Shrewsbury Colleges Group
Group Minutes of the Board
Date 14th October 19
Time 5.50 p.m.
Minutes Membership Andy Allen, Gordon Channon, Christine Davies, Iain Gilmour, Christina Gore, Joshua Harry, Helen Hawksworth, Richard Heath, Nigel Merchant, Kari Quant, Robert Rosson, Rex Sartain, James Staniforth (Principal/Chief Executive), Paula Tucker, Michael Willmot and Roger Wilson and McKenna Wood.
In Attendance Members of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT):
Catherine Armstrong, Group Vice Principal, Curriculum Support and Business Development (GVP – CS&BD)
Mark Brown, Group Vice Principal, I.T. and Strategic Development (GVP – IT&SD)
Donna Lucas, Group Vice Principal - Human Resource Development (GVP – HRD)
Paul Morgan – Director of A Level Studies (DoALS)
Paul Partridge – Finance Director (FD)
Chris Pemberton, Group Vice-Principal, Quality and Curriculum Development (GVP – Q&CS).

Clerk to the Board – Tracy Cottee

Claire Wassall – Student Governor (HE) elect (as an observer).
Apologies None.

Prior to the meeting, the Chair made a presentation to Rob Rosson and Iain Gilmour at the end of their Terms of Office as Independent Governors, due on 31 October 2019. The Chair, Board and Senior Leaders paid tribute to their personal commitment to the College, their impact in their respective roles, (Mr Rosson in his role as Vice Chair and Health & Safety Link Governor and Mr Gilmour as Chair of the Human Resources Committee) and their support for the merger of Shrewsbury Colleges Group and Shrewsbury Sixth Form College.

They were each presented with a commemorative gift of thanks from the Board. In reply, both expressed their thanks and expressed their pride in the College and their confidence in the capabilities of the Board and the Senior Leadership Team going forward.

Mr I. Gilmour left the meeting.


38/19. Declarations of Interest

  1. Andy Allen declared a Standing Interest as an employee of Harper Adams University.
  2. Richard Heath declared a Standing Interest as an employee of Harper Adams University.
  3. Roger Wilson declared an interest in Minute Number 42/19. He left the meeting for the duration of the item and did not speak or vote.
  4. Richard Heath declared an interest in Minute Number 46/19. He left the meeting for the duration of the item and did not speak or vote.

39/19. Minutes of Board Meeting Held 08 July 2019 (Appendix – Agenda Item 3)

Resolved: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 08 July 2019, be signed and approved as a true record, subject to the correction of a minor typographical error prior to Minute 37/19.

40/19. Matters Arising


41/19. Chair’s Announcements

The Chair –

    1. welcomed McKenna Wood, the newly-appointed Student Governor (16-19) and Claire Wassall, the Student Governor (HE) elect, to their first meetings;
    2. confirmed that the Board’s attendance for 2018 – 2019 had been 92%, exceeding the KPI of 80%. He advised that the Board had participated in the Clerks’ Network 2018 – 2019 attendance benchmarking exercise and had ranked second out of a cohort of 115 FE sector colleges, coming top out of the sixth form colleges participating. The Chair thanked Board members for their continued commitment and high level of attendance.
    3. took the opportunity to welcome all Board members at the commencement of the 2019-2020 Academic year. He expressed his thanks to the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) for their hard work during 2018 – 2019; the Board also expressed its support and thanks.

42/19. Appointment of Vice-Chair (From 01 November 2019)

In accordance with Standing Order No. 18, the Clerk had sought expressions of interest from eligible Board members to seek nomination to the appointment of Vice-Chair from 01 November 2019 ( the current Vice-Chair’s Term of Office would end on 31 October 2019). One expression of interest had been received prior to the meeting.

Having declared an interest, Mr R. Wilson left the meeting at this point.

With no other expressions of interest being indicated in the meeting, it was proposed by Mr R. Rosson and seconded by Mr A. Allen that Mr Roger Wilson be appointed as Vice-Chair of the Board with effect from 01 November 2019.

Resolved: That Mr Roger Wilson be appointed as Vice-Chair of the Board with effect from 01 November 2019.

Mr R. Wilson returned to the meeting.

43/19. Principal/CEO’s Report (Appendices – Agenda item 7)

The Principal/CEO provided a thorough strategic overview on the following topics –

