National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 13th March 2007


Jenny Symonds, PhD Student, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge gave a very interesting presentation of her proposals for research on transfer issues for middle schools.

1. Present

Sue Kennedy (Bedford), Gary Booth (I.o.W.) Terry Holland (Worcs), Mark Knowles (Herts), John Kime (Staffs), Terry Holland(Worcs), Ian Crissell(Suffolk), Michael Clark(Cambs), Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).

2. Apologies

Apologies were received from Mike Meredith (Kent), Phil Hill(Somerset), Alan Dodds(Northants).

3. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 21st November 2006 were approved.

4. Matters Arising

Nigel Wyatt has contacted Fisher Family Trust but received no response.

5. Treasurer's Report

The Treasurer reported that the accounts stood as follows:

Current Account:    4317.11

Savings Account:  12565.83

Subscriptions received so far - 3800

The treasurer would appreciate it if the Dorset schools could agree to pay collectively.

Nigel Wyatt to explore the position of schools in Norfolk and West Sussex.

Reminders about overdue subscriptions to be sent out to those areas that have not yet paid after Easter.


Nigel Wyatt to send out letters about subscriptions to treasurers of those areas that have not yet paid subscriptions after Easter, and explore the position in Norfolk and West Sussex.

6. Draft submission to Primary Review

Nigel Wyatt presented a draft response to the Primary Review on the issue of structures. Small amendments were agreed.

Many 9-13 middle schools, deemed secondary, will not be well informed about the issues raised for consultation in the primary review. Nigel Wyatt agreed to write to Robin Alexander to suggest opening a dialogue with the Forum.

Thanks to Alan Dodds for drawing our attention to the consultation.


Nigel Wyatt to incorporate agreed amendments and circulate to all schools and write to Robin Alexander.

7. Executive Officer's report

Nigel Wyatt reported on the support he has given to colleagues in Suffolk Middle Schools. Parents have mounted a very effective campaign to retain the three tier system. The County Council meet to take a decision on March 22nd.

8. Conference 2006

Sue Kennedy reported that the auditor has questioned the treatment of VAT for delegates through the Greneway Schools budget. It was agreed that delegates will be invoiced for the VAT amount and Sue Kennedy will explore if this can be done in such a way that schools can then claim this VAT back themselves. The remaining budget for the 2006 conference will be charged for the small amount of administrative time involved in doing this.


Sue Kennedy to arrange for delegates to be charged for VAT.

9. Report on ELMLE Conference 2007

John Kime and Sue Kennedy represented the Forum at this conference. The reported on a most stimulating conference characterised by an atmosphere of professional optimism.

Two possible speakers for our own conference were suggested.

The next conference is to be held in Vienna in 2008.

Nigel Wyatt to explore becoming affiliated members of ELMLE which will enable members to attend conferences at reduced rates.


Nigel Wyatt to explore becoming affiliated members of ELMLE.

10. Conference 2007

Sue Kennedy reported that there were 25 bookings so far for the 2007 conference.

Speakers so far:

Steve Munby  - to open conference Toby Salt -  Strategic Director (NCSL - Director, School Leadership Development - responsible for NCSL's primary and secondary strategic initiatives)  Mick Waters Director of Curriculum QCA moving diary for Tuesday

Nigel Wyatt and Sue Kennedy to explore two speakers from the ELMLE conference.


Nigel Wyatt to send out further conference publicity and develop the draft program in consultation with the Conference group.

11. Area News

Hertfordshire The authority has supported the development of the two year KS3 with funding of 16 000 per middle school. Isle of Wight The authority is currently consulting over three options all of which include a change to a 9 to 14 middle school system. It is proposed that the planned change would take place in 2009 if agreed. Considerable concerns have been expressed at consultation meetings and the outcome is far from clear. Staffs John Kime reported that in his recent Ofsted inspection inspectors raised the issue of the effectiveness of middle leaders and their role in monitoring. Kent - The County Council have decided to reorganise the middle school system creating a secondary school of over 2000 pupils. Worcs The Wyre are due to close in July 2007. There remain considerable difficulties with the reorganisation. Bedfordshire There are a number of Headteacher posts in middle schools being advertised at the present time. 12. AOB

Agreed to discuss the role of sports partnerships at the next meeting.

13. Future meetings

Steering Committee Meetings arranged for the coming year:

Tuesday 12th June 2007 10.30

NOTE: It was agreed, as a trial in the first instance, to start the meeting at 10.30

 At 11.00 a.m - London Diocesan House, 36, Causton Street, London SW1P 4AU


Nigel Wyatt to agree a key speaker in conjunction with Sue Kennedy.

  The meeting closed at 1.50 p.m.