Minutes of a meeting held on 22nd June, 2015.


Present:  Councillor N.P. Hodges (Chairman); Councillor R.A. Penrose (Vice-Chairman); Councillors Ms. R.M. Birch, C.P. Franks, T.H. Jarvie, A. Parker and Ms. R.F. Probert.



Co-opted Members:  Dr. C. Brown (Parent Governor - Secondary Sector), Mr. P Burke (Roman Catholic Church) and Mr. L. Kellaway (Parent Governor – Primary Sector)


Non-Voting Observer: Mr.G. Beaudette (Primary) and Mr.D. Traharne (Welsh Medium Education)


Also present:  Councillor C.P.J. Elmore (Cabinet Member - Children’s Services and Schools).





These were received from Councillors Mrs. M.E.J Birch, Mrs C.L. Curtis, Mrs A.J. Preston and Ms T. Young (Non-Voting Observer).



125     MINUTES -


RECOMMENDED - T H A T the minutes of the meeting held on 18th May, 2015 be approved as a correct record.





The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services advised that with regard to Agenda Item No. 10 – Individual Schools Progress Meetings – Barry Comprehensive, he was a Governor of the school and could speak and vote on the matter.


Councillor C.P.Franks declared a personal interest in Agenda Item No. 8 –Learning and Skills End of Year Performance Report 2014-15, and advised that he could speak on the matter.





The purpose of the report was to advise the Scrutiny Committee of the position in respect of Revenue and Capital expenditure for the period 1st April to 30th April, 2015 regarding those budgets that formed the remit of the Committee.


As it was very early in the financial year, the current forecast for the Directorate was a balanced budget.  Any savings identified through the year would be available to redirect into the School Rationalisation Reserve.  A graph and table setting out the variance between profiled budgets and actual expenditure to date was attached at Appendix 1. 


In respect of schools, the delegated budget was expected to balance as any under/ over spend would be carried forward by schools.


For Strategy and Resources, following the establishment of an Integrated Transport Unit within Development Services, which included responsibility for all education related transport services, it had been agreed to transfer the budget of £1.355m from Learning and Skills to the Planning and Transportation Division of Development Services.  As such, Cabinet would be requested to approve the transfer of £1.155m in respect of the Special Education Need Transport budget and £200,000 in respect of further education transport awards.  This was still pending Cabinet approval. 


Provision had been made in the budget to make unsupported borrowing debt repayments in relation to the School’s Investment Strategy of £698,000 per annum, any favourable variance on debt repayment would be redirected into the School’s Investment Strategy.


Members noted that the potential transfer of approximately £250,000 may be required from the School’s Long Term Supply Reserve, to fund the scheme in 2015/16.  Premiums to Schools would be increased from April 2016/17 to ensure the scheme was self-funding.


For Libraries, it was anticipated that the Library Service would outturn on target after a transfer from the Libraries Reserve to fund the costs of the implementation of the Library Review. 


For all other services as it was very early in the financial year, all other services were anticipated to outturn within budget.


In respect of Capital expenditure, Appendix 2 detailed the financial progress on the Capital Programme as at 30th April, 2015. 


The monitoring report showed actual expenditure for the month of April 2015 and this was matched by a similar figure in the profile to date column, thereby showing no variances.  Profiled expenditure had been requested from project managers and would be updated in the next report.


Members were asked to note that Appendix 2 did not include requests for unspent committed expenditure to be slipped from 2014/15 into 2015/16. 


In respect of Education Asset Renewal, a report had been taken to Cabinet on 20th April, 2015 (Min. No. C2758) where the allocation of School’s Asset Renewal Budget was approved. 


RECOMMENDED - T H A T the Scrutiny Committee note the position with regard to the 2015/16 Revenue and Capital Monitoring. 


Reason for recommendation


That Members are aware of the position with regard to the 2015/16 Revenue and Capital expenditure relevant to this Committee.





On 1st June, 2015 Cabinet was informed of the progress to the implementation of the Post Inspection Action Plan.


The inspection of the Local Authority Education Service for Children and Young People (LAESCYP) took place between 20th and 24th May, 2013.  The report was published on 17th September, 2013.  The inspectors overall judgement was adequate.  The capacity to improve was also judged to be adequate and 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 were underperforming.

·                R4 - Make sure that planning for improvement was thorough and consistent throughout all services.

·                R5 - Ensure that robust systems were 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 had approved the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) at its meeting on 18th November, 2013.  The PIAP provided a comprehensive Action Plan in response to the recommendations of the inspectors and in order to address the shortcomings that they observed.  PIAP progress reports would also be presented to the Corporate Management Team (CMT) and Cabinet in May and November annually and the Children and Young People’s Programme Board.


On 23rd December, 2013 Estyn confirmed that the PIAP generally address well the recommendations and areas of improvement in the inspection report.  The first Estyn monitoring visit took place between 13th and 15th October, 2014 to assess progress in response to recommendations 2 and 6.  Cabinet considered the letter from Estyn following this visit at its meeting on 12th January, 2015.  The letter stated that the authority was making good progress in the areas evaluated during the visit. 


The PIAP had been further amended to reflect the progress to date; in some places amendments had been made to the Plan to reflect changes in the personal responsibilities for implementation and other contextual changes. 


Attached at Appendix A to the report was a description of further progress that had been made to implement the Action Plan.  The focus of recent activity had been to:


·                further strengthen the rigour and level of challenge provided to schools about their performance and quality of leadership

·                strengthen planning processes for 2015/16

·                further develop the evaluation framework.




T H A T the progress that had been made to implement the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) be noted.


Reason for recommendation


In order that Members are aware of the progress that had been made and areas where further progress is required.





The Chairman presented the report which provided the Committee with an update on the School Progress Panel Meeting that had been held at Eagleswell Primary School on 11th February, 2015.


