Beverley Dolman The Real Life Learning Academy Trust [318] 19 January 2021
Board of Directors   Minutes   18/12/2019
Calveley Primary Academy  Wednesday, December 18, 2019  6.15pmChair: David Shaw   Clerk: Su Turner   
FINAL: The minutes are confirmed and locked.
Governors Attending: >Yvonne Wood, David Shaw, Jo Edwards, Beverley Dolman, Richard Lewis, Fiona Sloyan, Lynn Dove,  
Governors Apologies: >Elizabeth Ford,
Non Governors Attending: >
Non Governors Apologies: >
Agenda Item 1  Welcome and Apologies
MINUTE

Apologies had been received from Liz Ford.  Directors accepted the apologies.  Louise McDonagh was not in attendance.


Agenda Item 2  Declarations of interest
MINUTE

Directors were asked to complete their declarations of interest in their profile on Trust Governor.  There were no items declared for the meeting.


ACTION  Directors to ensure that their profile is correct and up to date
Agenda Item 3  Minutes of the previous meeting
MINUTE

LD asked for clarification on the Vice Chair’s role on the pay committee.  It was agreed that the VC would chair the pay committee, however this was different to the panel that reviews the EHT’s pay.  The meeting is set up by the Bursar

The minutes were approved as an accurate record and were signed by the Chair.

The following Matters arising were discussed:

Updated Terms of Reference and Communication Flow

 

DS confirmed that this had been updated, and he will load this to Trust Governor.

 

Updated Scheme of Delegation and financial scheme of delegation

 

DS confirmed that this had been updated and presented to the DfE at their recent meeting.

 

Website update

 

  • Calveley site is live, but not yet advertised.  There have been a few issues that are being resolved - such as data transfer.
  • Acton is not live and they are still using an old system.  It is ready to go live.
  • Bridgemere is continuing to use their existing site.
  • The Trust-wide site is now being populated, and work will continue over the holidays.  Plan is to launch it in February
Trust Governor

DS confirmed that the trust had purchased Trust Governor and are now using it.  Over the Christmas holidays, he will transfer documents over from the old system.  

He will arrange for training and anyone who would like training should let him know.

 

A discussion took place on its use and document storage.  It was noted that there is an area entitled my meeting notes - and this is where Directors should make their own notes from the documents that they read.



DECISION  The minutes of the meeting on the 22nd October were confirmed as an accurate record and signed
Agenda Item 5  RLLAT Strategic Plan
MINUTE

The Strategic plan had been loaded on to Trust Governor for Directors to read.  She explained the RAG rating system.

 

LD explained that she had sent her comments through via email.  As the first 10 pages were going to be put on the Trust-wide site, she had read it from a ‘lay’ persons point of view, and had asked for some rewording to make it clear.

 

BD confirmed that LD’s comments had been taken on board, and that work was now taking place looking at the effectiveness of the Academy Committees.

 

Action: BD to make the amendments and share the first 10 pages more widely on the website


ACTION  Action: BD to make the amendments and share the first 10 pages more widely on the website
Agenda Item 6  Finance
MINUTE

The full set of accounts had been made available on Trust Governor.  These have been signed off and filed with Companies House.  Comments / questions were invited.

 

Q: Are the figures on page 13 correct - as they do not seem to add up?

R: It appeared that the amounts were incorrect at first glance.  Upon further investigation, YW confirmed that the amounts were for the previous year.

 

A discussion took place on error, however Directors understood that this did not change the bottom line.  Directors were concerned that the auditor did not spot the issue.

 

To receive an update on the finance of the MAT

 

YW confirmed that the Financial Scheme of Delegation had been loaded to Trust Governor for the meeting, and that the changes that were agreed at the last Director meeting had been made.  This was in connection with the EHT approval limit.

 

Outcome:  The revised Scheme of Delegation was approved

 

DS confirmed that work will take place merging the two schemes of Delegation so that there is one holistic Trust Scheme.

 

YW explained to Directors that Finances going forward are still in line with the deficit that the board has budgeted for.  However she has concerns that whilst there is still a healthy carry forward, this will not be sustained overtime.

 

DS explained that in the recent DfE Trust review, the deficit budget and reserves were mentioned.  However he confirmed that the DfE were happy with the strong reserves and with the forecast position

 

Further to the last Directors meeting, a discussion had taken place on the creation of a nursery provision, however they hadn't managed to find a solution that would be viable.

 

Q: Have you looked at the age range, and whether this could be run as a commercial venture, taking children from birth?

R: This has not been investigated as space is limited.

 

Action: It was agreed that YW would join the working party - to ensure that all angles were explored and will report back at the March meeting.

 

Q: What are admission number like for next year?

R: Currently they are low, despite marketing.

