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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 23rd January, 2012.

 

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

 

Co-Opted Members:  Mr. P. Lewis (Parent Governor - Secondary Sector) and Mr. S. Williams (Parent Governor - Primary Sector).

 

Non-Voting Observers:  Mr. G. Beaudette (Primary Sector), Mr. T. Cox (Secondary Sector) and Mr. D. Treharne (Welsh Medium Education).

 

Also present:  Councillors A.D. Hampton, N.P. Hodges and Mrs. M. Randall.

 

 

809     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor Mrs. M.E.J. Birch.

 

 

810     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meetings held on 5th and 19th December, 2011 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

811     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

812     UPDATE ON CENTRAL SOUTH CONSORTIUM DEVELOPMENTS -

 

The Director of Learning and Development provided the Scrutiny Committee with an update on the work of the Central South Consortium and reported that the purpose of the Consortium was to raise standards and build upon success through purposeful collaboration between local authorities, effective partnership with schools and a rigorous pursuit of excellence.  The Membership of the Central South Consortium consisted of the Vale, Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taff, Merthyr Tydfil and Cardiff Councils.  

 

In referring to excellence the Director advised that there were examples across Wales of excellence within the Education Service but the main issue was ensuring standards were maintained.  The outcomes for such an approach were detailed as:

  • best practice becomes common practice
  • transform school improvement
  • national education strategy supported coherently
  • improved delegation of resources to schools
  • improved Estyn Inspection outcomes
  • highest quality support for schools
  • improved pupil outcomes.

However the potential risks associated with this change were documented as being:

  • the credibility of the new model
  • sector change fatigue
  • engagement of schools
  • sustaining support to schools through transition
  • resourcing the change programme
  • securing talented staff for the future.

The Welsh Government would be making £1million available to each Consortium to support the work of school improvement with the timescale for joint governance structures and draft structures to be available by March 2012, staff recruitment April to June 2012 and a joint service for school improvement to commence in September 2012. The Minister had been approached for an extension of the timescales but recent advice received was that the timescales would remain as reported.

 

The Minister had also stated that budgets should be delegated to schools with a target of 80% being reached in 2010.  The Director could advise that the Vale already exceeded this at 84%.

 

The Director advised that although it was inevitable that there was anxiety amongst staff in light of the new proposals all the issues had been discussed with staff, with responses being positive in that they had advised that they would do their best to assist the Consortium with the arrangements that had been set by WG.  The Director further stated that on receipt of the feedback from WG in respect of the Business Case this would be reported back to the Scrutiny Committee and Cabinet when available.  Members were also informed that Headteachers were involved in developing the model and meetings with Teaching Associations and Trade Unions had been arranged with the next one being held on 2nd February, 2012.  The Consortium would also be looking for ways to promote the message to parents and governors and were fully aware of the governors’ key role in managing performance.  He referred to the scale of the change as enormous but that a Project Management Team resourced by RCT had been established and the next steps would be to address the processes, structure, budget, consultation, project management and transition management. 

 

In considering the presentation, reference was made to the potential for redundancy if there was a 34% reduction in school improvement staff.  The Director advised that the £1 million from the Welsh Government would be made available to set up the new arrangements and was not to be utilised to supplement redundancy packages.  He was keen to highlight that the focus for improvement needed to come from schools and that the quality issues would depend on the quality of staff with reorganisation only being successful if all aspects worked together.

 

The Chairman raised concern in relation to the focus coming from schools in that some schools already faced challenges for improvement following  inspection.  The Director responded by advising that a model for improvement had been developed by the Vale to assist such schools which was a model that was accepted by other Local Authorities as a good practice model.  Members were also informed that even though the Consortium would be in place, the local authority would still have the statutory obligations in relation to Education Services. 

 

Members queried the involvement of Scrutiny in the process with the Director advising that the Business Case referred to the setting up of a joint committee and the development of a joint scrutiny role. Further reports would be presented to the Committee in due course on the issue together with progress updates on the work of the Consortium. 

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the presentation be noted with the view that further reports would be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in respect of the Consortium's progress and the developments for scrutiny arrangements.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members and to receive further information.

