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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 11 August, 2014

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services

 

The Revised Vale of Glamorgan Council and Maintained Schools Partnership Agreement 2014-17

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         To seek approval from Cabinet for implementation of the revised Partnership Agreement 2014 -2017.

Recommendations

1.         That Members approve the revised Partnership Agreement for implementation in September 2014.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure school Governing Bodies are well supported to carry out their respective functions as well as sustain and enhance existing partnership working between the Council and school governing bodies.

Background

2.         Section 197 of the Education Act 2002 requires local education authorities to enter into a partnership agreement with the governing body of each school maintained by the Council.

3.         The 2007 Regulations impose duties upon all Councils in Wales and governing bodies of schools maintained by them, including maintained nursery schools, but excluding pupil referral units, to enter into Partnership Agreements.

4.         In the case where the Council and governing body cannot reach agreement then the Council is entitled to draw up a statement setting out how it and the governing body are to discharge their respective functions.

5.         The agreement must set out how a Council and a governing body will carry out their respective functions in relation to a school.

6.         The purpose of partnership agreements is therefore to sustain and enhance existing partnership working between Councils and school governing bodies.

Relevant Issues and Options

7.         There are 11 Statutory Functions, which will form the mandatory element of the Agreement.

8.         In addition, this partnership agreement contains a number of non-statutory functions, as recommended by the Welsh Government (Partnership Agreement Appendix 1)

9.         The revised Partnership Agreement up-dates the current Agreement to include a more accurate reflection of regional working through the Central South Consortium Joint Education Service.

10.      Although the governing body of a maintained school is responsible for the conduct and standards of the school, the Council shares the responsibility for standards in schools and discharges strategic responsibilities for the overall provision of education services.

11.      The Council provides governing bodies with strategic and support services that help to create a level of common policy planning practices that all schools share.

12.      The Council recognises the significant role that Headteachers, school leadership teams, and all school staff play in the provision of education.  However, this partnership agreement sets out the respective responsibilities of the Council and governing bodies only.

13.      Headteacher, senior school management team, and school staff responsibilities form a partnership agreement between the governing body (and other relevant body in the case of voluntary aided and voluntary controlled schools) and school employees.

14.      The revised Partnership Agreement applies to all maintained schools.  However, in areas of governance, staffing and buildings development, a voluntary aided school (VAS) will have a distinctive relationship with the Diocesan Authorities. 

15.      Voluntary aided schools are distinct from community schools in that the governing body is both the employer and the admissions authority. The premises are held on trust by a foundation, usually a church, and the governing body employs the staff and is responsible for religious education. 

16.      Due regard will, therefore, need to be taken of the responsibilities of the governing body of a voluntary aided school in respect of the Government of Maintained Schools Regulations (2005) and the Staffing of Maintained Schools (Wales) Regulations (2006) and of the particular role of foundation governors in this context.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

17.      School Governors are engaged on a voluntary basis.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

18.      None in this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

19.      Section 197 of the Education Act 2002 (commenced 01.09.2003) enables the Welsh Ministers to make regulations requiring all LEA’s in Wales to enter into individual partnership agreements with governing bodies of schools they maintain.

20.      A partnership agreement is defined in the Act as an agreement about how an LEA and the governing body of a school will act to discharge their functions in relation to the school.  If an LEA is unable to reach agreement with the governing body, it can draw up a statement setting out how the LEA and the governing body will discharge their function. 

21.      The purpose of partnership agreements is to enhance and sustain partnership working between LEA’s and the school.  The Welsh Government believes that this will help raise standards.  The Maintained Schools (Partnership Agreement) (Wales) Regulations 2007 require LEA’s and governing bodies to enter into an agreement; to specify the arrangements for the review of agreements every three years and the outcome of the review.

22.      The Regulations  set out the matters to be covered in a Partnership Agreement;  the circumstances which will trigger a review sooner than three years; make provisions for the LEA to draw up a statement in relation to a school when agreement on a partnership agreement cannot be reached with a governing body.

Crime and Disorder Implications

23.      None in this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

24.      None in this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

25.      The need to secure a high level of school effectiveness and performance is underpinned by high quality leadership which includes that of school Governors. High quality leadership in our schools is at the core of a number of key corporate objectives, especially in the Improvement Plan, Community Strategy, Children and Young People and Lifelong Learning and Skills.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

27.      Not required for this report.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

28.      Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

Estyn Common Inspection Framework

School Standards and Organisation Act (Wales) 2013

Schools Causing Concern statutory guidance document: 129/2014

 

Contact Officer

Lynette Jones, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion

 

Officers Consulted

John Sparks, Head of Governors Support Unit, Vale of Glamorgan

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement

Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

 

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning & Skills

 

 

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