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Summary Notes from a Meeting of the Association of Sandwell Governing Bodies (ASGB) held at 6.15pm on 11th October 2017 at Guardian House, West Bromwich


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Welcome and Apologies

Mr Patel MBE, Chair, ASGB welcomed guests and members to the meeting and thanked them for attending.

Governance Update – Craig Felton, Director Governance SIPS

Mr Felton advised members of the following:

  • Constitution of Governing Bodies of Maintained Schools 2017: from 1st September, elected parent and staff governors may be removed in certain circumstances.
  • Sandwell now has a designated National Leader in Governance (NLG)
  • A new Skills Audit has been introduced by the National Governance Association.
  • Focus will be on the National Funding Formula which promises a 0.5% increase in funding, far less than expenditure will have increased.
  • Asked about training for new chairs, Mr Felton advised that currently, there was no formal training in place but in the interim, training was being carried out informally.  He was not sure of the number of new chairs appointed this year but was aware that many schools were having problems with recruiting governors.
  • A member reminded colleagues that the NGA Chairs’ Handbook and Welcome to Governance were an excellent investment and could be purchased for the relatively small, discounted amount of £6 from the NGA.
  • This led on to a short discussion regarding the push towards smaller governing boards and how this increased the work load and pressure on fewer governors.
  • Mr Felton advised that there had been ‘massive changes’ to the Academies Financial Handbook as a result of the realisation that practices, especially in MATs, were not strict enough. Relating this to the previous discussion, Mr Hussain observed that larger governing bodies could be bureaucratic but they did provide the ‘checks and balances’ that would not be possible with, for example, a governing board of seven.
  • In response to a question about governor recruitment, Mr Felton confirmed that various recruitment campaigns regularly took place such as on LA staff payslips, adverts, engaging with local businesses, inspiring Governance and SGOS. Mr Hussain added that NGA also offered help in recruiting through Young Governors and Inspiring Governors Alliance.

Admissions, Hard to Place, Appeals, School Places – Paul Hayward and Donna Williams

Members had been given a copy of the presentation (Appendix 1) on arrival.

Mr Hayward and Ms. Williams took members through it, adding further comments/ information and answering questions. These have been added to the presentation clearly marked ‘ASGB Notes’.

(Please contact the support officer if you would like a copy of the annotated presentation)

Minutes and Matters Arising from the AGM meeting held 28th June 2017

Minutes of the meeting held 28th June 2017 were available at the meeting. It was

Resolved that the minutes of the AGM held 28th June 2017 be accepted as a true and accurate record of the meeting and be signed as such, by the Chair.

Matters Arising

36/17: The clerk confirmed that the attendance criteria referred to at the AGM had been received from Mr Ward and circulated to members. Members observed that the LA appeared to be ‘cracking down’ on poor attendance.

There was a short discussion in which members shared their views, agreeing that a lack of flexibility made it very difficult but that it was the duty of governors to emphasise the importance of attendance.

Minutes and Matters Arising from the Executive only Meeting held 13th September 2017

Draft minutes had been made available, for information, to all members at the start of the meeting.

The minutes were agreed by Executive members and it was

Resolved that the minutes of the Executive meeting held on 13th September 2017 be agreed and signed as such, by the Chair.

Any Additional Items:

  1. Lee Maskell had resigned from the ASGB Executive. There is therefore a vacancy and we would love to hear from you if you would like to know more about joining the Executive. Please contact the support officer.
  2. Sandwell Leisure Trust (STL) had asked to present at a future meeting. Although there were concerns that this might not meet the ‘strategic’ criteria set for presentations, the support officer was asked to find out exactly what they wanted to talk to us about.
  3. Rose Carr had advised that Budget Consultation was likely to commence at the beginning of November and had requested a Budget Consultation meeting with ASGB on 8th November. This will be confirmed as soon as possible, but please make a note in your diaries.
  4. Elaine Benbow and the Chair had attended the NGA Conference on 23rd September and would provide a written report for circulation (to follow).
  5. Mr Hussain and the support officer had attended the NGA Governance awards on 5th September 2017. Mr Hussain, who had presented one of the awards, gave a short report. As part of his role as a judge, Mr Hussain had visited 7 or 8 schools and compiled a list of questions which he would share to reassure Governing Boards that they were on track or to provide new ideas (to follow).     
  6. The support officer confirmed that she would also forward details on the finalists which would serve as examples of good practice (to follow).
  7. NGA Annual Conference and AGM will take place on 18th November 2017  Members were encouraged to attend, places need to be booked and attendance free for one member of each GB.
  8. Not mentioned at the meeting, but Mr Somerfield had highlighted that Ofsted had produced a Five Year Strategy and a copy of the summary is attached.

Next Meeting: Next scheduled meeting 13th December but a budget consultation meeting will now take place on 8th November.