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Agenda Item No

 

MATTER FOR WHICH THE CHAIRMAN HAS DECIDED IS URGENT BY REASON OF THE NEED TO MAKE A DECISION TO AVOID UNDUE DELAY IN IMPLEMENTING IMPROVEMENT PROCESSES IN THE SCHOOL.

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 28th April 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

Eagleswell Primary School Inspection Report

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To inform Cabinet of the outcome of the recent inspection of Eagleswell Primary School, the options for local authority intervention and to invite the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) to set up an individual school progress meeting.

Recommendations

1.         To note the inspection report.

2.         To note the powers of intervention available to the council in relation to a school subject to significant improvement and to authorise the Chief Learning and Skills Officer to intervene if appropriate in accordance with the legislation and guidance.

3.         To invite the Scrutiny (Lifelong Learning) Committee to arrange an individual school progress meeting with the school.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To make members aware of Estyn's judgements about the school.

2.         To secure the necessary improvements within the required timescale, as set out in the inspection report and using the statutory powers of intervention if appropriate.

3.         To enable members to review the quality of the school's plans, arrangements for monitoring and evaluation and to review progress.

Background

4.         The school was inspected by Estyn in February 2014. The school was placed in a follow-up category, as requiring 'significant improvement'.  (Appendix 1: Eagleswell Primary School Inspection Report)

5.         This means that the school is a cause for concern for the local authority.

6.         The governing body of a school placed in significant improvement will need to produce a Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) within 45 days of the publication of the inspection report, which sets out the actions they propose to take in light of the key issues identified in the report.  The local authority will provide support in drawing up the action plan.  The draft PIAP must be sent to Estyn for comment ten days prior to the statutory deadline.

7.         Under section 40 of the Education Act 2005, the local authority is also required to prepare a written statement of any action it proposes to take in light of the school inspection report. 

·           An assessment of the governing body’s action plan and the school’s ability to implement the plan;

·           Detail on the action the Local Authority plans to take to address the areas for improvement identified in the Inspection Report.

·           Identified responsibilities for ensuring the action takes place.

·           Timescales with key mile stones.

·           Success criteria including targets for improvement in learner outcomes against which progress will be judged.

·           Details on how progress will be monitored e.g. who, when and how resources to be applied to the work whether the Local Authority intends to use its powers of intervention to require the governing body to secure advice or collaborate, give directions to the governing body or head teacher and take any other steps, appoint additional governors, withdraw the school’s delegated budget or replace the governing body with an IEB;

·           How it will inform parents and carers about the actions planned for the school; how it will ascertain parent’s views on these actions and how it will take those views into account.

8.         Estyn will evaluate the school's action plan and the local authority's written statement and write to the governing body, local authority and Welsh Ministers to advise whether the action plan and statement are considered fit for purpose to secure the necessary improvements within a reasonable timeframe.

9.         Estyn will re-inspect the school approximately twelve months after publication of the report. Estyn will assess progress made.

10.      The School Standards and Organisation (Wales) (Section 20) Act 2013, places a duty on all local authorities in Wales to have regard to any guidance given by Welsh Ministers in exercising their functions in respect of intervention in schools causing concern as set out in Part 2 of the 2013 Act. The Schools Causing Concern Statutory Guidance for schools and local Authorities document number 129/2014, provides such guidance. It also sets out the approach the Welsh Ministers will take in exercising their own intervention and consent function.

11.      In accordance with the guidance, a school is deemed eligible for intervention when Estyn deem the school to require significant improvement.

12.      A report elsewhere on the agenda refers to the proposal amalgamation of Eagleswell Primary and Llanilltud Fawr Primary as part of the Llantwit Learning Community.

Relevant Issues and Options

13.      Where a school is eligible for intervention there are a number of powers the local Authority or Welsh Ministers may use to drive up school improvement. The expectation is that local authority will act in the first instance.

14.      In most cases where a school is eligible for intervention a warning notice is required. However where the school has been deemed by Estyn to require significant improvement no warning notice is required.

15.      The range of relevant local authority interventions, under the Act for a school placed in significant improvement, are listed below:

·           requirement to secure advice or collaborate with an appropriate partner; best used where the school or key figures in it refuse to collaborate with an appropriate partner.

·           the appointment of additional governors; best used where the governing body requires additional expertise, or the head teacher and senior management team need further challenge.

·           the appointment of an Interim Executive Board (IEB): the appointment of an IEB is best used where the governing body is providing insufficient challenge to the headteacher, or the senior management team of the school is providing an obstacle to progress, or where there has been a breakdown in working relationships that is having an impact on standards.

·           the suspension of delegated authority for the governing body to manage a school's budget; best used where the governing body is providing insufficient challenge to the headteacher or senior management team of the school, or where management of the budget is providing a distraction from the improvement priorities for governors.

·           power to give directions and take steps; best used where the governing body has failed to exercise its functions or is exercising them unreasonably.

 

Resource Implications (Financial, local, Employment)

16.      These arise from the need to deploy senior officer time, senior system leader time (Central South Consortium Joint Education Service) as well as HR, Finance, Governor Support officer time.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

17.      None in this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

18.      The School Standards and Organisation (Wales) Act 2013 clarifies the law in relation to intervention in schools causing concern. The provisions in the Act and the accompanying statutory guidance (Schools Causing Concern document 129/2014), provide a single point of reference for local authorities when considering using their powers to intervene in schools causing concern. These provisions form part of the Minister for Education and Skills' concerted programme of action to raise school standards in Wales. The guidance and Act set out clearly the procedures to be followed by local authorities in ensuring that schools causing concern make the necessary changes as early as possible.

Crime and Disorder Implications

19.      None in this report

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

20.      Addressing the recommendations in the school's inspection report will ensure the development of the Welsh language progresses appropriately, particularly in Key Stage 2.

Corporate/Service Objectives

21.      The need to secure a high level of school effectiveness and performance underpins a number of key corporate objectives, especially in areas of the Improvement Plan, Community Strategy, Children and Young People and Lifelong Learning and Skills.

Policy Framework and Budget

22.      This is a matter for Executive decision by the Cabinet

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

23.      This will need to be undertaken

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

Estyn Common Inspection Framework

School Standards and Organisation Act (Wales) 2013

Schools Causing Concern statutory guidance document: 129/2014

Eagleswell Primary School Estyn Inspection Report

 

Contact Officer

Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion

 

Officers Consulted

John Lewis, Solicitor, Legal Services

Evelyn Morgan, Solicitor, Legal Services

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement

David Davies, Lead Officer for Inclusion

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill

Chief Learning and Skills Officer

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