The Panel Members had comprised Councillors N.P. Hodges (Chairman of the Panel), Mrs. M.E.J. Birch and Mr. L. Kellaway; and Councillor C.P.J. Elmore (Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Schools), Ms. K.J. Gibbs (Headteacher), Mr. D. Mutlow (Representative of the Governing Body), Ms. J. Hill (Director of Learning and Skills), Mr. M. Glavin (Head of School Improvement and Inclusion), Mrs. M. Plummer (Lead Officer for School Improvement), Mr. J. Commissiong (Challenge Advisor) and Mr. G.J. Davies (Scrutiny Support Officer).


The report outlined that the meeting had been convened as a result of the recommendation of the Panel in July 2014 to revisit the school in order to monitor progress. The Panel meeting was, therefore, an opportunity for the school to demonstrate through the democratic process its ambition and commitment to rapid and sustained progress and to identify any barriers that the school may be facing which could be resolved by the actions of the Council. 


At the Panel meeting back in July 2014, the Panel was encouraged by the school's plans to address the Estyn recommendations.   The Panel considered that the school's plans had been turned into an active process of work and the Panel recognised that there was clear evidence to show improvements had been made to the working of the Senior Leadership Team and around the role of the Governing Body in challenging the school effectively.  At that time, the Panel also noted the school's actions to improve teachers' planning and recognised that the school was still addressing issues around the quality of teaching and acknowledged that plans were in place. 


One of the main issues highlighted by the Estyn inspectors during their visit to the school in February 2014, was in relation to the proper completion of teachers' planning.  Estyn had recognised that this was being completed in a retrospective manner and this led to concerns that there were inadequate monitoring arrangements in place by the Senior Leadership Team.


In terms of teachers' planning, at the Panel meeting, the Acting Head Teacher explained that the school had made a number of improvements. These now included the submission of all teachers' planning in advance on a fortnightly basis for the purpose of monitoring.  Also, individual feedback is provided to all teachers by the Acting Headteacher, who would highlight any whereas of concern or development. 


In order to improve standards of extended writing in English and across the curriculum, it was reported that the latest monitoring report identified that reasonable progress had been made within the school.  The school was also confident that all of the new systems and processes brought in were embedded and that real progress had been made.  Two external audits by the Central South Consortium had been undertaken in order to evaluate the teaching of English within the school and this had included a review of specific whereas such as marking.  An external moderation of 'Big Write' assessments had been undertaken and this had been helpful in order to create a baseline starting point for all pupils.  A second external moderation of the assessments recently undertaken identified that there were some inconsistencies in teaching.  The external moderators were working with the school and providing support and advice in order to improve this situation. 


Furthermore, the school had undertaken 'Learner Voice' surveys among its pupils in order to ascertain children’s learning and to collate the views and opinions of the children within the school.  A portfolio of extended writing across the curriculum had been developed and each pupil had devised an individual 'Big Write' profile.  A moderation file, which had been externally moderated, had been collated by the school and this showed examples of accurate levels of achievement.  Also, pupils’ 'I Can' targets had been devised in which the pupils had been encouraged to undertake more self-assessment so as to identify whereas that they needed to work on.


Another area of development within the school had been the creation of curriculum maps, these were regarded had being of particular importance in order to improve the writing skills of pupils within the school.  The curriculum map had also been seen as an important development that provided teachers with a starting reference point which had improved planning and the way that lessons had been structured.


With regard to the school’s future plans to improve standards of extended writing in English, the Acting Head Teacher advised that this would include increased external specialist support, particularly for two classes.  There will also be a review of provision maps for interventions for pupils with additional learning needs.  The Senior Leadership Team would continue to monitor the use of 'I Can' pupil targets and formative marking.  There will be more explicit evidence of differentiation in some classes and there would be an increased focus on pupils’ accuracy, handwriting and the use of vocabulary. 


Referring to Estyn's second recommendation and the school's actions to improve standards in Welsh at Key Stage 2, the Acting Headteacher explained to the Panel that following the recent evaluation of the school's Post Inspection Action Plan, progress was been deemed to be good. 


The school had recognised that lesson observations was an important tool that helped to identify whether teachers were correctly using incidental Welsh and to ensure that all classes had ten minutes of Welsh taught each week.  Also through lesson observations, the school identified that the teaching of Welsh in respect of planning was taking place in 100% of cases.  Athrawes Fro had undertaken Welsh learning walks and a Welsh advisor from the Central South Consortium had also been able to undertake lesson observations.  From these, it was identified that the school had shown good progress and effective use of resources. 


Next steps for the school aimed at improving the standards of Welsh at Key Stage 2, included greater focus around the use of incidental Welsh in the class room with further training and support feedback from the Central South Consortium's Welsh advisor.  The school also planned to increase the amount of good practice being shwered throughout the school with further development of individual pupil 'I Can' targets undertaken. 


In referring to recommendation (3), the school had judged that good progress had been made in ensuring that at Key Stage 2, the curriculum met statutory requirements.  Improvement initiatives included greater emphasis on Maths within the classroom and the development of curriculum maps to ensure that numeracy and writing skills were properly planned for in all subjects.  The school had realigned timetables in order to free up time during the afternoon in order to focus on the Foundation subjects.  Weekly planning is now submitted for fortnightly monitoring and this had been triangulated with the 'Book Looks' and the Learner Voice surveys. 


The school's future plans to improve the curriculum will include the mapping of cross curriculum links for Mathematics and cornerstone topics within the literacy and numeracy framework.  The school will aim to improve the tracking around the literacy and numeracy framework and will continue to monitor the consistency of marking.  There would also be explicit evidence of 'differentiation' within some classes.


In querying as to exactly how 'differentiation' within classes worked, the Panel was advised that this related to careful teacher’s plans in planning for all abilities within the class.  For this, preparation in planning the lesson was split up in order to cover the ability range of pupils in their class in all aspects, such as writing and literacy.  Teachers would need to identify opportunities for literacy and writing within subjects, such as history and geography at the level to suit the ability of the individual.  This would help support pupils to improve their overall writing skills.  The Acting Head teacher stated however, that within the school it was not always clear within planning whether 'differentiation' was taking place.  Further to this, the Challenge Advisor stated that increased focus on data now showed that the school was making improvements and that the quality of teacher’s planning had progressed. 


