Meeting documents

Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee
Friday, 22nd September, 2017 10.00 am

Date: Friday 22nd September 2017 Time: 10.00 a.m. Place: Executive Room, Civic Centre

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

PresentAndWithReport toReport of
COUNCILLOR HAYDN TROLLOPE (CHAIR)
Item
No
Item/Resolution Status Action
PUBLIC
1. TUDALEN GLAWR AGENDA/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (298K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

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

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors:

J. Hill

J. Holt

H. McCarthy, B.A. (Hons)

B. Thomas

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

There were no declarations of interest or dispensations reported.

Noted
5. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (189K/bytes)
Cofnodion (186K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Minutes of the Education, & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 21st July, 2017 whereupon:

A Member made reference to Item No. 8 of the Minutes regarding Headteacher representation which should have included that: "Members had reservations regarding Headteacher representation on Committee and that there were concerns around Headteachers scrutinising their own work and this should be referred back for consideration".

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

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (60K/bytes)

The action sheet arising from the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 21st July, 2017 was submitted whereupon:-

Reference was made to Headteachers being invited to future Education & Learning Scrutiny meetings and a question was asked as to whether it was intended to invite the Headteachers of both Secondary and Primary Schools to meetings of the Scrutiny Committee.

A Member explained that historically there had been Headteacher representation but it was felt that it would be more beneficial for Teachers to remain available at their schools rather than attending meetings.

Following a discussion it was agreed that as the existing co-opted Member was a Headteacher (representing the Diocese) he would also represent the teaching profession on the Scrutiny Committee.

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

Agreed
7. HOME TO SCHOOL AND POST 16 TRANSPORT POLICY 2018/19
Report (217K/bytes)
Appendix (343K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Education Transformation Manager to seek Members' views in relation to the Home to School Post 16 Transport Policy (2018/2019).

The Head of Education Transformation and Performance spoke to the report and highlighted key points therein:

- Background and Context
- Performance Evidence - Figure 1
- Financial Implications

Clarification was sought by a Member regarding the data shown in Figure 1 - Transportation of Blaenau Gwent Pupils - as he was aware that 5 children were being transported to and from a local school but the graph recorded no children. The Head of Education Transformation & Performance explained that the Policy only covered pupils attending their nearest school and undertook to establish the figures.

A Member asked if consideration had been given to the condition of the roads being used for transportation and the Officer advised that a risk assessment process is in place where required and this was carried out by the Environment Directorate, but the responsibility for the policy firmly lied with the Education Directorate.

A question was asked in relation to 1.3 of the report regarding Post 16 and the cost of these children going to Crosskeys College by train. The Officer informed Members that if a course was not available to be undertaken by a student at the Learning Zone then support for travel arrangements to other Colleges would be provided based upon the nearest available course.

A Member requested a breakdown of costs for transporting Welsh medium Secondary pupils to Ysgol Gyfun Gwnllyw and Cwm Rhymni. The Officer explained that there was a Coleg Gwent Hardship Fund to support students in need.

The Chair requested that a copy of the Hardship Fund criteria be distributed to Members. He advised that a Member Briefing on the Learning Zone's Post 16 performance was forthcoming, which would be an opportunity to discuss the fund with Members.

Following a question regarding the use of transport, it was noted that the Environment Directorate monitored how often pupils used the school transport.

The Officer explained that if a parent decided to place a child in a school outside their catchment area, transport arrangements would then be the responsibility of the parent.

A Member referred to Looked After Children and requested that a breakdown of costs be provided. The Officer undertook to provide this information separately.

A question was raised regarding transport being provided for pupils travelling from Brynithel to Swffryd Primary School when the catchment area is St. Illtyd's School. The Officer undertook to ascertain if transport was paid for by the Authority or privately.

A Member asked that in the event of a school being unable to take a child in their catchment area would the Authority provide transport. The Officer explained that transport would be provided to the nearest school available, which would be the same for both excluded and ALN pupils. It was noted that only one school over the last academic year had directly funded transport costs.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that Option 1 of the report be accepted namely:

- To recommend that the Executive Committee adopt the proposed Policy.

Agreed
8. SUMMARY OF SCHOOL INSPECTION OUTCOMES, SPRING TERM 2017
Report (143K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (430K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (428K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Education Improvement Manager which was presented to provide Members with an update on School Inspection Outcomes and Estyn Monitoring visits during the Spring Term 2017.

The Corporate Director spoke to the report and highlighted salient points therein:

- Performance Evidence and Information
„ Willowtown Primary
„ Rhos-y-Fedwen
- Risk Implications

It was noted that a new Inspection Framework was underway.

A Member wished to commend Willowtown School on their achievement.

RESOLVED that Option 2 be agreed namely to accept the information in the report and appendices.

Agreed
9. FINAL END OF FOUNDATION PHASE, KEY STAGE 2 AND KEY STAGE 3 OUTCOMES 2017
Report (3M/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Report of the Principal Challenge Adviser (Interim) and Corporate Director of Education which was presented to provide Members with Performance Monitoring Information for Statutory, end of Key Sage Teacher Assessment 2016/17.

The Corporate Director spoke to the report and highlighted key points therein:

- Scope of the Report
- Performance Evidence and Information
„ Cohort Sizes
„ Need to Improve

A Member referred to Page 111 of the report and congratulated the improvement of Key Stage 2 and 3, yet felt that there was an anomaly in relation to performance exceeding targets. The Corporate Director explained that during the target setting process, provisional targets are challenged and are meant to be challenging to achieve. Where targets are exceeded i.e. in Maths, then this will be taken into account during the next round of target setting and additional challenge applied if appropriate. The new EASI software introduced this year should further support accurate target setting.

Reference was made to page 124 regarding Level 6+ and the drop in Science, a Member asked if assurance could be given that outcomes would be looked at on a cluster basis as in the previous year. The EAS Officer stated that at a school level all schools will have access to Cluster Profiles. The Corporate Director concurred and felt that the cluster approach was important and would be used going forward.

Following a request in relation to the impact of Flying Start on foundation phase pupils, the Corporate Director undertook to provide information regarding the schedule of growing skills (SOGS) which is an assessment tool used to evaluate the progress of very young children. A further report will be brought back to this committee.

A question was asked in relation to where the gender gap started and it was noted that it was evident at the age of 7. For example in the FPOI girls in Blaenau Gwent exceed the performance of girls in Wales whilst for boys they currently do not.

Further to a discussion relating to coloured graphs in reports, it was agreed a coloured version be emailed to Members or alternatively to make use of the IT screens provided.

RESOLVED, to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed namely to accept the information.

Agreed
10. PROVISIONAL KEY STAGE 4 OUTCOMES 2017
Report (179K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Principal Challenge Adviser (Interim) and the Corporate Director of Education which was presented to provide Members with a summary of 2016/17 Provisional Performance Outcomes at the end of Key Stage 4.

The Corporate Director read to the report and outlined the Performance Evidence and Information.

The Chair referred to paragraph 2.24 of the report and requested the regional protocols for schools experiencing unaccepted declines be provided for Members' information. It was confirmed that this would take place.

The Chair invited the Executive Member to comment on the report. The Executive Member felt that the report indicated that excellent practice was clearly evident in one school in particular and that this needed to be shared amongst all schools.

It was noted that Btec still operated in some schools but this was the last year for choice between BTEC and GCSE in Science.

A Member referred to page 2.18 of page 139 of the report and asked if the percentages outlined in the table could also be provided in pupil numbers to offer a clearer picture. The EAS stated that percentages were useful however when the final Key Stage 4 outcome report is presented to Committee, a full analysis of pupil number in cohorts would be afforded. Members expressed their full support to the Education Department in their work to improve outcomes going forward.

Concern was raised regarding the standards of 2 Blaenau Gwent schools that were unacceptably low and a Member felt that the wording within the report could be misinterpreted and possibly result in mass migration from one school to another.

Reference was made to the financial implications and the need to maintain the Education Budget. A Member felt that parents benefitted more from claiming Family Credit than FSM. The Corporate Director advised that progress data would be evaluated on individual child performance.