 

Action: Add Admissions and marketing impact to the agenda of the February meeting. The Board would like to understand what marketing has been done and what has been the impact.  Also would like a view on other schools within the area that parents choose over Calveley.

 

 

ACTION  YW to join the working party with BD and LMc on the creation of a Nursery and report back at March meeting
Add admissions and marketing to the February agenda
DECISION  The Scheme of Delegation was approved
CHALLENGE  Challenge is noted in the minute.
Agenda Item 7  Policies
MINUTE

All policies had been added to the portal.  Directors were asked for comments of substance that needed discussion and clarification, it was agreed that typos etc would be sent through via email.

 

Draft pay policy 19/20

 

 

Q: How are we differentiating between lower experienced staff and more senior or experienced staff? Is there an expectation that more experienced should perform better, and if so, how do we measure it?

 

A discussion took place on the process, and that BD monitors staff performance regularly.  Targets are set, and these are relevant for the experience and seniority of staff.

 

Q: Are we getting value for money from higher paid staff?

R: Yes

 

A discussion took place on the role of the Pay Committee, and how non-educationalists find it difficult to question and challenge what is being recommended.

BD explained the process and that she RAG rates staff throughout the year. She offered to provide an anonymised RAG rated version for Directors to see.

 

Action: BD to provide anonymised RAG ratings of PM.

Action: To ensure that future Pay Committees has at least one educationalist Director on it. DS to amend the Pay Committee constitution to reflect this.

 

Chairs of Academy Committees are now involved in the HOS performance management - and this should be reflected within the policy.

 

Action: Add in the role of the AC chairs

 

A discussion took place on the ranges of the EHT and HOS.  It was acknowledged that these were established before there were national benchmarks.  It is recognised that HOS have less responsibilities due to a EHT being in post.

 

Salary bands and ranges for the EHT and HOS are determined on the pupil numbers and school size.  The EHT does not set the range for that role.  This was set by a Pay Committee.

 

Q: Do we need to state this in the policy?

Action: to add in to the policy that they ranges are set using benchmarks and pupil numbers

 

It was agreed that the EHT should have a role in setting the range for HOS.  Concern was raised that there is a big gap between the top of HOS and the EHT - this means that there is no career progression.

 

It was noted that the policy says that the range for HOS should be consistent across the whole trust.  

 

Q: Is this right? Surely different size schools have different ranges? What if a large school joins?

 

Outcome: The Board did not approve the policy, and asked that more work be done to research the ranges for HOS using benchmarks from similar MATs

 

Q: On page 2 what is the connections between safeguarding and pay?

R: Safeguarding in this policy means protected salary, so should say TUPE - will change to reflect this

 

Action: Research will be undertaken and policy re-drafted to reflect this, and brought back to a future meeting of the Board.

 

SEN policy 19/20

 

This was a new policy that had been created by the SENCO.  As Directors had not had a great deal of time to read and digest this policy, they were asked to email comments through by the end of the first week back (10th January).  The policy will then be changed and brought back to the February meeting.  It will also be aligned with the RLLAT policy headings.

 

 

Accessibility policy and plan 19/20

 

Again Directors were asked to send their comments through by the 10th January

 

A couple of comments were made that need clarification:

  • Wording on page 2 - mental health conditions that are ‘clinically well recognised’ should this say diagnosed?
  • Annual report to parents, does this mean the AGM
  • Some dates refer back and are not consistent

 

Action: BD to double check, and include any further comments received by the 10th January.

 


ACTION  Action: BD to provide anonymised RAG ratings of PM.
Action: To ensure that future Pay Committees has at least one educationalist Director on it. DS to amend the Pay Committee constitution to reflect this.
Action: Add in the role of the AC chairs
Action: Research will be undertaken and policy re-drafted to reflect this, and brought back to a future meeting of the Board.
Action: Directors to send comments on the SEN and Accessibility Policy by 10th January
DECISION  Outcome: The Board did not approve the Pay policy, and asked that more work be done to research the ranges for HOS using benchmarks from similar MATs
CHALLENGE  Challenge has been recorded in the minute
Agenda Item 8  Safeguarding
MINUTE

Visit to Acton completed with Lesley Latronico (AC Rep) on the 4th November 2019.

 

DS confirmed that the report had been added to Trust Governor.  No other comments were made on the report.

 


Agenda Item 9  Parent Council
MINUTE

This item was deferred to the February meeting


ACTION  To add Parent Council to the agenda of the February meeting.
Agenda Item 10  Director and AC Trust review processes
MINUTE

DS had set out a proposal on the Agenda transferring what used to be called Director Days to become the role of the Academy Committee.

 

A discussion took place on the role of Directors within schools.  Since the move away from Director’s days, Directors felt distanced from schools.  Directors whilst wanting to be more familiar with schools, were unclear of their ability to carry out deep dives and book scrutiny.  Directors felt that they would need training to be able to scrutinise books, and felt that a checklist would be needed.

