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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 20th February, 2012.

 

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

 

 

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:  Councillor A.D. Hampton.

 

 

888     APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE -

 

This was received from Councillor E. Hacker.

 

 

889     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 23rd January, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

890     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

891     DRAFT ALCOHOL MISUSE STRATEGY CONSULTATION (REF) -

 

The above matter had been considered by the Cabinet at its meeting on 1st February, 2012 and at that time the Cabinet had resolved

 

'(1)      T H A T the draft Alcohol Misuse Strategy be approved for consultation.

 

(2)       T H A T the report be referred to the Scrutiny Committees (Housing and Public Protection), (Lifelong Learning) and (Social Care and Health) and Licensing Committee as part of the consultation process.

 

(3)       T H A T a further report on the Alcohol Misuse Strategy be presented to Cabinet following the consultation period.

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(1)       To ensure that Cabinet are satisfied with the draft Alcohol Misuse Strategy and make relevant comments.

 

(2)       To ensure Scrutiny Committee and Licensing Committee consultation on the proposed Alcohol Misuse Strategy.

 

(3)       To enable the Cabinet to consider the Alcohol Misuse Strategy following the consultation."

 

The above draft Strategy had been designed to meet the needs of the population of the Vale of Glamorgan and had been prepared in partnership with the relevant external stakeholders.  It was proposed that the implementation of the Strategy would be overseen by the Area Plan Board which encompassed both Cardiff and the Vale Health Board area as well as the Vale of Glamorgan Community Safety Partnership.  The consultation period had been extended to the end of March 2012 in order to ascertain the views of all the Council's Scrutiny Committees.

 

The Strategy had been developed in response to a number of factors particularly having regard to the Wales National Database which indicated that alcohol remained the highest source of referrals into substance misuse services across the Vale of Glamorgan and a recent Vale of Glamorgan Young Persons Consultation Report which highlighted that nearly all young people in the Vale of Glamorgan had tried alcohol, with the typical aged first try of the substance being 12 years old and with at least a quarter moving towards a pattern of weekly alcohol consumption.  In addition, alcohol was one of the major aggravating factors in 11% of all recorded crime between April and November 2011 and 9% of all anti-social behaviour.  In the Vale of Glamorgan, 30% (352) of all overall recorded crime where violent offences took place were alcohol related for the period.

 

The aim of the above Strategy was to reduce the harm associated with alcohol in relation to both health related harm and adverse effects on the community as a whole.  The Strategy would be based on the undermentioned themes as well as the mechanisms that would aid delivery:

  • education and prevention
  • harm to the individual
  • harm to the community.

The Strategy also aimed to build on current capacity of services by developing skills amongst the workforce at youth service and health service level to deal with presenting alcohol related issues.  It would address the current underfunding of services that supported alcohol related issues. 

 

Councillor Elmore referred to the data contained within the consultation document and given the varying demographics between the Vale of Glamorgan and Cardiff requested that Ward specific information be made available to all Members of the Council so that they could ascertain specific issues regarding alcohol misuse within their Wards and related crime.  Councillor Johnson referred to the work of the Youth Offending Service and enquired whether they had been included in the preparation of the Strategy.  In addition, he also referred to the services currently provided at Cadoxton House and enquired if young people were in attendance at this establishment to provide support for alcohol misuse and treatment.  The Vice-Chairman also referred to the contents of the Strategy and requested that an appropriate definition of what a unit of alcohol is be provided within the Strategy.  Lastly, the Chairman referred to the lack of information relating to crime generated by young people who were influenced by alcohol and suggested that such information be also included. 

 

In response, the Principal Community Safety Officer gave an undertaking to circulate to all Members of the Council Ward specific information concerning the subject matter.  She also confirmed that the Youth Offending Service had been involved in the development of the Strategy and currently officers in partnership with other statutory bodies were looking to develop a separate service for young people but not necessarily based at Cadoxton House.  Regarding the description of an alcohol unit she agreed that this should be included and also gave an undertaking to refer this to the statutory planners.  Lastly, in response to the Chairman's comments she indicated that this information was not currently made available by the police or the NHS, however, this issue would be raised with the partners with a view to capturing this information in the future.

