Meeting documents

Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 26th November, 2018 9.30 am

Date: Monday 26th November 2018 Time: 9.30 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 GYMRAEG/WELSH VERSION OF AGENDA COVERSHEET
Tudalen Glawr Agenda Gymraeg/Welsh Version of Agenda Coversheet (236K/bytes)
Noted
2. SIMULTANEOUS TRANSLATION

It was noted that no requestes had been received for the simulatenous translation service.

Noted
3. APOLOGIES

Councillors: P. Baldwin

G. A. Davies

P. Edwards

J. Hill

L. Parsons

T. Smith

Co-Opted Member - Mr. A. Williams

Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

No declarations of interest or dispensations were reported.

Noted
5. SPECIAL EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (190K/bytes)
Cofnodion (129K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Special Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 1st October, 2018 were submitted, whereupon:-

It was noted that the Minutes of the Scrutiny Committee Meetings would be submitted to the next Scrutiny Committee Meetings prior to being presented to Full Council.


The Committee AGREED that the minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
6. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (283K/bytes)
Cofnodion (279K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee Meeting held on 15th October, 2018 were submitted, whereupon:-


The Committee AGREED that the minutes be accepted as a true record of proceedings.

Agreed
7. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (42K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Special Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 1st October, 2018 was submitted.

The Committee AGREED that the Action Sheet arising from the Meeting held on 1st October, 2018 be noted.

Agreed
8. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (38K/bytes)
Attachment (67K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 15th October, 2018 was submitted, whereupon:

In relation to the introduction of Flying Start and the outcomes achieved by the first cohort of children, it was noted that this information and evidence needed to be gathered by the Department and, when available, would be provided to the Welsh Assembly to lobby for additional Flying Start areas within Blaenau Gwent.

A Member asked what the expectations would be of a child reaching the end of Key Stage 2 with a 6 plus or 7 as there was concern that there were children at this stage that were still unable to spell. The Corporate Director responded that good progress would be expected at Level 5 and pupils would have the ability write and spell at length as well as being well structured.

It was noted that the appropriate links were in place with Flying Start to provide youngsters with what was essential in assisting them with their progression.

The Committee AGREED that the Action Sheet arising from the Meeting held on 15th October, 2018 be noted.

Agreed
9. ESTYN LOCAL GOVERNMENT EDUCATION SERVICES - NEW INSPECTION ARRANGEMENTS FOR THE INSPECTION OF EDUCATION SERVICES
Report (67K/bytes)
Presentation (498K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (595K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education which was presented to provide a Presentation to Members on the New Inspection Arrangements for the Inspection Education Services.

The Corporate Director of Education spoke to the report and highlighted the contents therein.

A Member raised concern around the stability of children due to the continual change in curriculum. Another Member concurred with this comment and also expressed concern regarding school inspections, and whether the Corporate Director would have the appropriate assistance in relation to capacity to support schools in carrying out inspections. The Corporate Director responded that with regard to the stability of children there was openness demonstrated by Welsh Government in terms of a new framework and that changes were in place with ESTYN. She confirmed that the new curriculum had been delayed until 2022 to ensure teachers were prepared and Welsh Government would be working with a number of teachers to move this forward. She continued that in relation to capacity, a restructure was currently being carried out, the results of which would be reported back to Scrutiny. The Member suggested that when the report was available for the Scrutiny Committee, the Executive Member be invited to the Meeting. Members' attention was drawn to the Appendix, Section 3 - Leadership Management, indicating the guidance for Members should they be part of the Estyn Inspection.

The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely to consider and provide comments on the information within the presentation.

Agreed
10. HELPING ELECTED MEMBERS GET TO KNOW OUR SCHOOLS
Report (69K/bytes)
Presentation (99K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education, which was presented to provide Members with an overview on the proposed new Member led Sub-Group of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee.

The Corporate Director of Education spoke to the report and read through the presentation.

A Member said that providing there would be flexibility he felt that a brief tour of schools would be beneficial in order to meet the staff, discuss their strengths and weaknesses and hopefully provide any additional support needed.

