* denotes number of consecutive meetings for which apology for absence has been received.
The formal meeting was preceded by a tour of Duchy College Rosewarne with David Hinchcliffe and Dr Barry Mulholland.
WELCOME AND APOLOGIES
Peter Hardaker, Vice Chair took the chair for the first four items as Sharon Dudden, (SD) had been unexpectedly delayed. He welcomed everyone to the meeting, particularly Graham Patrick, from Landex, Peter Walker, the new staff representative and the two student representatives, Charlotte Dowd and Ruth Smith. Apologies for absence were given and it was noted that Jeff Beer was had arranged to represent Duchy College at a meeting while visiting South Africa.
MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 23rd JANUARY 2008
The minutes of the meeting held on 23rd January 2008 were agreed and signed by the Chair.
Press coverage in Devon (minute 5.3 )
Andrew Counsell, Principal, (ASC) reported that the College was achieving good press coverage in Devon and was happy to circulate cuttings.
Bishop of Truro lecture (minute 6.2.3)
ASC confirmed that the lecture by Lord Plumb had been a successful evening but it was disappointing that there were gaps in the audience from those expected who did not attend. Steps would be taken to avoid this at future lectures.
Follow-up seminar on sector developments (minute)
JC advised members that the follow-up to the seminar in January on sector developments and funding methodologies.
LANDEX – PRESENTATION BY GRAHAM PATRICK, DIRECTOR OF QUALITY IMPROVEMENT
Graham Patrick (GP) provided a presentation on the work of Landex, emphasising its role as a member-funded company that provides services to its 32 land-based member colleges. ASC was one of the directors. GP was responsible for the quality improvement aspects of its work with the aim of improving standards and achieving consistency between the 32 members.
Key points from his presentation covered the following: -
Landex was aiming to provide effective communication, representation, quality and reputation /credibility
GP undertook regular visits to colleges, approximately 5 days p.a. per member, of which two days were allocated to validation and three fro support on matters such as self assessment or staff CPD
Peer review and self regulation were importance aspects of their work.
He answered questions on defining quality in terms of Ofsted’s expectations and other factors, the awareness raising role of Landex, the means by which outstanding practice in teaching could be shared and the contribution of governors and college council members to quality. It was agreed that opportunities for council members to share training with staff on certain themes would be useful.
He was thanked for a very informative presentation.
PRESENTATION – DUCHY COLLEGE STRUCTURE – ACADEMIC MANAGEMENT
ASC provided a presentation on the academic management structure which had been changed following consultation with staff to be consistent with the structure in other colleges in the Cornwall College Group and to assist with the drive to move from good to outstanding. Duchy College was responsible for over 90% of the provision in subject sector 3 (SS3 = land-based) and would have oversight of SS3 provision in other parts of the college.
He referred to the national context with two government departments having responsibility for further education funding, with funding for 16-18 transferring from the LSC to local authorities in 2010.
He outlined the vision for Duchy College which included expansion of the Rural Business School, development of specialist diplomas, more higher education (full and part-time) and more partnerships to facilitate learning.
The new structure had created eleven Curriculum Area Managers (CAMs) for the whole of Duchy College whose performance would be measured against specific success criteria. They had recently held a residential development event and were joined by Sharon Dudden for part of the time. The CAMs were responsible for oversight of the whole of their curriculum areas across the corporation and would liaise with colleagues in other colleges on staff and other matters. Line management arrangements would shortly be confirmed for all staff to take effect from 1st September 2008.
ASC was congratulated on a very clear presentation and the benefits that should result from the restructure. Members looked forward to closer links with CAMs and would continue to offer industry feedback where appropriate.
SD provided the key points discussed at the Board meeting of 5th March and 14th May 2008, namely: -
Decision to close of Learning Shops which was taken reluctantly
LSC confirmation that the Property Strategy meets its requirements
Proposal to look at operating regionally as well as locally
Development of an Academy in Camborne Pool Redruth and in Newquay in partnership with the schools, local authority, and University of Plymouth.
Council Members’ Feedback from Industry/Community
Members provided feedback from their sectors as follows:-
Richard Budge commented on the strong links between the college and Truro City Council and was pleased that two good staff recently recruited had trained at Duchy College and he had four modern apprentices that would start their programme in September. The journal Horticultural Weekly featured Duchy College regularly in articles. Ruth Smith added that Cornwall today had articles on duchy College recently as well.
Frankie Lister had heard when visiting a farm from a farmer who was pleased with the four students on a First Diploma in agriculture.
Peter Hardaker reported from an evening at Heligan attended by 40 people at which Duchy’s work in micropropogation had been promoted by one of the managers.
Sharon Dudden informed members that an equine day had been very successful.
Andrew Oatey reported that the Cornwall Grassland society had met at Duchy Stoke Climsland and were impressed by the new buildings.
Bill Herring and Peter Walker confirmed that staff were coping with recent changes in structure and had no further points to raise.
Ruth Smith and Charlotte Dowd reported that after much pressure from students, the conference room was going to be converted to a student common room. An end of year event was being held with a bouncy castle and ASC confirmed that appropriate insurance cover was in place. Student union activities placed demands on student time but participation was increasing.