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the draft Alcohol Misuse Strategy be endorsed.

 

(2)       T H A T the Principal Community Safety Officer circulate details of the Young Persons Consultation Survey including Ward specific information to all Members of the Council.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In order to provide a response to the Cabinet in response to the draft Alcohol Misuse Strategy.

 

(2)       To ensure that all Members of the Council were apprised of Ward information in respect of alcohol misuse and related crime.

 

 

892     REVISED SERVICE PLANS (CX) -

 

The Council had recently received its 2011 Improvement Assessment letter from the Auditor General which made one recommendation for improvement in regard to “Establishing a transparent programme for the development of outcome focused measures moving from reporting arrangements that focus primarily on performance indicators and on the completion, or otherwise, of an action”.

 

The development of outcome focused measures had been identified as an area for improvement in most Welsh Councils and represented a significant challenge in the current financial climate.  The Council had recently commissioned the Local Government Data Unit to work with three service areas to develop outcome focused performance measures as a pilot.  This work would inform a Council-wide approach which would thereafter be rolled out to all service areas in 2012/13.  It was noted that the Wales Audit Office would be involved in this process to inform the corporate approach.

 

The Principal Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer indicated that work had commenced with Visible Services, Public Protection and Customer Relations to revise the current service plan format to enable services to improve how they measure and provide evidence of their contribution to the priority outcomes identified within the Council’s Corporate Plan.  He also indicated that revised service plan formats would address the following key questions:

  • What is the service, what does it do and why is it important?
  • What is the plan for, how will it be used and by whom, and how will it be monitored?
  • How did you decide what your service objectives are?
  • How does your work fit with corporate objectives?
  • What relevant actions have you undertaken to achieve your service objectives? 
  • What impact have these actions had?
  • What do you plan to do in the coming year?
  • How will you know if you are achieving your objectives (including what measures
  • You will use to help understand how well things are progressing)?
  • How does your performance against your objectives help deliver the corporate
  • Objectives?

Revised draft service plans for the three pilot areas would be reported to the relevant Scrutiny Committees during March 2012 with the approach rolled out Council-wide thereafter with the new format to be utilised from the financial year 2013/14. 

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the work currently being undertaken to revise the format of service plans in response to the Auditor General for Wales’ recommendation as outlined the 2011 Improvement Assessment Letter be endorsed.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To improve the effectiveness of scrutiny of the Council’s performance.

 

 

893     WELSH GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION - SHARED PURPOSE - SHARED DELIVERY (CX) -

 

The Strategy and Sustainability Manager indicated that the views of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees were being sought along with the views of Local Service Board (LSB) partners on the Welsh Government proposals set out in its consultation document “Shared Purpose - Shared Delivery”.  The deadline for comments to the Welsh Government was 30th March, 2012. 

 

The new Guidance intended to integrate local service planning, streamline partnership working and strengthen the strategic role and accountability of the LSB.  The draft Guidance was proposed to replace existing statutory guidance deriving from a number of pieces of legislation in regard to Community Strategies (Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009), Children and Young People’s Plans (Children Act 2004, Children and Families Measure 2010) and Health Social Care and Well-being Strategies (NHS Wales Act 2006).

 

The overarching strategic partnership in the Vale was the LSB and this was chaired by the Leader of the Council with membership encompassing senior representatives of key organisations operating in the County e.g. South Wales Police, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and Cardiff and Vale College.

 

The draft Guidance required the production by LSBs of a single integrated plan which would replace the existing statutory plans and strategies and would underpin clear lines of accountability and performance management arrangements with a view to delivering high level outcomes through multi agency working.  Such Plans were anticipated to be in place by April 2013 and the view of the Welsh Government was that LSBs should:

  • Agree strategic priorities for multi-agency working to support the agenda set out in Programme for Government and respond to clearly evidenced local needs.
  • Achieve improvements by ensuring appropriate systems are in place and that managers and frontline staff across agencies are working together effectively and that agreed priorities are reflected in individual organisations' corporate plans.
  • Ensure partnership and delivery structures are fit for purpose and accountable.
  • Challenge where there is underperformance or coasting and implement changes that reflect evidenced best practice to improve outcomes for the local population.
  • Review and report annually on progress; to the public, Welsh Government, democratically elected members, and LSB member organisations.

