Agenda Item No
The Vale of Glamorgan Council
Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning): 11 January 2016
Report of the Director of Learning and Skills
Feedback from Estyn Monitoring Visit
Purpose of the Report
To consider the contents of the letter from Estyn following the recent monitoring visit, which will be made available by the date of the meeting.
To note the contents of the letter from Estyn.
Reason for the Recommendation
In order that Members are aware of the views of Estyn about progress since the inspection and the focus for further development.
The inspection of Local Authority Education Services for Children and Young People (LAESCYP) took place between 20 - 24 May 2013. The report was published on 17 September. The inspectors' overall judgement was 'adequate'. The capacity to improve was also judged to be 'adequate'
The report included the following six recommendations:
R1 Raise standards in schools, particularly in key stage 2 and key stage 3.
R2 Improve the rigour and the level of challenge provided to schools about their performance and quality of leadership.
R3 Use the full powers available to the Authority to improve schools that are underperforming.
R4 Make sure that planning for improvement is thorough and consistent throughout all services.
R5 Ensure that robust systems are in place for evaluating the outcomes of initiatives and that they demonstrate good value-for-money.
R6 Strengthen arrangements for monitoring and evaluating the wellbeing of children and young people.
Cabinet approved the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) at their meeting on 18 November 2013. The PIAP provided a comprehensive action plan to respond to the recommendations of the inspectors and address the shortcomings they observed. PIAP progress reports were presented to CMT and Cabinet in May and November annually and to the Children and Young People's Programme Board. On 23 December 2013 Estyn confirmed that the PIAP generally addressed well the recommendations and areas for improvement in the inspection report.
Reports on progress to implement the PIAP were considered by Cabinet on 12 May 2014, 15 December 2015 and 1 June 2015 and referred to this Scrutiny Committee for consideration. The reports described the work that had been carried out and the impact of the actions at the time. The report in June noted that the impact of much of the work, including in relation to recommendation 1, would be evident from teacher assessment and external examinations which were then underway.
The first Estyn monitoring visit took place on October 13 - 15th 2014 to assess progress in response to recommendations 2 and 6. The Local Authority link inspector attended the meeting of the Scrutiny Committee on 8 December to provide feedback from the visit. The Authority was judged to be making good progress in the areas evaluated during the visit.
A second monitoring visit took place during the week of 16 November to assess progress in relation to the remaining four recommendations as well as further progress in relation to recommendations 2 and 6.
Relevant Issues and Options
The letter from Estyn is subject to embargo but will be made available by the date of the meeting.
Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)
There are no resource implications as a result of this report.
Sustainability and Climate Change Implications
The delivery of high quality education services to children and young people is vital for sustainable communities.
Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)
The legal basis for the inspection of LAESCYP:
Inspections of Local Education Authorities are carried out under Section 38 of the Education Act 1997 which provides that Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales (HMC1) 'may', and, if requested to do so by the Secretary of State, shall arrange for any Local Authority to be inspected'. Such an inspection 'shall consist of a review of the way in which the Authority are performing any function which relates to the provision of education for (a) persons of compulsory school age (whether at school or otherwise) or (b) for persons of any age above or below that age who are registered as pupils at schools maintained by the Authority.
Other aspect of Local Authority provision are subject to inspection under a range of legislation, including the functions conferred on them under sections 25 and 26 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 relating to education, training or youth support services within the meaning of S. 123 of the Learning and Skill Act 2000.
The Children Act 2004 introduces a duty on Local Authorities and their partners to co-operate to improve the wellbeing of children. The Inspectorate is given the powers to review the Local Authority's functions relating to S. 51 of the Children Act in relation to co-operating to improve wellbeing and producing children and young people's plans where these functions relate to education, training, or Youth Support Services. LAESCYP inspections look at how the Local Authority are implementing those aspects of the Children and Young Persons' Plan relating to education and training for which the Local Authority is responsible.
The inspection of LAESCYP will cover statutory functions of the local authority including the youth service. It will also include the inspection of the partnership arrangements for youth support services. These partnership arrangements are set out in the Learning and Skills Act 2000.
The Local Government (Wales) Measure (2009) reinforces the duty on local authorities to secure continuous improvement and account for it. The Measure requires Authorities to report achievement against its improvement objectives and compare performance with other authorities.
Crime and Disorder Implications
There are no crime and disorder implications as a result of this report.
Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)
There are no equal opportunity implications as a result of this report.
This report supports the Council's corporate objectives for education and lifelong learning.
Policy Framework and Budget
The recommendations of this report are within existing policy framework and budget.
Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)
Relevant Scrutiny Committee
Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills
Mike Glavin, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion
Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources
Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills