Meeting documents

Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee
Friday, 27th October, 2017 10.00 am

Date: Friday 27th October 2017 Time: 10.00 a.m. Place: Council Chamber, 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/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Agenda Coversheet (172K/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:

T. Baxter - Co-Opted Member

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

Councillor L. Elias declared an interest in Item 5 - Home to School and Post 16 Transport Policy 2018/19

Councillor J. Holt declared an interest in Item 5 - Home to School and Post 16 Transport Policy 2018/19

Councillor J. Collins declared an interest in Item 5 - Home to School and post 16 Transport Policy 2018/19.

Noted
5. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (221K/bytes)
Cofnodion (157K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 22nd September were submitted.

The Chair wished to welcome Councillor Stewart Healy onto the Scrutiny Committee.

It was noted that Councillor Martin Cook had attended the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee however his name had been omitted from the Minutes.

The Corporate Director requested the names of Officers be included with their designations in the list of those present at the meeting.

The Corporate Director informed Members that a Headteachers' meeting was scheduled to take place on 29th November, 2017 where a teacher representative for Scrutiny would be discussed.

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

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (50K/bytes)
Attachment 1 (46K/bytes)
Attachment 2 (37K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 22nd September, 2017 was submitted, whereupon:

Home to School and Post 16 Transport Policy 2018/2019

Councillors: D. L. Elias, J. Holt and J. Collins declared an interest on this item and remained in the meeting.

A Member referred to pupils travelling to schools outside of their school catchment area and enquired if Brynmawr Foundation School subsidised the cost for those pupils. The Head of Education Transformation and Performance informed Members that the Council's Home to School Transport Policy had been reviewed and transport costs for pupils attending schools outside a catchment area would be the responsibility of the parents. Transport would only be provided by the Local Authority to pupils attending the nearest available school from their place of residence. However, it was noted that Brynmawr Foundation School offered pupils support with transport costs.

Final End of Foundation Phase, Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 Outcomes 2017

The Corporate Director informed Members that a Member Briefing on Flying Start would be provided early in the New Year, which would include information on the Schedule of Growing Skills (SOGs).

Provisional Key Stage 4 Outcomes 2017

A Member asked whose responsibility it was to identify schools that were struggling, what action would be taken and what action had previously been taken. The Corporate Director explained that schools are supported, monitored and challenged by their allocated Challenge Adviser from the Education Achievement Service.

Schools experiencing rapid decline were subject to the regional agreed policy via the Education Achievement Service. Progress was monitored every term to ensure appropriate continuity. However if a school was not on track then challenge advisors would provide support and monitor their progress closely. If the results of the school came back significantly below the schools targets and predictions of performance then this was deemed by the EAS to be a school in need of more specific support. In relation to previous actions, warning letters had been issued to schools and Council intervention had taken place. It was noted that Intervention Panels met once every half term to ensure close monitoring.

Provisional Key State 4 Outcomes - Summer 2017 Requests for Exam Papers to be remarked

The Corporate Director provided detail on the information in the table of Attachment 2 relating to remarked exam papers. A Member enquired what the cost had been for this and who funded the costs. The Officer informed Members a charge would not be made for those exam papers that had successfully been regraded, but that any other costs were paid by the school.

It was noted that this year had seen the highest amount of regradings throughout Wales.

A Member asked whose decision it was to submit papers for remarking. The Officer informed Members that it was a professional decision based on the teacher's assessment of the pupil's work, and whether they felt that a higher result should have been achieved. It was a decision made by the school.

Another Member asked that if a paper had been submitted for remarking and it had been found that a regrading was not warranted, would there be any recourse should the school disagree with the decision. The Corporate Director said that a robust remarking process would have been carried out and therefore there would be no process for appeal.

Reference was made to the Ebbw Vale Learning Zone and those pupils having to attend alternative Colleges owing to certain courses not being available at the Campus and the costs to the Local Authority for providing transport for those students. It was felt that further financial cuts to FE budgets would have a massive impact on transport. The Head of Education Transformation and Performance explained that moving forward there was a planned approach to developing clear learning opportunities linked to career pathways. The Corporate Director stated that it would be useful for Members to have information on the range of courses offered by the colleges.

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

Agreed
7. SUMMARY OF SCHOOL INSPECTION OUTCOMES, SUMMER TERM 2017
Report (143K/bytes)
Appendix (428K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Strategic Education Improvement Manager which was presented to provide Members with an update of School Inspection Outcomes for schools inspected during Summer Term 2017 and the outcomes of Estyn monitoring visits during this period.

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

- Ystruth Primary School inspection
- Ebbw Fawr monitoring visit

Ystruth Primary School

A Member requested a letter of congratulations be sent to Ystruth Primary School for the excellent report.

Reference was made to the recommendation for improvement (R1) - to improve pupils' competence in speaking Welsh - and a question was asked as to how many Welsh speaking teachers were employed by Blaenau Gwent. The Corporate Director said that the Welsh Government allocated a Welsh Education Improvement Grant to help build capacity in Wales and progress was being made to increase the amount of pupils learning Welsh. A report setting this out would be provided at a meeting later in the year. Welsh speaking teachers are employed in the Welsh Medium primary school. Regarding the precise number of teachers, this will be brought back to a subsequent meeting.