Referring to the needs to use existing good practice to improve the quality of teaching, the Acting Headteacher advised the Panel that progress within the school had been deemed to be reasonable.  Actions undertaken to improve the quality of teaching included the approval of new policies for teaching and learning.  Verbal and written monitoring feedback is provided to teachers and new performance management targets had been set.  The school had brought forward lesson observations in order to evaluate the situation within the school and to be able address more quickly any issues identified. 


The school had devised an internal Excel analysis spreadsheet in relation to lesson observations, used to identify and track the training needs of teachers and co-coaching between teachers had been introduced.


The Panel noted that the Acting Head teacher had brought in the 'focus of the week' scheme in order to discuss and question specific issues highlighted.  These were weekly meetings between teachers that usually last between 10 and 15 minutes. The meetings would include an open dialogue and discussion around one specific aspect of the quality of teaching within the school. For example, this could be in relation to teachers marking or around how the school challenges its pupils. An important part of these meetings was the need to identify any training needs or whereas that need further development.


The Acting Head teacher had also brought in weekly professional development meetings which provided the school with an opportunity to focus on writing skills, teacher marking and accurate assessments and these were another way for the school to discuss and extract the training needs of the staff. 


The Panel noted that the next steps that would be employed by the school to improve the quality of teaching would include the close supervision of three teachers within the school who had been identified had requiring extra monitoring and support. The school would also procure a further external special support for two classes and would also further develop co-coaching for all staff. 


To ensure the improved performance of the senior leadership team, the school advised that all job descriptions had been agreed and signed off.   Weekly senior leadership team meetings were now taking place and robust performance management targets had been set.


The school had recognised the importance for teachers in tracking pupil performance and feedback is given to staff in order that they fully appreciated their monitoring role.  The school had created shared evidence files which contained contributions from all teachers in order to show the progress made against implementing the Post Inspection Action Plan. For this, on a half termly basis, the Governing Body would receive an update report.  The Panel were further asked to note that the senior leadership team was now working as a team and adhering to the monitoring schedules, the Post Inspection Action Plan and to the agreed new protocols. 


Future improvement objectives aimed at improving further the performance of the senior leadership team included the introduction of subject leaders and an improved focus on the impact of actions on learning to address underperformance.  The school would also undertake a comprehensive review of performance management sometime during February 2015.  Finally, it had been recognised within the school, for the need to properly monitor the impact upon standards by the teachers and for all members of the Senior Leadership Team to work as a team and to be able to provide appropriate feedback.


Following consideration of all the evidence, the Panel was encouraged by the school’s plans to address the Estyn recommendations.  The Panel regarded that school’s plans had been turned into an active process of work.  The Panel recognised that there was clear evidence that improvements had been made to the working of Senior Leadership Team and around the role of Governing Body in challenging the school effectively. 


The Panel noted the school’s actions to improve teachers' planning and recognised that the school was still addressing the issue around the quality of teaching and the Panel acknowledge that plans were in place to address this. 

Since the Panel's visit, on the 23rd April 2015, following its own re-visit to the school, Esytn announced that Eagleswell Primary School had been removed from the list of schools requiring significant improvement. Estyn had judged that the school had made "strong progress" in a number of key areas.


RECOMMENDED -            


(1)       T H A T the Progress Panel findings as detailed in paragraphs 30 and 31 of the report be noted.


(2)       T H A T the Scrutiny Committee notes that following an Estyn monitoring visit on 23rd April the school, on the basis of the progress that had been made, was removed from the list of schools requiring significant improvement.


(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration and/or approval.


Reason for recommendation


(1)       To apprise the Committee of the findings of the Progress Panel.


(2)       To apprise the Committee of the outcome of the Estyn monitoring visit.


(3)       For Cabinet consideration.





The Chairman presented the report, the purpose of which was to update Members of the School Progress Panel meeting held at Barry Comprehensive School by the Panel of three Members of the Committee on 28th April, 2015.


The School Progress Panel meeting for Barry Comprehensive comprised of Councillor N.P. Hodges (Chairman of the Panel), Councillor F.T. Johnson and Dr. C. Brown (Co-opted Member).with Mr. G. McNamara (Headteacher), Mr. A. Thompson (Deputy Headteacher), Mrs. K. Beaudette (Chairman of Governors), Mrs. A. Forte (Vice Chairman),  Ms. J. Hill (Director of Leaning and Skills), Mr. M. Glavin (Head of School Improvement and Inclusion), Dr. A. Morley (Schools Challenge Cymru - School Advisor) and Mr. G. Davies (Scrutiny Support Officer) in attendance. 


The report outlined that following the 2013 external examination results in each of the core subjects, the proportion of students achieving higher grades A*- C had fallen materially since the previous year including a fall from 59% to 42% in English and 52% to 43% in Mathematics. The proportion of students gaining five A*- C grades including Maths and English fell from 45% to 30%. 


At the previous meeting, held in January 2014, the Panel noted the package of support that had been provided and that improved results were anticipated.  However the Panel was uncertain at the time as to whether improvements in 2014 would be sufficient to meet the agreed targets.


The Panel meeting had been convened as a result of the recommendation of the Panel to revisit the school following the GCSE results in August 2014.  This was, therefore, an opportunity for the school to demonstrate through the democratic process its ambition and commitment to rapid and sustained progress and to identify any barriers that the school may be facing which could be resolved by the actions of the Council. 


For Members' information, since the meeting in January 2014, a new Chairman of Governors (Mrs. K. Beaudette) and a new Vice-Chairman of Governors (Mrs. A. Forte) had been appointed.


The new Chairman of Governors was able to advise the Panel of the improvements made to the governance arrangements within the school.  She explained that one of the first tasks, in conjunction with members of the full Governing Body, was to look at structures within the governing body.  From this a number of sub groups had been formed with delegated responsibilities that separated out whereas such as finance, school buildings and pupil attainment.  The School Improvement Working Group was seen as an important development which was a response to the recommendation of the previous Panel visit.  The School Improvement Working Group now concentrated fully on the curriculum side of the school and had developed close links to individual faculties.  The school had also appointed a Well-being sub group that offered a lot of support to staff and pupils and was tasked with looking at safeguarding issues within the school.


