Report1)Membership / The move to collecting subscriptions through the area organisations has greatly reduced the administrative costs and potential for confusion. Subs received from over 206 schools so far – most via their LEA association – payments received from
Bedfordshire / Staffordshire
Dorset / Suffolk
Hertfordshire / West Sussex
Isle of Wight / Wiltshire
Kent / Worcestershire
Somerset / Northumberland
Total income so far £10300
This is an increase over last year (190 schools)
I have established a list of treasurers for the local LEA groups. The initial letters for subscriptions went to the treasurers this year.
After sending reminders to treasurers I have now sent out letters to all remaining schools who have not paid.
The Steering Committee met on three occasions
15th March, 2005
14th June, 2005.
2 & 3) National Conferences / I have attended conference planning meetings at DanesfieldMiddle School in Somerset. The forum is grateful to Ian Bradbury for all the hard work he and his team have put in to the planning of the 2005 conference, and for the support of Judith Richardson from Somerset County Council.
4) Support to local areas and improving links with the Steering Committee. / A library of support materials to assist colleagues facing reorganisation proposals is developing – these are available through the NMSF website. I have visited colleagues in theIsle of Wight andNorthumberland, and given telephone support to Heads and governors inDorset, Worcestershire, Newcastle, North Yorkshire and Staffordshire.
Northumberland – The council have agreed to proceed with reorganisation. However in August the parents’ group were given approval for a judicial review of the consultation process. This is due to be heard next year and they are currently in the process of raising the funds for the court case. See the NEAG website.
John Kime represented the Forum at a conference organised by NEAG at AlnwickCastle.
John Kime represented the Forum at a meeting of Worcestershire County Council who were considering the WyreForest 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 school organisation committee approved the change to two tier.
Isle of Wight – The change in overall control of the council means that the three tier system will now be retained. A press release has resulted in coverage of this story in the TES by Gerald Haigh – available on the website.
For the visit to the Isle of Wight I wrote a short paper looking at whether reorganisation to a two tier system does in fact raise standards. It shows that when taken over the last ten years those areas that have reorganised have shown a slower rate of improvement than those areas that have retained three tier systems. This is available for download from the website.
5) Research and links with external agencies / During the year the Steering Committee has developed the following links:
QCA – KS3 review - 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.
QCA - Margaret Talboys. A presentation to steering committee and discussion on the development of creativity and enjoyment, and work that QCA is doing in this area.
QCA - Martin Ripley – KS3 ICT tests. 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 as part of the two year KS3.
- Will need to liaise closely with their High Schools to ensure that pupils have experienced the proposed test environment and are prepared.
DFES – Foundation Status. A group of heads met with officials at the DFES on 17th September, to explore the potential for the new fast track process for changing to foundation status to offer any protection for middle schools facing reorganisation proposals. See separate report to the AGM.
FASNA – Foundation status. FASNA have produced a useful guide to foundation status (with DFES funding). They will also provide a representative to meet with groups of schools locally who are interested in exploring the issue further.
Capital Strategy Consultative Group. I have been attending these meetings to represent the Forum where there appear to be issues of interest. Recent issues have covered – the extension of Building schools for the Future to primary schools (of interest to 8-12 middle schools) in 2008; Capital funding for VA schools; Capital funding for newly established sixth form places (of interest if there is the possibility of sixth form college provision in your area); the development of the BSF and Academies programme. Please email me if you would like to see any of these papers.
QCA Annual Report. I was invited by QCA to attend their Annual Report Meeting in London, to represent the Forum. This led to the interesting presentation to steering committee over developments in testing of ICT at KS3 – where I suspect from feedback from heads that middle schools have been left out of the information loop about this important development.
Training and Development Agency (formerly TTA). I have represented the Forum at their annual report day on 17th October.
DFES – KS3 leaflet. This leaflet is designed for parents of pupils preparing for KS3. It presumes that the child will change school. After writing about this to the DFES they replied that they had made it available online and that we were free to amend it! Suffolk heads have amended the leaflet to make it suitable for use in middle school systems where there is no change of school at the start of KS3.
Eteach.I suggest we try to gain some feedback from members who have taken advantage of the Eteach service.
NAHT.Hilary Street, who writes the Leadership Papers for the NAHT, was seeking examples of middle school practise in subject leadership at KS2 after discussion with John Dear. Arranged for her to talk to a Norfolk middle school.
I have been contacted by Roger Barlow from New Zealand seeking information about our schools, and their history in particular.
6a) Promoting the image of the Forum and services to members. / Now that we have established a list of school emails it has been possible to send out newsletters each term by email. You should have received these. If you have not then please let me know – or better still send me an email so that I can update your email address in the list. Maintaining an up to date list of email addresses forHeads is quite difficult – but the use of email saves greatly on postage and printing costs.
6b) Developing the NMSF website / The development of a new website has been a major piece of work and a chance to incorporate new features:
A new searchable list of middle schools nationally. This will enable you to call up all the schools in a particular LEA or location. I would be grateful if you could check your entry and email me any amendments.
I have looked through the Forum archives and included a few interesting documents from the past – the papers for the first national conference; past press reports;some key government papers; the conclusions of the Keele study and NFER study.
I am developing a section on careers in middle schools which includes a list of providers of ITT courses for middle years, together with some testimonials from young teachers starting their careers in middle schools.
Barbara MacLeod has resigned as the webmistress – thank you to her for her work on the website over many years.
Standards-Not-Tiers. / Parents from the Isle of Wight and Northumberland have proposed a new national group linking together groups in local areas for support and more effective lobbying.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
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, LondonSW1P 4AU