 

 

813     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING: 1ST APRIL TO 30TH NOVEMBER 2011 (DLD) -

 

The Operational Manager presented the report to the Committee advising that overall the Education budget was currently projected to overspend by £66,000 at the year end and would be funded from Education reserves.  The overspend was due to a project £82,000 overspend against Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Budget offset by a £16,000 underspend against School Improvement due to increased income generated during the year.  Members were advised that the ALN overspend was made up of a projected overspend of £220,000 for Learning Support Assistants (LSA) support also additional Independent Schools expenditure had been incurred in the year of £122,000. 

It was reported that the ALN budget was a volatile budget that was demand led but the position would be monitored closely throughout the year. It was also possible that the projected overspend could reduce due to increased recoupment income or a reduction in out of county expenditure.

 

There was also a projected overspend of £54,000 on Mainstream Education Transport which would be met from the use of Education reserves.  A provision for the annual cost of financing the School Investment Strategy of £600,000 had also been made within the budget and would be transferred to the School Investment Strategy reserve. In addition, to finance the schools' contributions to the Early Retirement/Voluntary Redundancy Scheme, the department was projecting to transfer £316,000 from Education reserves. 

 

With regard to the Library Service this was anticipated to outturn on budget with a favourable variance of £21,000. The Lifelong Learning Service had a favourable variance of £16,000 which would offset a projected £55,000 adverse variance within the Community Enterprise Section which had resulted in delays in implementing the 2011/12 savings.  The Catering Service also had a favourable variance of £9,000 but the report highlighted that the service could be affected by external factors and the requirement to meet Welsh Government nutritional guidelines.

 

Appendix 2 to the report detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme with reference being made to two schemes

  • Welsh Medium School, Llantwit Major - the scheme was expected to exceed its budget by some £58,000 due to several factors such as additional groundworks and furniture fittings and equipment costs.  It was proposed that this sum would be funded from the School Investment Strategy reserve.  A separate report was proposed to be presented to Cabinet to outline progress on this school and the Barry Welsh Medium School project.
  • Pendoylan Church in Wales Primary School - the authority had agreed a total contribution of £388,000 for the school's remodelling works and a sum of £288,000 had been approved for 2011/12 with a further £100,000 being programmed for 2012/13.  This had been as a result of delays on site at the school which had meant that the profiled expenditure for the financial year would fall slightly short of the £288,000 and it had been requested that a sum of £33,000 be slipped into 2012/13.

In considering the report the Chairman queried the equipment costs for the Welsh Medium School as detailed above. The Head of Service advised that final accounts for the scheme were awaited and that further reports on the matter would be presented to Cabinet and the appropriate Scrutiny Committee.

 

It being noted that further reports would be presented in due course, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the position with regard to the 2011/12 Revenue and Capital Monitoring be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In order that Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2011/12 Revenue and Capital Monitoring.

 

 

814     CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE NOT IN EDUCATION, EMPLOYMENT OR TRAINING (NEET) (DLD) -

 

The Scrutiny Committee was informed of the progress that had been made to date following the recommendations of the Scrutiny Review of Children and Young People Not in Education, Employment or Training.  Progress on the recommendations had previously been reported to the Scrutiny Committee on 26th July, 2010.

 

The Children and Young People's Partnership Manager presented the report and advised that the NEETs Strategic Group had continued to meet on a regular basis to develop and implement joint working procedures to target and engage those young people who were NEET or at risk of becoming NEET.  Membership of the Group was widespread and incorporated representatives from Careers Wales, YOS (Youth Offending Service), local training providers, Education, Cardiff and Vale College, Learning and Skills Partnership and the CYPP.  However, it was pointed out to Members that the Strategic Group was attended by Careers Wales who also acted as the lead organisation for post 16 NEET but that the organisation was reducing its pre 16 education gateway prevention programme due to proposed mergers of careers companies and funding changes by Welsh Government.