The Chairman of Governors also stated that the role of Governors had been considered with greater responsibility now spread across a wider range of individual Governors and there was a desire within the school for Governors to better scrutinise standards, for which bespoke training had been delivered on various common themes.


In addition, the Panel was advised, that Governor meetings were now more closely linked to monitoring data and the progress of improvement within the school.  At each full Governing Body meeting, a detailed Headteacher’s report was now presented, that highlighted pupil performance and progress to date.  Also a joint sixth form Governing Body group had been created with Bryn Hafren, so that joint scrutiny of performance of post 16 students could be undertaken. 


The Chairman of Governors was able to reassure Panel Members that data / information available within the school was more considerable, in depth and detailed. The Panel was advised that the school was better able to track and scrutinise performance information and there was a greater knowledge among the members of the Governing Body.  Governors were now making better use of their own individual knowledge and experience and she commented on the greater active involvement by Governors, spread across the Sub-Groups and she praised the impact that these Sub-Groups had had.


In terms of improvements to leadership within the school, a number of changes and appointments had been made. These included the appointment of a new Deputy Headteacher along with a Raising Standards Leader. Also there were new Heads of Departments for English, Maths and Welsh.  Leadership roles had been developed through links established with Treorchy Comprehensive School and standardised line management meetings between the Senior Leadership Team and Subject Leaders were now regularly held.  The school had also improved the operational and management systems around students’ wellbeing and the school had improved the analysis of students’ performance data. 


The Headteacher advised the Panel that there was greater accountability to Governors within the school and that underperformance was routinely questioned.  There was increased accountability for Senior Leadership Team link partners and Subject Leaders with specific performance management targets linked to outcomes.  More precise pupil tracking had been undertaken that included fine grading which had enabled pinpointing of personalised interventions and the Raising Achievement and Progress Group regularly monitored progress with emotional and social wellbeing interventions.  The school had also developed appropriate personalised learner pathways for all students. 


Key successes at Key Stage 3 for 2014 were reported to the Panel.  For the Core Subject indicator, this had risen above the expected outcomes against modelled expectations based on Free School Meals.  During 2014, there was an upward movement within English, Maths and Science with students’ outcomes for Level 5+ and Level 6+ above the challenge position within the family of schools.


The school had been able to increase Level 5+ attainment for all Foundation subjects and there was an increase in the number of students achieving Level 7+.  Current tracking within the school confirmed further improvements and upward position within the Free School Meal benchmark quartiles. 


At Key Stage 4, in 2014, 37% of pupils achieved the Level 2 plus pass rate of five A*-C grades including Maths and English.  This compared to the 30% pass rate achieved in 2013. At the time of the visit, the school was tracking a 48% pass rate at this indicator for 2015, which represented an 18% increase over two years.


Specific interventions undertaken for Year 11 pupils during 2014/15, in order to make learning more effective, included the restructuring of the English curriculum and the creation of extra classes for both English and Maths.  The school had also introduced a more strategic individualised approach e.g. early entry for appropriate students, curriculum restructuring, resetting of classes for targeted students, increased revision sessions for English and Maths (dependent upon early entry passes, security of data, etc.).  The school had further improved the fine level of data tracking systems and the regularity of data capture.  Regular progress reviews were also held between the Headteacher, the Deputy Head, the Raising Standards Leader, Head of English and Head of Maths. 


Additional interventions during 2014/15 included the Senior Leadership Team visiting English and Maths lessons.  Extra revision and lunch time classes had been brought in and the school had introduced targeted withdrawal from other curriculum time which had been revisited and updated.  During December and March walking talking mocks and pre-public exams had been undertaken.  The school had introduced personalised learning checklists for all students and for those students who had banked English or Maths, intensive revision sessions had been undertaken in the one subject they did not had.  There was an increased focus on visible leadership with a student progress board being created within the staffroom.  This was where staff could easily see which students were currently mentored or were having interventions, along with the specific target groups for English, Maths and Science. 


In order to embed and maintain the level of improvements within the school, the Headteacher explained that there would be an increased focus of sharing of best practice across the school at all levels.  The school would further develop teaching and learning via the coaching model and bespoke links with Cardiff High School and Treorchy Comprehensive School.  The school would look to close the Free School Meal gap and would continue the collaborative work with its pathfinder school (Treorchy Comprehensive School).  There would also be continued accelerated improvement through the Schools Challenge Cymru Programme and through the continued support from the Local Authority. 


In questioning the level of early examination entries within the school and the options available to students, the Headteacher advised the Panel that within Maths all pupils had taken early examinations, while in English 70% of pupils had participated.  The options available to pupils would depend upon the individual.  Pupils with As would had the chance to sit additional GCSEs whilst some on Cs would be able to undertake the course again in order to improve their grades.  Those pupils currently on Ds would be the main target group and would be receiving extra support within the school.  He went on to advise that pupils would be on different pathways and some who had English would concentrate on Maths, while those who had Maths would concentrate on English. 


The Panel also referred to the public perception of the school among local residents, and queried the potential impact negative press and headlines could have on future pupil numbers. To address this, the school had created a sub-group which had been tasked with looking at how a positive image of the school can be promoted. 


Following consideration of all evidence the Panel had determined that considerable progress had been made by the school to address the areas requiring improvement. 


Overall, the Panel had an improved level of confidence that the school was working towards its targets.  The Governing Body and the Senior Leadership Team had a clear view of the improvements needed and had put in place an effective plan of action.  The Panel made a positive comment about the good links established with colleagues in Treorchy Comprehensive School and the Panel recognised the input of the Schools Challenge Cymru's Advisor.


The Panel considered that the appointment of the new Deputy Headteacher and senior leaders had made a positive impact and was confident that the school was using tracking systems to effectively target interventions.  Also, the availability and usefulness of data / information was of a far higher standard. 


The Panel recognised the improvements made to strengthen the governance arrangements and the working of the Senior Leadership Team and was pleased with the Governing Body’s decision to appoint a School Improvement Working Group. The Panel considered it important for Governors to plan for the worst case scenario in respect of funding, which was linked to pupil numbers within the school and the Panel requested evidence of this to be presented at its next visit.


A follow up visit will therefore be scheduled to take place sometime during the autumn term 2015 to assess progress and to evaluate the school's plans.


A Committee Member commented that it appeared that the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the School Governing Body had played a significant role around the improvements within the school and raised a query regarding the presentation of a Headteacher’s report prior to meetings of the Governing Body. In response, the Director of Learning and Skills advised Members that this issue had been identified at the initial Panel visit, during which copies of the Headteacher report were not available to be evidenced.  She advised that at a recent meeting of all Headteachers in the Vale, there had been an opportunity for the Headteachers to assess how other schools in the Vale shared information with Governors and to look at examples of best practice.  Such an event had received positive feedback and further meetings would be arranged in the future.


The Committee went on to question the inability of the Directorate to identify that the school was not presenting a Headteacher’s report and questioned as to why officers were not aware.  In response to this, the Cabinet Member that the Governor Support Unit was made up of two, maybe three staff members and it was difficult for them to monitor 60 or more schools.  He also alluded to the role of the Clerks within the school and their ability in supporting Headteachers and the Governing Body.  


A Committee Member referred to the greater accountability apportioned to Governors at Barry Comprehensive School and queried as to what was this exactly. The Director of Learning and Skills stated that following a recent meeting with the Governing Body, around the transformation of schools within Barry, she had observed an improved level of debate from the Governors for Barry which appeared to indicate that Governors at the school were taking their responsibility very seriously.  She informed Members, that the new Chair of Governors was extremely keen to review the way that the Governing Body worked and that new structures and responsibilities had been put in place in order to allow Governors to have better understanding of the school and for Governors to hold the senior leadership team to account.  Roles and responsibilities had been distributed among a wide range of Governors in way that not been previously seen. 


In referring to the level of performance of Maths, Members were advised that the school target was to achieve a 61% pass rate of Grades A - C for this academic year and that current evidence indicated that the school would be very close to achieving this target.


The Committee, in querying the greater focus on GCSE performance as opposed to A Level results was advised that this was mainly down to Estyn’s close attention around improvements to Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.  Further to this, Members were advised that it was due to the low GCSE performance in 2013 that a formal warning letter was sent to the school and since then the school had made progress but last year was still below the required target.  The Cabinet Member also stated that at Key Stage 4, previous results within the school were low but that now the school was making real progress. He advised Members that the target pass rate of 48% represented the minimum level of achievement and further discussion would be needed if the school did not achieve this.


A Committee Member in querying the level of exclusions within the school was advised that the rate of exclusions for previous years was high but this specifically related to fixed term and not permanent exclusions.  The rate of exclusions within the school had stood at 400 school days and the school had been able reduced this to around 160 days per year. The school had achieved this by utilising money from Support from School Challenge Cymru and by challenging behaviours within the school. 


In referring to the Panel’s recommendation for the School Governors to plan for the worst case scenario in respect of funding, Members noted that this related specifically to the school’s utilisation of School Challenge Cymru money which would only be available for a certain period of time. 


Following this, the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and School provided the Committee with some of his thoughts and observations.  He praised the impact of the new Chair and Vice-Chair of School Governors and the plan that the school had put in place.  He mentioned the work of the School Improvement Working Group which was one of the first actions implemented by the new Chair.  He also alluded to the number of Governors who had now been given greater responsibilities and referred to the six subjects within the school that were now the responsibility of six individual Governors. He made mention that Governors had taken on additional responsibilities and he alluded to the need for training for certain Governors in order to meet the minimum expectations.


The Committee then discussed the level of training for School Governors and the need to ensure that Governors were fully aware of their roles prior to them taking up their position.  To these points, the Cabinet Member stated changes had been made to the way the Governors were appointed and that the training provided to new Governors had been improved. This was something that the Council would look at in more detail. Further this, the Director of Learning and Skills stated that a report on Governors would be reported to the Scrutiny Committee at a future meeting.  This would include consideration around Governor training and also would look at the level of support to Headteachers and the need to ensure that reporting arrangements to Governing Bodies were consistent and effective. 




(1)       T H A T the Scrutiny Progress Panel findings as detailed in paragraphs 28, 29, 30 and 31 of the report be noted.


(2)       T H A T a follow up visit to the school takes places in the Autumn Term following the GCSE results in August 2015.


(3)       T H A T the report be referred to Cabinet for consideration and/or approval.


(4)       T H A T Councillor. R.A. Penrose be appointed to the Barry Comprehensive School Individual Progress Panel.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To apprise the Committee of the findings of the Progress Panel.


(2)       To monitor progress and undertake a follow up visit.


(3)       For Cabinet consideration.


(4)       To ensure that the Progress Panel had a full quota of Members.





The Director of Learning and Skills presented the report the purpose of which was advise Members of the end of year performance results for the period 1st April 2014 to 31st March 2015.


The Learning and Skills Directorate had completed 85% of Service Plan actions at end of year, with a further 11% on track for a later completion date. Details were available under each objective.  There were a total of 99 actions in the plan; 84 were completed, 11 were on track, 4 had slipped.  The actions that were on track were due for completion from July 2015.  Of the slipped actions during 2014/15, 3 actions will be carried forward for completion in the 20115/16 Service Plan and 1 action is proposed for deletion.  The rationale for its deletion is provided in the Appendix to this report.


The Directorate completed 83% of actions against the Corporate Plan that were included in the 2014/15 Service Plan and a further 10% of actions were on track for a later completion date. Of the 40 actions within the plan, 33 were completed, 4 were on track and 3 had slipped.


