The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer, in presenting the report, advised that Cabinet had recommended to the Scrutiny Committee in January 2013 that invitations be extended to the Chairmen of Governors and Headteachers of schools where performance issues had been identified, including those schools under Estyn following up arrangements, to a meeting to consider issues of performance.

On 18th February, 2013, the Scrutiny Committee had subsequently agreed to establish School Progress Panels consisting of three Members (minimum of two Elected Members), to be drawn from the 10 Elected Members and 4 statutory Co-opted Members of this Scrutiny Committee.  The Panels had been established in order to ascertain whether the Schools to be visited had up to date and authoritative improvement plans, that they had in place arrangements to monitor the impact of the plans, to amend them as appropriate and to establish what progress had been made against each action within the plans and what further progress was required; this approach being deemed necessary in order to seek to improve the accountability of schools for pupil attainment

It was noted that to date Panel meetings had been held within four secondary schools and one primary school in the Vale, namely:

  • Barry Comprehensive
  • Bryn Hafren Comprehensive
  • Llantwit Major Comprehensive
  • St. Cyres Comprehensive
  • Eagleswell Primary School.

The Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer further highlighted that following the publication of GCSE results in August 2014, both Llantwit Major Comprehensive and St. Cyres Comprehensive schools were removed from the list of those requiring close monitoring.  However, results achieved in Barry and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive schools were below the required targets and subsequent re-visits had been undertaken.   In addition, two visits to Eagleswell Primary School in Llantwit Major were held during July 2014 and February 2015.

Following a review of the process, on 23rd June, 2014 the Scrutiny Committee agreed an Action Plan and recommended that an update report be provided in 12 months' time.  The Action Plan was developed following a desk top review of the work of the Panels and lessons learnt to date.

Appendix 1 to the report detailed an update on the Action Plan and showed the progress that had been made to date in relation to each individual action.  Appendix 2 illustrated further improvement actions observed by the Panel visits conducted over the past 12 months and a summary of progress made to date was also detailed within the report.  

In highlighting a number of the areas, Members were informed that one of the main issues identified by Panel Members whilst undertaking the process, was that good practice should be disseminated throughout schools in the Vale.  Following a member query as to how this had been undertaken Committee was informed that this had been progressed via the “School to School” working initiative through strategies such as School Improvement Groups, Pathfinders and the use of “Hubs”.  This had also led to a significant increase in the sharing of good practice throughout schools in the Vale.

Data capture and tracking of information was also considered essential to the process and should be regularly maintained and analysed.  It was recognised that a number of schools operated different tracking / management systems and it was the Panel’s view that one Management Record System could be utilised.  Current progress around this included the close monitoring and evaluation of tracking systems by Challenge Advisors.  No progress had yet been made with regard to determining one such system to be used across the region, but the Consortium was however considering the potential benefits of a “Pupil Data Warehouse” to support regional monitoring of groups of learners.

As part of the self-evaluation process during the Summer of 2015, a survey of the Members Panel, officers, school representatives and the Challenge Advisors had been undertaken, although responses from all had not been received.  Participants in the process had been asked to evaluate how well the Panels had operated to assess the Panels’ impact and to highlight any aspect in which the Panels could operate more effectively.   A summary of the results was contained within the report at paragraphs 38 to 46.  

During the consideration of the report, the Head of School Improvement and Inclusion also provided a PowerPoint presentation for Members’ information, which outlined performance data headlines for schools in the Vale, across the Local Authorities within the Central South Consortium and including the all Wales picture  for 2015.  Standards in all indicators had improved since 2012. At this point the comparisons available were against the average performance of those local authorities within the Consortium and the all-Wales average.  It was noted that the ambition of the Council was that the performance needed to be compared to the best in Wales and beyond.  This would be completed in a full data analysis once all the data was available.  A copy of the presentation was tabled at the meeting.

With regard to the Foundation Phase, it was noted that improvements were being made year on year within the Vale of Glamorgan and that they were above the Central South Consortium average as well as the all-Wales average.  For Key Stage 2 core subject indicators, and Key Stage 3 the picture was the same with improvements being seen throughout all the Local Authorities within the Central South Consortium.

For Level 2 threshold Core including English/ Welsh and Maths there was again an increase of 2.5% with a 9.4% increase noted since the last inspection.  For Key stage 4 level 2 English the percentage increase was reported as +5.2% for 2015 and +9.8% since the Council’s last inspection.  However, for Key Stage 4 Level 2 the percentage had decreased by -1.4 %  with the Council needing to continue to monitor this.

The presentation also highlighted FSM data versus non EFSM data for the Foundation Phase, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3 and Level 2 threshold, it being noted that performance was in the main improving for both areas.  However, although the results in each category were improving, the graph highlighted that the gap between the two was widening at KS4 and remaining static at KS2 which would require continual monitoring by the Local Authority and the Central South Consortium.  

The Chairman thanked the Head of Service for his presentation at the meeting as he was aware that it took some time for the data for each of the schools results to be validated before it could be presented to the Committee. It was however, noted that more detailed information would be available in time for the next meeting of the Committee which would be presented in report format.

The Director of Learning and Skills also advised that a further report in relation to a programme to be developed for consideration by the Committee regarding schools where individual school progress meetings would be most appropriate would be prepared for the next meeting for Members’ consideration.

Following consideration of the report and the presentation, it was subsequently



(1)    T H A T the contents of the report and the Action Plan at Appendices 1 and 2 to the report detailing the lessons learnt to date in respect of the School Progress Panel meetings be accepted.

(2)    T H A T the Action Plan be monitored and reviewed by the Scrutiny Committee in 12 months' time.

(3)    T H A T all reports of School Progress Panel meetings continue to be referred to the Scrutiny Committee for consideration.

(4)    T H A T the review of individual school progress meetings report be referred for consideration to Cabinet advising of the lessons learnt in respect of the progress meetings that had taken place to date.

(5)    T H A T a programme be developed for consideration by the Committee and Cabinet of Panels to take place to visit schools referred to in paragraph 49 as  "coasting schools and high performing schools" in order to identify and share best practice.

Reason for recommendations

(1-5)    In recognition of the Scrutiny Committee’s recommendation in 2013 that a review of the process be undertaken in 12 months.

Attached as Appendix – Report to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 7th September, 2015