Ebbw Fawr Learning Community

A Member noted that it was very pleasing to see the progression made at Ebbw Fawr Learning Community and requested that a congratulations letter be sent to the Headteacher.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed namely to consider the information contained in the report and appendices and provide challenge and/or further action for consideration to make improvements.

Agreed
8. MANAGING THE SCHOOL ESTATE: SURPLUS PLACES POSITION 2017
Report (216K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (43K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (82K/bytes)
Appendix 5 (35K/bytes)
Appendix 5A (37K/bytes)
Appendix 5B (37K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Education Transformation and Performance which was presented to provide Members with an opportunity to consider the effectiveness of Pupil Place Management throughout the Blaenau Gwent School Estate.

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

- Purpose of the Report
- Background and Context
„ Pupil Place Planning Processes
„ Pupil Place Management Throughout the 2016/17 Academic Session
„ Blaenau Gwent's Position in Relation to the Family of Local Authorities
„ Figure 3 - Family of LA Statues
„ All Wales position
- Financial Implications

A Member requested a breakdown on the number of pupils recorded for 2016/17 that attended Primary and Comprehensive Schools outside their catchment area, the information to include expected figures, actual figures and the reasons why alternative schools were chosen as Members were concerned that it could result in a reduction in school budgets. The Head of Education Transformation and Performance undertook to provide this information and explained that where there was a migration of pupils then this would have an impact on finance and sustainability of schools, which needed to be monitored closely.

A Member requested information on the number of children being provided with transport to attend schools Out of County. The Head of Education Transformation and Performance undertook to provide this information. However, he stated that Abertillery Learning Community had seen a significant increase in numbers of pupils for year 7 in academic year 2017/18. A Member enquired if the reason for the increase was due to Blaenau Gwent pupils no longer being able to attend Newbridge Comprehensive School. The Officer agreed and stated that Caerphilly County Borough Council no longer has sufficient places to cater for Blaenau Gwent learners but there would be other reasons also for parents expressing an interest for their child to attend the Learning Community.

Following a question regarding the change in policy in relation to Caerphilly and whether it still included Swffryd, the Head of Education Transformation and Performance explained that Caerphilly County Borough Council had not changed its policy but many pupils still Attend Newbridge Comprehensive on distance grounds.

A Member commented on the different policies across schools and the Officer informed Members that all schools have to adhere to the Welsh Government Admissions Code; however, Faith and Foundation schools had their own admissions arrangements.

A Member asked if it was the opinion of Officers that Comprehensive Schools were 'cherry picking' pupils and offering subsidised transport in order to obtain higher results. The Corporate Director stated that the Admissions process was in place for schools to adhere to and that pupils were accepted by the catchment area, however if places were still available then consideration would be given to out of catchment areas based on distance.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted.


Agreed
9. EDUCATION OF PREGNANT SCHOOL GIRLS AND SCHOOL AGE PARENTS POLICY
Report (130K/bytes)
Appendix (271K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Senior Education Welfare Officer which was presented to gain the views of Members on the Education of Pregnant School Girls and School Age Parents' Policy.

The Inclusion Lead Officer spoke to the report and highlighted the Background and Context.

The Senior Education Welfare Officer highlighted the Performance Evidence and Information and informed Members that during 2015/16 there were 4 young mums/pregnant school girls, 2016/17 - 2 and 2017/18 - 1.

A Member enquired if provisions had been provided in schools for breastfeeding mums. The Inclusion Lead Officer responded that there was a variation between schools and that the Equality Act states that schools should make reasonable adjustments.

The Chair requested that a statement be included in the policy to ensure provision is available in schools for breastfeeding young mums. The Corporate Director responded that this had previously been discussed and would now include in the policy that there would be an expectation that schools would provide a safe and convenient space for young mums to breastfeed.

Following a discussion the Corporate Director informed the committee that all schools keep sanitary products in stock should pupils need them. A Member noted that ongoing consideration was being given to free sanitary products being available in schools by the Welsh Government.

RESOLVED, subject to the foregoing, that Option 1 be agreed namely:

- To recommend the Executive adopt the proposed policy, and

- Include in the policy privacy facilities for young mothers.

Agreed
10. AGENDA ITEMS FOR THE NEXT MEETING OF THE EDUCATION AND LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Agenda Items (51K/bytes)

To agree the items for the Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee Meeting to be held on Friday, 15th December, 2017.

It was noted that Sarah Davies would now be the Lead Officer for Final Key Stage 4 Performance 2016-17 reports.

A Member referred to the ICT for Schools and asked whether SRS was responsible for this. The Head of Education Transformation and Performance said that this responsibility firmly lied with the County Borough Council.

A Member enquired if the LA had a policy on Transgender in schools and the Corporate Director confirmed that there was a policy and undertook to provide the Member with a copy.

Following a request by a Member for a list of acronyms the Corporate Director agreed to include a glossary of terms for each report presented.

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

„ Pupil Attendance and Exclusions 2016/17
„ Improving Schools Programme
„ Welsh in Education Strategic Plan 2017-2020
„ Final Key Stage 4 Performance 2016/17
„ School Standards Monitoring Group and Well-Being in Schools
„ ICT Plan Business Case for Schools
„ Draft Partnership Agreement 2017-2019 (Statutory)

Agreed