To consider the report of the Strategic
Education Improvement Manager.
Consideration was given to the report of the Strategic Education Improvement Manager which was presented to provide Members with an overview of those schools, over the last 3 years that have presented as a cause for concern, their progress and the work delivered to continue to support them to improve.
The Director of Education spoke to the report and highlighted the main points contained therein.
A Member referred to categorisations and commented that school categorisations could be affected if a school performed poorly in one subject area. The Director said that if it was a core subject any decline or incline would have an exaggerated impact on categorisations. Schools were trying to move away from this process as good work could sometimes be overlooked and try to make it more distributed in the way schools were categorised.
A lengthy discussion ensued regarding correspondence from the Executive Member for Education in relation to a Blaenau Gwent school. Members requested that the Executive Member for Education provide a response regarding correspondence about a meeting relating to a Blaenau Gwent School.
The Committee agreed this course of action.
In response to a Member’s question regarding the condition of Brynmawr Foundation school, the Director said that the school had been identified as needing refurbishment which would include disabled access.
A Member requested that information regarding the movement of school categorisations be presented in graph form. The Director of Education agreed that this information would be presented in colour graph form in future reporting.
In response to Members concerns regarding redundancies in schools, the Director said that Abertillery Learning Community had suffered some negative press attention which had not helped to recruit high quality teachers. She pointed out that a number of learning support assistants had been renewed and commented on the integral role of support assistants and confirmed that learning support assistants in Abertillery Learning Community responsible for pupils with additional learning needs would not be affected. A review of learning support assistants had been undertaken which took into account the teacher to pupil ratio set out in the national model. The number of learning support assistants at risk of redundancy had been devised from this calculation and schools and HR had supported learning support assistants through redeployment and other opportunities available.
A Member commented that the onus was on the school Governing Body to deliver first class education to pupils and deliver its budget. Another Member praised the good work of the Governing Body and staff at Ebbw Fawr for the improvements carried out.
The Chair expressed concern that due to roadworks being carried out near Brynmawr Foundation school pupils were missing certain aspects of sports play. The Director said that Brynmawr Foundation school had a large playing space and roadworks at and around the site needed to progress quickly so that sports could resume.
Members concurred that it was a positive report with 11 schools categorised as Green and 10 schools categorised as Yellow.
The Committee AGREED to recommend that the report be accepted and endorse Option 2; namely that the report be accepted as provided.