R. Wilson in the Chair (PIAP Steering Committee Terms of Reference item 5.1 refers)
01/21. Declarations of Interest
A. Allen declared a standing interest as an employee of Harper Adams University.
02/21. Chair’s Announcements
The Chair commended the Principal/CEO and Senior Leadership Team following receipt of the OFSTED Monitoring Report. The judgement that the College had made ‘Significant Progress’, the highest possible outcome, was a very well deserved judgement that reflected the outstanding hard work and continuing commitment of the College and its staff to do what was best for students and ensure they received the best possible experience. The Principal/CEO explained that the assurance from the progress of the PIAP could be supplemented with the assurance from the judgements in the OFSTED report.
03/21. Draft Minutes of PIAP Meeting held 03 September 2021
The Minutes of the Meeting held 03 September 2020 (previously circulated) were approved as a true record. (The Minutes of the meeting had been submitted to the Education and Skills Funding Authority (ESFA), in accordance with Steering Committee Terms of Reference item 8.4).
04/21. Update on Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP)
The revised and updated Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) (previously circulated) was submitted to the Committee for review. The Action Plan specifically addressed the Additional Conditions of Funding set by the Education & Skills Funding Authority (ESFA). The ESFA required governors to monitor and seek assurance that sufficient progress had been made against Issues and Actions 1, 2 & 3 through the PIAP Steering Committee.
The Committee also received (previously circulated) a Position Statement of the summary of actions taken to further improve safeguarding at the College, prepared for the OFSTED Monitoring Visit, to augment the PIAP, which had also been reviewed by inspectors during their visit.
The Safeguarding Link Governor enquired how the College was going to assess the impact of the improvement actions set out in the PIAP and Position Paper once the College was fully re-open to staff and students.
The GVP – CS&BD explained that the improved site entry systems would be in place on the students’ return. Several actions planned to be implemented at the start of this Term but postponed due to the Third National Lockdown (such as the launch of ‘safeguarding sticker’ for student ID badges as a quick access to contact details) would also be introduced from 22 March 2021. Students had been made aware of this and other additional safeguarding arrangements in communications sent to prepare them for return to College. The College would continue to undertake a programme of education next Term, to further embed students’ understanding of the new safeguarding measures implemented.
The College would also hold student forums to test students’ understanding of these new safeguarding measures and further test the impact of these measures, when it was safe to do so in accordance with the Government’s Roadmap, through the ‘mystery visitor’ proposal. The P/CEO suggested that an additional line be added to the PIAP to provide updates on the impact of communications made to students on the re-opening of the College.
The GVP – CS&BD explained that the PIAP had been revised to demonstrate clearly the impact of the actions taken in terms of improvement. In addition, student surveys indicated very high levels of students who feel safe at College and student conduct incidents had reduced by 59.5% overall across the three campuses in the Autumn Term 2020/2021 compared to 2019/2020. The OFSTED Monitoring Report also acknowledged that the College had implemented rapidly many positive changes to safeguarding processes, which was a further validation of the College’s continued progress.
The Safeguarding Link Governor enquired how the College could demonstrate to the ESFA it could sustain the progress made against the PIAP. The GVP confirmed that the College was able to demonstrate and would continue to demonstrate, that the improvements made could be sustained through mystery visits, surveys and student forums.
The Committee Chair asked for an update on the College Contingency Fund Project undertaken in collaboration with Newcastle and Stafford College Group which would end on 31 March 2021. The GVP – CS&BD explained that the College’s allocation of the funding had been fully utilised, with a slight overspend. The Department of Education required the College to demonstrate funded activities had been completed in this Term and the College would be submitting a return soon. In addition to funding collaborative work with N&SC to review policies and procedures, the College had appointed additional staff and purchased National Online Safety membership, launched to all staff in January 2021.
The Finance Director (FD) took the opportunity to update the Committee on further planned improvements to site security at the London Road Campus, including additional fencing and gates to the London Road entrance. These works were not a as a result of recommendations arising specifically from the PIAP, moreover, part of the College’s programme of continued improvements with respect to site security.
The Committee Chair sought assurance that this additional project had taken account of peak traffic flows on London Road. The P/CEO confirmed that this had been considered by the SLT and the FD explained arrangements to mitigate the risk of traffic congestion. The decision to undertake these works had been taken in the context of the changing level of risk following recent updates through SOCJAC and regarding the increasing amount of intelligence of young people at risk of criminal exploitation locally and that there was an increasing level of risk identified around the use of vehicles to recruit young people into criminal exploitation. Whilst the College’s existing site security arrangements provided assurance, these additional measures would provide additional security and safety for students, minimise further the risk of unauthorised visitors to the site and demonstrate to staff and students the College’ commitment to supporting students. The Committee recognised that this was a good example of the College responding to changing levels of risk as this had not been a risk six months ago. The Committee were also reassured that the College were responding to a general assessment of risk and that there were still no county lines operating in or around the College.
The Chair invited the Safeguarding Link Governor to comment on her assessment of the College’s safeguarding arrangements. The Safeguarding Link Governor confirmed that, whilst only in the role for a short while, during that time, she had been impressed by the College’s safeguarding arrangements and its commitment to supporting students; she supported the College’s intention to instil a positive safeguarding culture at the College, which she considered to be critical, and she recognised that this existed in the College and was very strong.
The Committee concluded that the revised PIAP demonstrated a serious intention on the part of the Board and College to meet the additional conditions set by the ESFA and OFSTED and demonstrated the College’s positive progress in meeting the ESFA’s requirements.
Action: PIAP to be reviewed by P/CEO and SLT and re-circulated to PIAP Steering Committee before next meeting.
04/21. Date of Next Meeting
It was AGREED that the next meeting be held when considered appropriate.
The meeting concluded at 6.29 p.m.