Council Members’ Feedback from Advisory Groups:
The only feedback to note came from the Animal Care Advisory Group. Andrew Oatey reported that it had met recently at Newquay which he described as a credit to Andy Smart (AS). ASC informed members that from 1st September 2008, Cornwall College Newquay would be a stand-alone campus and AS would join the Corporate Management Team. AS was congratulated on his success in the development of the Newquay campus.
Regular reports on quality and performance indicators are provided under relevant headings. The following areas were not applicable at this meeting:
The report showing corporate retention figures was received and ASC advised members that the target was 88%. On the May student census date, the figure was 89% which was a very good result, especially when this was compared with last year which was 6-7% lower. This would have a positive impact on the success rate and the college was hoping to be just within the top quartile. He was pleased that this was a good starting point from which to aim for a grade I in SS3. He confirmed that selection of students was undertaken with integrity, starting at an appropriate level and allowing for progression rather than being over-ambitious and starting students at too high a level. Learning Support was an important factor.
Quality of teaching and learning
The report on lesson observations was received and Mark Hill (MH) explained that the outcome showed that Duchy had very little at grade 4 and more in Grade 1 than previously. Staff had been trained to undertake observations and the 650 recent observations were subject to a standardization exercise to ensure that they were as robust as those undertaken by external observers. Key messages could be seen in the results and management could now see where staff needed to be used to best effect and resources deployed. Student feedback would also be used in the assessment of the quality of teaching and learning. The final report after standardisation would be brought to the next meeting.
ASC explained that the graphs in the report showed the distance travelled by students in terms of achievement form the point at which they started at the college. Targets were set individually. He would report again on value added.
Achievement of funding agreement
ASC confirmed that by the end of the year, the budget should be balanced.
ASC had described the national context of the sector in his presentation on restructuring and confirmed that the next visit from OFSTED was not expected until 2010.
ASC provided slides showing the planned developments at Stoke Climsland and Rosewarne and was pleased to inform members that the corporation’s Property Strategy had been accepted by the LSC as meeting its requirements. There would be financial support of up to £24m to redevelop the estate at Stoke Climsland and other funding for Rosewarne. This had been announced by the LSC as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a total learning environment. For the first time, the farm was allowed to be included in the strategy and plans were being drawn up to develop a skills unit with classrooms and for the re-siting of the machinery workshop. The LSC would make a 10% contribution towards sustainability.
At Rosewarne, the long term lease with the County Council had been secured and there were real opportunities for development as a high quality horticultural centre. As members had seen on the tour, there were plans to create a better learning environment and residential accommodation would be considered. The support from the LSC for the Property Strategy was welcomed by members and further reports would be made as plans progressed.
Visit by NW colleges
ASC advised that managers from three colleges in the north west, accompanied by LSC staff, had visited Duchy to learn about the college’s success in employer engagement. 32 staff from Duchy had undertaken visits to other colleges during the year.
Update on regional agenda
ASC outlined developments in the land-based further education sector in the south west and would update members if there was anything significant to report.
The report was received and DNH was commended for the comprehensive content.
The report was received and noted. Letters would be sent from the Council to John Tozer, Sue Bickham and John Weaver who were retiring from Rosewarne and Stoke Climsland respectively.
As already reported, CC Newquay would be a campus in its own right and cease to be managed through Duchy from 1st September. AS thanked ASC and all at Duchy College for their support. He was optimistic that the restructure would lead to improvement in retention. Opportunities for progression were being developed so that students from Rosewarne and Stoke Climsland could move to further studies in SS3 at Newquay. AS was thanked for his work at Newquay and it was intended that links between Duchy and Newquay would continue.
Reports for information
Rural Business School (RBS)
ASC highlighted the success of the Vocational Training Scheme which was described in the report and confirmed that a letter confirming a £1.9m extension to the VTS was expected which would lead to development regionally. A report on the vision for the Agri-Food sector would be brought to the next meeting.
The report described the projected outturn of £1.09m which was very encouraging and ahead of last year by about £99,000. targets for 2008/09 were £1.25m for work-based learning and £.75m for Train to Gain. New programmes would include leadership and management.
Research, Trials and Convergence Funding
ASC tabled a list of the possible projects that might be funded in 2008/09 in addition to the projects described in the report. A bid to continue the Farm Business Survey for a further nine year contract had been submitted and members were pleased to hear that the RBS had been successful in securing tenders from the Regional Development Agency to initiate roll-out of the Blue Tongue Awareness programme.
The negative budget was noted but ASC assured members that it should balance by the year end.
FARM AND COMMERCIAL MATTERS
Report on farms
Reports from the two farms and Rosewarne Nursery were received and key points noted:
Stoke Climsland. Students were fully involved in all aspects of farm activity. Farm trials and demonstration activities were taking place and recruitment was looking positive.
Rosewarne. The aim of increasing student use of the farm was proving successful. New building for animal care had started ahead of the move from Feadon. The vegetable box scheme for staff was being set up with orders through a website.
Rosewarne nursery. Orders were coming in well for the new fuchsia, Angel’s Teardrop, was being sold through Diabetes UK and it had attracted good publicity.
Council members asked that the Corporate Management Team and Board consider the college’s strategy for commercial development and profit opportunities.