National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 9th November 2009

National Middle Schools’ Forum


Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 17th November 2009

1 Present

Barbara Reseigh (Northants),  Sue Kennedy (Herts), Terry Holland (Worcs), Gary Booth (I.o.W), Phil Hill (Somerset), Michael Clark (Cambs), Paul Hugall (Newcastle) Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).

2. Apologies

Apologies were received from John Kime (Staffs), Iain Clark (Dorset),

3. Minutes

Amendment – Minutes should show Sue Kennedy as Herts not Beds, apologies.

4. Matters Arising


No matters arising

Discussion item

Cambridge Primary Review

Members considered a paper outlining the key findings of the Review in relation to middle schools

v      A recommendation the further closures are halted

v      A concern that the rigidity of the Key Stages a re a barrier to progress

v      A call for specialist teachers and specialist facilities for upper primary age pupils.

The findings of the Review were welcomed by members.


Nigel Wyatt to


v      Revise the paper and make available to members and on the website.

v      To produce a simple leaflet schools might consider using with the staff, governors and parents

v      To approach the Cambridge Review seeking to support them in promoting this agenda

v      Write to Directors of Children’s Services in three tier authorities setting out these findings.

5. Election of officers

The following were approved unanimously:

Barbara Reseigh – Chair

Terry Holland – Vice- Chair

Treasurer – Sue Kennedy

6. Review of the post of Executive Officer

The committee thanked the Executive Officer, Nigel Wyatt, for the quality of the work he does for the Forum.

Members reviewed the current job description and agreed some changes – see attached – including a daily rate of £300 for up to 21 days work in the year.

7. Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer reported that the accounts were unchanged from the position reported at the AGM.

The closing balance at 20th August 2009 was £13599.20. This is approximately £2000 less than the balance at the equivalent point in the previous year.

Sue Kennedy has met with Mark Knowles to take over the accounts and a further meeting is planned shortly.


Nigel Wyatt to send out letters and invoices for subscriptions 2010 in January.


·         Nigel Wyatt to attend launch of middle school project and explore possibility of input at the October conference.

·          Nigel Wyatt to explore the possibility of the Forum becoming members of the new Curriculum Foundation which will be holding its inaugural conference in Birmingham in July 8th.

·         Nigel Wyatt to check the entries on the 2009 Directory and circulate.

·         Nigel Wyatt to organise a survey of middle school hours, curriculum provision and extended curriculum provision with a report for discussion at Conference.


8. Conference 2009

Conference evaluations show the conference to have been highly successful – many suggesting the best yet, and this was echoed by committee members who reported finding it uplifting and informative.

Sue Kennedy presented interim figures for the conference, suggesting a possible loss of the order of £2000. Nine delegates withdrew from the conference at short notice – leaving the Forum facing a substantial loss form the conference. Members agreed to write to these schools seeking full payment as would be expected by any other commercial organisation. The rooms for these delegates had to be confirmed four weeks before the conference and then paid for.


Nigel Wyatt to draft a letter on behalf of the committee seeking full payment from those who withdrew up to four weeks before conference – to be sent out by Greneway School


9. Conference 2010

The committee discussed ways of organising the conference for 2010 to both celebrate 40 years of middle schools and look ahead to the years to come.

A small committee agreed to meet in January to develop these suggestions:

v      Barbara Reseigh (Northants),

v      Sue Kennedy (Herts),

v      Terry Holland (Worcs),

v      Michael Clark (Cambs),

v      Paul Hugall (Newcastle)

v      Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).


Nigel Wyatt to circulate possible dates for a sub-committee meeting in January 2010.

10 The Development Plan 2010

It was agreed

1) To introduce a category of Associate Membership

This could be open to retired heads, those interested in middle years in other types of school in this country (such as primary or lower secondary school teachers), and middle years practitioners in other countries.

There would be a reduced membership fee and an entitlement to attend national conference at the members’ rate.

One aim would be to promote a genuine international dimension to the conference.

2) The committee has been approached by Sue Anderson from Prague about attending steering committee meetings. It was felt that this would not always be appropriate at meetings where purely business items were to be discussed – but she would be welcome to join us when there was a relevant speaker attending steering.

3) After long discussion it was agreed not to support two heads to attend ELMLE this year – but to explore ways of developing the international links for the group.


Nigel Wyatt to work with Barbara Reseigh to develop the Associate Membership scheme Nigel Wyatt to write to Sue Anderson

11. Area News

·         Somerset –The Local Authority is considering reorganisation in South Somerset as a means of addressing the falling rolls.

·         Dorset – the authority has decided to reorganise the middle school system in the Purbeck area but must still consult on the details of their proposals.

·         Bedford– The evening before Steering Committee the new Bedford Borough Council decided by a margin of two votes to reorganise the middle school system in the borough area following a very hard fought campaign by parents, governors and heads in order to retain the system. It remains an open question whether the promised capital will be forthcoming for the proposed changes in the light of the national situation.

·         Herts – There are discussions in the Royston area on new ways of working across the middle school pyramid.

·         Isle of Wight – The plan for the middle schools to close in July 2011 in on course.


13. Future meetings

Steering Committee Meetings arranged for the coming year:

o        Tuesday 9th March 2010

o        Tuesday 8th June 2010

At 10.30 am – St Saviour’s Church, St George’s Square, Pimlico, SW1V 9AL

The meeting closed at 1.05 p.m.