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SCRUTINY COMMITTEE (LIFELONG LEARNING)

 

Minutes of a meeting held on 20th April, 2015.

 

Present:  Councillor N.P. Hodges (Chairman); Councillors Mrs. M.E.J. Birch, Mrs. C.L. Curtis, T.H. Jarvie and A. Parker.

 

Co-Opted Members: Dr. C. Brown (Parent Governor – Secondary Sector) and Mr. L. Kellaway (Parent Governor – Primary Sector).

 

Non-Voting Observer:  Ms. T. Young (Secondary Sector).

 

 

1131   APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE – 

 

These were received from Councillor Ms. R. Birch (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. K.E. Edmunds, R.A. Penrose and E. Williams.

 

 

1132   MINUTES – 

 

RECOMMENDED – T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 16th March, 2015 be approved as a correct record.

 

 

1133   DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST -

 

No declarations of interest were received.

 

 

1134   ANNUAL REPORT ON SCHOOLS 2013/14 (OM – AUDIT) –

 

The report, which had been considered by the Audit Committee on 24th February 2015, summarised the findings made by Internal Audit in relation to school based audits conducted in the 2013/14 audit year. 

 

Members were informed that on an annual basis the Internal Audit section visits a proportion of the Authority’s Primary, Secondary and Special Schools in order to carry out a pre-determined programme of work with a view to giving the school, their Governing Body and the Authority assurance that controls are operating effectively. 

 

For the year 2013/14 a total of 21 audit visits had been conducted with an additional two Primary Schools and one Comprehensive School receiving a special visit following concerns raised by the Headteacher in the year.  Appendix A to the report detailed the key findings that had been made during the visits.  It was noted that based on the Audit Opinions assigned to each of the schools visited, 71% achieved a rating of substantial assurance and 29% achieved reasonable assurance.  No schools were given a limited assurance rating which was an improvement on the 2012/13 visits where there had been two, which had represented 9.5%. 

 

The Principal Auditor, in presenting the report informed Members that 23 significant recommendations had been made for Primary and Nursery Schools, which were outlined at Table 5 of the report, with Members being advised that the Audit Department would expect a response on the recommendations via a Management Implementation Plan.  For the Comprehensive Schools 13 recommendations had been made in the significant category. For future years, in order to ensure audit resources are targeted in the most effective way, discussions are being held with the Director of Learning and Skills to determine whether audit visits should take the form of a thematic approach across schools.

 

A Member raised a question in respect of schools carrying a significant surplus in their budget and whether other schools could learn from them. Committee was informed that the funding for schools related to the established formula for funding and that the Auditor had no control over how it was rolled out.  In referring to the substantial surplus in the budget noted at Stanwell School, the audit had been undertaken in the area of payroll only. The Director of Learning and skills advised that Stanwell School was funded in the same way as all other schools within the Local Authority and was subject to the same financial regulations.  For any school monies could be clawed back where appropriate at the end of each year. However, for Stanwell School it was noted that the surplus had been carried forward to pay for a new hockey pitch which was currently underway.

 

The Chairman, in welcoming the report and its contents, advised that it was essential that the Scrutiny Committee considered the annual audit report in order that it could be satisfied that internal controls operated effectively at all schools within the Vale.  It had also been reassuring to note that three schools had themselves requested that audits be undertaken outside the planned programme and were utilising the support available to assist them when required.

 

Having considered the report, it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report and the Appendix attached be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the Annual Audit Report on Schools be presented to the Scrutiny Committee on an annual basis.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In view of the contents contained therein.

 

(2)       In order that the Scrutiny Committee can be apprised of the auditors’ findings to ensure that internal controls are operating effectively in schools within the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

 

1135   PUPIL DEPRIVATION GRANT FUNDING (REQUEST FOR CONSIDERATION) (DLS) –

 

The report had been prepared in response to a request by Councillor Dr. I.J. Johnson that information on how the Pupil Deprivation Grant (PDG) "is used to provide additional support to children from a disadvantaged background be presented to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.  To ensure the money is used effectively to improve the life chances of these children.  To identify best practice and high impact strategies amongst schools including the deployment of funding in the 2014/15 financial year." 

