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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 12th November, 2012.

 

Present: Councillor N.P. Hodges (Chairman); Councillor Ms. R. Birch (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. K. Edmunds, H.C. Hamilton, F.T. Johnson, R.A. Penrose and E. Williams.

 

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

 

Non – voting Observers: Mr. G. Beaudette (Primary Sector), Mr. T. Cox (Secondary Sector) and Mr. D. Traherne (Welsh Medium)

 

 

523     APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE -

 

These were received from Councillors Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, T.H. Jarvie and Mrs. M. Kelly Owen.

 

 

524     MINUTES -

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 15th October, 2012 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

525     DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations were received.

 

 

526     PERFORMANCE REPORT FOR THE END OF FOUNDATION PHASE AND KEY STAGE 2 AND 3 (CLSO) -

 

The report noted that in general the Vale of Glamorgan was advantaged in terms of socio-economic deprivation and that the proportion of pupils entitled to receive free school meals was used as a proxy indicator of socio-economic deprivation.  In 2010/11 the Vale ranked fourth lowest overall for the proportion of pupils entitled to receive free school meals (third lowest at primary level and fifth lowest at secondary level).  The findings indicated that the aggregated performance of Vale schools should be higher than for Wales as a whole and generally ranked in the five highest performing authorities.  A Statutory Teacher Assessment was administered at the end of the Foundation Phase, Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3 when pupils were aged 7, 11 and 14 years old respectively with Teacher assessments expressed in levels at the end of each Key Stage and as an Outcome at the end of the Foundation Phase.  

 

Committee was informed that it was important to note that for the Foundation Phase in 2012 attainment had been recorded in terms of outcome statements in contrast to previous years where it had been recorded at the end of Key Stage 1 Teacher Assessment Levels.  The nature of Teacher Assessments at the end of Foundation Phase for 2012 had also changed.  Performance at the end of the Foundation Phase reflected the apparent decline observed for the rest of Wales.  Whilst recognising that it was not possible to make direct comparisons in the current year with previous performance, there was clearly a need to maintain the work with schools to support them to raise standards particularly in Welsh.

Comparisons with local authorities across Wales placed the Vale's performance in the Foundation Phase well above the required fifth ranked position.  However, for the lower ranked position (fifth) for CSI, further analysis confirmed the understanding that relative underachievement in writing was the contributory factor to the lower performance observed.  This was being addressed via the Big Write and individual school-based targeted support programmes.

 

Vale performance in Key Stage 3 also did not reflect the upward performance trend observed for Wales.  Performance analysis had revealed that within English in Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 2 as well as the Foundation Phase under achievement in writing was a contributory factor to under attainment in English, the core subject indicator (CSI) and in reading, writing and maths in combination.  These were therefore areas of specific concern where improvements observed in the previous year had not been replicated in the current year.  As a result Individual schools were being targeted for support in Key Stage 3 and the Council had also implemented support programmes across all schools to target improvements in standards in these specific areas. 

 

Tabled at the meeting for Members consideration was information in relation to performance data and comparisons for the more abled pupils which had not been available at the time the agenda had been dispatched.

 

During discussion of the report it was noted that the task for all school governors would be to use the wealth of data available with a view to investing resources in the areas required in order to make those particular groups accelerate in progress.  Members requested that further information in relation to children in receipt of free school meals and their achievement at Key Stages 1, 2, 3 and 4 be presented to the Committee in due course.  It was also noted that there were some schools within the Vale that currently had issues in relation to performance and the Scrutiny Committee considered that the Cabinet should be provided with the detail of that information. 

 

It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED -

 

(1)       T H A T the School Performance Report be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in respect of children in receipt of free school meals and their performance as detailed above, together with comparisons under the all-Wales benchmark.

 

(3)       T H A T the reports before the Scrutiny Committee be referred to Cabinet for consideration and that the information relating to the secondary schools as outlined above, be also presented to Cabinet and shared with the Chairman of the Scrutiny Committee.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To apprise Members.

 

(2)       To receive further information arising from the contents of the report.

 

(3)       For consideration and information.

 

 

527     SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS (DR) -

 

The Committee was advised of progress in relation to uncompleted recommendations made by the Scrutiny Committee for 1st Quarter April to June 2012 attached at Appendix A to the report and the 2nd Quarter July to September 2012 attached at Appendix B to report.

 

It was noted that the project group undertaking a Review of School Surplus Places would be reporting in the New Year and that the item was to be considered later in the agenda.

 

Having considered the report it was

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the following actions be deemed completed:

 

23 April 2012

Min. No. 1128 - Youth Service Provision Task and Finish Group Final Report (Report of the Chairman) - Recommended

(1)   That 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.

Cabinet, on 30th May 2012, approved the above recommendations subject to a further report being submitted to Cabinet within one month on progress made to date in implementing the 21 recommendations of the Task and Finish Group (Min. No. C1724 refers).

Progress reported to Scrutiny Committee 10th September 2012 (Min. No. 317 refers).

Completed

25 June 2012

Min. No. 71 - Progress Report for Gladstone Primary, Jenner Park Primary, Colcot Primary and Oakfield Primary Schools (CX) - Recommended

That the progress reports be noted and that further progress update reports be submitted as and when available.

Added to work programme schedule.

It was also discussed that the information regarding pupil numbers that had been circulated to Elected Members should be forwarded to co-opted members and non-voting observers.  The information was however, queried at the meeting with the Head of Service agreeing to confirm the details with the relevant Headteacher prior to the Scrutiny meeting in September 2012.

Completed

Min. No. 75 - Scrutiny Forward Work Programme 2012/13 (DLPPHS) – Recommended

(3)   That should the topic for review from the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) be accepted by the Scrutiny Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group the names of the six Members of the politically balanced group be forwarded to the Scrutiny and Committee Services Officer.