    • Update on new staff joining the College, those staff who had achieved qualifications and those who had been recognised for 10 and 25 year long-service awards;
    • Total number of students across the group for 2018 – 2019, including 16 – 18 academic and vocational, apprenticeships, adult skills & training and higher education;
    • The College’s performance against 2018 – 2019 targets.
    • Review of 2018 – 2019 with respect to
        • Adult Skills and BDU;
        • Apprenticeships. The Board acknowledged the challenges going forward to improve the quality of provision in this area and, whilst it supported the SLT in its improvement strategy, the Link Governor for Apprentices confirmed that he had met with senior leaders over the summer regarding the reporting of provision to the Quality, Standards & Curriculum Committee and Board. It had been agreed that reporting would be developed to provide sharper focus for governors.
        • Higher Education. The College would continue to embed its diagnostic and on-course support developed through 2018 – 2019 and focus on delivering the College’s strengths in HE;
        • Student Support – review of safeguarding referrals, with the highest proportion related to mental health. The College had introduced a triage and referrals system, which had reduced students’ waiting times to access support. The Board acknowledged the challenges going forward included encouraging students to take up free school meals and planning for and resourcing students’ additional learning requirements. The E&D Link Governor confirmed that the E&D Committee would be looking at this during 2019 – 2020. The Board also acknowledged the support of the Radbrook Foundation in supporting students;
        • Teaching and Learning Development;
        • Enrichment, student competition and sporting achievements;
        • Estates and ICT achievements and programmes at the three campus sites; and
        • Sustainability initiatives;

• Review of Provision –

      • GCSE English and maths. The Board acknowledged that the College’s strong performance was due to the experienced, well-led team and their collective focus on encouraging consistent student attendance and exam preparation;
      • Vocational Programmes, including L1, 2 & 3. The Board acknowledged the College’s very strong overall performance;
      • BTEC. The Board acknowledged the College’s strong overall performance;
      • A Level provision – the Board acknowledged the College’s strong performance in context;
    • Issues for 2019 – 2020 -
      • Maintaining and improving enrolment;
      • Sustaining the breadth of provision offered;
      • Maintaining and building on the College’s reputation;
      • Navigating National Policy and the Local Context;
      • Preparation for the expected full OFSTED Inspection;
      • 2019 – 2020 General Targets and Provision-specific targets.

The Board also reviewed provisional academic and vocational results (previously circulated) for

    • 2019 A Level Grade Analysis;
    • 2019 Extended Diploma Grade Analysis;
    • 2019 GCSE Grade Analysis;
    • 2019 Level 3 Certificate Grade Analysis; and
    • 2019 Level 3 Sub Diploma Grade Analysis.

The Principal/CEO added that, following the outcome of the A Level Textiles re-moderation, the College had achieved a 24 grade improvement across 22 students; a fair reflection of the quality of the students’ work and the teaching.

The Board Chair requested any follow-up questions be directed to the Principal/CEO and that each governor confirm to him that they had understood the College’s aims and objectives for 2019 – 2020.

Resolved: That the report of the Principal/CEO be noted.

44/19. Summary of Minutes and Recommendations from Committees (Appendices – Agenda Item 8a & b)

Chairs of the committees presented the following meetings, drawing the Board’s attention to items of particular interest and presenting recommendations.

Finance & Business Operations Committee – 25 September 2019 (Appendix – Agenda item 8a) (Draft Minutes previously circulated)

The Draft Minutes were presented. There were no recommendations. It was confirmed that all governors had received the Period 12 Management Accounts.

Search & Governance Committee – 26 September 2018 (Appendix – Agenda item 8b) (Report previously circulated)

The Committee Chair gave a verbal update and presented recommendations.

45/19. Appointments to Board

C. Wassall left the meeting at this point.

Following a Notice of Vacancy, one Valid Nomination for the Higher Education Student Governor vacancy had been received from Claire Wassall (a Second Year Counselling Foundation Degree student) and no election was held.

Resolved: It was AGREED that Claire Wassall be appointed as Student Governor (Higher Education) for a One Year Term, with effect from 15 October 2019.

C. Wassall returned to the meeting.

Having declared an interest, R. Heath left the meeting at this point.

46/19. Request for Authorised Leave of Absence

The Board Chair reported that he had received a formal request from Mr R. Heath for a period of Authorised absence from Board meetings for a period of up to six months. The Committee had considered this request and, having been satisfied that the Board could sufficiently mitigate any potential skills deficit and quoracy issues, agreed to recommend a period of authorised leave from meetings of the Board for a period of six months from 15 October 2019.

Resolved: It was AGREED that Mr R. Heath be granted a period of authorised leave from meetings of the Board for a period of six months from 15 October 2019 (i.e. Monday, 16 December 2019 and 30 March 2020).

R. Heath returned to the meeting.

47/19. Parent Governor (London Road) Vacancy

Following the campaign to seek candidates over the summer and through enrolment, one Valid Application had been received for the Parent Governor (London Road) Vacancy. The Principal/CEO had also met the applicant informally. In accordance with Standing Order 15, the Committee had considered the application as the Board shall not appoint any parent member of the Board unless it has first considered the advice of the Search & Governance Committee.

Resolved: It was AGREED that Robert Lopez be appointed as Parent Governor (London Road) for a Two Year Term with effect from 15 October 2019.

48/19. Applications for Governor Opportunities Received

Following the campaign the seek candidates over the summer, the Committee had considered three applications received. The Committee, having considered the current Board skills set and the Board’s Succession Plan agreed that two applicants be invited to meet informally with the Chair of the Committee, the Clerk and the Principal/CEO, before further consideration.

