Meeting documents

Education and Learning Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 1st April, 2019 9.30 am

Date: Monday 1st April 2019 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)

Councillors: D. Bevan
J. Collins
M. Cook
P. Edwards
L. Elias
J. Holt
J. C. Morgan
L. Parsons
T. Smith

Co-Opted Member - T. Baxter

Corporate Director � Education & Learning
Head of Education Transformation - Education
Inclusion Lead Officer � Education
Education Improvement Manager - Education
Challenge Adviser � EAS x 2
Scrutiny Advisor
CHAIR AND MEMBERS OF THE COUNCILDEMOCRATIC SERVICES OFFICER - DEMOCRATIC & CORPORATE SUPPORT
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 (173K/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:

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P. Baldwin

G. A. Davies�

J. Hill

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Co-Opted Member - A. Williams
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Noted
4. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST AND DISPENSATIONS

No declarations of interest or dispensations were reported.

Noted
5. EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (300K/bytes)
Cofnodion (295K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee dated 18th February, 2019 were submitted.

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

Agreed
6. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (40K/bytes)
Attachment (2M/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 18th February, 2019 was submitted, whereupon:

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A Member asked if arrangements for cluster training had moved forward and whether the information had been relayed to governing bodies. The Challenge Adviser � EAS responded that if the EAS were approached by the Cluster then training would be provided and all information would be relayed to governing bodies. It was also noted that there was a programme of cluster sessions available for E-learning and the Officer undertook to provide Members with a list of training available on line as well as the number of Members engaged with on line training.

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In response to a question regarding whether Governors who have carried out training would need further training, the Officer confirmed that the Welsh Government were the authority involved in carrying out retraining; however, he anticipated that no further training would be needed at this time.

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Reference was made to those governors eligible for suspension for not undertaking mandatory training and a Member asked for figures to be provided to enable a better understanding. The Challenge Adviser � EAS undertook to provide figures at the next Scrutiny Meeting.

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A Member suggested a date be set aside for one Governing Body Meeting per year, per school, to undertake training. The Officer felt that there would be difficulty meeting the demand; however this was solely the decision of the governing body.

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The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the Action Sheet arising from the Meeting held on 18th February, 2019 be noted.
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Agreed
7. SPECIAL EDUCATION & LEARNING SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
Minutes (261K/bytes)
Cofnodion (198K/bytes)

The Minutes of the Special Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee dated 13th March, 2019 were submitted.

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

Agreed
8. ACTION SHEET
Action Sheet (35K/bytes)

The Action Sheet arising from the Education & Learning Scrutiny Committee held on 13th March, 2019 was submitted, whereupon:

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The Head of Education Transformation confirmed that the expenses cost in relation to the Admissions Appeal Panel was �112.

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The Committee AGREED that the Action Sheet arising from the Meeting held on 13th March, 2019 be noted.
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Agreed
9. 21ST CENTURY SCHOOLS BAND A PROGRAMME PROGRESS
Report (127K/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 against the delivery of the 21st Century Schools Band A Programme scheduled to conclude in 2019.

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

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� Purpose of the Report
� Context
� Options for Recommendation

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It was noted that the figure of �56,000 in bullet point 4 of 2.9 � Page 37 of the report should read �560,000.

A Member asked if the Officer felt that as a result of this report there would be lower categorised buildings for Blaenau Gwent than across other regions. The Head of Education Transformation said that Welsh Government categorises the buildings based on surveys on a range being A (good) to D (poor) and that Blaenau Gwent only has one on the C/D border line, therefore overall Blaenau Gwent was currently in a strong position.

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Reference was made to Glanhowy School where it was felt this had proved an excellent example of old and new schools coming together with best practice.

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It was felt that this report was a good news story for Blaenau Gwent and although there had originally been concern in Tredegar Comprehensive School, it was evident that transformation of the learning environment at the school had been significant and had uplifted both staff and pupils.

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A Member was pleased to note the improvement in school suitability and condition ratings and asked if there was a timescale for the ICT Infrastructure and Connectivity project. The Officer responded that ICT infrastructure project had recently started. It would be rolled out over the next 12 months and pilot work was underway at St. Joseph�s RC School, Cwm Primary School and Swffryd Primary School because of the scale of the projects; he continued that to have consistency across the school estate it was intended that this would be completed in all schools by the summer 2020.

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Reference was made to Blaenau Gwent piloting the Early Years Childcare Offer as well as complementing the work of Flying Start and it was asked if a report could be provided on the pockets of areas that would most benefit this. The Officer stated that colleagues in Social Services Early Years Team now sat on the 21st Century Board and he undertook to engage with them to provide the report to a future Scrutiny meeting.

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The Committee AGREED, to recommend, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely to offer feedback and further considerations, prior to accepting the report.
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Agreed
10. PROGRESS REPORT: VISION FOR EDUCATION
Report (178K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (370K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education, which was presented to provide Members with the opportunity to scrutinise progress in respect of the practical implementation of the vision for Education in Blaenau Gwent.

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Councillor L. Parsons entered the Meeting at this juncture.

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


� Purpose of the Report
� Corporate Plan
� Supporting Evidence

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It was felt by Members that School to School working was certainly the way forward and an element of this was to instil belief in staff and improve standards. The Challenge Adviser informed Members that a Peer Programme was currently being piloted in bringing schools together; however although this project was not being controlled by the EAS they were funding it and early signs indicated that it was working well.