 

The Manager further advised that the work of the two learning coaches had been very effective and their work was closely monitored by the Strategic NEETs Group although both roles were at risk due to funding changes by Welsh Government within the 14-19 network.  Work had also been undertaken to investigate options for developing improved recording systems with an Information Sharing Protocol on the required data was being established in the local authority and would facilitate the sharing of personal information.  Reference was made to a recent study conducted in Swansea and Wrexham, of which an Executive Summary was attached at Appendix A to the report on 'Positive Approaches to Increase the Proportion of Young People in Education, Employment or Training, with the focus on potential and actual efficiency savings.  The survey had been completed in July 2011 and had been considered by the NEETs Strategic Group.  It was noted that with the exception of one aspect, the work currently being carried out in the Vale reflected that of Swansea and Wrexham. 

 

The Pupil Support Service and the Youth Service were also working closely with secondary schools to prevent young people from becoming NEET and as part of the restructuring of the Pupil Referral Unit the role of youth workers had changed.  A greater emphasis on supporting individual young people and their families to engage in education, training or employment had now been included. 

 

In considering the report, the Committee was also advised that the officers would be looking to work more closely with Cardiff to develop a benchmark tool to identify the youths most likely to be at risk.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the progress to date be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In monitoring the progress to date.

 

 

815     SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DLPPHS) -

 

The report provided the Committee with the details of the progress in relation to uncompleted recommendations that had been made by the Scrutiny Committee for the financial year 2009/10 detailed at Appendix A to the report, the financial year 2010/11 (Appendix B) and for the 1st Quarter April to June 2011, 2nd Quarter July to September 2011 and 3rd Quarter October to December 2011.

 

It was subsequently:

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the following recommendations be deemed completed:

 

29 June, 2009

Min. No. 148 - Scrutiny Committee's - Draft Annual Report May 2008 - April 2009 (DLPPHS) - Recommended

 

(2)       That a Scrutiny Workshop be arranged for all Members of Scrutiny Committee during 2009/10.

Recommended to be deleted in light of the induction procedure proposed post the Local Government Elections 2012.  Completed

2 November 2009

Min. No. 535 - Presentation - School Perception Survey (DLD) - Recommended

 

(2)       That appropriate arrangements be put in place for the Scrutiny Committee to meet at least once a year with Vale of Glamorgan Schools' headteachers.

Committee agreed matter deemed completed but that the recommendation be added to the work programme schedule.  Completed

15 March 2010

Min. No. 1018 - Scrutiny Forward Work Programme 2010/11 (DLPPHS) - Recommended

 

(3)       That resourcing of Scrutiny Officers' support for the Committee be kept under review.

The Committee agreed that the recommendation be deemed completed as the issue was an ongoing matter and would be considered annually following consideration of the Committee's work programme.  Completed

19 April 2010

Min. No. 1089 - School Attendance and Absences (DLD) - Recommended

 

That the Committee continues to receive regular update reports in order to monitor the level of unauthorised absences at primary phase.

In light of the fact that a previous report had been submitted to the Scrutiny Committee and that the item had been added to the work programme, the item be deemed completed.  Completed

28 June 2010

Min. No. 153 - Education Collaboration Project for Connecting South East Wales (DLD) - Recommended

 

(2)       That the Director submit the consultant's final report on proposed options for change to this Scrutiny Committee.

This had been superseded by the Central South Consortium.  Completed

8 November 2010

Min. No. 622 - Catering Service Review (DLD) (Exempt Information - Paragraph 14)  - Recommended

 

(2)       That following the further review work to be carried out in light of the impending cut to the Local Government revenue settlement a report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee.

Further report submitted to Committee on 7th November, 2011.

Completed

17 January 2011

Min. No. 803 - Update on the Proposed Merger of Barry College and Coleg Glan Hafren - Recommended

 

(2)       That the Director of Learning and Development be requested to write to the Shadow Board of Barry College and to the Welsh Assembly Government seeking confirmation of those matters outlined above.

Letter sent and confirmation received.  Completed

11 April 2011

Min. No. 1108 - Financial Inclusion (REF) - Recommended

 

That the Director of Learning and Development be requested to invite a representative of the Cardiff and Vale Credit Union to a future meeting of the Children and Young People's Partnership to discuss the feasibility of introducing a School Savers initiative and that a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee on the subject.