67% of the Improvement Objective actions were complete, 19% were on track and 14% had slipped.  Of the 21 Improvement Objective actions within the Service Plan, 14 had been completed, 4 were on track, and 3 had slipped.  Of 46 Improvement Objective measures, performance status was not applicable for 8 (17%) measures. 24 (52%) met or exceeded target at end of year, 11 (24%) were within 10% of target and 3 (7%) missed target by more than 10%.  The 3 indicators that had missed target by more than 10% relate to LS/M010c, IO5/M28, and IO7/M20. See relevant objective for reason for underperformance and proposed remedial action where appropriate.


100% (12) of the Directorate’s Outcome Agreement actions had been completed. Of 16 Outcome Agreement measures, performance status was not applicable for 1 (6%) measures. 12 (75%) met or exceeded target at end of year, and 3 (19%) were within 10% of target.


Of the 73 performance indicators in the plan, 10 (14%) did not had targets set for 2014/15. 41 (56%) met or exceeded target at end of year, 17 (23%) were within 10% of target and 5 (7%) missed target by more than 10%. The 5 indicators that had missed target by more than 10% relate to LS/M010c, LS/M026b, LS/M029, EDU010b, and LS/M015b. See relevant objective for reason for underperformance and proposed remedial action where appropriate.


In terms of notable service achievements, the Director of Learning and Skills advised that there had been a significant improvement in the proportion of young people achieving the level 2+ indicator i.e. 5 A*-C GSCE grades including English/Welsh and mathematics from 55.4% last year to 62.2% this year. Although this achievement did not meet our target of 65% it does place the Vale’s performance second in Wales and provided more than a 100 additional students with better access to opportunities for further study and training.  The gap between the performance of children entitled to free school meals and that of their peers narrowed at key stages 2 and 3.


School attendance figures for both primary and secondary schools show a marked improvement compared with previous years reflecting the high priority given to attendance including the roll-out of the regional Callio strategy.  Attendance had improved across Wales but nevertheless attendance in both primary and secondary schools in the Vale is now fourth in Wales.  Overall attendance in primary and secondary schools increased by an extra 30,000 days which is equivalent to 2 additional days on average per pupil at both primary and secondary schools.


The Youth Engagement and Progression Implementation Plan and the actions taken by the Vale had been evaluated by Welsh Government and aspects of our work had been identified as examples of good practice.  As a result of actions in the Plan the number of young people (year 11) identified as NEET following the WG destination survey had reduced from 3.8% to 2.76% over the last 12 months.


Two major capital projects were successfully completed during the year including, the Penarth Learning Community providing high quality new accommodation for St. Cyres Comprehensive School and for the new Ysgol Y Deri (replacing Ashgrove, Ysgol Erw Delyn and Ysgol Maes Dyfan special schools) and the new build 210 place building for the Welsh-medium primary school for Ysgol Nant Talwg, Barry. Both projects were delivered on-time and on-budget.


In relation to learner outcomes achieved by the recently established Cardiff and Vale Community Learning Partnership, preliminary estimates show learner success rates to be at 84% which matches the national comparator figure.  The progress of the partnership since the inspection in 2013 was recently monitored by Estyn, which highlighted positive performance of Adult Community Learning (ACL).


The Directorate ran a successful Libraries annual programme of activities to promote enjoyment in reading for all ages. Over 600 people attended an author visit, 2,700 children attended their local library on a class visit, 364 attended children's book group (Chatterbox), 2,300 attended children's weekly story time, 2,700 attended babies and toddlers sign and rhyme activity and over 1,300 at clap and tap activity. 1,200 children enrolled for the Summer Reading Challenge and there were numerous other literacy related activities in libraries across the Vale.


No pupils were permanently excluded during the academic year 2013/14.


No looked after children aged 15 left compulsory education, training or work based learning without an approved external qualification.


The Learning and Skills Directorate had worked in partnership with Children and Young People Services to raise the percentage of Personal Education Plans (PEPs) being completed from 40% in 2013/14 to 97% in 2014/15 and both Directorates were committed to ensuring the timely preparation of PEPs for Looked After Children.


The mobile library service was officially launched in August 2014, following a successful trial run in June, which visited 6 residential homes in the Vale.


The Directorate maintained best possible performance of 100% of final statements of Special Educational Need being issued within the target period of 26 weeks, including and excluding exceptions.


The 'Power Writing’ scheme had been introduced to address lower performance in English at Key Stage 3 for pupils in receipt of free school meals. 4 schools had been identified and the training had taken place. Initial indications were that some improvements had been made in the schools targeted as evidenced by end of year assessments. Increased percentage overall in English from 53.88% in 2011/12 to 74.4% in 2013/14. 




(1)       T H A T the service performance results and remedial action to be taken to address service underperformance be noted.


(2)       T H A T the progress to date in achieving key outcomes as outlined in the Corporate Plan 2013-17 and the Outcome Agreement with Welsh Government 2013-16 and the Improvement Plan Part 1 2014-15 be noted.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To ensure the Council is effectively assessing its performance in line with the requirement to secure continuous improvement outlined in the Local Government Measure (Wales) 2009


(2)       To consider the Leaning and Skills Directorate's end of year performance results as at 31st March 2015 in order to highlight areas for service improvement.



132     TARGET SETTING 2015-16 (DLD) –


The Committee was presented with the proposed targets for improvement for 2015-16 for performance indicators reported by Learning and Skills Directorate.  The report also highlighted the proposed deletions and additions to the Learning and Skills performance indicator dataset for 2015-16.


At CMT on 25th March 2015, a new approach to target setting was endorsed. This approach focused on adopting a more challenging approach to how the Council set targets by ensuring that there was an assessment of how the Council had performed.  This involved evaluating how the Council had performed against target and making best use of external benchmarking data (where available) whilst balancing this against how much of a priority the indicator was to the Council and whether there was capacity to improve performance. All proposed targets for 2015-16 must had an accompanying rationale that clearly explained the reasons for setting the targets at that level. The Council's approach to target setting was set out in the target setting template outlined at Appendix 1.