The proposals also would require what was needed to be included in a single integrated plan in terms of a long term vision, analysis of local need, a 3-5 year Action Plan, an information strategy and an engagement strategy.  The integrated plan should also include information about LSB governance, performance management and scrutiny arrangements.

 

In referring to the report and appendix, the Strategy and Sustainability Manager indicated that the LSB had already implemented much of the Welsh Government’s proposal and work was proceeding to enhance partnership working and further align the work of different partnerships.  Work would need to be undertaken to develop an information strategy and engagement strategy in line with the proposals.  She also referred to Chapter 3 of the Guidance which set out proposals for strengthening accountability and performance management which also included scrutiny, inspection, audit and drew the Scrutiny Committee’s attention to page 17 of the document which specifically referred to scrutiny and joint scrutiny arrangements and further indicated that this was closely linked to the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 which had the intention of providing new powers to local authorities’ scrutiny committees to scrutinise other public service providers in their area in addition to Council services.  The consultation document recognised the important contribution of scrutiny but acknowledged that at this stage some of the detail was still unclear.

 

The Chairman, in referring to the document referred to comments made at previous meetings of the Scrutiny Committees which she had attended and indicated that it had been difficult for Members of the Scrutiny Committee to comment on the proposals, particularly Scrutiny arrangements given that elements of the proposals were still unclear. 

 

Having regard to the above and related issues, it was

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the Welsh Government Consultation in regard to Shared Purpose - Shared Delivery be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the response of the LSB partners to the above document be submitted to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In acknowledgement of proposals contained in the Welsh Government Consultation - Shared Purpose - Shared Delivery.

 

(2)       To apprise the Scrutiny Committee on LSB partner responses to the draft proposals.

 

 

894     REVENUE AND CAPITAL MONITORING FOR THE PERIOD 1ST APRIL 2011 TO 31ST DECEMBER 2011 (DLD) -

 

The Revenue Budget and projected outturn for 2011/12 was in the main unchanged to that previously reported to the Committee at its last meeting.

 

The projected overspend in regard to the Education Budget was unchanged at £66,000 at the year end however, it would be funded from Education Reserves.  The Operational Manager indicated that the overspend was due to a projected £82,000 overspend against the Additional Learning Needs (ALN) Budget offset by £16,000 underspend against School Improvement due to increased income generated in the year. 

 

The amended original budget reflected a transfer of £4,000 between the Pupil Referral Unit and the Schools to correct an adjustment for pupils attending this facility. 

 

The Additional Learning Needs overspend was made up of a projected overspend of £220,000 for Learning Support Assistants, also additional Independent schools expenditure had been incurred in the amount of £122,000.  Part of the efficiency savings implemented for 2011/12 and 2012/13, £56,000 had been incurred for redundancies in the year.  These overspends would be off set by increased Recruitment Income and reduced Recruitment Expenditure of £232,000.  A residual saving of £19,000 had been identified against specialist teachers.  As a result of Cymorth funding ending in August 2011 a specialist teacher post (0.5 fte) within the Pupil Support Service had now been transferred to the Primary Behaviour Support Team.  This post within the above team was previously being backfilled on a temporary basis.  The full year savings of this transfer would be reflected in 2012/13.  In addition, £25,000 of the Secondary Behaviour Support Budget had been released to offset overspends elsewhere within the Additional Learning Needs Budget.  A balance of £40,000 had been found from the use of additional grant income that was not previously built into the budget.

 

It was also noted that there was a projected overspend of £54,000 on Mainstream Education Transport shown against Environmental and Economic Regeneration Services who managed the budget.  This overspend would be met by the use of Education Reserves. 

