Meeting documents

Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 15th June, 2017 10.00 am

Date: Thursday 15th June 2017 Time: 10.00 a.m. Place: Executive Room, Civic Centre

Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

PresentAndReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR HAYDN TROLLOPE (CHAIR)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (175K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requests had been received for the simultaneous translation service.

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

An apology for absence was received from:

Mr. Tim Baxter - Co-opted Member

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. EDUCATION, ACTIVE LIVING & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Cofnodion (102K/bytes)
Minutes (161K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Education, active Living & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 13th February, 2017.

RESOLVED, that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (40K/bytes)

The action sheet arising from the Education, Active Living and Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 13th February, 2017 was submitted:-

RESOLVED, that the Action Sheet be noted and the information contained therein be acknowledged.

Agreed
7. SPECIAL EDUCATION, ACTIVE LIVING & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE.
Cofnodion (88K/bytes)
Minutes (142K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Special Education, Active Living & Learning Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 17th February, 2017.


RESOLVED, that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceeding.

Agreed
8. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (39K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Special Education, Active Living and Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 17th February, 2017 was submitted, whereupon:-

Vision for Education in Blaenau Gwent: Engagement Response

The Director of Education & Learning informed Members that an annual review would be undertaken in relation to the Vision for Education and a Member Briefing session would be arranged as part of the Member Development Programme.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the Action Sheet be noted and the information contained therein be acknowledged.

Agreed
9. SPECIAL EDUCATION, ACTIVE LIVING & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE.
Cofnodion (115K/bytes)
Minutes (176K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Special Education, Active Living & Learning Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 2nd March, 2017.

RESOLVED, that the Minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
10. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (55K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Special Education, Active Living and Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 2nd March, 2017 was submitted, whereupon:-

Aneurin Leisure Trust 2nd Quarter Performance Report 2016/17

It was noted that Item 6 - Aneurin Leisure Trust 2nd Quarter Performance Report 2016/17 would be reported to the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee as this was now the portfolio that was responsible for Leisure.

A Member requested information regarding the number of Officers currently seconded to the Leisure Trust including the associated costs

The Chair indicated that this area was now the remit of the Environment, Regeneration & Economic Development Scrutiny Committee and should be raised at this meeting. The Head of Policy & Performance undertook to pursue the matter.

RESOLVED, subject to the forgoing, that the Action Sheet be noted and the information contained therein be acknowledged.

Agreed
11. PROGRESS TOWARDS TARGETS - ALL SCHOOLS
Report (2M/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Interim Principal Challenge Adviser.

The Interim Principal Challenge Adviser spoke to the report and highlighted key points therein:-

- Performance Evidence - School Predictions
- Key Stage 4 Context - 2017

The Interim Principal Challenge Adviser outlined the national minimum expectations for 7, 11, 14 and 16 years olds', and the importance of the context of eFSM. He advised that discussions would need to be held with Headteachers in order that feedback could be provided.

Free School Meals

Concern was expressed in relation to the decrease in the number of Free School Meals and the affect this would have on the children. It was requested that the impact of this be reported to a future meeting of the Committee.

The Interim Principal Challenge Adviser explained that the reason for the decrease in the number of Free School Meals was due to a decrease in funding and the way in which performance was measured.


A discussion ensued regarding Free School Meals and it was noted that Blaenau Gwent had the highest number of pupils eligible for Free School Meals in Wales, however attempts were being made to reduce this number.

A Member referred to 2.6 of the report and the 24 children that no longer received free school meals. It was felt that these children should not be turned away and support should still be forthcoming. The Interim Principal Challenge Adviser said that flexibility would remain in place for schools to provide support.

It was felt that the loss of finance had a considerable effect on the school meal issue. However Welsh Government had introduced a Legacy Fund to support and provide resilience within communities and ensure successful projects to address issues of poverty would continue. The Director advised she was aware of the Legacy Fund and it was intended to prioritise projects moving forward.

It was a Member's view that the number of free school meals had reduced due to the possibility of parents opting for Tax Credits as an alternative to free school meals. He felt strongly that this would result in a child not having the most substantial meal of the day, therefore affecting the child's performance.

Language Skills

Emphasis was put on the need to return to basic language skills for very young pupils, which should commence at pre-school. Reflecting on the figures there appeared to be a decrease between Primary and Secondary Schools. It was felt that if progression could be made at Primary stage then results could reach 100 per cent.

The Director stressed that performance had been improved on last year and spoke on the School Predications at length.

Welsh Language Options

Reference was made to the options provided at college for school leavers. It was noted that the Welsh Language option had been reviewed in neighbouring authorities and the outcome of the results had identified that this subject should not be compulsory at this stage.

The Corporate Director referred to paragraph 3.1 of the report and the Level 2 threshold and reiterated that it was not compulsory to study Welsh and this non requirement had been reflected in the Education Directorate and EAS Risk Registers.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely that the information contained therein be accepted. A further update on progress towards targets (Key Stage 4) be received in the summer term.
Councillor J. C. Morgan and Councillor T. Smith left the meeting at this juncture.

Agreed
12. SUMMARY SELF-EVALUATION REPORT (SER) FOR ELECTED MEMBERS, PARENTS AND HEADTEACHERS: 2015/2016
Report (132K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (76K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (74K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (106K/bytes)
Appendix 5 (957K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education.

The Corporate Director spoke on the report and outlined the key points therein:-

- Background and Context
- Performance Evidence
- Self-Evaluation Report for Elected Members
- Annual Improvement Report

Pupil Exclusions

In reply to a question regarding the current number of exclusions, the Interim Principal Challenge Adviser advised that exclusions were monitored on a two weekly basis and, the figures were higher this year than in previous years. The officer undertook to provide this information.

A question was asked how a reduction in the number of exclusions would impact on the well-being outcomes and what the impact would be on other pupils. The Corporate Director explained that all provisions within the Well-being Assessment would be prioritised accordingly.

Surplus Places

In reply to a question whether excluded children from neighbouring authorities could attend schools within Blaenau Gwent. The Inclusion Lead Officer explained that there were agreements with other schools; however, there was an admissions process that had to be undertaken for assurance purposes.

Pupil Behaviour Panel

Reference was made to the pupil behaviour panel and concern was expressed regarding the length of time it took for appointments to be arranged. A Member expressed concern that he was aware of a situation of parents waiting 6 to 8 months for an appointment and requested that a report be submitted to a future meeting of the Committee detailing the outturn of pupils returning to mainstream.

The Corporate Director referred to health needs, as well as a detailed response on what services were in place to support children at risk of exclusion and how these children were supported. The Director undertook to investigate and report back to Committee on this issue.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1, namely that the format of the newly developed summary SER documents be endorsed.

Agreed
13. TIME OF FUTURE MEETINGS

Consideration was given to the commencement times of the future Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee Meetings.

The Chair informed Members that the day of future meetings would need to be amended due to the clash with CMT meetings.

RESOLVED, that future Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee Meetings be held at 10.00 a.m., on dates to be agreed.

Agreed