Agenda Item No


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Scrutiny Committee [Lifelong Learning] : 18th February 2013


Report of the Chief Learning and Skills Officer


Inspection of Local Authority Education Services for Children and Young People [LAESCYP]


Purpose of the Report

1.             To brief Members on the framework for the Inspection of Local Authority Services for Children and Young People.


1.             Members consider the information provided, note in particular the expectations in relation to effective scrutiny, and refer this report to Cabinet for information.

Reason for the Recommendation

1.             Members have an understanding of the framework under which the Vale's education services for children and young people will be inspected. 


2.             The current inspection framework for local authority education services for children and young people was introduced by Estyn in September 2010. The Vale of Glamorgan was inspected as a pilot under the new framework in March 2010 at which time Estyn concluded that performance was good with good prospects for improvement.

3.             Estyn’s application of the Common Inspection Framework has become increasingly rigorous. Since its introduction in September 2010, 15 local authority inspection reports have been published by Estyn:

·         Newport, Conwy, Denbighshire, Carmarthenshire and Neath Port Talbot are all good;

·         Anglesey is in special measures, with an intervention board appointed; Blaenau Gwent is in special measures and run by commissioners; Pembrokeshire has just been re-inspected by Estyn and remains under the direction of a ministerial board;

·         Torfaen is in need of significant improvement; Powys is in need of significant improvement; and Wrexham, Cardiff, Flintshire, Rhondda Cynon Taff and Caerphilly are adequate and in Estyn monitoring.

·         Published reports are expected in relation to inspections recently carried out at Bridgend, Merthyr and Monmouthshire.

4.             In summary there are no excellent local authorities but 5 good ones. 5 are in a  formal Estyn category and 5 are being monitored by Estyn. Estyn’s main findings from recent inspections are summarised in Appendix A.

Relevant Issues and Options

5.             The Common Inspection Framework is made up of three key questions:

·         Key Question 1 : How good are outcomes?

·         Key Question 2 : How good is provision?

·         Key Question 3 : How good are leadership and management?

6.             The full framework as applied in LAESCYP inspections is shown in Appendix B along with a description of what constitutes good and unsatisfactory performance for each quality indicator.

7.             The Inspection team will make two overarching judgements on performance and capacity to improve. The judgements together with the three questions shown in 5 above and the quality indicators listed in Appendix B will each be awarded a judgement on a four point scale:

·         Excellent – Many strengths, including significant examples of sector-leading practice

·         Good – Many strengths and no important areas requiring significant improvement

·         Adequate – Strengths outweigh areas for improvement

·         Unsatisfactory – Important areas for improvement outweigh strengths

8.             When coming to an overall judgement on key question 1, inspectors will give greater weight to the judgement about standards. This judgement limits the judgement in other sections, for example, the value for money judgement cannot be good if standards are adequate. Standards (1.1), is broken down into its constituent sub sections in Appendix B. This will not only be based on formal qualifications but also on non formal qualifications and the outcome of other support provided such as Youth Support Services, Families First etc. Members regularly scrutinise performance data and are fully aware of areas in which our performance is in need of improvement. It should be noted however this will be considered along side other data, much of which is very positive. In coming to a judgement on standards, the inspectors will need to consider performance across all key stages. 

9.             The capacity to improve judgement is particularly influenced by Key Question 3 - leadership and management. In coming to a judgement about the prospects for improvement, inspectors will consider the extent to which leaders and managers have:

·         The capacity and capability to make improvements and implement plans;

·         A successful track record in managing change;

·         Clear priorities and challenging targets for improvement;

·         Coherent and practical plans to meet targets;

·         A successful track record in addressing recommendations from previous inspections;

·         Resources to meet the identified priorities; and

·         Appropriate systems to review progress, identify areas for improvement and take effective actions to remedy them.

10.        Members should note that when inspecting the leadership quality indicator, inspectors will judge the effectiveness of scrutiny by elected members in challenging underperformance and in informing the continuous improvement of service delivery and policy development. 

11.        The Vale of Glamorgan is anticipating a LAESCYP inspection towards the latter end of the current academic year. The Council will be given 12 weeks notice of the inspection and will be required to provide the inspectorate with a copy of its latest self evaluation report and relevant business or action plans 6 weeks prior to the start of the inspection. The inspection starts with the local authority's self-evaluation report on its LAESCYP. Inspectors will sample, test and validate the evaluations in the report and will assess how well the local authority knows itself in terms of being aware of our strengths and areas for development. The latest copy of the Vale's self evaluation report will be reported to the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee in March.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

12.        There are no direct resource implications.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

13.        There are no sustainability or climate change implications to consider.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

14.        Inspections of local authorities are carried out under Section 38 of the Education Act 1997 which provides that Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education and Training Wales (HMCI) 'may, and, if requested to do so by the Secretary of State, shall, arrange for any local authority to be inspected'.

15.        The inspectorate has powers relating to section 51 of the Children Act 2004, namely in co-operating to improve wellbeing of children. 

Crime and Disorder Implications

16.        This report does not have any crime and disorder implication.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

17.        There are no equal opportunity implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives


Policy Framework and Budget

19.        This is a matter for Executive decision.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

20.        Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

21.        Lifelong Learning

Background Papers

Guidance for the inspection of local authority services for children and young people.

Contact Officer

Paula Ham

Officers Consulted

Jennifer Hill

Lynette Jones

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill