National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 15th June 2004

1 Present

Tony Blake (Norfolk), Gary Booth (I.o.W.), Simon Davies (W. Sussex), Terry Holland (Worcs), Paul Hugall (Newcastle), John Kime (Staffs), Chris Robotham (Staffs), Mike Meredith (Kent), Sue Kennedy (Bedford), Mark Knowles ( Herts), Christine Thompson (Leicestershire), Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).

2. Apologies

Apologies were received from  John Dear (I.o.W.), Margaret Morgan (Bedfordshire), David Clark (Cambs), Sara Mazira (Suffolk)

3. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 16th March 2004 were approved.

4. Matters Arising

Nigel Wyatt to write to Key Stage 3 strategy regarding recently produced Key Stage 3 leaflet for parents which assumes pupils will be starting a new school at the beginning of Key Stage 3.


Nigel Wyatt to write to KS3 strategy team.


5. Presentation by Tim Key HMI

Tim Key presented charts showing the results achieved in secondary schools with different ages of entry, by size of school and the findings from Ofsted inspections. The slides will be circulated to members of the committee.

New Inspection System - for implemetation from September 2005 (subject to changes in legislation). In the new short notice inspections the emphasis will be on auditing the school's own self evaluation systems. Inspectors will not be asble to visit nearly as many lessons as currently, and features such as the parental survey will not be possible.


Tim Key to be invited to report on the new framework for inspections in 2005.

Nigel Wyatt to circulate the slides from the presentation.

5. Presentation by Colin Penfold – Two Year KS3 Project

Unfortunately Colin Penfold was unable to attend to meeting due to personal circumstances.

While the emphasis of the project is to only enter those pupils for KS3 in Year 8 who are likely to achieve the expected standard of Level 5, many schools felt it important to enter all pupils (except those who would be disapplied). Mike Meredith reported that for tow of the Kent schools the availability of these KS3 results for all pupils had been a big asset in their Ofsted inspections.


Nigel Wyatt to invite Colin to attend our next meeting in November.


7. Officers report

Membership for 2004 currently stands at 166. The current arrangements for collecting subscriptions are time consuming and complex, with some schools paying twice. We need to consider a simpler arrangement, encouraging county middle school associations to pay NMSF subscriptions where possible.

Nigel Wyatt reported on the support offered to members in Northumberland, Poole, Dorset and the Isle of Wight who are currently subject to reviews.

A press release concerning the achievements of the Kent middle schools at KS3 included in the 2003 national KS3 performance tables is currently in draft for agreement.

Research by Kathy Seymour of Nottingham Trent University has led to a report following a survey of schools. (Contact

Discussion with Stephen Henderson, Supporting Children and Young People Group, DFES, Sheffield, on the publication of careers guidance for middle schools seen in draft at the last committee meeting. This is available at the following links


Nigel Wyatt to

a)      Investigate middle schools in relation to the Building Schools for the Future programme


c)      write to KS3 strategy concerning the leaflet for parents

8. Treasurers Report

Simon Davies reported the current balances as:

Current Account   £ 8,495

Deposit Account  £11,155

Few have opted for the new standing order method of payment with this method of payment being prohibited in some authorities.

9. Website report

On Thursday 10th June Mike Meredith, Barbara MacLeod and Nigel Wyatt attended a meeting at the Eteach head office in Camberley to discuss the development of the NMSF website and links to the Eteach website.

The Eteach jobsearch will appear as a page within the NMSF site with links on the Eteach website to our website. Various improvements to the site were discussed and these will be developed in conjunction with the newly adopted logo for NMSF.

Eteach will provide a weekly middle school job bulletin to all middle schools by email. This will contain a link to the NMSF site for further details of the posts. This will have the NMSF logo at the top. To enable this an accurate list of school emails will be required.

The new features of the site to be launched at the national conference in October.


Nigel Wyatt to co-ordinate these developments with Barbara MacLeod and Eteach.


10. Conference 2004

A colour flyer about the conference has gone out to all schools resulting in 25 firm bookings. Staffordshire LEA have agreed to meet the costs of the publicity materials, postage and administration.

11. Conference 2005

Ian Bradbury presented an initial outline of plans for the 2005 conference with the working title "Forward to the Future”. Committee members agreed that a venue in Bristol would be essential to attract members to attend due to its accessibility.

12. Conference 2006

No arrangements for the conference in 2006 have yet been made and the committee is open to suggestions from local associations.

13. Logo Competition

The committee received over 100 entries for the competition to design a new logo and letterhead for the forum.

Winning design – Jessica Drew, St Edward"s Middle School ,Leek.

KS2 runner up – Lauren Cridland

KS3 runner up – Monet Adam

Both of Danesfield Middle School, Somerset


Nigel Wyatt to


¨       write to the prize winners and notify all the schools that entered of the outcome.


¨       produce new headed paper and compliments slips in consultation with NMSF officers.


14. Area News

§         Isle of Wight – A review is continuing with proposals to change the sixth form provision on the Island from the LSC being a key factor.

§         Norfolk – funding difficulties have resulted in delays to proposed changes to the middle school system.


§         Newcastle – Following the closure of one middle school, three more are now due to close in July 2005. Funding is partly from the Building Schools for the Future programme.

§         Northumberland – strong parental support for the present system has resulted in some effective publicity and the status quo being put forward as an option in consultation.

§         Kent – Consultation now to take place following consultations.

§         Bedfordshire – No consideration being given to changes in the system.

§         Staffordshire  - wholesale change away from three tier appears to be ruled out with reviews of surplus places being carried out in zones.

§         Hertfordshire – 6 middle schools remain. No planes for review.

§         Somerset – surplus places are an issue in some areas. The LEA is planning to review these areas.

15. AOB

Ian Bradbury asked that we raise with the DFES the position of middle schools in the specialist school initiative. While middle schools can apply as part of a pyramid they cannot apply in their own right, meaning that KS3 pupils in middle schools miss out on possible funding.

16. Items for next meeting Review of Executive Officer post. 17. Future meetings

Steering Committee Meetings arranged for the coming year:

¨       Tuesday 23rd November  2004

¨       Tuesday 15th March 2005

¨       Tuesday 14th June 2005

All at 11.00 a.m. at London Diocesan House, 36, Causton Street, London SW1P 4AU

  The meeting closed at 2.10 p.m.