 

In presenting the report, the Head of School Improvement and Inclusion informed the Committee that the allocation of the PDG to schools was administered from the Central South Consortium and was based solely on a pupil’s eligibility to receive free school meals (eFSM) as recorded in the schools’ Pupil Level Annual School Census (PLASC) return every January.  Of further note was the fact that for personal reasons not all parents of children who were eligible would apply for free meals, indicating that in some schools the take-up was less than the entitlement.  However, it was important to also note that in all schools not all children who were in receipt of free school meals (FSM) were necessarily the most needy pupils.  Pupils who were more able and talented may also be eFSM whilst lower ability pupils may not be eFSM.  Therefore the challenge for schools was how best to use additional funding given that the PDG must only be used to improve attainment in literacy and numeracy for eFSM and Looked After Children (LAC) learners. 

 

A total of £23,082,192 for PDG plus LAC pupils aged 4-15 was allocated to eligible consortium schools for the financial year 2014-15.

 

The number of pupils from 5-15 recorded in the Vale of Glamorgan was 16,555;  of those pupils 2,404 were eFSM (14.52%).  A total of £2,206,872 was allocated to the Vale of Glamorgan schools through the Central South Consortium for PDG, excluding LAC.  Payments to school under the PDG funding had increased since 2012/13 when the payment was £450 per pupil eFSM, this amount was raised to £918 in 2014/15 with schools to receive another increase to £1,050 per pupil in 2015/16.

 

The amount allocated to individual primary schools in the Vale of Glamorgan in the financial year 2014-15 ranged from £0 where there were no pupils in receipt of FSM to one school receiving £100,062.  Secondary school payments ranged from £49,572 to £260,712 and special schools £11,016 to £28,458 (payment records were against the three special schools prior to their amalgamation).  Appendix 1 to the report showed a breakdown of individual school PDG funding.

 

For the financial year 2015/16 schools would receive an enhanced PDG budget of £1,050 per pupil eligible for FSM.  Schools would require ratification of their plans by their Challenge Advisor prior to publishing their plans on their websites. 

 

Reducing the impact of poverty on educational attainment was the Welsh Government’s top education priority and the Vale of Glamorgan also shared the high priority that Welsh Government places on strategies to increase the life chances for disadvantaged learners and its Corporate and Service Plan objectives reflected these priorities. 

 

The Head of Service for School Improvement and Inclusion together with the senior Challenge Advisor had brought together a group of Key Stage 4 senior teachers from the Vale and Bridgend to identify strategies that are effective in closing the achievement gap and enhancing the life chances of the most vulnerable learners.  Although Councils had seen an increase of 100% in the PDG grant awarded to schools over the last two years, the improvements seen across the phases were marginal and, as such, there was still a lot of work to be done especially at Key Stage 4. 

 

The schools in the Vale of Glamorgan, with the exception of the nursery schools and funded preschool settings, were all eligible in 2014/15 for funding under the PDG if they had children of 5 - 15 years of age and eligible for a FSM or were LAC based on the information supplied by the individual schools on the PLASC return each January.

 

The report highlighted that schools had put the PDG to a wide range of uses such as whole staff development activities, intervention activities for individual pupils, effective tracking systems, working with parents and carers, pupils' Meta cognition (learning to learn).  Drawing on a range of sources of evidence including the Sutton Trust, two of the most effective recognised approaches adopted in the Vale’s schools were noted as Meta Cognition (learning to learn) and quality feedback, the two being intrinsically linked.  Essential to both was creating a climate where pupils were given strategies to think more clearly about their own learning.  When learning to learn pupils were taught to set achievable goals and monitor and evaluate their own educational development with the intention that they develop a greater understanding of how to succeed and increase their responsibility for their own learning.  Teachers provided the pupils with tactics on how to plan, monitor and evaluate their own learning.  Feedback was essential to pupils' progress; giving guidance on how to improve, rather than focus on negative aspects. 

 

However, the wide range of uses of the PDG had made it difficult to gather data on specific programme impacts across the Local Authority with the only means being at this time the Head of Service stated was the end of phase teacher assessment, test data and examination results.