With respect to the third applicant, the Committee acknowledged that they had previously been a member of the Board as a Parent Governor. The Committee had received assurance from the Board Chair as to the applicant’s skills, qualities and prior contribution to the Finance & Business Operations Committee (of which they had been a member). Having considered the current Board skills set and the Board’s Succession Plan, the Committee had agreed to recommend appointment to the Board when an Independent Governor vacancy arose, subject to the Board Chair undertaking with the applicant their personal performance review for 2018 – 19 and reporting the outcome to Board.

The Board Chair reported that, to date, he had been unable to undertake the personal performance review; however, this would be completed before the next Board meeting on 16 December 2019.

Resolved: It was AGREED that, having considered the current Board skills set and the Board’s Succession Plan, Michael Thompson be recommended for appointment to an Independent Governor vacancy for a Term to be determined by the Board, subject to a verbal update from the Board Chair on the outcome of the personal performance review for 2018 – 19 at the next Board meeting.

49/19. Committee Membership 2019 – 2020

Committee evaluation had indicated that, to date, governors considered the current structure/committee mix/numbers appropriate and that the Board was responsive should additional committees or task and finish groups be required. The Committee had referred to the most recent Skills Audit and terms of office when considering committee membership for 2019 - 2020.

    • Following discussion, in view of the revised Audit Code of Practice guidance the Committee had agreed to consider appropriately qualified staff governors as eligible to be members of the Audit Committee, provided they did not work in the Finance Department, nor were significant budget holders. This would help give reassurance to staff that College resources were being appropriately deployed and satisfactory safeguards were in place.
    • The Committee also agreed to recommend that the Human Resources Committee, the Branding Task Force and the Business & Community Forum be disbanded. It was agreed that the Finance & Business Operations Committee review its Terms of Reference at its next meeting, to consider including HR issues within its remit.

Resolved: It was AGREED that Committee Membership 2019 – 2020, with effect from 15 October 2019, be as follows –

Audit Committee
J. Harry
N. Merchant
R. Sartain
C. Sharp (co-opted committee member)
M. Thompson (tbc)

Finance & Business Operations Committee
G. Channon (Chair)
R. Heath
G Mills (tbc)
D. Pulford (co-opted committee member)
P. Tucker
R. Wilson

Quality, Standards & Curriculum Committee
A. Allen
C. Davis
C. Gore
H. Hawksworth
N. Merchant
K. Quant
M. Willmot
Co-opted Committee Members
Claire Kearns (HE Student Governor)
McKenna Wood (16 – 18 Student Governor)
G. Channon (ex-officio)

Remuneration Committee
G. Channon (Chair of Board)
C. Davies
R. Heath
R. Wilson

Search & Governance Committee
A. Allen
C. Gore
M. Willmot (Chair)
R. Wilson (ex-officio)
G. Channon (ex-officio)

Link Governors
A. Allen - Apprenticeships & Marketing
C. Gore – Safeguarding, PREVENT, SEND & E&D
N. Merchant – Risk
R. Sartain – H&S
M. Willmot - HE
Radbrook Foundation – R. Wilson

The following be disbanded –

    1. Human Resources Committee;
    2. Branding Task Force; and
    3. Business and Community Forum.

50/19. Risk

As part of the discussions on the College’s Risk Register and Board Assurance Framework agreed (Board Min No. 67/17 refers), all committee agendas now featured a final item to consider whether risks connected with that committee had been effectively addressed in the meeting.

The Board also undertook a review of the risks within the remit of the Board. It was assured that the College was taking reasonable actions to mitigate these risks.

51/19. Date of Next Meeting – 16 December 2019. Venue – H.E. Centre, London Road Campus.

52/19. Governance Pack

The Board reviewed (previously circulated) the following –

  1. Board KPI 2018 – 2019 performance including Attendance record of Governors 2018 – 2019; and
  2. Register of Confidential Items considered by Board 2018 – 2019.

C. Wassall left the meeting at this point.


It was agreed that Minute Numbers 53 & 54/19 be considered as confidential under Article 16(2) (d) and Standing Order 11.

53/19. Summary of Draft Confidential Minutes and Recommendations from Committees - Finance & Business Operations Committee – 25 September 2019 (Confidential Appendix – Agenda item 11a) (previously circulated)

The Draft Confidential Minutes were presented. The Committee Chair gave a verbal update and presented a recommendation.

54/19. College Budget 2019 – 20 Risk Analysis and Pressures (Confidential Appendix – Agenda Item 11ai)

The Committee had considered a Confidential report (previously circulated) which highlighted the key financial sensitivities inherent in the 2019-20 Budget and the potential impact that each of these might have on the College’s financial position should these all occur; the details of which are set out in a Confidential Minute.

The meeting concluded at 7.32 p.m.