Report of the Headmaster of the City of London School (copy attached).
The Board received a report of the Headmaster of the City of London School relative to various School issues such as Public Examination Results, University places for leavers, Summer Works and Health and Safety.
Public Examination Results
The Director of Studies, Noeleen Murphy provided Governors with some results analysis for A Level and GCSE/IGCSE for August 2013.
Governors were also provided with cumulative percentage grades for both A Level and GCSE/IGCSE from 2000-2013.
In response to a question regarding pupil numbers for A-Level classes, the Director of Studies reported that certain creative arts classes such as Art or Drama would continue to be run with a cohort of just 2 or 3 pupils.
A Governor stated that it now seemed that the School should be able to predict various results going forward with relative accuracy. It was suggested that it would be useful for Governors to see this sort of predictive data in the future.
Next, the Governors received short presentations from several pupils from various different year groups concerning recent sporting, academic and extra-curricular activities and successes. Presenters included the current Deputy Editor for the School’s in-house magazine, ‘The Citizen’, pupils who had formed part of the winning team at this year’s National Maths Challenge finals and a member of the England under-18 handball squad.
In response to questions, the Second Master reported that the School currently held 24 different prospective pupil meetings each year and that these took place during a school day so that visitors were able to see the School in operation.
In response to a separate question, the Second Master stated that, whilst individual boys’ achievements could be publicised on the School’s public website, it was not possible to have an image of the pupil alongside their name for safeguarding reasons.
The Headmaster reported that he and his successor, Sarah Fletcher, were set to meet with The Wolfson Foundation later this afternoon to provide them with further information and reassurance as to how their funding was being and would continue to be spent on both bursaries and other outreach activities. The Headmaster stated that he would be briefing the Chairman and Deputy Chairman on the outcome of this meeting.
The Headmaster added that, as of September 2013, HSBC were no longer providing funding to enable pupils to enter the School at age 11. He reminded the Board that this funding had previously been secured with the assistance of Dame Mary Richardson and that HSBC scholars were still working their way through the School at present and would continue to do so for the next 6-7 years. HSBC were still providing funding to enable pupils to enter the School’s Sixth Form.
Finally, the Headmaster reported that he had been asked to stay on the City of London School Bursary Trust and to assist with preparations for the forthcoming Gala Dinner after stepping down as Headmaster. He clarified that this was separate to the management of the School itself and was also a role that his successor was keen for him to continue with.
Health and Safety Public Report October 2013
In response to questions, the Second Master was pleased to report that issues around pest control had improved in recent weeks as this contract was now ‘settling in’.
With regard to the MITIE cleaning contract, the Board were informed that a large number of absences continued to be reported every evening with, on average 6 of the 25 cleaning staff absent each day. The Director of Finance highlighted that the City’s new Property Facilities Manager (PFM) had been very helpful in attempting to address issues with the cleaning contract to date and that certain procedures had now been changed with individual cleaners now assigned to specific areas. However, the Director of Finance added that, despite the PFM’s attempt to raise some of the on-going issues with Senior representatives of MITIE, the company did not appear to be making any real effort to address the continuing high levels of absenteeism and low levels of productivity of some of the evening cleaning staff.
The City Surveyor highlighted that the newly appointed PFM had previously been employed at Smithfield Market and was therefore particularly conscious of the need to maintain standards and to react to situations rapidly.
The Chairman stated that he had raised the Board’s concerns on the cleaning contract with Members of the City’s Policy and Resources Committee and more widely within the organisation. He added that he believed that similar issues might also have been experienced with MITIE elsewhere across the City of London Corporation.
In response to questions, Governors were informed that this contract was now in its second year. Governors questioned what penalties or fines could or had been issued to the contractor.
A Governor commented that any issues regarding recruitment or retention of staff was an issue for the contractors. He added that, given the length of time that these issues had persisted and, in some cases, worsened, the City of London as an organisation should be seeking legal advice as to the possibility of terminating this contract.
The Board were of the view that a resolution should be sent to both the Policy and Resources and the Finance Committee underlining their concerns and seeking an immediate remedy for these. It was also suggested that the Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the Board should raise this matter directly with the Chairmen of both the Policy and Resources and the Finance Committee.
Governors went on to underline the huge reputational risks to both the School and the City of London as an organisation if this matter were not to be resolved in the near future.
In response to a question as to how any current risks were being mitigated, the Director of Finance reported that it often fell to the School’s day cleaners to cover the shortcomings of their evening counterparts.
Governors requested that a senior representative of MITIE be invited to attend the next scheduled Board meeting to directly address the concerns of the Board.
Charity Appeal 2012-13
The Board were informed that the total now raised for the pupils’ annual charitable appeal for the 2012/13 academic year in aid of Water Aid had now reached approximately £123,000 following additional money raised by the Headmaster’s recent two long-distance swims in the Atlantic. The Headmaster stated that the total amount raised was a school record and would be enough to provide 11,000 Zambians with access to fresh water for life.
Primary School Academies
The Headmaster reported that it was now proposed that the Second Master take on the role of Chairman of Governors of Ark Bentworth Academy as his successor. The Board were informed that the Headmaster, his successor (Sarah Fletcher) and the Second Master were all content with this proposal as was the CEO of ARK.
The Board were supportive of this proposal and stressed that it would be important to maintain these links going forward.
A Governor stated that he was currently working alongside an organisation called ‘Change London’ who were embarking on a project to significantly extend air quality monitoring across the UK. It was recommended that the City of London School should be put forward to receive some monitoring equipment to participate in the project. The Second Master stated that he would be happy to discuss this matter in more detail outside of the meeting.
RESOLVED – That, a resolution be sent to both the Policy and Resources and the Finance Committee underlining the Board’s concerns and seeking available options, including immediate enforcement, penalty for non-performance or removal of the School from the contract and how the City of London were proposing to mitigate any risks in the interim.