The Corporate Director stressed that there was a need to fully recognise that within mainstream schools there will be groups of pupils who have a range of different learning needs. The important factor is that appropriate support is provided to all pupils whatever their vulnerabilities or challenges. It was noted that a Member Session was forthcoming to discuss ALN Bill.

A Member expressed concern regarding some of the rechecks on the recent GCSE results that had been carried out, and had been remarked to one point below a regrading, and asked if this could be investigated and brought back to Committee as it was felt that these children's lives were being affected by this. The Corporate Director undertook to look into this and report back.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed namely to challenge the information contained within the report and offer feedback regarding areas which required further improvement.

Agreed
11. SCHOOL ORGANISATION POLICY (2017/20)
Report (406K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Education Transformation and Performance which was presented to seek the views of Members on the review of the School Organisation Policy (2017-2020).

The Head of Education Transformation and Performance spoke to the report and highlighted the background and content.

A Member referred to the Financial Implications and requested to know that when a school reorganisation takes place does any deficit come out of the reserves of the Council or out of the Education Directorate's reserves. The Head of Education Transformation and Performance responded that when a decision is taken to close one school and open another, a new financial revenue budget would be set up and any school deficits would then be dealt with from an Education budget perspective. The Corporate Director informed Members that the deficit was taken out of the Education Revenue Budget and there would be no negative impact on ISB. However it was noted that most schools on reorganisation have been in surplus positions and schools are informed in writing well in advance of closure, stating that they should not overspend on their current budget.

The Chair commented that community focussed schooling agenda should be included in the policy and the Head of Education Transformation & Performance undertook to include reference to community focussed schools.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed namely to challenge the information contained within the report and offer feedback regarding areas which require further improvement.

Agreed
12. 21ST CENTURY SCHOOLS - BAND B PROGRAMME (2019-2024)
Report (221K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Report of the Head of Education Transformation and Performance which was presented to provide Members with an overview of the Council's 21st Century Schools Programme.

The Head of Education Transformation and Performance read to the report and explained the background and context as well as the financial implications.

The Officer noted that Blaenau Gwent had been asked to lead on the SEWC 21st Century Schools Regional Programme.

RESOLVED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted namely:

- Priority 1:


The proposed Secondary School remodelling projects would be dependent on the level of funding ultimately secured. The availability of funding would significantly influence the extent of works which could be undertaken in the individual programmes. Moreover, as the construction works will have to be managed to maintain the day to day operation of the schools, then the works would need to be phased and carried out over extended construction periods, which again lends itself to a phased works development programme.

- Priorities 2(i) 2(ii) and 2(iii)


The extent of the work included in, and undertaken at individual schools, would be prioritised according to the condition/suitability survey assessments.

The rationale for presenting these options as priority projects for the Band B programme was based on the following considerations:

„ Raising standards, particularly at KS4, was a Council and directorate priority, in line with the Vision for Education and School Organisation Policy (2015);


„ Suitability and condition categorisation for the identified projects was relatively low;


„ Programme deliverability, linked to the Council's reduced match-funding capital resources;


„ Sustainability and reducing revenue costs;


„ WG's 1 million Welsh Learners Strategy (2050) and the BG Welsh Education Strategic Plan (WESP) aim to increase Welsh medium learning opportunities; and


„ WG had requested an ambitious Band B submission, with the opportunity for Council's to reduce the programme, subject to confirmation of the affordability and match-funding levels.

Agreed
13. AGENDA ITEMS FOR THENEXT MEETING OF THE EDUCATION AND LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Agenda Items (65K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the Agenda items for the next meeting of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee.

The Corporate Director undertook to seek clarity on the terms of reference for Education Forums, e.g. Admissions Forum, in order to review and consider taking on Member reserves, and to report back to Members.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the Agenda Items for the next meeting be accepted, namely:-

„ Summary of School Inspection Outcomes, Summer 2017

„ Inspire to Achieve/Work Project Update
„ ICT Plan Business Case for Schools
„ Draft Partnership Agreement 2017-2019 (statutory)
„ Managing School Places and the School Estate
„ 21st Century Schools Programme, Progress against Band A Programme Delivery (to include Gateway Review Outcome)
„ Policy Development: Pregnancy of School Aged Children

Agreed