Matter to be added to the Committee's work programme schedule.  Completed

27 June 2011

Min. No. 132 - Education Policy Developments (DLD) - Recommended

 

That a workshop be arranged by the Director of Learning and Development between the Vale of Glamorgan Headteacher representatives and Members of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) during September, commencing ideally at 3pm.

That the recommendation be added to the Committee's work programme schedule and the matter be deemed completed.  Completed

25 July 2011

Min. No. 274 - Community Focussed Schools (DLD) - Recommended

 

(2)       That the Head of School Improvement be requested to submit indicative programmes under the auspices of CFS to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

Added to work programme schedule.  Completed

12 September 2011

Min. No. 347 - Improvement Plan 2011/12 (CX) - Recommended

 

(2)       That the Head of School Improvement submit a further report to the next meeting of the Committee on those schools using the School Effectiveness Profile (SEP) who were using it as a mechanism to drive challenge and direction to the work of the schools to.

Added to work programme schedule.  Completed

(3)       That the findings of the Childcare Sufficiency Audit be reported to a future meeting.

Added to work programme schedule.  Completed

(4)       That a further report be presented on those secondary schools who had successfully completed an external moderation and verification process as part of the five cluster schools participating in the WJEC run Key Stage 2 / 3 Pilot moderation for core subjects.

Added to work programme schedule.  Completed

Min. No. 350 - School Performance Data for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3 (DLD) - Recommended

 

That a further report be submitted to a future meeting of the Committee setting out performance and intervention arrangements to support schools where likely under performance had been identified.

Added to work programme schedule.  Completed

10 October 2011

Min No. 504 - Review of the Corporate Plan (REF) - Recommended

 

That the draft revised Corporate Plan for 2010-14 be endorsed and the comments of the Scrutiny Committee referred to Cabinet for consideration.

Cabinet on 16th November 2011 noted the Scrutiny Committee's comments (Min. No. C1501 refers).  Completed

Min. No. 507 - Jenner Park Primary School Progress Update (DLD)  - Recommended

 

(2)       That regular half termly progress reports in line with arrangements set out within the partnership agreement with schools be presented to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

Added to the work programme schedule.  Completed

Min. No. 509 - Summary of School Inspection Reports for the Spring Term 2011 and Summer Term 2011 (Exempt Information - Paragraphs 11, 12 and 15) (DLD) - Recommendations

 

(2)       That the Scrutiny Committee receives half termly progress updates in respect of the school that had received the unsatisfactory inspection report.

Added to the work programme schedule.  Completed

7 November 2011

Min. No. 582 - School Based Counselling (DLD) - Recommended

 

(2)       That the Scrutiny Committee continues to receive further monitoring progress reports on the matter.

Added to the work programme schedule.  Completed

Min. No. 583 - Requirements of the New 'Welsh in Education Strategic Plans' (WESP) (DLD) - Recommended

 

(2)       That the Scrutiny Committee receive a further progress report once the Welsh Government response had been received.

Added to the work programme schedule.  Completed

19 December 2011

Min. No. 726 - Progress Report for Gladstone Primary School (Exempt Information - Paragraphs 11, 12 and 13) (DLD) - Recommended

 

That the progress report be noted and the Committee receive a further update on progress as detailed above.

Added to the work programme schedule.  Completed

Min. No. 727 - Progress Report for Oakfield Primary School (Exempt Information - Paragraphs 11, 12 and 13) (DLD) - Recommended

 

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

Added to the work programme schedule.  Completed

     

 

(2)       T H AT the progress in relation to the following recommendations be noted:

 


29 June 2009

Min. No. 146 - Implementation of the Foundation Phase in Vale of Glamorgan Schools (DLD) - Recommended

 

(2)       That a further report (April 2010) on the completion of the second phase of training for the Foundation Phase be presented to the Scrutiny Committee.

The Director advised the Committee that he would progress the matter.

Ongoing

18 January 2010

Min. No. 797 - Draft Service Plan 2010/11 - School Improvement (DLD) - Recommended

 

(2)       That the Director submit the draft survey to the Committee for consideration in respect of indicator SI/A45.

Director to progress.  Ongoing

     

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  In noting the progress to date and in maintaining effective tracking of Committee recommendations.

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