 

Provision had been made within the budget for the annual cost of financing the School Investment Strategy of £600,000.  This sum would be transferred to the School Investment Strategy Reserve. 

 

In addition, to finance the schools contribution to the Early Retirement/ Voluntary Redundancy Scheme, Education was projecting to transfer £316,000 from Education Reserves.

 

As for the schools delegated budget this was anticipated to balance as any under/overspend would be carried forward by schools.

 

Libraries showed a favourable variance of £20,000 and was currently anticipated to outturn within budget. 

 

In regard to Lifelong Learning this service showed a favourable variance of £16,000 and was currently anticipated to outturn within budget.

 

The Catering Service also showed a favourable variance of £6,000 and was anticipated to outturn within budget. 

 

As for the Capital Programme, Appendix 2 detailed financial progress on it as of 31st December, 2011

 

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

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of the position with regard to the 2011/12 Revenue and Capital Budget.

 

 

895     SUMMARY OF SCHOOL INSPECTION REPORTS FOR THE AUTUMN TERM 2011 (DLD) -

 

The Head of School Improvement provided the Scrutiny Committee with a résumé of the findings of the School Inspections in relation to the following schools:

  • St. Illtyd Primary School
  • St. Nicholas Primary School
  • Ysgol Maes Dyfan Special School.

The overall judgement achieved by the above schools were as follows:

 

School

Overall Judgement

 

Current Performance

Prospects for Improvement

St Nicholas Primary

Good

Good

St Illtyd Primary

Good

Good

Ysgol Maes Dyfan

Good

Good

 

Discussion took place on the inspection reports in respect of St. Illtyd Primary School and St. Nicholas Primary School with queries being raised in regard to the competency of teachers using ICT within St. Nicholas School and arrangements to address the comments of inspectors with regard to this matter and latterly, to St. Illtyd Primary School where their Chairman referred to a specific reassurance being provided to the Committee by the Head of School Improvement that the comments made by the inspector would be addressed by the school.  The Head of School Improvement in referring to the Chairman's comments acknowledged that whilst the overall judgement of the school was good with the prospects for improvement also good there appeared to be a mismatch between the overall judgements and specific comments made by the inspector regarding aspects of the school performance.  It was possible that this issue may be addressed by Estyn when the Inspection Report went through its own quality assurance processes.

 

Having regard to the above and related issues it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the summary of School Inspection Reports for the Autumn Term 2011 be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of good work undertaken by the above schools.

 

 

896     DRAFT SERVICE PLANS 2012/13 (DLD) -

 

(i)         Inclusion Service -

 

The key aims for the Additional Learning Needs (ALN) and Inclusion Service over the next three years were to ensure that the continuum of provision for pupils with Special Educational Needs was appropriate.  This would involve further changes to the Pupil Referral Unit, to introduce a short term intervention, and the development of a new Special School.  Individual service areas would be further developed through collaboration with Bridgend Council. 

 

The key financial risks for the service included a continued (but reduced) resilience on grant funding for essential services and the uncertainty regarding recruitment in the light of developments in neighbouring authorities.  Changes to the Pupil Referral Unit were required as a result of the recent Estyn Inspection and would have significant cost implications.

 

The Youth Service key aims for the next three years would be:

  • To ensure that contact was made with 25% of the young people population between 11 - 25 years of age in the Vale of Glamorgan.  This would include the restructuring of the staff team and the embedding of an electronic Management of Information system.
  • To ensure that the Welsh language was developed through youth provision in the Vale of Glamorgan, this would be assisted with the planning for the Eisteddfod in 2012 and increasing Welsh Medium Youth Club in the county over the next three years. 
  • The service would maximise the development of street based and mobile youth provision to increase its reach within the county and this would be done by running issue based campaigns in schools and increasing out of school activities.

The key financial implications were the savings required through the comprehensive spending review.  Reductions to core budgets would affect youth provision and would result in a draw down of provision in most areas.  This service would continue to exercise its best efforts to seek to ensure that the service reductions did not lead to an increase in anti-social behaviour and youth annoyance as a consequence and impact on community safety.