 

The improvement of performance albeit marginal of eFSM compared to nFSM was evident from the end of phase data.  The gap in performance was decreasing in Foundation Phase to Key Stage 3 whilst both groups made progress; however, the concerning fact was that older the pupils, the wider the gap.  In Key Stage 4 the gap between the two groups had widened in the year, in the Vale and for one other Local Authority,  in comparison with the rest of the region, where the difference in performance was decreasing alongside the other phases, as contained within  Appendices 2a, b and c to the report.

 

With regard to the PDG for LAC, the LAC education team worked in partnership with social services and schools to ensure the funding was used to narrow the gap.  The Local Authority also recognised that LAC pupils were the most vulnerable group of pupils in terms of achievement, and performance had varied over the years.  It could be noted that it was consistently good in the Foundation Phase, however performance deteriorated from Key Stages 2 to 4.  Since 2011 the year on year performance illustrated improved attainment for Vale LAC.  In 2012/13 the Vale LAC was ranked third in Wales for external points score, although noting that LAC did not perform well in comparison to their peers within the Vale.  It was essential that all children eligible for FSM were registered as being eligible. 

 

A Member queried whether the Council had any information relating to parents who should be claiming but did not, with the Director of Learning and Skills advising that the Council supported schools to work with Headteachers and the Benefits Department to ensure that it was easy for pupils to register for FSM.  This information was then collated in order to draw down the grant funding.  Members queried whether further work could be undertaken to encourage applications, it being prevalent in the figures that there appeared to be a decrease in numbers from the primary sector to the comprehensive sector of applications for FSM.

 

Following a query as to whether the Council could work with other departments e.g. the Tax Credits Department, the Director of Learning and Skills advised that benefit advisors had attended headteacher meetings and that publicity material had been developed.  The main challenge now was for the Council was to ensure that when the grant was received, it was used effectively. 

 

The Chairman, in referring to the impact in closing the poverty gap and the fact that Headteachers appeared to be utilising the PDG in different ways, accepted that considerable work was currently being undertaken to assist  and deliver improved attainment by learners entitled to FSM against the targets that had been agreed.

 

In considering good practice, of note was the fact that whilst the focus was on reducing the gap in performance of literacy and numeracy, many schools in order to engage pupils in their education tackled the wider issues which impacted on self-esteem and wellbeing.  This included diversifying pupils’ experiences by providing access to residential and day trips both home and abroad, instruments of music, lessons and after school clubs. 

 

Members, in noting that the information relating to the local impact of the grant was limited, urged all School Governors who sit on the Scrutiny Committee to review within their schools how the PDG was being used, following which he subsequently took the opportunity to thank the Head of Service for the information contained within the report and the detailed explanations provided at the meeting. 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the contents of the report regarding how PDG funding was allocated be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the impact of the Pupil Deprivation Grant in Vale schools, as detailed within the report, be noted.

 

(3)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee receives update reports on the impact of the Pupil Deprivation Grant funding as and when appropriate and the Committee’s work programme be amended accordingly.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To ensure Members are informed with regard to the wide range of Pupil Deprivation Grant funding allocated to schools.

 

(2)       To apprise Members of the impact of the creative and effective use of the grant in schools in the Vale of Glamorgan.

 

(3)       To ensure that the impact of the Pupil Deprivation Grant is appropriately evaluated and the impact of closing the gap in achievement for children eligible for a free school meal is noted.

 

           

1136   INDIVIDUAL SCHOOL PERFORMANCE PROGRESS PANEL MEETING (DLS) –

 

The Committee received a report in respect of the School Progress Panel meeting that had been held at Bryn Hafren Comprehensive School undertaken by a Panel of three Members of the Committee which was presented by the Director of Learning and skills.  The Panel members had comprised Councillors N.P. Hodges (Chairman of the Panel), Mrs. M.E.J. Birch and Mr. L. Kellaway;  and Councillor C.P.J. Elmore (Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools);  Mr. T. Davies (Headteacher), Mrs. C. Tyler (Chairman of Governors), Mrs. J. Hill (Director of Learning and Skills), Mr. M. Glavin (Head of School Improvement and Inclusion), Mr. S. Sherman (Challenge Advisor), Ms. A. Davies (Member of Senior Leadership Team and Member of the Governing Body Standards Committee) and Mrs. K. Bowen (Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer) had been in attendance. 

 

The meeting had been convened as a result of the recommendation of the Panel in February 2014 to revisit the school following the GCSE results in August 2014.  The letter of the Director of Learning and Skills in November 2014 had noted that pupil attainment at Key Stage 4 had improved on most measures and that on a number of measures the school continued to perform well compared with other similar schools.  However, concern remained in relation to the key measures of performance at Level 2 in Mathematics, English and the proportion of students attaining 5 A*-C grades including English or Welsh and Mathematics where performance continued to be weaker than other similar schools.

 

Of further note was the fact that attendance levels had also not increased as rapidly as other schools and were in the bottom quarter compared to other similar schools.

 

As a result, the minimum targets for 2014/15 which had been agreed with the school were as follows:

 

2014/15

Minimum Agreed Target

Level 2 English

63%

Level 2 Mathematics

54%

Level 2 Plus

48%

Attendance

93.3%

 

The Panel meeting had therefore been an opportunity for the school to demonstrate through the democratic process its ambition and commitment to rapid and sustained progress and to identify any barriers that the school may be facing which could be resolved by the actions of the Council. 

 

At the Panel meeting held in January 2015 the Headteacher referred to the awareness by staff that the school needed to improve however he confirmed, that in Key Stage 3 all subjects had seen progress being made at Level 5+ since the last inspection in 2012.  Comparison with like schools had also improved as the benchmark profile improved, plus the fact that in nearly all the subjects the school was outperforming the family of schools' average.  However, whilst there had been progress at Level 5 in comparison with other schools, work needed to now focus at the higher levels of 6 and 7 where the statistics were not showing such favourable comparisons.  With regard to Key Stage 4, progress had been made since the previous inspection although the results in August 2014 had shown that key targets had not been met.  Attendance levels had not increased as rapidly as other schools.

 

Since the GCSE results in 2014 a number of measures to improve performance had been put in place by the Headteacher, following his appointment, as outlined below:

 

·         Both the English and Maths Departments offered a number of revision sessions for example regular after-school clubs, revision days before exams and early morning revision sessions on the day of examinations.

·         An ME+3 project had been established which had encouraged more strategic focus on level 2+.  These meetings discussed progress and challenged staff in order to facilitate improvement of borderline pupils at D/C+ to improve the Level 2+. 

·         Extra classes had been created in English and Maths

·         Year 9 pupils had commenced English and Maths GCSE courses which would support early entry in later years.

·         Resources had been targeted for English and Maths for targeted pupils with more feedback being obtained in relation to borderline pupils.

·         Newly purchased Apps and Twitter were used to aid pupil revision.

·         In relation to the revision clubs some girls were specifically targeted to attend sessions.

·         For Maths, Set 2s had been given an additional teacher to split the class into different tier pupils which offered an increased level of teacher support,

·         Regular Saturday morning revision sessions had been run with attendance on all occasions being over 30 of the 40 targeted pupils.

·         Since Christmas the ME+3 project had increased in pace with 10 Saturdays being identified for extra English and Maths sessions with additional pupils being invited to attend,

 

The Panel had also been informed that the school would be considering hiring a Maths teacher to work with a targeted group from April to May 2015 and the school currently worked closely with the Consortium staff to assist with English and Maths. However it was accepted that such provision may not be able to be sustained year on year and that some of the measures had only be introduced following the examination results in August 2014.  The school had adopted a new and improved evaluation system which had a strong focus on lesson observations and an increased dialogue between the school's leaders and staff was now taking place.  All 65 teachers had been observed during the term and a common lesson observations proforma had been used to record strong features of lessons and areas that required improvement.

 

Teachers were being charged with making improvements on suggested areas by the time of the second observation in Spring 2015.  Following the analysis of the lesson observations suggestions for improvements had been made.  Teachers had also been allocated teaching pods and all staff were undertaking a programme called "Embedding Formative Assessments" and regularly meeting to discuss teaching strategies.  Members of the pods also peer observed each other to aid discussion around strategies.  The self-evaluation system included pupil voice exercises, book reviews, scheme of learning audits and department / year team reviews which the Panel was informed had fostered dialogue and appropriate support and challenge.

