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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 19th December, 2011.

 

Present:  Councillor Mrs. K.A. Kemp (Chairman); Councillor Mrs. S.I. Sharpe (Vice-Chairman); Councillors F.T. Johnson, C.L. Osborne, J.W. Thomas and Miss. S.J.C. Williams.

 

Co-opted Member: Mr. P Burke (Roman Catholic Church).

 

Non-voting Observer: Mr. D. Treharne (Welsh Medium Education).

 

Also present: Councillor A.D. Hampton (Cabinet Member) and Councillors Mrs. V.M. Hartrey and G.C. Kemp.

 

 

721     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE –

 

These were received from Councillors Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, C.P.J. Elmore, J.F. Fraser and E. Hacker.

 

 

721a   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

722     SCHOOL EFFECTIVENESS FRAMEWORK (SEF) BRIEFING PAPER (DLD) -

 

The reported stated that the aim of the School Effectiveness Framework (SEF) was to develop system leadership at all levels within and between schools, local authorities and Regional Consortia.  Members were advised that underpinning all SEF developments was the need to ensure that work was guided by the national moral purpose and that school improvement programmes and policy were driven by the need to improve outcomes for every child and young person in every setting throughout Wales.  The SEF was at the stage where the methodology and principles were beginning to be interwoven into policy development and practice at national, local, school and classroom level.  The Minister’s 20 point plan for improving standards and wellbeing was underpinned by SEF principles.  These were detailed at Appendix 2 to the report.  At local level SEF was being used to inform school improvement planning which also reflected Estyn’s new Common Inspection Framework (CIF) which was detailed at Appendix 3 to the report.  Appendices 4a and 4b referred to documents used by schools and local authorities to underpin their improvement planning documents and Appendix 5 detailed self evaluation report templates. 

 

Members raised concern regarding the average number of working days and shifts that appeared to be lost in schools and whether schools were following the Council’s Management of Attendance Policy.  The Director advised that the corporate policy had been considered by the teaching organisations with agreement being reached following some suggested amendments.  For the faith schools they could decide on either adopting the amended policy or utilising the Diocesan policy.  Members also requested to receive a further update report detailing the schools that had opted for the Council’s policy.

 

RECOMMENDED:  T H A T the progress update on the School Effectiveness Framework be noted.

 

Reason for Recommendation

 

To apprise Members with the details of the up to date developments and an opportunity to scrutinise the implementation and progress.

 

723     2ND QUARTER PERFORMANCE MONITORING AND SERVICE PLAN ACTION REPORTS (DLD) -

 

The 2nd quarter monitoring reports were presented for the service areas Inclusion, School Improvement and Strategic Planning and Performance.  With regard to L801Q within the area of the Inclusion service “average number of working days / shifts per full time equivalent (FTE) Additional Learning Needs employees lost due to sickness absence” Members noted that officers had been working with schools to undertake return to work interviews on a regular basis.  The performance indicator L603Q for school improvement (“percentage of employees that leave the employment of the School Improvement service”) although the number noted appeared to be high the officer advised that this figure also included the Adult Community Learning teams which had a high turnover of adult tutors. In referring to the service area Strategic Planning and Performance, Members were advised that the targets were positive and that with regard to the schools’ meal service an independent review had been undertaken which Cabinet had accepted as the service was now making a profit.

 

Some Members queried the usage of e-books that were being viewed online and requested further details on the number of hits to the site.  Reference was also made to the recent reduction in the purchase of publications (i.e. newspapers) at libraries. The Director responded by stating that libraries were cutting down on the amount of subscriptions due to the fact that the information was also available online which could be accessed by all visiting the libraries and this  initiative had been implemented in view of its cost effectiveness.

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the 2nd quarter performance monitoring reports and action plans be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members.

 

 

724     EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC -

 

RESOLVED - T H A T under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 4 of Schedule 12A (as amended) of the Act, the relevant paragraphs of the Schedule being referred to in brackets after the minute heading.

 

 

725     PROGRESS REPORT FOR JENNER PARK PRIMARY SCHOOL (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPHS 11, 12 AND 13) (DLD) -

 

The Committee was provided with details of the progress being made at the School in relation to their Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP).  A glossary of terms for all three reports referred to in Part II of the agenda was also tabled at the meeting. The Head of the School Improvement Service advised that the school would be measured on its effectiveness which would include the analysis of detailed evidence.  The Chairman asked the Head of Service to confirm whether she was confident that the outcomes for children were in hand with the response being that officers regularly met with the School and that she had every reason to believe the School was moving in the right direction. 

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the progress made in relation to the Post Inspection Action Plan be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In view of the progress made.

 

           

726     PROGRESS REPORT FOR GLADSTONE PRIMARY SCHOOL (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPHS 11, 12 AND 13) (DLD) -

 

Members were informed of the progress that had been made at the School in relation to the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) which had been subsumed into the schools School Improvement Plan (SIP).  The Head of service also advised that a letter had been received that day from Estyn which had informed that a progress report on the school would be required with the Chief Officer from Estyn undertaking a review of hard evidence.

 

The Head of Service would also be reviewing the data of the School in early January with the schools progress being reported to the Scrutiny Committee thereafter. 

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the progress report be noted and the Committee receive a further update on progress as detailed above.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To update Members and monitor progress.

 

 

727     PROGRESS REPORT FOR OAKFIELD PRIMARY SCHOOL (EXEMPT INFORMATION - PARAGRAPHS 11, 12 AND 13) (DLD) -

 

Members were informed of the progress that had been made at the School in relation to their Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP).  The Local Authority had implemented its Support and Monitoring Plan which had identified how it would work with the School to secure progress against the PIAP. The report before Committee also contained details of an update of half termly progress that had been conducted by the Local Authority which had informed the work of Estyn and the ongoing improvement work required by the School.

 

It was noted that Estyn had conducted their first termly monitoring visit on 6th and 7th December 2011 with a formal progress report scheduled to be reported to Scrutiny in January 2012.  Estyn had noted that the School had been professional in its approach and the learning environment was improving. It was further noted that the curriculum had been developed in line with statutory requirements with the PIAP now being required to be prioritised.  Appendix 2 to the report detailed how the Local Authority would support the School and that, notwithstanding the fact that processes and procedures had been put in place, this would need to be evidenced in relation to the improvement of standards. 

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the progress being made at the School in relation to the Post Inspection Action Plan be noted and that a further report update on progress be presented to the Scrutiny Committee during the spring term 2012.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members and monitor progress.

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