 

 

(ii)        School Improvement and Adult Community Learning -

 

The service's key aims for the next three years were as follows:

  • To further improve the quality of service, pupil performance and wellbeing for all learners, in all settings, through collaborative arrangements with our partner authorities in the Central South Consortium and other partners and through greater professional challenge to all schools; this is in line with the proposals for a Joint Education Service (JES) which will start with School Improvement in September 2012.  A transition phase will commence in January 2012.
  • To secure efficiency savings in line with projections in Appendix F.
  • To implement national priorities to improve literacy, numeracy and address gaps in achievement due to disadvantage.
  • Broaden provision of literacy programmes to a more diverse range of learners i.e. ESOL.
  • Deliver core priorities outlined in the CYPP 2011 to 2014.
  • Deliver our core priorities outlined in our vision for education: Education 2015.
  • Increase opportunities for accreditation in all curriculum areas within ACL and
  • Develop the work of the new Learning and Skills Partnership.

The main service areas targeted for growth and development were:

  • The formation of highly skilled and experienced System Leader Team for the new Joint Education Service (JES) with full deployment to all schools in the Consortium in September 2012.
  • The formation of a team of Strategic Lead Officers for the JES to devise, implement, monitor and evaluate national strategies for literacy, numeracy, closing the gap due to disadvantage.
  • The on-going implementation the Bid Writing and Big Maths Project to improve standards in writing and number.
  • The formation of a Trading Arm for the new JES to provide provision for schools and LA/Consortium to commission support services direct in line with improvement plans.
  • The implementation of highly effective, quality assurance and accountability models for the new JES, to secure ongoing improvement in outcomes and wellbeing for Vale of Glamorgan pupils, in all settings.

The financial challenges were pressures facing the service were significant:

  • School Improvement: The service was required to achieve £500,000 over the next three financial years.  The majority of which would be secured via effective implementation of the Joint Education Service for central South Consortium.
  • ACL: Uncertainty about the level of funding through franchising arrangements, and DCELLs allocations.  Income from fees may reduce because of the economic downturn.

Financial risks facing the service were significant and had been outlined above.  The new JES must be operational by September 2012.  Financial savings would be fully realised once the new JES was in place.  It was therefore crucial that the new JES is fully operational in September 2012.

 

For School Improvement: High Risk would be associated with (i) failure to secure adequate capacity of high enough quality on the proposed Joint Education Service coupled with (ii) no capacity locally to deliver statutory or any discretionary functions.

 

For ACL: Risk was associated with being unable to deliver the new Policy Statement 'Delivering Community Learning for Wales'.  This would require increased accreditation opportunities.

 

The main service areas that would be examined were to identify savings and efficiencies:

 

School Improvement: all areas will be involved in the formation of a Joint Education Service.  The whole School Improvement Service would will be included in the 'joint' Consortium proposals.

 

ACL would concentrate on a more targeted delivery and work with the ACL partnership of providers to avoid duplication and share staff development.

 

A number of questions were raised by the Committee in regard to the establishment of the Joint Education Service (JES) which included issues in respect of governance where responsibility rested for the continuing delivery of statutory functions, recruitment and selection to posts within the JES and which organisation would be responsible as the employing body for the staff at the JES.  In response, the Head of Service indicated that it was critical that the JES was fully operational from September 2012 in order to meet statutory requirements.  Until that time, the Council would fulfil all its statutory obligations in this transitional period.  Regarding the financial, resourcing and staffing implications as a consequence of the proposed JES these were currently being addressed. 

 

Discussion ensued regarding how the new JES would be scrutinised following the organisation coming to existence.  Particular reference was made to the lack of the necessary WG guidance to allow scrutiny of the JES in the period post implementation. 