 

Q: Is book scrutiny a Director role? isn't that a AC role?

 

This was discussed and it was agreed that Directors should focus on the wider picture but that they also felt that they needed to know the schools better, particularly as Ofsted will ask Directors about the quality of education in each academy, not the ACs.

 

Q: How do we get to find out what happens in schools?

R: There are minutes from AC meetings, however these are variable in their quality

 

Two Directors had attended recent training that emphasised that the Board need to understand the quality of education as they are accountable. 

 

The Clerk outlined how she had supported other trusts to look at this and shared her thoughts on the introduction of a Quality of Education Committee.

 

The Committee would bring together chairs and HOS from the Academies and representatives from the Board.  The purpose of the meetings was to listen to the report from AC’s and discuss whole trust issues.  The meetings get a whole trust view of education.

 

Directors still feel the need that they should be in school, and that they do not want the AC’s to feel neglected.  It was also important for staff to know the Directors.

 

DS and BD had discussed the need to review the Trust Vision, bringing it in line with the New SIAMS expectations.  This would provide the ideal opportunity to look at how this filters down to schools.

 

Action: A Working Group will be established to review current structure and review how the Board will improve their oversight of Quality of Education.

 

ACTION  Action: A Working Group will be established to review current structure and review how the Board will improve their oversight of Quality of Education.
Agenda Item 11  Health and Safety
MINUTE

BD explained that reports for Acton and Calveley had been loaded on to Trust Governor, both were strong, however she reported that with the absence of the Caretakeer, they had been difficult.

 

There are minor actions needed, however, some of these have been done, such as the doors in Calveley.

 

Directors raised the following issues:

 

Q: Lone worker risk assessment was last completed in November 18 is this ok?

R: Yes as they are completed every 3 years

 

Q: On page 14, boxes are ticked to say that staff deal with hazardous and heavy objects, and that they are at risk of violence and aggression - is this right as there is inconsistency across the schools and boxes ticked?

R: BD said that this is a report from the H&S reviewer from Cheshire East.  Staff answer questions and they tick the boxes.

 

Directors were clear that if risks and issues have been raised in a report, then there should be mitigating actions that are listed.  And therefore it was important to know whether it is right or the boxes have been ticked in error.

 

Action: BD to check with the H&S Rep and get clarification

Action: BD to research other H&S reviewers and report back to the Board.

 

One issue that does need addressing is there is concern that the doors are not sufficient for the number of people that are in the hall in one go at Acton.  There have recommended that there are no whole school assemblies, or that double doors are put in.

 

This is being looked in to, however, BD reported that there have not been any whole school assemblies due to the time of year.

 

Q: in the report, it states that a fire door was open, why was this?

R: BD reported that a supply teacher had propped open a door, and this has been addressed.

 

Directors were keen that all issues had plans and actions to resolved them.  BD explained that she has prioritised what she can and the situation is being monitored

 

 

ACTION  Action: BD to check with the H&S Rep and get clarification
Action: BD to research other H&S reviewers and report back to the Board.
CHALLENGE  Challenge is noted throughout the minute
Agenda Item 12  Update from the AC Chairs
MINUTE

To appoint Ben Curtis to the Calveley AC as a parent representative.

 

The Board approved the appointment of Ben Curtis

 

Following the departure of the Staff Governor, there is a need to recruit to this in the New Year.  Then all positions are filled.


DS will contact the chair of Calveley AC tso that she can contact him and welcome him to his role.

ACTION  DS to liaise with Calveley Academy Committee chair to confirm Ben's appointment
DECISION  The Board approved the appointment of Ben Curtis
   Governor Agreed Actions set during this meeting:  10
All Directors to update their profiles with Declarations of interest and training
For: 10th January 2020
By: 
Su Turner
BD to make amendments to the strategic plan and share on website
For: January 2020
By: 
Beverley Dolman
YW to join the Nursery working party with BD and LMc
For: January 2020
By: 
Yvonne Wood
Add admissions and marketing to the February Agenda
For: Feb 2020
By: 
Su Turner
BD to provide anonymised RAG PM for Pay Committee
For: Pay committee
By: 
Beverley Dolman
~Ensure that the pay committee has an educationalist on it
For: pay committee
By: 
Beverley Dolman
Add the role of the AC chairs in PM to the pay policy
For: February 2020
By: 
Beverley Dolman
Pay Policy - research and re-draft the pay policy reflecting Range
For: February 2020
By: 
Beverley Dolman
Discuss parent council at the February meeting
For: February 2020
By: 
Su Turner
BD to check H&S report for accuracy
BD to find alternative H&S reviewers and report to Board
For: February 2020
By: 
Beverley Dolman
 
RLLAT Board of Directors Meeting Pt1   dated:  18/12/2019
 Minutes approved by David Shaw