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Agenda Item No. 7


The Vale of Glamorgan Council


Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee: 16th October 2018


Report of the Director of Learning and Skills 


Provision in the non-maintained sector: Academic Year 2017-2018


Purpose of the Report

  1. To inform Members 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 relevance and variety of support given to non-maintained settings.

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 years' settings.


  1. There are five playgroups registered for early education in the Vale of Glamorgan, one of which is a Welsh medium setting.  The settings are situated in areas where there are not sufficient part time places in the state sector.
  2. All settings have received regular intensive support.  This support has focused on practitioners developing their skills to implement the Foundation Phase in their settings.
  3. 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 Donats Playgroup (Atlantic College)
      • Swallow Playgroup (RAF St Athan)
      • Wick and District Playgroup

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 Standards in Wales inspectorate (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 'Wellcomm' Speech and Language toolkit and are using it effectively to assess children's speech, language and communication on entry to the phase.
  4. All settings have embedded processes of self-evaluation and 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.
  5. Almost all children have made good progress in the acquisition of foundation phase skills, as seen in the foundation phase assessments undertaken during their time in the settings.
  6. This year all settings have been allocated an Early Years Development Grant (EYDG). This funding has been used to improve children's communication skills.

Estyn inspections

  1. No settings have been inspected by Estyn during the academic year 2017.

Training and Impact

  1. Termly forum meetings have taken place for playgroup leaders to discuss new information from Welsh Government (WG) and Estyn and to share good practice. Support from peers has been valuable and elements of the good practice have been adopted by all settings.
  2. All group leaders have attended training on the new Digital Competency Framework (DCF) and are fully aware of their roles in supporting young children's ICT skills. Appropriate resources have been purchased to accompany the training for each setting.
  3. All group leaders have attended training on the Additional Learning Needs (ALN) act and have adopted use of the one page profile to support children with additional needs.
  4. All playgroup leaders have attended training on supporting children with autistic spectrum conditions (ASC) and have a clearer understanding of how to support them. They have had support packs as part of Welsh Government's austistic spectrum disorder (ASD) awareness programme.
  5. Most practitioners have attended training on the use of phonics and are equipped to develop children's early reading and writing skills.
  6. Almost all practitioners attended training on using effective questioning techniques with children in order to improve the quality of talk in their settings.


  1. Settings have been supported in the following activities:
      • Embedding the 'Wellcomm' toolkit and monitoring results
      • Appropriate spending of EYDG to improve outcomes for children
      • Developing outdoors to provide physical play opportunities
      • Refresher training for using the foundation phase profile
      • Using an annual audit of all aspects of playgroup life to inform  the planning for improvement process
      • Updates for safeguarding policies
  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. Funding for the provision of nursery education in the non-maintained sector supports equality of access.

Corporate/Service Objectives

  1. The provision of early years' education is a statutory function of the Council and contributes to the Council's Corporate Plan, Wellbeing Outcome 3: An Aspirational and Culturally Vibrant Vale.

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, Senior Challenge Adviser and Lead Officer for School Improvement

Officers Consulted

Debbie Collins, Early Years advisory teacher

Responsible Officer:

Paula Ham, Director, Learning and Skills