 

 

(iii)       Strategy Planning and Performance -

 

The service's key aims for the next three years were:

  • Restructure services in response to the development of the Central South Joint Education Service and agreed savings targets.
  • Subject to WG statutory approval, complete the Penarth Learning Community.
  • Finalise a Vale Schools Re-organisation Plan.
  • Implement the national Appetite for Life Strategy.
  • Subject to securing grant funding, carry out a refurbishment of Llantwit Major Library.
  • Consolidate and extend the home borrowing service.
  • Develop a Reading Strategy and a Stock Management Plan for the Library and Information Service.
  • Review the provision of computer facilities in libraries.
  • Implement the outcomes of the SEN Transport Review.
  • Implementation of actions set out in the Education Medium Term Financial Plan and Budget Strategy.

The main service areas the service would target for growth and development:

  • Support and advice for schools in financial difficulties to enable schools to develop sustainable budget plans.
  • Capital investment in school buildings and the learning environment.
  • Opportunities to collaborate on the provision of ICT related services to schools.

The financial challenges and pressures facing the service were:

  • Maintaining the school estate against a backdrop of decreasing capital funding.
  • Maintaining statutory service provision with resources that are already the lowest in Wales and are set to reduce further.
  • The impact of job evaluation particularly in relation to the Catering Service.
  • Maintaining performance against library standards with less resource.

The key financial risks facing the service were:

  • As a number of services are traded with schools there is a risk that as schools budgets come under increasing pressure schools will decide not to buy back much needed services resulting in risks for the schools if an alternative service was not purchased and potential redundancies centrally.
  • Workload in relation to the strategic planning of school places and re-organisation of schools has increased substantially since the introduction of 21st Century Schools with a corresponding decrease in capacity due to financial pressures.  There was a risk that due to capacity issues projects would not be delivered on target.
  • Removal of the School Building Improvement Grant resulting in reduced annual funding for small scale works to school buildings.
  • The need to identify further savings to offset the ongoing cost of job evaluation.

The main service areas that would be examined to identify savings and efficiencies were:

  • Centrally held schools maintenance budgets.
  • Centrally held budget used to support schools with unforeseen costs.
  • Catering Services - overall reduction in hours and increasing the price of school meals.
  • School Transport for pupils with Special Educational Needs.
  • The introduction of on-line admissions applications.
  • Changes to the system for identifying eligibility for Free School Meals with a view to increasing eligibility and overall funding levels.
  • Staffing structures.

Having regard to the above and related issues it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the draft Service Plans in respect of the Inclusion Service, School Improvement and Adult Community Learning and Strategic Planning and Performance be accepted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of monitoring requirements.

 

 

897     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.

 

 

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

 

The Committee was apprised of progress in respect of the above primary school following the last report to the Committee in December 2011. 

 

It was noted that the local authority had continued to support the school and monitor progress against the recommendations contained in the Post Inspection Action Plan, details of which were set out in Appendix 1 to the report.  Overall the report stated that the school had made good progress and a summative progress report had been submitted to Estyn who would decide whether or not to remove the school from the monitoring category, based on the information contained therein. 

 

The Head of Service in response to a question from Councillor S.T. Wiliam in respect of the rate of progress the school was making in regard to meeting the objectives within the Post Inspection Action Plan, she confirmed that progress overall had been achieved, however, there were areas where greater progress could have been made.  Consequently, it was intended that the Council would continue to monitor progress with support being provided by the school until such time that the Council deemed that the school had made sufficient progress.

 

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

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of action taken to date and to monitor progress in regard to the Post Inspection Action Plan.

 

 

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

 

The Committee was apprised of progress made against the Post Inspection Action Plan for the above school since the last report to the Scrutiny Committee in December 2011. 

 

The Head of Service provided a résumé of progress against each of the recommendations in the above Plan and indicated that overall the school was making good progress across a number of areas particularly, in systems and processes to track and set improvement targets for pupils in all classes for reading, writing and maths details of which were set out in Appendix 2 to the report.  She also referred to the fact that the schools Senior Management Team were using information which was more detailed and focussed on the needs and priorities of individual pupils.  Pupil tracker clearly informed teachers planning and the delivery of differentiated learning experiences the scrutiny of which by the Link Advisors indicated that pupils were making progress. 

 

Further monitoring would continue in regard to the above and scrutiny at the end of the Spring Term would provide the opportunity to fully evaluate the extent of progress made.  At that time it was proposed that a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee (end of April 2012). 