Reference was made to the SSMG where areas of good practice would be looked at; however a Member felt that understanding and knowing our schools should also provide an element of categorisation in moving forward. The Corporate Director responded that categorisation was currently in the public domain and this information would be updated in January, 2019. She continued that what had been agreed with Headteachers was that there would be no discussion around pupil per se, categorisation would be shared with Members at the appropriate time; however the new group would not be performance based. The Member felt that without categorisation he would be unable to support the recommendation. Another Member felt it would beneficial to meet with Challenge Advisers at the start of meetings in order to summarise categorisations. The Officer explained that the Challenge Advisers did not have capacity to support these meetings as there was already a robust categorisation in place and schools would be more than happy to share this as well as the extent of support needed. She reiterated that this report was merely to get to know our schools and not hold them to account.

A Member suggested cluster visits and for outcomes to be brought back to Committee. The Officer said that there had been an agreement with Headteachers that individual school reporting would not be brought back to Committee; however discussions could be held at the Scrutiny pre-meetings.

A Member asked for a report on each school categorisation and the Officer responded that all categorisations would be brought to the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee.

Following nominations for the Sub-Group it was noted that the Members be:

Councillor H. Trollope (Chair)
Councillor M. Cook (Vice-Chair)
Councillor D. Bevan
Councillor J. Collins
Councillor J. Holt
Councillor J. C. Morgan
Councillor J. P. Morgan

It was noted that the Group would consist of 4 Members on a rotation basis with the Chair and Vice-Chair alternating their attendance.

The Committee AGREED to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that Option 2 be endorsed, namely to consider and provide comment and/or request additional information on the aim of the sub-group prior to seeking nominations from the Committee.

Agreed
11. ORDER OF AGENDA

The Chair agreed to the change in order of the Agenda.

Agreed
12. PUPIL EXCLUSIONS
Report (920K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (53K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education, which was presented to provide Members with the opportunity to scrutinise Exclusion Data for Blaenau Gwent at Primary and Secondary School level for the academic year 2017 - 2018.

The Inclusion Lead Officer spoke to the report and highlighted the key points therein:

- Purpose of the Report
- Context
- Supporting Evidence
„ Performance Information Data
„ 2017-2018 Exclusion Data
„ The National Picture
„ The Local Picture

A Member referred to the increase in the number of pupils being excluded and felt that there were obviously concerns surrounding this; however he stressed that for those children wanting to learn it was important that they be given opportunity to do so.

Another Member concurred with these comments and asked if figures could be provided on the number of children involved as well as how many exclusions are of youngsters from out of County who have not had the appropriate information about them forwarded to the Authority. The Inclusion Lead Officer undertook to provide the appropriate data information. He also stated that all necessary information would be collated in order to determine outcomes and strategies to deal with exclusions.

A Member felt that exclusions needed to be minimised as the situation could have unintended consequences such as excluded pupils influencing other pupils.

A question was asked as to whether Estyn would share information on the number of exclusions in neighbouring authorities. The Officer explained that the Welsh Government was in receipt of this information but was not sharing this level of detail.

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

Agreed
13. SCHOOL ATTENDANCE
Report (194K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education, which was presented to provide Members with the opportunity to scrutinise Attendance Data for Blaenau Gwent Primary and Secondary School level for the academic year 2017 - 2018.

The Senior Educational Welfare Officer spoke to the report and highlighted the key points therein:

- Purpose of the Report
- Context
„ Evaluation
„ Secondary Attendance
„ Primary Attendance
- Options for Consideration
- Supporting Evidence

A Member noted that there had been no mention of figures received from a Cluster basis and asked if this data could be provided. The Senior Educational Welfare Officer undertook to provide this information. It was noted that Cluster information was sent out to all schools on a fortnightly basis.

The Corporate Director referred Members to 6.8 of the report and the school's anonymity relating to the Individual School Data for 2017/2018.

A discussion ensued following a query regarding the revision of school holiday times. It was felt that school attendance was impacted upon by parents/carers not being able to afford to take their children on holiday in designated holiday times and would not improve until there was a change which would enable parents/guardians to afford to take their children on holiday.

