Beverley Dolman The Real Life Learning Academy Trust [318] 19 January 2021
Board of Directors   Minutes   30/03/2020
Online meeting  Monday, March 30, 2020  4 pmChair: David Shaw   Clerk: Su Turner   
FINAL: The minutes are confirmed and locked.
Please note the start time of 4pm. As this is a virtual meeting, cake will not be provided - please source your own. Dave will be sending out instructions on how to use Microsoft Teams in the meeting.
Governors Attending: >Lynn Dove, Beverley Dolman, Anna Pike, Elizabeth Ford, Fiona Sloyan, Yvonne Wood, Jo Edwards, David Shaw, Louise McDonough,  
Governors Apologies: >Richard Lewis
Non Governors Attending: >
Non Governors Apologies: >
Agenda Item 1  Welcome and Apologies
MINUTE  Apologies were received and accepted from Richard Lewis
Agenda Item 2  Declarations of interest

LF is chair of Bridgemere, and YW is a Partner in a local accountancy firm.

Agenda Item 3  Minutes of the previous meeting

DS ran through the actions agreed at the last meeting and noted:


  • Directors had not been in touch and all were happy with Trust Governor
  • Training on Trust Governor is being arranged
  • DS did write to parents to alert them to BD’s secondment to Ofsted, which was cut short.  BD confirmed that she had been leading inspections and was signed off to lead them.

Outcome: All Directors approved the minutes as a true reflection of the meeting

DECISION  Directors approved the minutes of the meeting of the 12th February
Agenda Item 4  Matters Arising

There were no matters arising that were not already on the agenda

Agenda Item 5  Coronavirus Update and implications

DS had sent out a written update to Directors, and BD gave a verbal update on how the schools has coped to date.


During the first week there had been between 6 - 12 pupils per day, and this was dictated by parents shift patterns.  She said that school can only really plan for the week ahead.  She had asked whether parents would be needing school over Easter, and she explained that there were 4 families that needed provision.

The Trust is running a hub model, with Acton remaining open for all schools in the trust.


Q: Are staff ok and happy with the arrangements?

R: Yes.  We have taken the decision to write to staff to tell them that all staff will get a 2-week break but that they may need to cover Easter.  This doesn't apply to SLT who are happy to come in.


There has been an issue with locking up, but the site manager from Bridgemere will be asked to support Acton.


Q: What about food how have we been feeding the children? 

R: The LA has been covering this as the cooks were self isolating


Directors were keen that provision for SLT to take a break were built in.  


Q: What about the bank holidays, Good Friday and Easter Monday? 

R: One family has requested support for this time, but the union advice is not to open.  The school will consider based on need


Q: There is new Safeguarding Guidance, are compliant?

R: Yes - only 3 families are not in school who it applies to, and we are calling them to keep in touch.  We are also pushing out vouchers for FSM


Directors discussed the need for a cascade ladder for safeguarding matters, and agreed the following:


Actions to the Chair, followed by VC, then LF as safeguarding Governor, then JE, then LMc


Q: Is there anything immediate that we need to do?

R: No all good 


Directors conveyed their thanks and support for the hard work of the SLT and all staff.

DECISION  The Safeguarding chain of response was agreed
CHALLENGE  Challenge is reflected in the minute
Agenda Item 6  Trust Update

Trust on a page
AP presented the Trust on a page document that had been circulated in advance.  She explained that it was built using Autumn Data and so was out of date, but it had helped to develop consistency in reporting in the schools. It will be refined as it becomes clearer what is required from a Director point of view.


JE had given specific feedback after the last meeting, and DS asked if there were any questions on the document.


LD had made comments and observations to simplify the structure, and will send these via email. However she also had two questions on the content specifically:


  • There is a high % of SEN children in year 5 - 30 % - is this correct, and if so how are staff supported to provide the right support for these pupils?


R: Yes the figures are correct, provision is planned carefully through the provision map that AP creates and leads. Staff and pupil are supported and there is one to one                          support in some cases.  AP explained that she looks for Quality First Teaching, and monitors this.


  • In the areas of need, RLLAT is higher than average in SEH and Speech and Language? How do we know?


R: looking at the SEN Register - across the trust we have a lot of children with S&L, in our First Concern children and universal


Q: Are we better at recognising them or do we have a higher % of them?

R: Yes we are good at identifying but yes we also have a high percentage.


Action: This needs to be reflected in the ‘Trust on a page’ priorities, if it is a growing trend then it needs to be on the Directors agenda.