Outlined in Appendix 2 was a full suite of performance indicators that will continue to be collected and reported on during 2015-16. Against each indicator a target had been set and a rationale had been provided to explain why the target had been set at that level. Where possible any internal/external factors that had driven this decision to set the target at that level had also been provided.


For the National Statutory Indicators (NSIs) and Public Accountability Measures (PAMs) Welsh benchmarking data was currently only available for the 2013/14 period by way of comparison.  Therefore targets in relation to NSIs and PAMs should be based on performance in relation to top quartile results (in Wales) or the Welsh average during 2013/14.  Where this had not been possible, a robust rationale should be provided in Appendix 2 to explain why performance had been set lower than the rest of Wales.


For 2015/16, five Improvement Objectives had been identified by the Council and of these four of them had performance indicators attached to them (these Improvement Objective indicators were identified in Appendix 2 by an IO reference as part of the indicator description).  Although, initial targets had been set in relation to Improvement Objectives, end of year performance was not available at the time. This target setting exercise had enabled Directors to review their Improvement Objective targets and revise them where appropriate to reflect end of year performance. Where this was the case, this had been reflected in the rationale section of Appendix 2, where relevant to the Improvement Objective indicators.


In relation to the Outcome Agreement indicators, these targets had already been pre-agreed with the Welsh Government until 2016 (these Outcome Agreement indicators were identified in Appendix 2 by an OA reference as part of the indicator description).  Although in principle these targets had been pre-set with Welsh Government, in instances where the Council’s end of year performance exceeded our target for 2014/15, Directors had the opportunity to set more internally challenging targets (that were separate to the target agreed with Welsh Government) in order to continue to drive the upward trend in performance.  Where this was the case, this had been reflected in the rationale section of Appendix 2, where relevant to the Outcome Agreement indicators.


For the remaining local level indicators, targets should had been set based on the overriding principle to secure continuous improvement (i.e. targets should be set to improve on previous year's performance for 2014-15). However, where it had been identified that budgetary pressures and or service delivery pressures were likely to impact on the Council’s ability to continue to improve performance, this should be clearly stated in the rationale section of Appendix 2, relevant to the indicator.


This review process also presented an opportunity to identify whether existing performance indicators were still appropriate and relevant for reflecting priorities for service delivery. As part of both service planning and this process, Directorates were asked to identify which indicators they wished to retain, replace delete or add. This was only applicable to locally derived performance indicators and not ones that were set nationally or in agreement with the Welsh Government. These exemptions (for deletion/replacement) apply to four types of indicator that include NSIs, PAMs, Improvement Objectives (that had been set for 2015-16 only) and Outcome Agreement Indicators (that had been agreed with Welsh Government until 2016).


During 2014-15, the Council reported on a total of 413 indicators.  Following a review of performance for 2014-15, 357 indicators were being proposed to be collected and reported on during 2015-16. 342 of these indicators were existing measures that would be carried forward from last year.


Any proposed deletion and addition of new indicators for 2015-16, was detailed in Appendix 3.  For any new measures, generally no targets had been set, as 2015-16 provides service areas with an opportunity to establish a performance baseline. In instances where it was possible to set a target for a new measure this had been done and indicated within the Appendix.


By way of summary, across the suite of Council performance indicators proposed for 2015-16:

  • 49.8% (142) of indicators had targets that have been set to improve on the previous year's performance result (2014-15 performance)
  • 29.3% (84) of indicators had targets that had been set to remain the same when compared with the previous year; and
  • 21.3% (61) of indicators had performance targets that had been set lower compared with last year's results.

For Learning and Skills this can be further broken as follows:

  • There were a total of 112 indicators and for 65 of these it was possible to set a target and direction of travel.
  • 64.61% (42) of targets had been set to improve on the previous year's performance, 23.07% (15) had been set to remain the same whilst 12.30% (8) had been set lower when compared with the 2014-15 result.
  • A total of 4 indicators had a target set to maintain best possible performance.
  • For 11 indicators, targets had been set in line with or to improve on the top quartile performance for 2013-14 and 1 indicator had been set in line with the Welsh average for 2013-14.
  • For 13 Outcome Agreement indicators our performance during 2014-15 exceeded the target set for 2015-16. Although this target had been pre-set with the Welsh Government, the service intends to work towards more internally challenging targets to reflect this improved performance.
  • 3 Improvement Objective indicator's performance exceeded target. Therefore, it was proposed that the targets be revised to set a more challenging target for performance during 2015-16.
  • 20 indicators had been proposed for deletion and 1 indicator (LSM/021d) had been identified as new.

Having considered the report, the Committee




(1)       T H A T the Committee endorse the proposed Learning and Skills targets as outlined in Appendix 2 and for this to be referred to Cabinet for consideration.


(2)       T H A T the Committee endorse the proposed deletions and additions to the Learning and Skills performance indicator dataset for 2015-16 as outlined in Appendix 3.


Reasons for recommendations


(1)       To inform Cabinet and to ensure that the Council consistently sets challenging yet realistic performance improvement targets for its priorities in the line with requirements under the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2009.


(2)       That the Council reports a relevant set of performance indicators against which it can demonstrate achievement of its priorities.





The Director of Learning and Skills presented the report the purpose of which was to advise Members on the outcomes of school inspections for the spring term 2015.


Wick and District Playgroup, Cylch Meithrin Y Bontfaen, Romilly Primary, Evenlode Primary and St Joseph's Primary Schools were inspected during the spring term 2015.


A summary of the inspection findings for each of the named school/playgroup was appended to the report at appendix 2.


The purposes of inspections were to:

  • Provide accountability to the users of the services and other stakeholders through public reporting on providers;
  • Promote improvement in education and training; and
  • Inform the development of national policy by Welsh Government.

