National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 12th June 2007

1. Present

Sue Kennedy (Herts), Mark Knowles (Herts), Terry Holland (Worcs), Mike Meredith (Kent), Phil Hill(Somerset), Jenny Symonds (Cambridge University), Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).

2. Apologies

Apologies were received from Alan Dodds (Northants). Gary Booth (I.o.W.) , Ian Crissell (Suffolk), Michael Clark (Cambs), John Kime (Staffs),

3. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 13th March 2006 were approved.

4. Matters Arising


a) Sue Kennedy reported that most schools had now paid the supplement for the 2006 Conference to cover the need to pay VAT in addition to the conference fee. Just 4 schools remain to pay. It has already been agreed that Greneway School would be refunded for the additional admin costs the collection of this money has involved.

b) Nigel Wyatt has enquired about affiliate status for ELMLE but received no response. Sue Kennedy to forward contact.


Nigel Wyatt to continue to explore affiliation with ELMLE.


5. Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer reported that the accounts stood as follows:

Expenditure has exceeded income by approximately £3000 – but this had been foreseen in, for example, planning for two delegates to attend the ELMLE conference in January.

Current Account:    £4317.11

Savings Account:  £12565.83

Schools who have not yet paid their subs have been sent a reminder. Some L.A.s have no contact at present with the Forum – Harrow and Poole for example. Nigel Wyatt to seek to establish a point of contact.


Nigel Wyatt to seek to make contact with Las not presently active in the Forum.


6. Executive Officer's report

Nigel Wyatt represented the Forum at the national NAGTY conference on 11th June 2007. Students can become members from the age of 11 and one school reported that they had pupils who were members. It may be worth exploring the extent of NAGTY’s engagement with middle schools.

Nigel Wyatt presented the latest analysis of middle school inspection reports – for reports up to May 2007.

It was agreed to send a simple questionnaire to those heads who have been inspected seeking data on willingness of teams to consider school data for progress at KS3. The outcome will be presented at the national conference for discussion.

Kathy Seymour – Nottingham Trent University – has contacted me regarding research on middle school effectiveness she is undertaking.


Nigel Wyatt to send out a simple, easy to complete, questionnaire to the heads of those middle schools that have been inspected (with reply envelope) and prepare a report for conference.


7. Conference 2007

Sue Kennedy reported that there were 40 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

Sue Kennedy to contact Sue Swaim. The conference group to plan and arrange for the workshop sessions. Suggestions for sessions were:

Toby Greeley – NCSL – Green leadership ??? NCSL – International IPH Malcolm Johnson, Goldington Middle, Beds – Demonstrating success John Berrisford – Research questionnaire on pupil thinking. Jenny Symonds – Developing pupil researchers. Walkwood Middle, Redditch – Scrapping homework Graham Langtree – creative input Brain Moses – creative input

Ben Page, MORI was suggested as a possible speaker.

This year is the 40th birthday of the middle school movement – something to celebrate at conference.


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

8. Projecting future numbers of middle schools

Nigel Wyatt presented research projecting the likely numbers of middle school over the next five years, based on known information about the effects of reorganisation in some areas. This suggests that the current 339 middle schools will decline slowly to about 265 in 2010/2011. Where L.A.s have agreed in principle to reorganise these changes are being implemented on an area by area basis and will unfold over quite a long time scale.

Members felt the Forum continued to play an important role – and that this importance will increase for those middle schools which previously had a large number of middle schools. The AGM at the conference might consider how the work and function of the Forum might evolve over the coming five years.

Some initial suggestions were:

Broaden the attendance at conference – this might mean making conference shorter and cheaper. Make NCSL the permanent home for the conference. Networking – publicise school inset days and encourage staff from other schools to attend Set up twinning arrangements between middle schools in different authorities Arrange regional conferences that a wider range of staff might attend.

9. AOB

Under the agreed plan a new Chair will be needed – top be agreed at the November meeting.

10. Future meetings

Steering Committee Meetings arranged for the coming year:

·         Tuesday 20th November 2007

·         Tuesday 11th March 2008

·         Tuesday 10th June 2008

Venue - London Diocesan House, 36, Causton Street, London SW1P 4AU

Time ??

The meeting closed at 1.10 p.m.