Please find below the minutes from the two stakeholder consultation meetings that were held earlier this term.
The consultation period finishes on Monday 14th July 2014.
If you would like to add your thoughts and views to the discussion, please leave a comment below.
Here is a copy of the original Federation Proposal Letter: Proposal to Federate Heavers Farm Primary School and Selsdon Primary School
Minutes of the Selsdon Primary Parents Consultation Meeting
To consider the issues in relation to proposed Federation with Heavers Farm Primary School
Held on Tuesday 10th June 2014 at 6:00pm
Governor Representatives In attendance
Michael Forteath Parent Governor, Chair of the Governing Body
Simon Powell Parent Governor, Vice Chair of Governors
Graham Cluer LA Governor
Susan Papas Executive Headteacher
Jo Read Head of School
Parents in attendance
15 parents from different year groups attended
The Chair opened the meeting at 6:00pm and welcomed everyone to the meeting. Introductions were made.
The Chair explained the background and the reasons for the consultation.
Questions were invited from the floor:
Q: Will the change improve the consistency of teaching (i.e. teacher change and exchange)?
A: The improved performance and morale at the school is, and should continue to have a positive effect on the number of teachers leaving Selsdon. This will improve general stability. There will be times when it will be a positive step for teachers to spend time at Heavers Farm. If that activity is taking place, Selsdon will work hard to ensure that communication to parents is improved about what is happening around teaching with their child. There will always be circumstances relating to individual teachers and their lives that means some change is inevitable.
Q: Who makes the final decision?
A: Following consultation with all key stakeholder groups (staff, parents, local authority, etc) and consideration of all their feedback and questions, the two governing bodies will vote on a decision, and then come together to vote again as one on the proposal.
Q: Why this route and not academy?
A: Mr Forteath explained how by continuing our partnership with Heavers, Selsdon retains more control over the positive journey it is now on, and the financial benefits of the Academy Route were no longer clear cut. So much work has gone on in the last academic year, it is felt that Selsdon’s best outcomes will come from building on that framework.
Q: Are we due an inspection?
A: Yes – we have only had one limited inspection this year. Mrs Papas hopes that the next inspection will be after we have received the SATs results and that a big improvement will be evident. The school has had regular reviews however with the local authority and these have been very positive.
Q: Will there be a change in school uniform?
A: this is being considered. It will not happen quickly, there will be discussion around it and if it occurs it will be introduced gradually. There are discussions around offering support to parents on initial introduction (ie the school would provide the first items).
Q: will the proposal affect Selsdon’s position as a feeder school to Riddlesdown?
A: These changes are unrelated to Selsdon’s position as a feeder school to Riddlesdown and there is no indication that the status there will change. Riddlesdown School has been supportive of the changes going on at Selsdon.
There was also some discussion around how visibility of activity has been limited. There was explanation of the history of the previous 12 months around governance and
Attendance at the consultation was limited. This was discussed and several conclusions were drawn:
a) many parents and staff are happy with the proposal so felt no need to attend
b) some parents may have been unaware of the meeting and it was agreed more could be done at the school with signage/posters, etc to remind people of such meetings
c) some parents are not concerned/interested
Minutes of the Heavers Farm Parents Consultation Meeting
To consider the issues in relation to proposed Federation with Selsdon Primary School
Held on Thursday 12th June 2014 at 6:00pm
Governor Representatives In attendance
Graham Cluer LA Governor, Chair of the Governing Body
Alan Tigg Parent Governor
Janice Sprouse Parent Governor
Susan Papas Headteacher
Sarah Faulding Staff Governor
Cleo Douglas Staff Governor
Andy Rushton Community Governor
Parents in attendance
The Chair opened the meeting at 6:05pm and welcomed everyone to the meeting. Gaby Hunter was the only parent in attendance and introductions were made.
The Chair explained the history of the school’s association with Selsdon Primary School, and said that the LA had approached the Headteacher and Governing Body a year ago to ask if it would be prepared for Susan Papas to take on an executive headteacher role at Selsdon. It was noted that during the 8 years that Susan had been headteacher at Heavers Farm, the school had developed enormously and gone from strength to strength, and Susan’s leadership skills were well recognised and appreciated by the local authority. Last year Selsdon was lacking leadership and needed support hence the request. Since that time the relationship between Heavers Farm and Selsdon has developed strongly to the point where the Governing Bodies of both schools now wished to recommend federation, to formalise the relationship between the two schools.
The Chair explained that the Governing Body considered that there were lots of mutual benefits to both schools which included:
- Provision of lots of opportunities for staff from both schools to work together, to share best practice and ideas.
- Provision of opportunity for staff to work across the schools as and when appropriate, enabling staff career development.
- An opportunity to retain high quality staff because the Federation can offer more opportunities and experiences than a single school.
- Benefits of scales of economy
- The added protection of having a partner school to support the other in unplanned/unpredicatable situations eg when key staff leave.
Gaby Hunter asked if there were any concerns that teachers from Heavers Farm could move to Selsdon, draining the talent currently at Heavers Farm? The Headteacher and Chair explained that there are very high quality staff at both schools, and it was envisaged that the movement of staff will be to both schools’ advantage. Any decisions to move staff from one school to another for a period of time would be taken with a full undertaking that a vulnerability would not be created. The Headteacher emphasised that that there was a key priority to ensure that Heavers Farm remains strong.
It was noted that Heavers Farm SATs results the previous year had seen a dip, due to a combination of factors. The whole school team and Governing Body had been focussed on rectifying the weaknesses of the previous year and it was strongly anticipated that this year’s results will be very good. The decision to federate will not be taken until the SATs results are confirmed, (and it was recognised that it would not be right to proceed with federation if for any reason the results were poor this year).
A question was asked if there would be any more schools joining the federation in the future? The Headteacher said that whilst she would not rule this out in the longer term, this would not happen for some time. Heavers Farm was likely to be undergoing expansion works, and Selsdon was a three form entry school, so between the two schools there were up to 7 forms of entry.
The issue of training was discussed, and it was noted that the two schools have been working together and holding in house training sessions attended by staff from both schools during the course of the year including Child Protection training, a Leadership programme led by the Institute of Education on site at Heavers Farm, and a TA training programme run by Surrey university. It was noted that training on site for groups of staff was much more efficient and cost effective than individual members of staff going out for training.
Andy Rushton said that in preparing and undertaking research on federation of schools, he had read the two key studies on the subject, which both indicated that there is a wealth of evidence to show that results at the schools improve over time and the schools do well.
The Headteacher highlighted that staff have in recent months been sharing planning across the schools and explained that a recent visit to Kingswood Primary School, a very successful school which is part of the Gypsy Federation, had been very beneficial.
Governors observed that from their perspective the schools were already working well in partnership and they fully anticipated that Federation, if formally approved, will be a formalisation of the relationship which will enable even more positive development for both schools.
It was noted that a year ago there had been some trepidation when the request to work with Selsdon had been made, but in the consultation on Federation, having experienced a successful year, governors were fully confident in the process and recommendation. It was felt that the lack of parental representation at the current meeting was probably an indication that parents were happy with the proposal. However, the chair said that he would like to encourage any parents or members of staff who may have any queries or concerns to respond to the consultation.
It was also noted that governors would be present in school the following week for the Governors’ Day in School when they hoped to meet with parents and if any questions arose on the issue of Federation they would be able respond accordingly.
At 6.30pm the Chair drew the meeting to a close, thanking Gaby Hunter and governors for their attendance and input.