Agenda Item No. 7

The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee: 14th November 2016


Report of the Interim Director of Learning and Skills


Provision in the Non-maintained Sector: Academic Year 2015/16


Purpose of the Report

  1. To inform Members of the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee of the current provision for early education through the non-maintained settings.


  1. Members note the provision for early education through non-maintained settings.
  2. Members note the outcome of the Estyn inspection of Wenvoe Playgroup during 2015/16.

Reasons for the Recommendations

  1. The provision for early year's education is a statutory function of the Council.
  2. Members are aware of the performance standards of non-maintained early year's settings.


  1. There are seven playgroups registered for early education in the Vale of Glamorgan, one of which is a Welsh medium setting.
  2. The settings are situated in areas where there are not sufficient part time places in the state sector. Four settings are housed in village or church halls. One setting is hosted by RAF St. Athan, one by Atlantic College and one has its own premises in the form of a pre-fabricated building in Cowbridge.
  3. All settings have received regular intensive support. This support has focused on supporting practitioners to implement the Foundation Phase in their settings.
  4. This year the Local Authority has funded places for 111 children in the non-maintained sector. The settings are as follows:
  • Abracadabra Playgroup, Welsh St. Donats
  • Cylch Meithrin Y Bont Faen
  • St Brides Playgroup
  • St Donats Playgroup (Atlantic College)
  • Swallow Playgroup (RAF St Athan)
  • Wenvoe Playgroup
  • Wick and District Playgroup.
  1. It should be noted that Wenvoe Playgroup left the Early Years partnership on 16th  July. The setting will work in close partnership with Gwenfo Primary School to offer wrap around care for children attending the nursery class from September onwards.

Relevant Issues and Options


  1. All settings are welcoming, safe and ensure children's wellbeing is at the heart of their work. The Care and Social Services inspectorate Wales (CSSIW) regularly inspect all settings, no major areas for improvement have been identified.
  2. The quality of provision in almost all settings is of a very good standard. All practitioners have used their knowledge of Foundation Phase to establish stimulating learning environments with a range of good quality, interesting resources. Nearly all children demonstrate high levels of interest, enjoyment and motivation towards their learning.
  3. All settings regularly plan a range of outdoor activities to encourage children to experiment with new experiences and to develop a range of skills. All settings plan effectively using the Foundation Phase Framework for Children's Learning and nearly all children make good progress. An effective system of assessment is in place in all settings and practitioners are able to plan for the needs of all children. This year all settings have adopted the Welsh Government Foundation Phase profile and are using it effectively to assess children on entry to the phase.
  4. All settings receive support from the associate adviser to continue to develop their processes of self- evaluation and to appreciate the importance of planning for improvement. Areas for development are prioritised at the start of the year and targets set. All settings have made good progress in addressing the identified areas for development. All leaders have evaluated the impact of their plans and in self-evaluation have identified emerging priorities for the coming year.

Additional Support

  1. Three settings have received advice from the Additional Learning Needs (ALN) team to support children with additional learning needs. One child underwent a statutory assessment of need. Three children have been in receipt of a one to one support worker funded by the Local Authority.

Estyn Inspections

  1. Wenvoe Playgroup setting has been inspected this year. The good overall inspection included three indicators being judged as adequate which placed the setting into Estyn monitoring, however, because the setting will no longer be registered for early education with the Council, Estyn have decided against a follow up visit in October. The setting has made good progress in addressing the four recommendations which are to:
  • Ensure that children become more independent during daily routines
  • Ensure challenging activities for children who are more able
  • Improve the way practitioners manage behaviour during large group activities
  • Ensure that the impact of the improvement plan is monitored regularly to make good progress.

Training and Impact

  1. All practitioners have attended training on the Foundation Phase profile and the revised Foundation Phase curriculum orders.
  2. All practitioners are familiar with the content of the revised orders for Literacy, Language and Communication and Mathematical Development and incorporate them into their planning effectively.
  3. All practitioners understand and implement the Foundation Phase profile successfully as an on entry assessment of children's skills.
  4. All group leaders have attended training on self-evaluation practices and planning for improvements.
  5. All leaders have a clear understanding of the purpose of self-evaluation and how to plan effectively for improvements that impact positively on outcomes for children.
  6. One practitioner from each setting attended training on the role of the adult in supporting young children's learning and effective questioning techniques.
  7. Practitioners have a greater understanding of their roles in supporting children's learning, how to improve the quality of interactions to promote thinking and language development.


  1. Wenvoe Playgroup received pre and post inspection support, including advice on how to draw up a post inspection action plan.
  2. Settings have been supported in the following activities:
  • Implement the Foundation Phase profile and monitor results
  • Increase the use of visits and visitors to enhance children's learning
  • Increase the repertoire of Welsh songs, books and incidental language being used with children
  • Increase the use of meaningful Welsh, numeracy and independent skills in children's daily routines
  • Increase provision for literacy
  • Set up mud kitchens
  • Undertake self- evaluation of additional aspects of their provision and use the information to inform the planning for improvement process
  • Involve all stakeholders in the self-evaluation process
  • Produce annual reviews of the settings' work
  • Devise end of year report formats that include next steps in children's learning for parents/carers.
  1. All settings have acted positively upon the advice and guidance given to them in order to raise the standards of children's learning and wellbeing in their care.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

  1. There are no resource implications arising from this report.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

  1. There are no sustainability and climate change implications arising from this report.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

  1. There are no legal implications arising from this report.

Crime and Disorder Implications

  1. There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this report.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

  1. There are no crime and disorder implications arising from this report.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The provision of early years education is a statutory function of the Council.

Policy Framework and Budget

  1. The recommendations of this report are within existing policy framework and budget.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

  1. Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

  1. Learning and Culture.

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Morwen Hudson, Lead Officer for School Improvement/Senior Challenge Advisor

Officers Consulted

Debbie Collins, Associate Advisor for the non-maintained settings

Responsible Officer:

Paula Ham,

Interim Director of Learning and Skills