Topics agreed by Chairmen and Vice-Chairmen Group – Welfare Reform and Traffic Management in the Vale.

Completed

23 July 2012

Min. No. 191 - Closure of Accounts 2011/12 (CX) - Recommended

(1)   That the information as detailed above be circulated to Members when available.

[Delays in establishing a suitable provider for pupil placements; further details in relation to the savings on the Service Level Agreement with the Amelia Methodist Trust; Library service alternative services in place e.g. volunteers and outreach staff - assess the overall impact within 12 months and report back to  Committee.]

Reports to be timetabled – added to work schedule.

Information about savings re Amelia Methodist Trust e-mailed to Members.

Completed

Min. No. 193 - Quarterly Service Plan and End of Year 2011/12 Performance Report - Recommended

(iii)       Strategic Planning -

 

That the information as requested above be forwarded to Members in due course and the Action Plan and Performance Monitoring reports be noted.

[Languages the new promotional leaflets were printed in; detailed breakdown of actual savings on the mobile provision.]

Information e-mailed to Members.

Completed

Min. No. 194 - National Literacy And Numeracy Programmes (CX) – Recommended

(1)   That a training session on reading tests for Members be arranged.

Presentation presented to Scrutiny Committee on 15th October 2012.

Completed

(3)   That the Scrutiny Committee receives quarterly progress reports to consider any follow up activity required.

Added to work schedule programme.

Completed

Min. No. 196 - Scrutiny Committees' - Draft Annual Report May 2011 - April 2012 (DLPPHS) - Recommended

That the contents of the draft Annual Report for the period May 2011 to April 2012 be approved subject to any further minor amendments being agreed in consultation with the Chairman and that the report be presented to Full Council in September 2012.

Full Council on 26th September 2012 received the Annual Report (Min. No. 355 refers).

Completed

10 September 2012

Min. No. 316 - Improvement Plan 2012/13 (MD) – Recommended

(2)    That the Head of Service for School Improvement, ALN and ACL submit a report to the next meeting in respect of SEN and pupils in local authority care.

Report presented on 15th October 2012.

Completed

Min. No. 317 - Youth Service Provision Task and Finish Group Progress Report (MD) – Recommended

(1)   That the report be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for consideration on 1st October, 2012.

Cabinet, on 1st October 2012, endorsed the report and the Cabinet Member confirmed the action being taken during Local Democracy Week in October (Min. No. C1836 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 318 - Summary of Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School Inspection Report: Summer Term 2012 (MD) – Recommended

That the report be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for consideration on 1st October, 2012.

Cabinet, on 1st October 2012, noted the report and confirmed that the action plan was in place as planned (Min. No. C1834 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 320 - Central South Consortium Joint Education Service (JES) Update Report (MD) – Recommended

That the report be endorsed and referred to Cabinet for consideration on 1st October 2012.

Cabinet, on 1st October 2012, endorsed the report (Min. No. C1835 refers).

Completed

Min. No. 323 - Progress Report for Oakfield Primary School (Exempt Information – Paragraphs 12 and 13) (MD) – Recommended

(2)   That a letter recognising the hard work which had been undertaken be sent to the Chairman of the Governing Body.

Cabinet, on 1st October 2012, noted the report and resolved to write the recognition letter to the Chairman of the Governing Body and the Headteacher (Min. No. C1848 refers).

Completed

(3)   That the report be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration.

 

 

528     SCRUTINY COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME (DR) -

 

All Scrutiny Committee work programmes were publicised on the Council's website in order to advise Members and the public of future items that were to be considered for discussion.  The Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 also required that the forward plans of Scrutiny Committees should be made available in advance of the exercise of functions.  The Committee was requested to confirm its work programme as set out at Appendix 1 to the report.

 

In considering the report, reference was made to the Headteacher Performance Management Process with the Head of Service advising that negotiations were currently ongoing. It was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED - T H A T the work programme attached at Appendix 1 to the report be approved subject to the following amendments:

  • the report on the Preparation for the Inspection of Local Authority Education Services for Children and Young People be presented to Committee on 21st January, 2013
  • a Review of Safeguarding Report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee on 10th December, 2012
  • an additional report on the Pupil Referral Unit be added to the work programme schedule
  • a report on Breakfast Clubs be added to the work programme schedule to include details of take up and the number of schools in the Vale that provided this specific facility.

Reason for recommendation

 

To confirm the Committee's work programme for publication.

 

 

529     VERBAL UPDATE BY THE CHAIRMAN RE SCHOOL SURPLUS PLACES PROJECT -

 

The Chairman advised that five Elected Members of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) sat on the project namely Councillors N.P. Hodges (Chairman), Ms. R. Birch, H.C. Hamilton, R.A. Penrose and E. Williams.  The  School Places Review Group had met fortnightly since the middle of September to undertake a review of all schools in the Vale in line with the 21st Century Schools Programme which was a Joint Welsh Government and WLGA project of capital investment in Welsh Schools.  The aim of the programme was to ensure that the right size schools were in the right locations to meet local education needs and that schools were in an acceptable condition to meet current requirements.  The Group had to date considered schools within the rural Vale and Penarth and were due to discuss schools in the Barry area at its meeting on 19th November, 2012 with the aim to agree a report providing recommendations to be presented to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) in January 2013.  The Chairman advised that it may be necessary to hold a special meeting on the subject when the report was available following which any recommendations would be presented to Cabinet.

 

In considering the report reference was made to schools managed by the Catholic Church and that consultation should be undertaken with them.  The Chairman stated that consultation would be undertaken if appropriate and took the opportunity to thank the officers and Elected Members who formed the Group for the work that had been undertaken to date.

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