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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING)

 

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

 

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

 

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

Mr. P. Lewis (Parent Governor - Secondary Sector).

 

Non-voting Observers: Mr. T. Cox (Secondary Sector) and Mr. D. Treharne (Welsh Medium Education).

 

Also present:  Councillor G.C. Kemp.

 

 

1122   APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, J.F. Fraser (Vale of Glamorgan Council) and Mr. S. Williams (Parent Governor - Primary Sector).

 

 

1123   MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 19th March, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

1124   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

1125   COMENIUS PROJECT: ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH IN WALES PRIMARY SCHOOL -

 

Mr. R. Williams (Headteacher), Mr. J. Downey, Mrs. C. Fouracre (teachers) and three pupils namely Lathan Garrett, Olivia Powell and Bethan Ash were present from the School and provided the Members of the Committee with a presentation on the Comenius Project.

 

The Comenius Project, named after Jan Amos Comenius, (often considered to be the father of modern education), was aimed at schools, colleges and local authorities across Europe. The two main objectives for the project being to develop knowledge and understanding among young people and education staff on the diversity of European cultures and languages, the value of the diversity and to help young people to acquire basic life skills and competencies for their personal development for future employment and active European citizenship.  

 

Members were informed that the paperwork for an application to the British Council for funding was substantial with schools having to meet specific criteria.  The Headteacher advised that as a result of the project the children within the School had been part of a new experience and had shared discussions with pupils in other countries.  Similarly for teachers it was an opportunity to share good practice, consider how education was provided in other countries and enhance professional development.

 

The scheme of work applied for was a two year programme under the theme of traditions and celebrations and included the following:

 

·         locality books,

·         Christmas tree decorations,

·         DVDs in national celebrations,

·         PowerPoint presentations,

·         joint newspapers,

·         joint calendars,

·         traditional activities e.g. music, song and dance.

 

To develop the project the school also received the services of a Comenius project assistant to work with the children and teachers. The Committee were provided with a slide show presentation which contained examples of activities that had been undertaken by the pupils.  The project included working with 9 countries, over 2,000 children and 147 teachers.  The school was contracted to make at least 12 visits per year and the countries included were Portugal, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland.  The project was funded via a grant of €200,000 payable in two instalments 80% upfront with the remaining 20% to be released following a report to the British Council on the work of the project by June 2012. 

 

In considering the presentation the Chairman enquired as to the advantages / benefits that the project provided to pupils and teachers, the responses provided as detailed below

  • opportunities to converse in different languages
  • the building of friendships and relationships with pupils in other countries which included learning about each other’s cultures
  • building the knowledge base

Benefits to teachers

  • ability to utilise good practice
  • to offer pupils the opportunity to manage risk, for example within other countries opportunities were given to older pupils to assist younger pupils during the school day 
  • consider how education was provided in other countries
  • the building of good relationships and friendships.

For the future, in order to promote the project the Headteacher considered it important that the pupils from the countries met each other and discussions were currently being held as to how this could be arranged/ pursued.  There were issues in relation to pupil exchanges for the primary sector and as such it had been suggested that the visits take the form of residential opportunities as opposed to visitor exchanges. 

 

Following the presentation it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the teachers and pupils of the St. Nicholas Church in Wales Primary School be congratulated on their presentation and on the Comenius Project within the School.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members and acknowledge the good work that had been undertaken within the School.

 

 

1126   CORPORATE IMPROVEMENT OBJECTIVES 2012/13 (REF) -

 

The Cabinet had referred the report to all Scrutiny Committees for comment.  Members were informed that the Corporate Plan included a mixture of improvement objectives (defined as those areas where improvements were needed because of existing deficiencies) and other Council priorities.  The Council’s improvement objectives needed to focus specifically on those areas where there was a need for improvement.  Whilst Corporate Plan objectives would not be amended for 2012/13, a full review of the Corporate Plan 2010/14 was planned during 2012 post the Local Government elections in May.  As an interim measure to address the issues raised by the Auditor General in his Annual Improvement Report, an analysis of the Corporate Plan had been undertaken to identify the Council’s key improvement objectives for 2012/13 along with relevant actions and measures which contributed towards their achievement.  Eight Improvement Objectives were consequently proposed for 2012/13 following the analysis of the Corporate Plan and a review of service performance to date, corporate risks and findings from the recent Wales Audit Office reviews / improvement studies and other regulators’ inspections.  The Key Corporate Improvement Objectives for 2012/13 together with the proposed Improvement Objectives for 2012/13 were appended to the report.  It was noted that the 2012/13 Improvement Plan Part 1 would need to be amended to reflect the above.

 

Members were also informed that the revised Corporate Improvement Objectives for 2012/13 would be submitted to Council for approval. 

 

Having considered the report, it was

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the reference and the report be noted.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

In view of the details contained therein.

 

 

1127   PROGRESS REPORT FOR GLADSTONE, JENNER PARK AND OAKFIELD PRIMARY SCHOOLS (CX) -

 

The report provided Members with the progress to date for three schools in a follow-up category.  The Local Authority had supported the three schools and monitored progress against recommendations on a half termly basis throughout the year.  All the reports had included extensive detail about the support and nature of the progress that was being made. 