Following a question regarding non-attendance due to illness, the Senior Educational Welfare Officer confirmed that this was 4.3%.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely to consider the information contained in the report and provide challenge and/or further action for consideration to make improvements.

Agreed
14. BLAENAU GWENT - WELSH IN EDUCATION STRATEGIC PLAN
CYNLLUN STRATEGOL CYMRAEG MEWN ADDYSG - BLAENAU GWENT

Report (135K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (800K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (230K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (81K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (116K/bytes)
Report (164K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (679K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (229K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (77K/bytes)
Appendix 4 (119K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Education Transformation, which was presented to provide Members with the opportunity to scrutinise progress in relation to the Blaenau Gwent Welsh In Education Strategic Plan (WESP).

The Head of Education Transformation spoke to the report and highlighted salient points contained therein:

- Purpose of the Report
- Scope and Background
- Options for Consideration
- Supporting Evidence

A question was asked in relation to 21st Century Schools and whether there had been any feedback from the Head Cluster Meetings as a Member had received a number of negative messages regarding the potential new Welsh School. The Head of Education Transformation stated that resulting from pre-consultation meetings there had been a number of location options for consideration for the Welsh medium school. He felt that the 6m Welsh Government funding that had already been awarded would be a tremendous help in looking at potential new sites. He continued that from the Headteachers perspective, follow up meetings would be carried out prior to any further reports coming back to Committee.

A Member made reference to the 6m and questioned whether this money could be utilised for the seedling and secondary School. The Officer responded that the 6m would be coming from the Welsh Government to secure a new Welsh Medium Primary School. He explained that there had been a change in secondary school catchment areas during the past 2 years with the development of a new Welsh secondary school in Newport; however, in the long term there may be need for extra places in the northern area of Gwent.

Councillor J. Holt and Councillor J. Collins left the Meeting at this juncture.

A Member felt that further consultation regarding this would be crucial as the views of everyone concerned was paramount.


The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely to continue to implement the existing monitoring procedures, which are reviewed annually in line with lessons learned.

Agreed
15. 21ST CENTURY SCHOOLS BAND B PROGRAMME PROGRESS
Report (140K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Head of Education Transformation, which was presented to provide Members with an update on progress made against 21st Century Schools Band B Development Programme.

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

- Purpose of the Report
- Scope and Background
- Implications Against Each Option

Councillor M. Cook left the Meeting at this juncture.

The report was welcomed by a Member; however, he pointed out that there had been no mention in the report of Brynmawr but was aware that resources had been made available for capital project. The Head of Education Transformation stated that in terms of secondary remodelling the three schools, where remodelling was needed, were Tredegar, Abertillery and Brynmawr Foundation and these would feature as part of the remodelling programme.

Another Member also welcomed the report and wished to reiterate the need to carry out consultations and look at the effect this would have on other schools in the area, including Ysgol Bro Helyg.


A Member asked what the timescale would be in relation to consultations as parental choice would have to be considered. The Officer confirmed that the consultation for the Welsh medium provision would take place in the Spring term. The national policy was clear in terms of requirements of consultation and that is that the responses will be shared with Members who will then debate the proposal and make the final decision.

The Head of Education Transformation informed Members that as part of the consultation process it was essential to undertake a Community Impact Assessment.

A Member requested that all local schools be kept updated.

The Committee AGREED to recommend that the Report be accepted, namely:

- To explore a seedling school for Welsh Medium Provision where there is currently unmet provision for demand

- To build a new 360 primary school in a school currently at the C/D borderline/primary school redevelopment

- Secondary school remodelling.

Agreed
16. FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME - 7TH JANUARY 2019
Report (82K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (52K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Chair of Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee, which was presented to provide Members with the Forward Work Programme for the Meeting to be held on 17th January, 2019 for discussion and to update the Committee on any changes.

The Committee AGREED the Forward Work Programme for the Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee to be held on 17th January, 2019.

Agreed