PART I – OPEN ITEMS
35/20. Declarations of Interest
- A. Allen declared a Standing Interest as an employee of Harper Adams University.
- R. Heath declared a Standing Interest as an employee of Harper Adams University.
36/20. Matters Arising
37/20. Chair’s Announcements
38/20. To Approve the Draft Plan for Wider Opening from 15 June 2020 (Confidential Appendices – Agenda Item 4)
The Board received a confidential report (previously circulated electronically) setting out The Draft Plan for Wider Opening for approval and the following supportive documentation -
- The London Road Campus Covid Risk Assessment;
- The Safeguarding Risk Assessment;
- Department for Education (DfE) Checklist referred to in the Draft Plan and provided to help inform governors in their assessment of the Plan; and
- The Student Welcome Pack.
The Chair sought confirmation that all members of the Board-
- Had read and understood the documentation;
- Understood that the meeting had been convened to review and approve the Plan for Wider Opening, as suggested by the Department of Education Guidance; and
- Understood that the Board had been provided with the additional documentation (the Safeguarding Risk Assessment produced in conjunction with an external specialist, the DoE Checklist referred to in the Wider Plan and the Student Welcome Pack) to provide context and to assist governors in their assessment of the Plan for Wider Opening.
This was confirmed.
The Principal/CEO responded to a number of questions put by the Health & Safety Link Governor (previously circulated), as follows - .
- The College was in regular contact with Shropshire County Council at a strategic and operational level and the Local Authority had been informed of the College plans. The College was an independent corporation and therefore the Local Authority had not provided advice to the College on wider opening. It was noted that all secondary schools in the County were re-opening from 15 June 2020 and that the local numbers of cases and deaths were such that Shropshire County Council had not acted as some local authorities had in asking colleges to delay wider opening, as had been reported in the media;
- the College would inform its insurers of the College’s Draft Plan and risk assessments;
- The College recognised four unions (NASUWT, NEU, UCU and Unison). These four unions (plus GMB) had set out a national joint position with ‘five tests’ to be met before they would support a national return to work for their members; to date, they did not consider these tests to have been met. Across the Country, their members were returning to work (or not) depending on local circumstances. The College unions would not support a return to work contrary to the unions’ national position. However, the FD had consulted them on the Risk Assessments and overall they were generally supportive of the College’s approach as teachers and other staff were attending College on a voluntary basis;
- The College had been contacting students following the release of a letter to them and parents and numbers accepting would be finalised in the next twenty-four hours. The College would identify and invite in more students who would benefit from studying in College as appropriate.
- The College anticipated that few students would choose to use public transport if they were to attend College. Any identified students would have a personal, risk-assessed, travel plan which may include using taxis rather than buses.
The Staff Governor (Support Staff) observed that, by 15th June, it would be mandatory to wear a face covering when on public transport and enquired if this should be stressed to students rather than relying on the current wording in the Student Pack of following the guidelines from the transport providers and extended to the use of Taxis. The Principal/CEO confirmed that this guidance would be provided individually to those students where it was confirmed that they would be using public transport.
The Chair of the Quality, Standards & Curriculum Committee enquired if the College had safe provision for those students who required access to complete practical activities (such as the use of laboratory equipment or 3D Art/Product Design). The Principal/CEO confirmed that students coming into the College from 15 June 2020, would attend for supervised contact only and would not access technical and professional workshops. The College would only utilise workshops for students who needed access to complete practical activities on a phased basis, if required, once robust risk assessments were in place for these areas; and the College had agreed to use the London Road Campus as the most appropriate venue to accommodate safely students and provide a suitable environment. The College was not anticipating opening the Welsh Bridge Campus for the remainder of the Academic Year, as some classrooms were not viable under current social distancing guidelines. The College would allow some students to access English Bridge Campus in accordance with social distancing guidelines on a phased basis to return resources;
The Student Governor (16 – 19) commended the Student Welcome Pack as a thorough and comprehensive guide and thanked the College Leadership for creating the resource.
The Board, having read the Plan and had the opportunity to ask questions, considered the documentation to be thorough and appropriate. The Board recognised the amount of work undertaken by the SLT and their teams and the FD in particular, to create the documents in a short space of time. The Principal/CEO echoed this, confirming the amount of work that had gone into the project. The Board offered its support to the Senior Leadership Team and commended their strong team performance.
Having reviewed the documentation, it was unanimously
Resolved: That –
- the Plan for Wider Opening of the College from 15 June 2020, be approved; and
- the Safeguarding Risk Assessment, referred to the Plan, be endorsed.
39/20. Date of Next Meeting
Scheduled Meeting – 06 July 2020. Location: To be confirmed.
The meeting concluded at 5.05 p.m.