Directors noted that there was not a SEF available for Calveley and that there was a marked difference between the information for both schools.


BD explained that this was due to her focusing on bringing Acton in line with the new Ofsted areas first, as they are due an inspection.  This had not yet been done for Calveley, but will be now.


Action: Ds asked that comments on the structure were emailed through

Action: Staff to be asked to update the SEF


BD felt that Attendance will prevent an outstanding judgement, with the trust tracking below 90%.  They are changing letter triggers to 95% to get the figures up


However, there is a challenge for FSM and SEN children, and a piece of work to improve and look at the group breakdown.

Trust Strategic Plan


This will be deferred to May meeting

Trust Marketing Strategy

A draft had been circulated in advance, and directors felt it was good to see work on this.  AP was keen to ensure that schools were pushing their USPs.  She had gathered some really good comments from parents that the schools need to capitalise on.  The website has also been invaluable


Action: Update to be provided to the May meeting, including Staff, pupil and parent feedback.

ACTION  Action: Reflect Speech and Language in the Trust on a page priorities
Action: Email comments on the structure of trust on a page to DS
Action: Staff be asked to update the SEF for each school
Action: Defer Trust Strategic Plan to May
Action: Provide update to Directors on the feedback from marketing strategy in May
CHALLENGE  Challenge is reflected in the minute
Agenda Item 7  Nursery proposal including costs

DS thanked SLT for the report and work to develop options.  He asked whether there was a preferred option from the 5 put forward?


AP ran through the options, some of which will be dictated by what is possible with the build and the siting of soil pipes. 


Q: Is the proposed provision 9-3 term time only? 

R: Yes and no.  Nursery would be from 9 - 3 but there would also be wrap around before and after school care.


A discussion took place on the needs and whether this needed to be for 51 weeks of the year 8 - 6 (full time)


Q: Did you investigate the cost of a rental of a mobile unit. 

R: No, but can look at it


Directors agreed that it will be important to model and cost based on what service is to be offered and the numbers that would be needed to make it viable. If we can get a model service provision, we can then see what size of build would be needed. Directors felt that the trust needed to be brave when looking at the building and ensure capacity to scale up to under 2 year olds.


BD explained that they were going to trial it over Easter - but that this is now not possible.


Action: AP to model with YW based on 51 week 7.30 - 5.45.  To meet virtually to discuss this and build on staffing models.

ACTION  AP and YW to virtually meet to model nursery and staffing costs
CHALLENGE  Challenge was reflected in the minute
Agenda Item 8  Policies

Review Policy Matrix

The schedule had been circulated in advance, however it was noted that this was just for Statutory Policies, and did not include all trust policies.


Now this is created, the plan is to place all of the policies on Trust Governor with review dates,  these can also link to the Trusts Website.


It was noted that there are a lot of responsibilities for Directors contained within the policies, and it was felt a good idea to cross reference them to ensure that the trust can evidence that Directors are fulfilling their responsibilities


Action: DS to put names against each policy in the schedule and then each person to evidence how directors are meeting their responsibilities

To review and approve the amended Critical Incident Policy


Directors were happy with this policy, but noted that details of the DfE or RSC needed to be added.  This will be added.


To approve policies that have been reviewed by the named Director, including:


These will be moved to the May meeting


  • Looked After Children Policy - may meeting
  • Pupils with Additional Health Needs Attendance Policy - may meeting
ACTION  Action: DS to assign a policy to each governor for evidencing how ~Directors are meeting their responsibilities
Action: add in detail of RSC / DFE
Agenda Item 9  Finance

A brief overview of the finance was given and that the new School Business Manager needed support to get up to date with her role and what needs doing by when. Directors needed to review management accounts.


Action: AP to provide a list for the SBM, and help her to settle in to the role

ACTION  Action AP to provide list and support new SBM
Agenda Item 10  Safeguarding

There was no update from the Safeguarding Director, she was due to be in Acton but this was not possible.  


The Chaim of reporting list had been agreed ealier.


Q: How to we monitor safeguarding of vulnerable children not in school?

R: This is a weekly call home

Agenda Item 11  Parent Council - update

AP reported that she had created a solution, in that the agenda is a shared responsibility.  The HOS for each school meets with the parent council rep to create a joint agenda.


Agenda Item 12  AOB
MINUTE  There were no items of AOB
   Governor Agreed Actions set during this meeting:  0
RLLAT Board of Directors Meeting Pt1   dated:  30/03/2020
 Minutes approved by David Shaw