 

With regard to Gladstone School the officers recommended that it be removed from the follow up category but the Council was waiting for a letter of confirmation (or otherwise) from Estyn.  Early indications regarding Oakfield Primary School indicated that progress was continuing to be made in line with expectations and timescales.  However, with regard to Jenner Park, a re-visit by Estyn was due to be undertaken with a final report to be submitted following that re-visit.  It was also noted that all final reports would be reported to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) as soon as they were received by the Local Authority from Estyn.

 

Following consideration of the report it was subsequently

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the progress in relation to Gladstone, Jenner Park and Oakfield Primary Schools be noted and that the further reports referred to above be presented to Scrutiny Committee in due course.

 

Reason for recommendation

 

To apprise Members.

 

 

1128   YOUTH SERVICE PROVISION TASK AND FINISH GROUP FINAL REPORT (REPORT OF THE CHAIRMAN) -

 

The Chairman of the Task and Finish Group, Councillor Mrs. S.I. Sharpe, presented the report to the Scrutiny Committee advising that in the opinion of the Group, the Youth Service was working well within limited budgets and that following the review it was important to note that collaboration was essential for the service to progress. The collaboration work that was being undertaken with Bridgend had identified the strengths and weaknesses of both the Vale and Bridgend in such a collaborative approach.  Councillor Sharpe highlighted that there was a need for the street based and mobile provision to be developed further in the Vale and she took the opportunity to thank the young people that had taken part in the review. One of the conclusions from the review was that the Youth Champion for the Vale should be a young person as opposed to a Councillor from the Vale of Glamorgan Council which was echoed by all Members present. Cllr Sharpe thanked all the Members of the group and the officers involved for their support throughout the process and requested approval for the document to Cabinet.    

 

During consideration of the report reference was made to page 18 and to some amendments to the figures for enrolments and completions for the Duke of Edinburgh Awards as below

  • completions 2010/11 the total to read 80 for Bronze, for Silver to read 15 with the final total being 110
  • enrolments 2011/12 award level Bronze total to read 598 with the overall total reading 747.

 

It had also been suggested that where there were illustrations within the document that a small footnote be included as to their interpretation.

 

Following approval by the Committee Cllr Sharpe also requested that feedback on the report be provided to the young people who had attended the session in December 2011, as appropriate.

 

The Chairman and Members of the Scrutiny Committee thanked the Group for an instructive report and agreed that the recommendations contained therein, be supported, following which it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the report, the recommendations and action plan of the Task and Finish Group as detailed at Appendix A be accepted and referred to Cabinet for approval.

 

(2)       T H A T following Cabinet approval the Scrutiny Committee receives an update on the development of the recommendations within six months.

 

(3)       T H A T prior to submission to Cabinet any minor amendments or adjustments to the report be amended in conjunction with the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee and the Chairman of the Task and Finish group.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1,2&3)  To progress the review

 

 

1129   SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS - 4TH QUARTER (DLPPHS) -

 

The Committee was advised of progress in relation to uncompleted recommendations for the following:

 

·         Financial Year 2009/10 (Appendix A to the report)

·         1st Quarter – April to June 2011 (Appendix B to the report)

·         3rd Quarter – October to December 2011 (Appendix C to the report)

·         4th Quarter – January to March 2012 (Appendix D to the report).

 

In considering the report it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

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

 

27 June 2011

Min. No. 134 - Youth Provision Review - Task And Finish Group - Scope (DLPPHS) – Recommended

(1)   That the membership of the Task and Finish Group be 3 Conservatives, 1 Labour, 1 Plaid Cymru and 1 Independent to demonstrate inclusivity (namely Councillors Ms. V.L. Ellis, C.P.J. Elmore, E. Hacker, Mrs. S.I. Sharpe, J.W. Thomas and S.T. Wiliam) and that the first meeting be undertaken as soon as practicable.

(3)   That reports of the Task and Finish Group be referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for consideration.

 

 

(1&3)  Report presented on 23rd April 2012.

Completed.

23 January 2012

Min. No. 812 - Update on Central South Consortium Developments – Recommended that 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.

 

Added to work programme schedule.

Completed.

20 February 2012

Min. No. 891 - Draft Alcohol Misuse Strategy Consultation (REF) – Recommended

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

 

 

The information had been e-mailed to Members during week commencing 16th April 2012.

Completed

 

Min. No. 900 - 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 be presented to the Committee during April 2012.

 

 

The item had been added to work programme Schedule for the Scrutiny Committee.

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the actions detailed as ongoing be noted.

 

Reason for recommendations

 

(1&2)  In exercising its scrutiny role in relation to Committee recommendations.

 

 

1130   ANNOUNCEMENT -

 

The Chairman took the opportunity to congratulate Councillor Osborne who was stepping down from the Vale of Glamorgan Council at the next election for his contribution to the Council.  Congratulations were also extended to all Members of the Committee, Education officers and the Democratic and Scrutiny Officers for their support throughout the year.