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Impington Village College

FGB Minutes 25-09-12

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Meeting of the Full Governing Body

Tuesday 25 September 2012 at 6 pm in the Library

 

MINUTES

 

Present:   Martin Rigby (Chair), Claire Beressi-Jones, Rob Campbell, Jayne Green, Brian Harrison, Huw Jones, Patricia Labistour, Hildegard O'Kane, Jake Reynolds, Nick Morley, Alan Rodger, Elizabeth Sadler, Michael Truscott and David Jenkins.

In Attendance: Fran Difranco (Vice-Principal: Business and Administration [VPBA]), Steph Franklin (Vice-Principal: KS4 [VPKS4]), Sharon Sanderson (PA to Principal), K J Norton-Berry (Assistant Principal) and Joe Greenway (Clerk)

 

1 Approval of Absences   

Apologies were received from Lauren Allin, Shailaja Fennell, Deirdre Murphy and Suzy Offord.

2 Election of Chair and Vice Chair

The Clerk took the chairmanship of the meeting for this item.

Martin Rigby had previously agreed to act as Chairman of the Governing Body for the academic year 2012-13.  The Clerk invited nominations for the position of Chairman from governors to which there was no response.

Decision:  Martin Rigby was elected Chairman of the Governing Body for academic year 2012-13 nem con.

Similarly David Jenkins had previously agreed to act as Vice-Chairman of the Governing Body for the academic year 2012-13.  The Clerk invited nominations for the position of Vice-Chairman from governors to which there was no response.

Decision:  David Jenkins was elected Vice-Chairman of the Governing Body for academic year 2012-13 nem con

3 Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 June 2012              

The minutes of the meeting held on 26 June 2012 were agreed and signed as a correct record. 

4 Matters arising from the Minutes of the Meeting held on 26 June 2012 

 There were no matters arising that were not dealt with in the main body of the agenda

Michael Truscott arrived at c6.15 pm and joined the meeting during the following item.

5 2012 Exam Results

KS4

The VPKS4 talked through the key points of her paper emphasising that whilst there were some notable successes there were also reasons to be concerned.  The weaker performance in English and Maths clearly impacted on the overall performance of the college and this was not entirely due to the national controversy involving grade boundaries.  Re-marking has raised the 5 or more A*-C grade performance by 1% to 56%.  This is still a decrease of 10% from 2011 and well below the predicted outcome of 70%.  70% was also the college target for this performance measure which was clearly not achieved.

Subjects that performed well either by maintaining performances well above national averages or by showing a significant improvement were:

    • Drama and Expressive Arts
    • Art & Design
    • Science Single Award
    • Geography
    • French
    • PE
    • Leisure & Tourism
    • RE
    • Spanish

Subjects showing a decrease in performance were:

    • English
    • Maths
    • German
    • Catering
    • Child Development
    • Business Studies
    • Chemistry
    • Physics
    • Science Additional

History's performance was similar to 2011.

A final outcome of note was the increasing gap, year on year, of the difference in performance of girls and boys with girls out-performing boys in 5+ A*-C inc. English and Maths by 12%.

Governors expressed concern that actual student numbers were not given in the results table which made it difficult to judge the significance of the percentage changes.

Action: VPKS4 to re-issue the results table to include student numbers.

Reasons given for these outcomes include:

    • Faculties not responding effectively to changes in some syllabus specifications
    • Prolonged sickness absence of some key staff
    • Too much satisfactory teaching as evidenced by the recent Ofsted inspection.

The VPKS4 then outlined the actions that will be taken by the college to secure improvement in 2013.  The most important is the introduction and full application of the new appraisal system to address the 'too much satisfactory teaching'.  College senior managers will now appraise teaching staff (rather than middle managers) and so have those 'difficult conversations' with staff that are not performing.  Middle managers will be responsible for pro-active coaching and other teacher specific training and support.  Teachers who do not improve their performance following such support may be subject to capability procedures.

Other actions include:

    • Training provided by external consultants in leadership for middle managers
    • Training for TAs
    • Departmental meetings to only cover how to be outstanding teachers
    • Videoing outstanding lessons ('Star lesson') for sharing good practice
    • Rigorous monitoring and evaluation to ensure the actions are securing the required improvements.

The VPKS4 finished by confirming that the College senior team fully expect governors to hold them substantially to account for the actions proposed.

Governors welcomed the college response to the disappointing results and also recognised that within these figures there were efforts where staff should be congratulated.  However they expressed concern about:

    • The widening performance gap between girls and boys
    • The involvement of parents (or apparent lack of) in securing the required improvements
    • The rigor of the monitoring of teaching performance to secure the movement from satisfactory
    • The training of managers to effectively hold the 'difficult conversations'

Action: Governors requested a progress monitoring report on the actions proposedfor their March 2013 meeting (Principal, VPKS4) 

Sixth Form (KS5 Outcomes)

The Principal was pleased to report that whilst the IB pass rate was down from the exceptional performance of the previous year, the pass rate achieved was both close to prediction and also still 8% above the world average for the qualification.  He was also pleased to say that the IB does not suffer from 'grade inflation' like other qualifications. 