 

The Challenge Advisor had also confirmed that rapid improvements had been made to the leadership and management of teaching during the Autumn term, which now provided a much more secure basis for systematic improvement and quality of provision.  The impact was evident in terms of the actions of senior and middle leaders of the school, as well as an understanding of good teaching by teachers.  However, there was little evidence yet of the impact on the standards achieved by pupils and, as such, he had deemed progress to be reasonable but not strongly so.

 

With regard to attendance figures for the Autumn, this now stood at 92.18% with the minimum attendance target being 93%.  Acknowledgement was made that the school was not as focused on attendance as it should be, but that there was considerable work being undertaken by the Deputy Head in relation to improving attendance with the school adopting the "Bobbies on Call Scheme" and receiving advice from the Education Department.  The school would also be considering putting in place procedures that had been developed by Treorchy Comprehensive School and would be contacting that school in due course for advice.  The Callio system was currently being adhered to and although there had been a number of initial difficulties, these had been improved upon and the school was now working more closely with the Local Authority.  In order to improve on attendance the school had also instigated a number of initiatives.  The Director of Learning and Skills advised that a number of schools in the area had been successful at increasing attendance levels and encouraged the school to seek further support and good practice ideas to assist in raising the level.

 

The Director of Learning and Skills,  in conclusion referred to the Panel’s decisions which included that there was a measure of confidence that the school would meet the target in English which had been evidenced at the meeting but that it had limited confidence in the school meeting the Maths target.  The Panel had welcomed all the measures and procedures that the school had put in place and had also been pleased with the decision of the Governing Body to appoint a Standards Committee.  They also welcomed the enthusiasm of the Headteacher, but acknowledged that the evidence would be determined following the results in August 2015.  The Panel also wished to see improvement in attendance and urged that further work was pursued to seek that improvement.  They welcomed the number of initiatives that had been introduced at the school.

 

The Chairman took the opportunity to thank the Members and officers who had taken part in the Panel Progress meeting and advised Members that the school had received a formal letter regarding the Panel’s findings shortly after the meeting.  He reassured the Committee that all present at the time, had considered that they had had a fair hearing and that the final proof would be in the results in August 2015. 

 

The Chairman further stated that he had welcomed the Headteacher’s enthusiasm and the progress that had been made to date in particular the number of initiatives and procedures that had been put into place to increase performance.  The Chairman of Governors had also confirmed her commitment and keenness to improve with all present at the panel meeting recognising that the concerns were starting to be addressed.

 

Following consideration of the report, the Scrutiny Committee subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the School Progress Panel’s findings as detailed in paragraph 27 of the report be accepted.

 

(2)       T H A T an update report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee in the Autumn following the GCSE results in August 2015, at that time the Committee would consider whether a revisit would be required.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration and / or approval.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In view of the findings contained within the report.

 

(2)       To monitor progress.

 

(3)       For Cabinet consideration.

 

 

1137 SCHOOL MID-YEAR ATTENDANCE REPORT (DLS) –

 

The report provided Members with information about school attendance and was a mid-year report detailing early information regarding attendance in advance of the end of year academic report.

 

In presenting the report, the Lead Officer for Inclusion advised that the majority of schools in the Vale have adopted the Callio model to ensure there was a whole school and Vale Local Authority approach to improving attendance.  Secondary schools had also accessed additional funding to improve the engagement of pupils with attendance between 80% and 92% including pupils in Year 6 in their feeder primary schools. 

 

Committee was further informed that the Education Welfare Service worked with pupils with attendance below 80% to improve the attendance of persistent absentees.  The most recent available comparative data showed persistent absenteeism (under 80%) had reduced from 5.8% of secondary pupils in 2011/2 to 4.2% in 2013/14.  Over this period the Vale’s ranking improved from 8th to 6th

 

Over the previous three years, it was noted that Vale primary school attendance had improved and when compared with other Local Authorities, the Vale had improved its ranked position.

 

Year

All Wales Primary  Attendance

Vale Primary Attendance

Vale

Position

2011/12

93.8%

94.5%

6

2012/13

93.7%

94.2%

6

2013/14

94.8%

95.3%

4

 

The 2013/14 benchmark positions for primary schools had recently been released with 28 of Vale primary schools in the upper quarters and 20 schools in the lower quarters.

