National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 23rd November 2004

1 Present

Mr Ian Bradbury (Somerset), Tony Blake (Norfolk), Gary Booth (I.o.W.), John Dear (I.o.W.), Simon Davies (W. Sussex), Terry Holland (Worcs), Paul Hugall (Newcastle), Sue Kennedy (Bedford), Mark Knowles ( Herts), Sylvia Crockett (Suffolk), Mr Jeff Moore (Kirklees), Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).

2. Apologies

Apologies were received from Margaret Morgan (Bedfordshire), John Kime (Staffs), Chris Robotham (Staffs), Mike Meredith (Kent), Christine Thompson (Leicestershire), Richard Litson (Northumberland)

3. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 15th June 2004 were approved.

4. Matters Arising

Suffolk heads have amended the DFES KS3 leaflet to make it suitable for use in middle school systems where there is no change of school at the start of KS3. 

It was noted that Tim Key did not address all of the issues in the 'shopping list' of areas of interest in the data he presented - specifically value added progress information from KS1 to KS3 and KS2 to GCSE. The restriction on the use of the data is frustrating.

5. Election of Officers

The following officers were elected: 

Vice Chair: Sue Kennedy (Bedfordshire)

Treasurer : Simon Davies ( West Sussex)

Executive Officer: Nigel Wyatt


Nigel Wyatt to circulate copies of the NMSF constitution which was adopted at the Poole conference.

5. Executive Officer's report

Subs the system of seeking subs from individual schools last year led to administrative problems, with some schools paying twice. It was agreed to attempt to collect subs via the LEA groups in the coming year.

Support to LEA groups John Kime represented the Forum at a meeting of Worcestershire County Council who were considering the Wyre Forest area. By a narrow majority the Council voted to send the decision back to cabinet for reconsideration. However at cabinet the decision to ask for a referendum was rejected and the original decision adopted. The proposal now goes to School Organisation Committee.


Nigel Wyatt to seek payment of subs in the coming year through a named person in each LEA group and only from individual schools where this proves impossible.

7. Treasurers Report

The Forum accounts currently stand as follows 

Current account : 3 068

Deposit account: 11 251 

Total:    14 319 

This is after a cheque for 2000 has been sent to Staffordshire to cover the costs of the conference. It is hoped that subs for the coming year, due in January, will bring in approximately 9000.

8. Staffordshire Conference 2004

The committee members were very appreciative of the work of heads in Staffordshire for organising a very successful conference. The speakers were judged to be very effective and the venue very pleasant. Many very positive comments had been made to committee members during the conference. 

The committee asked that accounts for the conference be presented at the next meeting. 

Two members of the committee thought they had not yet been billed for the conference.


Accounts to be presented at the March meeting

9. Conference 2005

Ian Bradbury shared the draft programme for the conference with members and suggestions for improvements sought. The conference themes will be 'Every Child Matters' and  'Schools for the Future'. 

Conference dates: 19 21 October 2005

Venue: Corus Hotel Bristol 

It was suggested that Somerset heads be asked to set up an association fund (with contributions of say 100 each) to help with the costs of setting up the conference, with the prospect of a share of any profits from the conference as has usually happened in the past with other associations. 

It was agreed that the Forum would underwrite the potential cancellation charge of 2000 should this be necessary. The decision to go ahead and the level of commitment will be reviewed at the March meeting. 

It was agreed that support from Executive Officer should be built into the costings for the conference itself.

10. Conference 2006

Bedfordshire are considering hosting the 2006 conference and will be meeting shortly to consider this.

11. Development Plan 2005

With some amendments the Development Plan 2005 was agreed by all.


12. NMSF Logo

After considering a number of possible designs it was agreed to retain the existing design with the addition of "The Middle Schools' National Voice" in the lower semicircle.


NW to agree new headed paper and compliments slips.

Also to produce a business card with NMSF contact details.

13. Speakers at meetings in coming year.

Committee members made a number of suggestions including: 

QCA following meeting next week with invited middle school heads.

Tim Key further data and new framework

Colin Penfold developments in 2 Year KS3 Project

Workforce remodelling

TTA middle years ITT courses

NAHT invite the new general secretary

David Bell


Nigel Wyatt to arrange for speakers with the Chairman.

14. Area News

Norfolk Difficulties with Jarvis and PFI projects have delayed the implementation of the move to two tier until 2008. Norwich is still planned for change in 2007. Isle of Wight Consultants from Surrey are looking at the structure of schools on the island for a decision in March. Newcastle There will be only three middle schools from September 2005. There are many difficulties arising from new buildings not being ready for the change over. Bedfordshire A review will begin in January with feedback in April. Staffordshire  - The three tier system in Leek  is to be retained good news this decision may be revisited when BSF funds become available. Hertfordshire 6 middle schools remain. No plans for a review. Crawley major problems arising with change of 8-12's due to buildings not being ready. Suffolk New advert for the post of Director of Children's Services. Somerset a review of education provision due to surplus places. Unlikely to close large middle schools. Kirklees Schools were consulted over the authority's BSF bid and it states that three tier system will remain. 17. Future meetings

Steering Committee Meetings arranged for the coming year: 

       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 2.00 p.m.