 

Discussion ensued with a number of questions being raised in regard to progress of pupils across the range of the Key Stages including the Foundation Phase.  It was noted that in line with Post Inspection Plans support had been provided to the school since the last report to the Scrutiny Committee due to a number of staffing related issues impacting upon service resilience.  The Head of Service indicated that the additional support for the school of an advisor was a very short term intervention and anticipated to last no longer than a two week period. 

 

Councillor Johnson referred to the level of absenteeism within the school and encouraged the head teacher through the Chair of Governors to monitor the situation proactively so as to ensure that the situation was managed in an effective and appropriate way.  The Link Advisor who was in attendance at the meeting confirmed that the relevant Management of Attendance policies were being followed by the Governors at the school and the situation regarding absenteeism monitored. 

 

Having regard to the above and related issues it was

 

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

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of action taken to date and to monitor progress in regard to the Post Inspection Action Plan.

 

 

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

 

The Committee was apprised of progress in the monitoring of the Post Inspection Action Plan in respect of the above school since the matter last being reported to the Scrutiny Committee in December 2011. 

 

The Head of Service confirmed that progress and monitoring reports conducted by the Council and Estyn had confirmed the following matters:

  • Attendance had improved
  • The quality of the indoor and outdoor learning environment had been improved i.e. new library and ICT suite has been set up.
  • Staff development (teaching and non teaching) had been extensive.
  • The new leadership team were working well together to develop whole school approaches to behaviour management, target setting, planning and daily routines.
  • The acting HT and consultant HT were supportive of school improvement programmes.
  • Pupils' writing skills were developing slowly from a low baseline - the Big Write programme provided structure and support.
  • Schemes of work, topic planning, subject mapping were developing gradually.
  • The work of the acting HT and consultant HT had been constructive i.e. job descriptions revised, clearer focus for senior management team meetings, staff more aware of their roles in securing improvements.
  • The Governing body was working hard to address budget and staffing issues.
  • The school had provided wide ranging continuous professional development activities for all staff i.e. Foundation Phase, Welsh, ICT, Big Maths, Big Writing, catch up literacy and numeracy, PESS, RE and visits to other schools to observe best practice.
  • All classes now have interactive whiteboards and two or three computers - staff skills in using ICT were improving.
  • An ICT suite and library had been set up.
  • The new Chair of Governors was providing a clear sense of direction to the work of the Governing Body and they were better informed about the school's performance data.  However, there remained areas in need of significant improvement, particularly in terms of improving standards in writing across the curriculum.  Details of improvements required to be made, were set out in the report.

In conclusion, the Head of Service indicated that the school had made progress in provision and processes but the impact had yet to be seen in terms of improvements in standards and achievement.  She also alluded to the fact that there was a need to improve standards which was paramount and the Council had put in place additional measures to reinforce the package of support already in place at the school details of which were set out in the report.

 

The Chairman in response to the Head of Service's comments expressed concern that consistency had not yet been achieved across the key stages and Councillors Wiliam and Johnson referred to the Key Stage 1 target and Key Stage 2 target in the report and whether these would be achieved.  In response, the Head of Service indicated that officers were looking for continuous improvement towards meeting the objectives of the Post Inspection Action Plan.  In regard to the Key Stage targets defined in the report, the Link Advisor indicated that the Key Stage 1 (100% target) would not be achieved and had since been revised by the Link Advisor.  However, in regard to the Key Stage 2 target (75%) she was more hopeful that this would be attained.  In addition, the Head of Service also referred to the priority of targeting reading, writing and oral and the importance of differentiated works which was key to meeting the needs of pupils which were more able and talented and less talented.

 

Brief discussion touched upon staffing issues at the school which were currently being progressed by officers.

 

The Head of Service indicated that a further report would be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in April 2012.

 

Having regard to the above and related issues it was

 

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 be presented to the Committee during April 2012.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In acknowledgement of action taken to date and to monitor progress in regard to the Post Inspection Action Plan.