Subjects that performed well were Dance, English, German, Visual Arts, Russian and Spanish.  Subjects showing a decline in performance were Film, Chemistry, Physics, Maths, and Psychology.

There were a declining number of students taking A levels and the results were disappointing with a decline in average point score year on year of 43 and an increase in the differential between girls and boys of 40 points.  Subjects causing concern at A2 are English Literature, Media, Psychology, History and Sociology and at AS are English Literature, Media, Performing Arts, Psychology, Photography and PE. 

 The issues raised by these figures largely mirror those given above.  There has been a substantial turnover of staff over the summer and the new blood will give the college the opportunity to reassert its strong position.  It has also been shown that A level students require more support than IB students so there will be a greater focus on A level pedagogy in 2012-13. 

Governors welcomed the college response and look forward to receiving progress reports during the year.

Action: Governors requested a progress monitoring report on the actions proposed for their March 2013 meeting (Principal)

6 College Development Plan

Review of 2011-12

The Principal presented his review of 2011-12 and highlighted the overall progress against the 5 objectives as below:

1

Improved Teaching & Learning

Partial progress and moderate impact

2

Sixth Form

Overall good progress and positive impact

3

Outcomes at KS4

Low progress and impact with the drop in English and Maths results affecting many 'thresholds'.

4

Developing Tutoring

Medium progress and impact

5

Developing Leadership

Medium progress and impact

Governors noted the progress made expressed concern about the increased work load on some tutors and were pleased to be informed this was currently being addressed.

Priorities for 2012-13

The Principal presented the draft priorities for 2012-13 which relate directly to both the Ofsted inspection report and the student outcomes of the summer.  He proposed 4 objectives:

    • All teaching is good or better
    • Making the KS4 curriculum as exciting as that of the sixth form
    • Raise KS4 outcomes to at least 70% A*-C inc. English & Maths
    • Raise IB and A level results to 90% and 100% respectively

Governors agreed in principle with the proposed priorities.

They also proposed a fifth objective that would cover the development of the Academy status of the college making use of the outcomes of the governor away day held in May.  It was agreed that this should be an item on the next agenda of the Strategy and Engagement committee.

Action: Clerk to include the item on the next S & E Committee meeting.  Vice Chairman and Principal to prepare papers.

7 Principal's Report

Jayne Green left the meeting at 7.45pm during the following item.  She asked AR to represent her views for agenda item 9 and he agreed to do this

(2012 results and the College Development Plan were discussed under the previous agenda items)

The Principal referred Governors to his report and brought 3 matters to their particular attention:

    1. Self Evaluation Form (SEF)

      The college will delay producing a SEF until the new year when new comparative information will be available.
       
    2. Union Action

      In response to the changing methods of appraisals in schools two teaching unions, NUS and NASUWT, have instructed members to take 'Action Short of Strike Action' and have issued a document describing what they mean by this. This document was circulated to governors with the meeting papers.  There are 25 possible actions.  The Principal informed the meeting that if these actions were fully implemented they would have a substantial impact on the operation of the school.  Advice taken from EPM (HR advisers to the College) says that failure to follow 13 of the 25 actions may result in the teacher being in 'breach of contract'.  The Principal requested advice from governors on how he should proceed.  He further added that the actual impact on the school is likely to be minimal as most of the teachers who are members of the unions involved will work normally.

      Governors were clear that the advice from EPM was only 'advice' and not 'legal advice' as provided by a regulated solicitor.  They urged extreme caution before embarking on any possible disciplinary process.  They asked whether:

      * The position of other Academy Trusts in this matter could be ascertained.
      * Local agreements with Unions could be negotiated.

      The Principal pointed out that local re-negotiation of the new appraisal policy would be complex and would not address the wider issues that are the apparent objectives of the union action.

      Governors concluded they were not in a position to offer clear advice to the Principal on this matter until they themselves were in possession of further information.

      Action: VPBA to seek information from other academies using colleague networks and to report back to the Resources Committee at its next meeting
       
    3. Finance

      AR confirmed the Principal's report that there is likely to be a significant reduction in funding over the next years.  The funding formula is being completely revised making it impossible to track it back to the previous formulae.  The new formula appears to take no account of the low funding level per pupil in Cambridgeshire and of high needs learners.  A possible impact of this on IVC is that if it fully funds its high needs learners there will be less funding for other learners.

      AR advised governors that first indicative budgets are due in November, so then would be a good time to lobby parents, councillors, MPs etc when the impact of the changes on IVC would be clearer.

      Governors requested that financial modelling of various scenarios be undertaken so some awareness of the impact of the changes on the finances of IVC over time could be seen.

