National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 14th June 2005

1 Present

Mr Ian Bradbury (Somerset), Tony Blake (Norfolk), Simon Davies (W. Sussex), Terry Holland (Worcs), Sue Kennedy (Bedford), Mike Meredith (Kent), Ian Crissell (Suffolk), Pam Kidd (Northumberland), Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).

2. Apologies

Apologies were received from Gary Booth (I.o.W.), Mark Knowles ( Herts), John Kime (Staffs), Alan Dodds (Northants)

Kate Moorse


Kate Moorse, who is leading on the curriculum aspects of the KS3 review, spoke briefly about the process of the KS3 review leading up to consultation on proposals next year. She was keen for middle schools to play a part in this process and proposed to return for a longer discussion at the November meeting, possibly to be accompanied by the lead in the assessment aspects of the review.

The presumption of the review is that KS3 will be a three year programme.

Members will be able to learn more about the review as part of Margaret Talboys' presentation at the national conference.


Nigel Wyatt to arrange for further discussion at the November meeting.

Martin Ripley


Martin gave a very interesting demonstration of the proposed KS3 ICT tests, which will become statutory in 2008. This has big implications for middle schools who either

Will have pupils taking the test in Year 8 Will need to liaise closely with their High Schools to ensure that pupils have experienced the proposed test environment and are prepared.

 Schools interested in running the tests or practice tests will have to go through q 5 stage accreditation process, and may have hardware issues to address for the tests to run properly. The administration is run by RM for QCA.


Nigel Wyatt to liaise with Martin over plans to inform all middle schools of the tests and the accreditation process.

3. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 16th  March 2005 were approved.

4. Matters Arising

Recent developments:

a) Isle of Wight

The new council has opened discussions with stakeholders on the future direction for education on the Island. The age of transfer is now not an issue, but could be returned to if results do not improve.

b) Northumberland

A change of 5 seats in the local election would have brought about a change of control that would have ensured the future of the three tier system. This goal was missed by two seats and so the decision in principle to reorganise still stands and the next step is consultation in areas.

Deficit on the Staffordshire conference. The LEA has agreed to write off this overspend.

5. Executive Officer's report

The move to collecting subs by area has been partially successful.. So far over 8300 has been collected. Following reminders to treasurers, letters have now been sent to individual schools that have not so far paid their subs.

The Executive Officer has attended a meeting with QCA and circulated a report following attendance at the Capital Consultative Group at the DFES.

A press release about the result of the Isle of Wight election has resulted in an article in the TES by Gerald Haigh.

It was agreed that we should investigate further the possibility, under new proposals, for a simplified transition to foundation status, and the implications of this for middle schools facing reorganisation proposals.


Nigel Wyatt to arrange meetings with FASNA and DFES to explore further the issues surrounding foundation status, and to invite interested heads.

Also to make contact with existing middle schools with foundation status:

David Macey  - St  Johns  CE  Middle   Bromsgrove   01527   832376

Cheyne Middle School -  Kent Tel: 01795 662155

6. NMSF Website

Nigel Wyatt has investigated the cost of redesigning the website and after discussion a quote from Webbyfoot was agreed.

Issues of concern were

Ease of accessibility via search engines
Reasons for wanting to visit the site - the availability of up to date and relevant information.

It was agreed that the development of the site would be a shared responsibility between the Executive Officer and the Chair. Funds for this have already been allocated in the Development Plan.


Nigel Wyatt to liaise with the Chair of the development of the new website ready for the October conference.

6. Treasurers Report

The Forum accounts currently stand as follows

Current account : 8 015

Deposit account: 11 6362

Total:    19377

8. Somerset Conference 2005

Ian Bradbury reported that 51 people have so far booked for the conference It was agreed to go ahead with plans for the conference. Following circulation of a list of those attending and those attending by area members agreed to raise the profile of the conference in their areas.


Members to raise attendance at conference at their local meetings.

9. Conference 2006 - Bedfordshire

Bedfordshire LEA have been supportive of the proposal. It was proposed that the conference be held in early October. Sue Kennedy has been appointed to a headship in Hertfordshire but would still like to be involved in the planning.

It was agreed that she would assume the Chair of the Forum in October as planned.

10. Proposal for database of Y8 results

Somerset heads will demonstrate their work on a database of Y8 results for benchmarking at the AGM of the conference in 2005.

11. Parents Group

Members agreed to support the new network and suggest parent contacts in their areas who might be interested in working with the new umbrella group.


Interested parents to be prompted  to contact Chris Welsford or Fiona Wilson:

Chris Welsford - 07812 089986 - Standards Not Tiers - Isle of Wight Group


Fiona Wilson 01670 364464 / 07947 742343 Standards-Not-Tiers Northumberland Group


12. AGM at conference

It was agreed to ask members at conference for suggested areas for future work of the Forum.

If a copy of the constitution cannot be located we will have to consider proposing a new one for adoption at the AGM.

13. Area News

Kent Parents group SPAG set up to oppose academy proposal. Tracy Moreton from Doncaster to address a public meeting.

Bedfordshire Currently an open investigation of options are being considered for Bedfordshire schools.
Worcestershire All three architects of the Wyre Forest reorganisation have now left.
Suffolk No agenda yet for change to the middle school system. Colin Penfold visiting to discuss the two year KS3 PROJECT. 11. Future meetings

Steering Committee Meetings arranged for the coming year:

Tuesday 22nd November 2005 Tuesday 14th March 2006 Tuesday 13th June 2006

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

  The meeting closed at 2.00 p.m.