National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 16th March 2005

1 Present

Mr Ian Bradbury (Somerset), Tony Blake (Norfolk), Gary Booth (I.o.W.), Simon Davies (W. Sussex), Terry Holland (Worcs), Sue Kennedy (Bedford), Mike Meredith (Kent), Mark Knowles ( Herts), Sylvia Crockett (Suffolk), John Kime (Staffs), Richard Litson (Northumberland), Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).

2. Apologies

Apologies were received from Margaret Morgan (Bedfordshire), Chris Robotham (Staffs), John Dear (I.o.W.)

3. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 23rd November 2004 were approved, with the addition of Mike Meredith as website Officer for the Forum.

4. Matters Arising

NMSF constitution - Nigel Wyatt reported that he had searched the Forum archive but had not been able to find a copy of the constitution that was adopted at Poole conference. Members of the committee agreed to see if they had a copy. 

ITT institutions offering middle years courses - Nigel Wyatt agreed to circulate the list with these minutes (please see attached).

5. Executive Officer's report

Nigel Wyatt has created a list of treasurers for local associations and sent out invoices for subscriptions. So far over 3000 has been collected. It was agreed to send out reminders after Easter. 

Nigel Wyatt has visited Northumberland and Isle of Wight colleagues to offer support as they face reorganisation proposals. Following the visit to the Island a paper showing that reorganisation does not raise standards more quickly than in remaining three tier areas was produced and circulated. 

The Executive Officer has attended a meeting with Eteach and circulated a report following attendance at the Capital Consultative Group at the DFES that was welcomed by members. 

The Webmistress has indicated that she wishes to resign. Following discussion it was agreed that the Executive Officer will present proposals, and associated costs, for a number of different ways of continuing and improving the service provided by the website at the next meeting. 

The new logo, used on the agenda, was approved. 

A Spring Newsletter has been sent to all middle schools promoting the conference and recent events in Northumberland and the Isle of Wight.


Nigel Wyatt to send out reminders for subscriptions after Easter. 

Nigel Wyatt to explore the strengths of middle schools systems in other countries. 

Nigel Wyatt to prepare proposals for the management and development of the website at the next meeting.

6. Treasurers Report

The Forum accounts currently stand as follows

Current account : 5 298

Deposit account: 11 307

Total:    16 606

Staffordshire conference John Kime presented accounts for the Staffordshire conference that indicated a deficit of 1,484. He agreed to discuss some items in the expenditure further, and to check that the payments from all delegates had now been received. He will report again at the June meeting


John Kime to report on enquires concerning the accounts for the Staffordshire conference at the June meeting

8. Somerset Conference 2005

Ian Bradbury reported that the initial response to the conference mailing has been encouraging with 20 people so far registering and paying their deposits. 

In order to enable Ian Bradbury to sign the hotel contract it was agreed that the Forum would underwrite the cancellation fee, up to a maximum of 4,125, in the unlikely event that the conference had to be cancelled due to lack of support. The latest date for cancellation is 23rd August after which further penalties would be incurred. 

Members considered the draft programme and made some suggestions that will be considered at the next conference-planning meeting on April 26th. 

Progress will be reviewed at the June meeting.

9. Conference 2006 - Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire LEA have been supportive of the proposal which will be discussed further at a meeting in the near future. With the proximity of Cambridge it seemed appropriate to consider Science as a possible theme, together with the opportunity to see classrooms for the future being developed in some Bedfordshire schools.

10. Area News

Staffordshire funding from BSF looks to be a distant prospect and so the three-tier system looks to be secure at the moment.
Northumberland John Kime represented the Forum at a recent conference held at Alnwick Castle that was well received see NEAG website. The council has blocked Northumberland schools from visiting the NEAG website and has promoted a rival go-two site by hosting it.
W. Sussex an interesting development has been the appointed of a joint headteacher between a first school and a small 10 to 13 middle school (170 NOR).
Kent Proposal for an academy across split sites still being considered.
Bedfordshire There has been an LSC review and pressure for a review of the three-tier system from some VA schools and neighbouring authorities.
Worcestershire The leading Tory councillor behind the proposal to reorganise the Wyre Forest area has been been deselected and has lost the education portfolio. Proposal goes to school organisation committee shortly. If it goes ahead the authority may find it difficult to go ahead with reviews and changes in other areas.
Suffolk Local cluster groups are to present proposals shortly which will then be considered in May.
Norfolk Difficulties with Jarvis and PFI projects have now been resolved with an injection of government funds. Planned changes will still go ahead in 2006 and 2007.
Herts There a three middle schools pyramids and they are pressing for a single adviser to oversee these.
Isle of Wight Consultants from Surrey have reported and the council is to consider their recommendations for reorganisation shortly. The authority will be adopting the two-year KS3 in September.
Somerset Meeting on Friday to discuss the two-year KS3. Falling rolls present real problems that the LEA will have to address. 11. Future meetings

Steering Committee Meetings arranged for the coming year:

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.