 

When compared with the previous year, 13 schools had improved their benchmark positions, including Colcot who had moved from the 4th to the 1st quarter.

 

Primary Benchmark Positions 13/14

 

Benchmark Position

Number of Schools

Quarter 1

8

Quarter 2

20

Quarter 3

11

Quarter 4

9

 

Colcot, Cadoxton, Murch, Eagleswell, Evenlode, Nant Talwg, Pendoylan and St. David's schools were also in the top benchmark quarter for 2013/14. .

 

Of the 48 primary schools, 13 had improved their benchmark position in comparison with the previous year and 20 maintained the same position.  15 schools had a lower benchmark position in 2013/14 when compared with the previous year.

 

Year

All Wales

Secondary Attendance

Vale Secondary

Attendance

Vale

Position

2011/12

92.2%

92.7%

7

2012/13

92.6%

93.3%

4

2013/14

93.6%

94.2%

4

 

Secondary schools in the lowest quarter for attendance in the previous year had been visited by the Lead for Behaviour and Attendance and the Senior Education Welfare Officer. Discussions with staff in Barry Comprehensive, Bryn Hafren and Bro Morgannwg had considered school systems and how the Education Welfare Service could further support the work of the school in raising attendance.  As a consequence, action plans had been established to improve attendance.

 

All secondary schools set ambitious targets for the year.  Unverified attendance data for the Autumn term 2014 showed that three schools Barry Comprehensive, Cowbridge and Stanwell were performing as well or better than their target.

 

In order to achieve the target, Bryn Hafren needed to make the largest improvement this year (1.3%).  St. Richard Gwyn needed to improve attendance by only 0.1% to achieve their target.  St. Cyres needed to improve by 0.2% and both Llantwit Major and Ysgol Bro Morgannwg needed to improve by 0.5% over the next two terms.

 

In response to a query regarding fixed penalty notices and whether any had been issued, the Head of School Improvement and Inclusion advised that one fixed penalty notice was currently being processed. 

 

In response to a question as to whether there had been much resistance to the new attendance policy, Members were advised that it had been broadly accepted and welcomed. Members who were Governors of schools advised that the policy had been taken seriously by Headteachers and Governing Bodies in their schools. 

 

In response to a query as to whether future reports could include school by school data, the Head of School Improvement and Inclusion advised that this information would be available within the end of year report which was to be presented to the Scrutiny Committee by October 2015, following which it was subsequently

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the improved level of attendance in 2014/15 in the majority of schools within the Vale of Glamorgan and the current level of school attendance from September to December 2014 be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T it be noted that the Scrutiny Committee would receive a further report in October 2015 detailing end of year performance.

 

(3)       T H A T the report be referred to the Cabinet for consideration in recognition of the increase in school attendance and the improvements being made.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       To apprise Members.

 

(2)       To keep school attendance under close review and to continue to inform future policy and practice.

 

(3)       To advise Cabinet of the improved level of attendance in 2013/14 in the majority of schools and provide details of the current level of school attendance from September to December 2014.

 

 

1138   TEACHER ASSESSMENT: STRENGTHENING ARRANGEMENTS TO IMPROVE RELIABILITY, CONSISTENCY AND CONFIDENCE (DLS) –

 

The Committee, on 23rd June 2014, as a result of undertaking a number of individual School Progress Panel meetings, had been informed by a number of secondary schools that information regarding the level and ability of pupil learning was not always accurately recorded by primary schools.  The Committee had therefore, recommended that work on this be undertaken to ensure more effective moderation of teacher assessment at comprehensive level.  A publication by the Australian Centre for Education Research had also highlighted that current teacher assessments were not fit for purpose. 

 

The report contained in Appendix 1 the response to Welsh Government who had made a number of proposals aimed at improving confidence in the current teacher assessment system. 

 

The Welsh Government consultation sought views on three main areas:

 

·         School Improvement – From the academic year 2015/16, regional consortia to be responsible for overseeing moderation so ensuring reliability and improving confidence in teacher assessment; 

·         Cluster Moderation – From the academic year 2015/16, the introduction of a statutory requirement for all maintained schools to participate in cluster group moderation.  This was designed to add rigour and robustness to the school-based moderation.  Consideration to be given to including the Foundation Phase in cluster moderation.                              