      Action: VPBA to undertake financial modelling of various scenarios and report back.  AR to write a brief report on the matter for governors.

8 Skanska Retrofit Update

VPBA reported that the Investment Grade Audit survey took place over the summer and would be available in full shortly.  The Executive Summary was circulated to members with the meeting papers and identifies 3 risk items:

    1. Asbestos
    2. Condition of existing wiring
    3. Ground contamination around existing oil tanks

These matters will be dealt with once the scopes of the issues are known.

Settlement of the ultra vires financial matter is now at an impasse between the opinion of the DFE and the opinion of the College accountants (MacIntyre Hudson).  The documents have been referred back to Skanska in the hope that the relevant paragraphs can be redrafted so that they satisfy SSAP21 and in doing so will remove the ultra vires condition to the satisfaction of our accountants.  The VPBA and JR are confident that this matter can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion.

Action: VPBA to continue to report progress to governors.

9 Matters for Decision

a – Report of the Chaplaincy Working Party

AR presented his report to Governors.  In summary the working party was in unanimous agreement in favour of the appointment but was equally split for and against the post title of Chaplain.  The reasons for this disagreement have been recorded in previous meeting minutes.  AR, as Chairman of the working party, met with Reverend Blandford-Baker who represented the Histon & Impington Council of Churches.  The Reverend stated that the H & I Council would not be able to proceed if the post title did not include the name Chaplain. 

To move the matter forward AR met with a group of six students.  The VPKS4 was also present.  The outcomes of the meeting are fully described in the agenda paper.

HJ (a member of the working party) expressed strong frustration with the fact that the working party as a whole did not meet with the Reverend Blandford-Baker as he had been lead to understand that it would.  He reiterated his opposition to the title of Chaplain.  AR, on behalf of JG, similarly confirmed her opposition to the title of Chaplain

Finally AR suggested that whilst unanimity is unlikely to be achieved his recommendation was that governors should support the initiative.

b- Proposal to appoint a Chaplain for a trial term.

The Chairman asked the meeting for a proposal.  ES proposed the following:

The Governing Body support the college in establishing a part- time chaplaincy in collaboration with the local churches.

Governors raised issues concerning performance criteria for measuring the success or otherwise of the post, the length of the trial term, and how consistent the appointment would be with the inclusion ethos of IVC. 

DJ raised the following amendment to the proposal:

The appointment of Chaplain must be consistent with the inclusion principles of Impington Village College. 

This amendment was seconded by HW

The Chairman called for a vote and the amendment was passed nem con.

The Proposal was then put to the meeting as follows:

The Governing Body support the college in establishing a part- time chaplaincy in collaboration with the local churches for a 1 year trial period for which suitable success criteria will be written.  The appointment of Chaplain must be consistent with the inclusion principles of Impington Village College

 

The Chairman called for a vote by a show of hands.

For: 11, Against: 2

The proposal as amended was carried.

Action: Principal.

10 Matters for information

  1. Minutes of Committees

    Governors received and noted the draft minutes of the Learning Committee of 3 July 2012 and Resources Committee of 16 July 2012.
     
  2. Register of Pecuniary Interests 2012-13

    The Clerk advised Governors to complete and return to him the register of pecuniary interests form as soon as reasonably practicable and by no later than the next meeting of the governing body.
     
  3. Calendar of Governor Meetings 2012-2013

    The revised calendar of meeting was circulated to members.  The Clerk will advise the start time of the FGB of 10 December as soon as he can.
     
  4. Termly Briefing for Governors

    Noted

11 Any Other Business

(i) Communication between the school and parents

JR raised a number of matters that had been brought to his notice both as a parent and as a governor, for example:

    • Conflicting information about exam boards
    • Insufficient information about how to apply to sixth form
    • Out of date information on the web-site
    • Teachers either do not or are much delayed in replying to emails

The Chairman remarked that the Governing Body has been aware for some time of the problems with communication to parents and needs to accept some responsibility for not seeking to address the matter.  The Principal confirmed his firm intention for improve matters.

It was agreed that the issue should be discussed at the next meeting of the Strategy and Engagement Committee.

Action: Clerk to include the item on the next S & E Committee meeting.  Jake Reynolds and Principal to prepare papers.

(ii) Governors Terms of Office

The Clerk informed the meeting that no nominations had been received for the vacant position of Teaching Staff Governor.

He also reported that the terms of office of the following governors would expire this term:

Alan Rodger Co-opted Governor October 2012
Shailaja Fennell Parent Governor November 2012
Huw Jones Parent Governor November 2012
Jake Reynolds Parent Governor November 2012

 

Action: The Clerk will discuss recruitment arrangements with the Chairman and set processes in action.

12 Next meeting

Tuesday 20 November 2012 at 6.00pm in the Library

The meeting closed at 8.40 pm.