlighted that some funding may be available to provide a
football coach for an after school activity and Miss Clowes thanked her and would
look into this.
Community governance and local issues, including correspondence and
governor visits
Governors have been frequent visitors into school and are well known to children
It was highlighted that Reverend Vasey- Saunders visits school on a weekly basis,
looking at behaviour and goes into lessons to talk with children.
Details of all governor visits are included in the headteacher’s report.
All governors are proactive in their roles.
Mr Batty highlighted that he and Mr Hart had agreed to fund and provide a
polytunnel for the school as they had been so impressed by the children’s
Greenhouse Project which had unfortunately had to be abandoned over health
and safety concerns.
Mr Batty and Mr Hart were warmly thanked for this contribution and for their
continued support.
The chair has weekly meetings with Miss Clowes to question and challenge and to
check on priorities. There is a set agenda which is followed.
Governors discussed a parking issue and an unpleasant incident at school.
Governors requested that such incidents are fully logged and police called if
required when there is any aggressive behaviour towards staff.
Reverend Vasey-Saunders agreed to raise parking issues at the next safer
neighbourhood meeting.
Rev. V-S
Relevant updates from MAT board and Local authority
Governors Code of Conduct
Governors would consider this code individually and suggest any amendments for
discussion at the next committee meeting. Once approved, all governors will be
asked to sign the code.
Policy review and update
Behaviour and attendance (including anti – bullying)
These policies had been reviewed and were approved.
What has been done to impact on outcomes for children
Governors referred to the headteacher’s report on page 21, detailing governors’
involvement in the work of the school and the impact on outcomes.
One example of this is governors’ involvement in fund raising and work to provide
ICT equipment and also the provision of a polytunnel.
How have governors held school leaders to account?
Governors highlighted their monitoring visits and questions raised at meetings and
with co-ordinators.
By being fully involved in the life of the school, governors evidence for themselves
what the school is doing to raise standards and also that priorities are being acted
Governors ask for additional information and clarification individually and also as a
governing body.
Challenges are recorded at committee and at full governing body meetings.
Concluding items
Confirmation of dates for 2016
The Summer term meeting of the full governing body would take place on
Thursday, 9 June, 2016, starting at 5:00pm.
The Committee would meet on 1 March, 2016 starting at 4:00pm.
Mrs Willis sent her apologies for this meeting.
Determination of confidentiality
It was
that the report on the headteacher’s appraisal should remain a confidential item,
as well as a discussion on the budget.
The information contained within the headteacher’s report is confidential, but not
the discussion arising from it, unless previously deemed so.
The meeting closed at 6:30pm.
Signed .................................................................(chair)
Date ........................................
Harworth Church of England Academy
Meeting title:
Spring term meeting of the governing body
Date and time:
Thursday, 28 January, 2016 at 5:00pm
At the academy
Confidential items
Report from the headteacher
Mr Archer reported that following the headteacher’s appraisal, it had been
confirmed that Miss Clowes had fully met all her targets.
The headteacher had confirmed that the senior management team had also
achieved their targets.
It was unanimously
to award Miss Clowes one increment on the pay spine to reflect this.
The pay increment of one point, as recommended by the headteacher for Mrs
Thickett and Mrs Booker was also ratified.
All payments would be backdated to September 2015.
Governors commented on the marvellous work of Miss Clowes and her
Finance and Legal
Governors discussed how it may be necessary in the future to look at the staffing
structure. The balance between keeping a high level of staffing would have to be
reconciled with a need for resources and CPD for staff.
Governors asked if there would need to be bigger class sizes, but it was noted that
a reduction in teaching assistant support would be considered first, if required.
Governors discussed how financial compensation for the support Miss Clowes
provides to another academy, had not been paid.
This together with other funding concerns had been very strongly put to the MAT.
Signed ..............................................................(chair)
Date ........................................

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