·         External Verification – From this academic year, the introduction of a new system of external verification to cover Key Stages 2 and 3.

 

The response by the Head of School Improvement and Inclusion supported the proposal made by Welsh Government together with some suggested issues for further consideration.  The Head of School Improvement and Inclusion had also made all Headteachers aware of the consultation and the deadline for responses.

 

The Central South Consortium had proposed a model for cluster moderation for the academic year and had provided guidance and proformas for the moderation of English, Welsh and Mathematics. The Consortium would be informed of all cluster moderation dates and would receive a register of those in attendance which would provide an overview of which schools participated and those that did not.

 

The Head of School Improvement and Inclusion also took the opportunity to advise that external verification for teacher assessments had been open to tender and had recently been awarded to the four regional consortia.

 

The Chairman stated that he had fully considered the response attached to the report and was in agreement with the contents and following the discussion, the Committee subsequently  

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

(1)       T H A T the response to the Welsh Government consultation regarding improving teacher assessment be noted.

 

(2)       T H A T the arrangements being introduced through the Central South Consortium to improve teacher assessment for the current academic year be noted.

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In recognition of the contents contained within the response to Welsh Government regarding strengthening arrangements to improve the reliability, consistency and confidence with regard to teacher assessment.

 

(2)       In noting the arrangements for teacher assessment being introduced through the Central South Consortium.

 

 

1139   SCRUTINY DECISION TRACKING OF RECOMMENDATIONS AND WORK PROGRAMME SCHEDULE 2015/16 (DR) –

 

Appendices A and B attached to the report set out the recommendations of the Scrutiny Committee, it being noted that it was important that the decisions of Scrutiny Committees be tracked and monitored as failure to do so could result in a risk that recommended courses of action would not be followed and consequently lost. 

 

In considering the recommendations the Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer advised of the Cabinet decision in relation to Minute No. 1010 – Barry Secondary School Transformation which had been referred to the Cabinet at its meeting on 13th April 2015 and which had not been available at the time of the agenda despatch.

 

With regard to the work programme schedule attached at Appendix C, the Chairman advised that the schedule provided an indication of the proposed items for consideration at future meetings although it was accepted that these were subject to availability.  The schedule would also be uploaded to the Council’s website for information.  In considering the list of other reports that had been requested by the Committee, to be presented as and when available, reference was made to the suggested meeting with Headteachers, with it being accepted that this may be impractical, in view of the commitments of Headteachers and Members, it was suggested that this be removed from the work programme schedule to be considered in the future, if deemed necessary. 

 

Following consideration of the report on schools earlier in the meeting, it had been agreed that similar reports be submitted on an annual basis and it was subsequently suggested that this be added to the work programme schedule prior to it being uploaded to the website.  In referring to Minute No. 417: Childcare Sufficiency Assessment it was also accepted that this item be added to the work programme with the status being deemed as completed.

 

Having fully considered the report, it was 

 

RECOMMENDED –

 

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

 

12 January 2015

Min. No. 786 – Revenue and Capital Monitoring for the Period 1st April to 30th November 2014 (DLS) – Recommended That the position with regard to the 2014/15 revenue and capital monitoring be noted and that details of the Youth Service Reserve figure be forwarded to Members via e-mail as soon as practicable

 

 

Forwarded to Members at end January 2015.

Completed

Min. No. 788 – Scrutiny Decision Tracking of Recommendations and Work Programme Schedule 2014/15 (DR) – Recommended

(2)   That the proposed meeting work programme schedule 2014/15 at Appendix D be agreed and uploaded to the Council’s website as soon as practicable.

  

 

Uploaded to the Council’s website on 19th  January 2015.

Completed

09 February 2015

Min. No.  861– Cardiff and Vale Community Learning Partnership – Recommended

(1)   That Ms. Campbell be thanked for the information presented, the Committee notes the good progress being made to date and that a progress report be presented in 12 months.

(2)   That a copy of the presentation and the minutes of the meeting be forwarded to the Cabinet for their information in respect of the good progress being made to date.

 

 

(1)   Added to work programme schedule.*

Completed

 

 

(2)   Cabinet, on 9th March 2015, noted the contents of the report and thanked all staff involved for the improvements made in this area.