School inspections were governed by the Education Act 2005 and related regulations.  Inspections must be conducted by teams of inspectors, led by a HMI, additional inspector or registered inspector, and must result in a written report.  Section 28 of the Education Act 2005, says that inspectors must report on:

  • The educational standards achieved by the school;
  • The quality of education provided by the school;
  • How far education meets the needs of the range of pupils at the school;
  • The quality of leadership in and management of the school, including whether the financial resources are managed efficiently;
  • The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils at the school; and
  • The contribution of the school to the wellbeing of pupils.

During all core inspections, the inspection teams considered whether the school needed any follow-up activity.


When conducting school inspections, the main forms of evidence considered were:

  • Briefings from local authorities;
  • Documentary evidence, including data on pupils' performance and progress;
  • Observation of teaching or training sessions and other activities;
  • Samples of pupils' work;
  • The views of pupils and stakeholders; and
  • Discussion with staff, leaders and managers, governors and others.

The reporting inspector was responsible for producing a final inspection report that is clear to a lay audience and helpful to the school.  In most cases, the main body of the report was no longer than five pages.


The structure of the inspection report was based on two overall summary judgements, three key questions and ten quality indicators and takes the following form:



  • Overall judgement on the school's current performance
  • Overall judgement on the school's prospect for improvement


Main findings


Key Question 1: How good are outcomes?

  • Standards
  • Wellbeing


Key Question 2: How good is provision?

  • Learning experiences
  • Teaching
  • Care, support and guidance


Key Question 3: How good are leadership and management?

  • Leadership
  • Improving quality
  • Partnership working
  • Resource management

The two overall summary judgements and the judgements for the three key questions and the ten quality indicators can be one of four options:

  • 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

During the spring term the overall judgements achieved by Vale of Glamorgan schools which were inspected were as follows:


                                                              Current Performance        Prospects for Improvement

Romilly Primary                                       Good                                Excellent

Evenlode Primary                                   Good                                Excellent

St Joseph's Primary                                Good                                Good

Cylch Meithrin Y Bontfaen                       Good                                Good

Wick and District Playgroup                    Good                                Good


As a result of these inspections follow-up activity had been identified within Romilly Primary School for local authority monitoring.


While the responsibility for producing the action plan rests with the school, the authority also had a number of key responsibilities.  These include:-

  • Ensuring that any issues identified by Estyn relating to the Local Authority were addressed;
  • Ensuring that delivery of the action plan was monitored through challenge advisor visits to schools;
  • Supporting schools to raise standards through identification and sharing of good practice.

In all instances the Directorate of Learning and Skills would work with schools to ensure an effective and robust action plan had been developed to build upon areas of strengths and to address any identified shortcomings.


Estyn recognises its unique position to show case some of the excellent practice identified across all of the education and training sector it inspects.  One way it did this was by asking schools in which it had identified excellence to write case studies, outlining how excellence had been achieved in identified areas.  Following recent inspections, Vale schools had produced the following case studies:


School                                  Case Study

Evenlode Primary                  Partnership working - writing projects involving Stanwell and local business

Romilly Primary                      Embedding Pupil Voice - Child friendly school improvement plan

                                              Cross School Working - Peer observation and learning triads Nurture provision linked to

                                              family learning

St Joseph's Primary               The Learning Environment.


During spring term 15, Estyn monitored the following Vale schools:

  • Eagleswell Primary.


During monitoring visit, Estyn had judged the extent of the progress made by the school in addressing the recommendations of the inspection report.  The review activity considered the Local Authority report and scrutiny of the school's post inspection action plan and self-evaluation report.  During the visit it was the school's responsibility to supply evidence that demonstrates progress against recommendations.


Progress can be judged to be:

  • Limited - Does not meet the recommendation
  • Satisfactory - Address the recommendation in many respects
  • Strong - Address the recommendation in most respects
  • Very good - Address the recommendation in all respects

Having reviewed the progress made by the school in addressing each of the recommendations, Estyn could:

  • Remove the school from all follow up activity
  • Leave the school in Estyn monitoring
  • Place the school in a category; requiring significant improvement or special measures

The outcomes of the Estyn monitoring visits completed in the January-May term were: 


School name

Overall judgement


Eagleswell Primary

Strong progress against 4 recommendations and reasonable progress against 2

Removed from follow-up activity


The detail of the progress each school made against each of the recommendations made was provided in appendix 3.


The Vale had 3 schools in Estyn monitoring.  These were Llanfair Primary, Barry Comprehensive and Bryn Hafren Comprehensive.


Schools placed in local authority monitoring as a result of an Estyn inspection were required to demonstrate progress in addressing the recommendations of the inspection report.  Challenge Advisors would oversee the work of the schools, monitor the delivery of an agreed action plan and report progress on a termly basis.


The local authority was required to submit a progress report to Estyn that:

  • Summarises the progress made against each of the recommendations
  • Makes a judgement regarding the extent of the progress made in addressing each of the recommendations.  The judgement can be limited, satisfactory, strong or very good (please refer to paragraph 21 for definitions).
  • Makes a recommendation regarding whether or not the school/setting should be removed from local authority monitoring.

Having received the report from the local authority Estyn can:

  • Remove the school from all follow up activity
  • Leave the school in local authority monitoring
  • Place the school in Estyn monitoring

The outcomes of local authority reports on schools in local authority monitoring are:


School                                   Outcome


Llancarfan Primary                 Removed from all follow-up activity

Pendoylan Primary                 Removed from all follow-up activity

Sully Primary                          Removed from all follow-up activity


The detail of the progress in school made against each of the recommendations made was provided in appendix 4.


The report outlined that the Vale of Glamorgan had two schools in local authority monitoring.  These were Romilly Primary and Y Bont Faen Primary.


Attached at Appendix 5 to the report was an overall summary of Estyn activity for the period September 2014 - May 2015.


Having considered the report the Committee: 




(1)       T H A T the inspection judgements about the school inspected during the spring term be noted.


(2)       T H A T the judgements made by Estyn in its monitoring visits regarding the progress of schools in addressing inspection recommendations be noted.


(3)       T H A T the judgements made by Estyn with regard to schools in local authority monitoring be noted.


Reason for recommendations


(1-3)  In order that Members are aware of Estyn judgements about local schools.