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Following a question on whether the Authority were ensuring that as many schools as possible were taking part in learning networks, the Challenge Adviser stated that all schools would have now appointed Professional Learning Leads who assured all relevant information was passed on to schools to support them in their school to school networks .

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A Member referred to 4.1 - The Corporate Plan and the three Education Aims and asked whether they were being achieved or making progress and was there any evidence to support any progress. The Corporate Director explained that the aims were derived from the Corporate Plan and it was evident from past and previous years that outcomes had certainly improved at the expected level and at the more able +1 level. She continued that the areas of progress were very clear as well as those areas needing further work and the focus would continue to be on those areas identified as needing to continue to improve.

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A Member asked how the authority were encouraging and ensuring that schools were becoming actively involved in School to School working. The Challenge Adviser responded that this was delivered through the Challenge Adviser visits where strengths were identified and by encouraging schools to work with other schools.

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The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 1 be endorsed, namely to accept the report.
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Agreed
11. SCHOOL CATEGORISATION
Report (142K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (47K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (70K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education which was presented to provide Members with the new National School Categorisation System and Blaenau Gwent School Categorisation Profile for 2019.

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The Challenge Adviser - EAS spoke to the report and highlighted salient points contained therein:

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� Purpose of the Report
� Scope and Background
� Supporting Evidence
� Performance Information Data
�� Primary and Secondary School Categories 2018/19

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Reference was made to the Supporting Evidence mainly 6.1.2 and a Member asked for an explanation on there being no national averages readily available for Step 1 and Step 2 data and no Step 1 data used for categorisation this year. The Challenge Adviser explained that this information had not been available at the time of processing the document. The Member then referred to 6.3 � Expected Outcome for the Public and stated that monitoring and understanding was a very important mechanism; however he asked if the Officer felt that this should also incorporate Governors as there were currently mixed messages around school categorisation. The Challenge Adviser confirmed that Governors would be included in judgements about the quality of leadership and also the extent to which Governors hold their own schools to account. The Member explained that he sat as a Governor on two schools and it was felt there needed to be a clearer direction.

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It was noted on 6.1.3 of the report that although there had been an increase in Green Schools, Blaenau Gwent remained below the regional average and a Member asked what was the average and how far behind was Blaenau Gwent. The Challenge Adviser stated that 43% was green - the EAS SEW Region average was 54% and the national average across Wales was 43%. So the proportion of green schools in Blaenau Gwent matched those nationally.

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In response to a question regarding a timeline for schools coming out of the red category, and the effect this had on staff, the Challenge Adviser referred to a school that had been in the red category for a significant amount of time that now had LA intervention and improvement was significantly accelerating, she continued that ESTYN would be revisiting the school during the current academic year.

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A Member felt that due to public perception of school categorisation over the years, he requested to know what early warning signs were in place for schools that may need intervention and how this perception was going to be dealt with. The Corporate Director responded that in terms of early warning signs there was at present a wider group that came together to share softer intelligence around schools and to deal with any emerging concerns which fed into the programme of support for the school. The Member asked if the Corporate Director could provide an example of the work being undertaken and how progression can be seen. The Officer referred to a Headteacher who had been in post for 9 months and had refocussed attention on the consistent use of school uniform, no use of mobile phones and establishing systems which better supported learning.

Leadership and Management structures had also been reviewed. The Challenge Adviser continued that focus was also on improvement of behaviour and with a full complement of senior leaders in place there would be more support for middle leadership and teachers. The Member asked if improvements were being seen and the Officer confirmed that this had been a significant area of improvement.

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The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely to challenge the information contained within the report and identify where potential proposals for improvement could be made.
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Agreed
12. THE EDUCATION DIRECTORATE IMPROVEMENT PLAN 2019 TO 2020
Report (131K/bytes)
Appendix 1 (420K/bytes)
Appendix 2 (370K/bytes)
Appendix 3 (416K/bytes)

Consideration was given to the report of the Corporate Director of Education which was presented to provide Members with the opportunity to engage in the Improvement Planning Process thereby supporting sustainable improvement in pupil outcomes and well-being.

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Councillor L. Elias left the meeting at this juncture.

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The Corporate Director spoke to the report and highlighted the information contained therein.

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A Member requested information on how schools can move forward as he felt Members needed to understand where there was value for money. The Challenge Adviser undertook to prepare a report on the finance and impact of School to School working to bring back to the Scrutiny Committee.

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Following a Member�s concern regarding maximising the potential of all pupils, the Corporate Director assured that the appropriate support and challenge would continue for all learners including our most vulnerable.

A Member felt that it was important to ensure every youngster left schools in Blaenau Gwent with qualifications. The Corporate Director agreed and said that in line with the national changes moving forward, performance indicators will change as the qualifications change, the thinking being that the curriculum will become broader, helping more children and young people achieve well across a larger number of qualifications.

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A Member referred to 2.10 of the report and expressed his support for SENs; however he felt that assurance should be given that sufficient funding was available. The Corporate Director confirmed that the funding was in place and the Inclusion Lead Officer maintained close working arrangements with schools. SEN panel meetings were held every half term to discuss the SEN register, need and any additional provisions required.
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A Member suggested a Member Briefing be held on this item in the future and the Corporate Director confirmed that a series of Briefings would be held from the present time to results day in August, to allow Members to become more informed about National Reform and curriculum changes, she stated that the reform transition, as well as briefing sessions, would continue for a number of years.

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The Committee AGREED, subject to the foregoing, that the report be accepted and Option 2 be endorsed, namely to provide comments and/or revisions to the draft Improvement Plan prior to consideration by the Executive Committee.
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Agreed