Agenda Item No. 4











Members were informed of the publication of the National Model and the anticipated impact on school improvement services.


'The future delivery of education Wales' review undertaken by Robert Hill included 'key short term options' to fund regional consortia directly by top slicing Revenue Support Grant subject to:

  • All consortia covering a standard set of key functions
  • Consortia obtaining Ministerial consent for their organisational structures, annual business plans, outcomes targets and appointment of their Managing Director
  • Consortia governance being vested in a board of local authority leaders, a Ministerial appointee, an education improvement expert and three headteachers (one primary, one secondary and one special school)
  • Attending a twice yearly stocktake with the Minister for Education and Skills
  • Moving as quickly as practicable to a core staffing model, supplemented by buying in a range of school improvement expertise

The National Model for Regional working constructed by schools, local authorities, regional consortia and Welsh Government was attached at Appendix A to the report. It was 'based on a vision of regional school improvement consortia working on behalf of local authorities to lead, orchestrate and co-ordinate the improvement in the performance of schools and education of young people'.


The National Model described key principles of school improvement emphasising the importance of schools taking responsibility for their own improvement with schools that were positioned to do so having greater levels of autonomy.  In this context the Model proposed a national school categorisation system and referred to a consortia staffing model comprising a core staff of 'challenge advisers' (rather than 'system leaders') and drawing on the skills of the best headteachers.


Local authorities would consider the progress of schools within their area through their member-level scrutiny arrangements.  The model included no reference to joint scrutiny arrangements.


The work of each consortium would be overseen by a Joint Committee comprising the Leader of each constituent local authority (or a nominated, named deputy) supported by a lead chief executive.  This would require changes to the current arrangements.


The Model set out its expectations that each constituent local Authority designated a Lead Officer to undertake the 'intelligent client role' and point of contact with the Consortium.


The Consortium was required to submit an annual business plan to Welsh Government.  The current Joint Committee considered a draft business plan for 2014/15 at its December meeting that when finalised would be submitted in February. 


This was a matter for Executive decision.




(1)          T H A T the publication of the National Model for Regional Working be noted.


(2)          T H A T further reports be presented to Cabinet to agree aspects of its implementation.


(3)          T H A T the report be referred to Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) to note the references made in paragraphs 6 and 11 of the report.


Reason for decisions


(1)          The regional school improvement services (Central South Consortium Joint Education Services (CSCJES) played a key role in supporting and challenging schools to raise standards of pupil attainment.  The National Model would introduce changes to the working of the CSCJES which would also affect schools and the local authority.


(2)          Following further work decisions would be required including the transfer of functions and staff, in relation to governance arrangements and changes to the legal agreement.


(3)          The National Model referred to the future responsibility and expectations of the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning).



Attached as Appendix – Report to Cabinet  27 JANUARY 2014