National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 13th June 2006

National Middle Schools' Forum

Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting held on 13th June 2006

1 Present

Sue Kennedy (Bedford), Simon Davies (W. Sussex), Mike Meredith (Kent), Mark Knowles (Herts), John Kime (Staffs), Mr Ian Bradbury (Somerset), Stephen Lupton (Kirklees), Ian Crissell (Suffolk), Michael Clark(Cambs) Nigel Wyatt (Associate Officer).

2. Apologies

Apologies were received from Gary Booth (I.o.W.), Alan Dodds (Northants)

Presentation by Tim Key HMI

Tim Key presented very interesting information regarding the outcome of recent (new framework) Ofsted inspections against the school"s CVA and relative attainment. These tended to show that inspectors were not slavishly following Panda data - but rather were able to take a wider view of the school’s performance.

3. Minutes

The minutes of the meeting of 1st March 2006 were approved.

4. Matters Arising

There is a meeting in London in to plan the next ELMLE conference to be held in Zurich, at which the Forum will be represented. Originally planned for May this will now take place in September.

5. Treasurer’s Report

The Treasurer reported that the accounts stood as follows:

Current Account: £2792.68

Savings Account: £14,874.63

Subscriptions 2006 – currently stand at £7,400. Nigel Wyatt to send reminder to individual schools which have so far not paid.

It has proved impossible to get the new version of Microsoft money to read the accounts. IT is therefore proposed to audit the accounts separately for the two periods – before and after the Mark Knowles became treasurer – and to present both accounts at the annual meeting.


Nigel Wyatt to send out reminders about subscriptions to schools which have not so far paid their subscriptions.

6. Executive Officer's report

Nigel Wyatt has represented the form at QCA and DFES meetings.

A new area of the website has been added – to celebrate and share interesting practice in middle schools. The first article has now been added. Others will follow. Articles are sought from middle school staff who have interesting developments to share – they need not be long.

Northumberland parents have been successful in their legal battle with the L.A. The judicial review of the consultation process found that parents had been denied the right to put forward or vote for a three tier option.

 9. Conference 2006 - Bedfordshire

Sue Kennedy reported 36 bookings so far. 60 delegates will be needed to break even and members agreed to promote attendance at the conference in their areas. The next mailing to Forum members will promote the possibility of flying to Stansted.

The main dinner will now be on the Monday evening, with entertainment on the Tuesday evening being considered. Members made suggestions for school visits on the Wednesday morning – including outstanding literacy work, delivering modern languages at KS2 and examples of good practice in delivering PSHCE.

The next conference planning meeting will be held on July18th at Lincroft Middle School.

10. Day Conferences

The presentation by Tim Key highlighted the importance for middle schools of the way that they present data on achievement through the SEF, allied to the need for middle schools to address seriously ways to raise achievement at KS2.

Members proposed a series of regional day conferences in the Spring Term 2007, to consider the issues of

· Raising achievement

· Preparing for inspection

· Sharing good practice in data analysis and presentation

The aim would be to draw on existing good practice among middle school staff, as well to draw on outside expertise.

Sue Kennedy and Nigel Wyatt agreed to plan these. Forum funding would allow for them to be either free or at minimal cost. Holding a number of meetings in regions would allow for ease of attendance – open not only to heads but to other interested middle schools staff.


Sue Kennedy and Nigel Wyatt to organise and deliver day conferences.

12. Area News

Herts – Area reviews do not have a particular three tier agenda. Cooperative work on the two year KS3 between middle and high schools has given rise to a positive perception of the three tier system.

Kent – There is a lack of official information about the proposed academy. An article in the Guardian today (13 6 06) describes the start of legal action by a parent. Leading to the possibility of a judicial review.

Kirklees – R M Grylls Middle School will not now close – the plan to close the school has been rejected by the schools’ adjudicator. This may prove an important judgement. Proposing two tier reorganisation if BSF project starts in 2010/2011 with a common age of transfer for the authority; however the schools are exploring the 11-14 model of Caedmon School and common in Leicestershire.

Suffolk – A major review of the 40 middle schools is underway – the major issue being the KS2 results of the middle schools which are below the county primary school average. A decision is likely this year – and this may lead to a mixed economy as there are different circumstances in different areas of the county.

West Somerset – Two options have been proposed – one of which is a modified three tier structure. The pressing issue which will have to addressed is falling school rolls – and so some change is inevitable. The County Executive consider the proposals next week.

Bedfordshire/Cambs – The current review was already in hand when the new Director took up post. The summary of consultation responses suggests majority support for continuing the three tier system. However High School heads took out an advert in the local press in favour of change to two tier, to which Sue Kennedy responded in a letter on behalf of the Forum. A decision is due in July. The costs of any change are not clear.

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 21st November 2006
Tuesday 13th March 2006
Tuesday 12th June 2006

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


The meeting closed at 2.00 p.m.