(Min. No. C2685 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 863 – School Place Planning in the Vale of Glamorgan (DLS) – Recommended

(2)   That on an annual basis the Committee receives a school place planning update for Vale of Glamorgan schools and that the report be referred to Cabinet for its consideration.

 

 

Cabinet, on 9th March 2015, noted the contents of the report and that a further report on school place planning for Vale of Glamorgan schools be presented to Cabinet on an annual basis. 

(Min. No. C2683 refers)

Added to work programme schedule.*

Completed

Min. No. 864 – National Categorisation - Outcomes for Vale Schools (DLS) – Recommended

(3)   That the report and the comments of the Scrutiny Committee be forwarded to Cabinet for its consideration.

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 9th March 2015, noted the contents of the report.

(Min. No. C2684 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 865 – Summary of School Inspection Reports for the Autumn Term 2014 (DLS) – Recommended

(2)   That the report be forwarded to Cabinet in recognition of the good judgements received.

 

 

 

Cabinet, on 9th March 2015, resolved that a letter of congratulations be sent to all the schools by the Leader on behalf of the Cabinet in recognition of the good judgements received.

(Min. No. C2682 refers)

Completed

16 March 2015

Min. No. 1009 – Review of Library and Information Services in the Vale of Glamorgan (AS) – Recommended that the resolutions of Cabinet be accepted, and the representations as provided within the minutes be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration.

 

 

Cabinet, on 23rd March 2015, noted the contents of the report.

(Min. No. C2717 refers)

Completed

Min. No. 1010 – Barry Secondary School Transformation (REF) – Recommended

(4)   That, following the consultation process, a further report be presented to the Scrutiny Committee on the results of the consultation, prior to consideration by Cabinet.

(5)   That the views of the Scrutiny Committee, as outlined in the minutes, and the written representations received to date be forwarded to Cabinet for consideration.

 

 

(4)   Added to work programme.*

Completed

 

 

(5)   At Cabinet, on 13th April 2015, the Leader made the statement:

 

"I am grateful to the Members of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) and those who also made representation at the Committee meeting.

 

It is also clear that one major issue that caused concern was the suggestion in the report that phasing could take place from 2017 – 2020.

 

However, it must be made clear that this was only a suggested way forward by the then Heads of Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive Schools and not a definite proposal.

 

If this was accepted, phasing could only be agreed by the governing body of the new school and cannot be imposed on them, as seems to have been assumed during discussions by committees and elsewhere.

 

Cabinet would make it clear that phasing does not form part of the consultation process.  I am sorry for this confusion that has arisen but the Educational organisation within the new school will be a matter for Governors if a new School is formally agreed."

 

The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools fully supported the statement made by the Leader.

 

Cabinet noted the contents of the report.

(Min. No. C2725 refers)

Completed

08 September 2014

Min. No. 354 – Review of Library and Information Services in the Vale of Glamorgan (REF) – Recommended that the reference be noted, the forthcoming consultation welcomed and the information requested by Members be included in the documentation and circulated to Members.

 

 

To be addressed by the Head of Service in future documentation. Completed

Min. No. 357 – Outcome Agreement 2013 – 2016: End of Year Report for 2013/14 (DLS) – Recommended

(2)   That the Scrutiny Committee continue to scrutinise closely during 2014/15 the areas where the Council would not achieve its actions and targets and that it consider proactive action to ensure that they are achieved in 2014/15.

 

 

 

Considered under regular quarterly monitoring to Committee.

Completed

22 September 2014

Min. No. 417 – Childcare Sufficiency Assessment 2013/14 (DLS) – Recommended

(3)   That further consideration of the offer of a presentation be considered by Members at a later date.

 

 

Added to work programme.*

Completed

 

(2)       T H A T the work programme schedule include the actions as outlined above * and that it be uploaded to the Council’s website for information.

 

(3)       T H A T the meeting with Headteachers be deleted from the work programme schedule.  

 

Reasons for recommendations

 

(1)       In view of the Committee’s views on the status of the actions listed.

 

(2)       To update the work programme schedule and that it be uploaded to the Council’s website for information.

 

(3)       It being recognised that a meeting could be arranged as and when deemed necessary by the Scrutiny Committee.

 

 

 

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