National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 1st March 2006

1 Present

Sue Kennedy (Bedford), Mike Meredith (Kent), Terry Holland (Worcs), Mark Knowles (Herts), John Kime (Staffs), Mr Ian Bradbury (Somerset), Stephen Lupton (Kirklees), Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).

2. Apologies

Apologies were received from Simon Davies (W. Sussex), Gary Booth (I.o.W.)

3. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 22nd November 2005 were approved.

4. Matters Arising

No matters arising

5. Treasurer's Report

The Treasurer reported that the accounts stood as follows:

Current Account:    2841.60
Savings Account:  11517.09

Steps to change to approved signatures for the accounts were now complete.

Two area associations have so far paid their subscriptions - Kent and Bedfordshire.


Nigel Wyatt to send out reminders about subscriptions to treasurers at the start of the summer term.

6. Executive Officer's report

Nigel Wyatt reported on a Capital Strategy Consultative Group meeting on Monday 27th February at the DFES, where there were two main areas of debate:
- The DFES have retained 150m to fund projects and pilots to encourage parent promoted schools, federations and the expansion of popular schools.

- Draft guidance for devolved formula capital for the coming two years including the inclusion of ICT monies into DFC, the facility to roll over funds beyond the current three year limit and the provision of hot school lunches.

A full report of the meeting is available on the website. Papers from the meeting available from Nigel Wyatt.

The Online Discussion Forum is now operational on the website. Use will depend upon it providing a useful service. Ian Bradbury will supply an article he has written arguing that heads should teach. Other areas for discussion suggested were :

         The use of mixed age tutor groups in middle schools

         The future of Year Heads following reorganisation of responsibility posts

We have received one proposal for an interesting practice article which has been commissioned. Others are now sought and members agreed to promote this possibility.

Support has been given to Bedfordshire heads at their recent meeting in their current review. They appreciated support material which they had accessed from the website and had been able to use in recent meetings.


Ian Bradbury to supply article to Nigel Wyatt
Members to promote the Interesting Practice Articles scheme.

7 Two Year KS3

There is a lot of interest in the two year Key Stage 3 and some promising results in the schools who are using it. It would be helpful if the imminent report on the project highlighted these results.

The current review of KS3 at QCA may provide another opportunity to press the advantages of the project. In Hertfordshire is has provided the basis for cooperative planning between middle and high school heads. They have visited schools in the project with a view to adopting the scheme.


Members agreed to raise this issue at the forthcoming middle school consultation day over the KS3 review arranged by QCA.

8. Somerset Conference 2005

Ian Bradbury circulated a summary of conference evaluations which were very positive. It was encouraging that the majority valued the educational visits only two felt they were unnecessary.

Member expressed their appreciation for those who organised such a successful conference.

9. Conference 2006 - Bedfordshire

Monday 9th Wednesday 11th October 2006
Venue Robinson Centre, Wyboston.
Theme: Leading for the future.

Sue Kennedy met with the steering group of the Bedfordshire heads on Monday. A possible programme was outlined by Sue and agreed by members. The next step will be to send out a booking flyer to all middle schools. The invitation will make clear that the conference is open to all middle school staff not just heads.

Some areas were not represented at the last conference these areas could be approached directly to encourage them to send representatives to the next conference.

10.  ELMLE

Sue Kennedy reported on her visit to the ELMLE conference in Copenhagen in January. Members were very interested in the focus on middle level educators and that this might represent a future direction for the Forum. There is a meeting in London in May to plan the next ELMLE conference to be held in Zurich, at which the Forum will be represented. We will investigate becoming affiliated to ELMLE.


Forum to be represented at May meeting and to investigate becoming affiliated to the ELMLE organisation.

11. Ofsted inspections and KS2 results 2005

Nigel Wyatt presented research on Ofsted inspection reports for middle schools under the new inspection framework, together with comparative data from the 2005 KS2 performance tables.

Members expressed a number of concerns about the way Ofsted inspections of middle schools were being conducted in some cases. Some teams seem to place undue reliance on the Panda and KS2 results and are either unwilling or ill prepared to consider other data the school may present regarding KS3. Concerns were also expressed about the public statements of at least one contractor. It was agreed to seek to invite someone from Ofsted to discuss these concerns to our next meeting.

Nigel Wyatt agreed to make the Ofsted research available on the website in a more finished form.


Nigel Wyatt to contact Ofsted with a view to inviting a representative to our next meeting. 

12. Area News

Herts - Middle and High school heads are working cooperatively researching the two year KS3 project.

Kent Ofsted are to visit the middle schools to conduct a pre-feasibility study for a possible academy resulting from reorganisation. The Sheppey Parents Action Group have been active in combating the academy proposal and are considering legal action.

Kirklees R M Grylls Middle School is due to close due to falling rolls. Proposing two tier reorganisation if BSF project starts in 2010/2011 with a common age of transfer for the authority.

Worcs The Wyre Forest reorganisation is behind schedule. A middle school head has got the headship of a secondary school.

Somerset Options following a review in West Somerset will be presented on March 17th.

Leicestershire Looking to review the future of their high schools.

13. AOB

Agreed to discuss the role of sports partnerships at the next meeting.

14. Future meetings

Steering Committee Meetings arranged for the coming year:

Tuesday 13th June 2006

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

  The meeting closed at 1.30 p.m.