The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet Meeting: 1 June, 2015

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children's Services & Schools

Local Authority Education Services for Children and Young People Inspection Report: Third Progress Report

Purpose of the Report

1.    To provide information about progress to implement the Post Inspection Action Plan.


1.    That Cabinet notes the progress that has been made to implement the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP).


2.    That the progress report is referred to the Scrutiny Committee (Lifelong Learning) for consideration.

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.    In order that members are aware of the progress that has been made to implement the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP).


2.    In order that the Scrutiny Committee can consider the progress that has been made and areas where further progress is required.


2.    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'.


3.    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.

4.    Cabinet approved the Post Inspection Action Plan (PIAP) at their meeting on 18 November 2013.  The PIAP provides a comprehensive action plan to respond to the recommendations of the inspectors and address the shortcomings they observed.  PIAP progress reports will be presented to CMT and Cabinet in May and November annually and to the Children and Young Peoples' Programme Board.  On 23 December 2013 Estyn confirmed that the PIAP generally addresses well the recommendations and areas for improvement in the inspection report.


5.    Cabinet considered the first progress report at their meeting on 12 May 2014 and noted that work was on schedule in relation to the implementation of the plan.  It was, however, too early to assess the impact of most of the actions: this would become an increasing priority in subsequent progress reports.  Cabinet noted that managers had participated in training to support the rigorous and systematic monitoring and evaluation of outcomes.


6.    Cabinet considered the second progress report at the meeting on 15 December 2014.  At that time work continued to be on schedule.  There was evidence to demonstrate the impact of several of the actions.  The monitoring and evaluations of the work programme would be an increasing priority over the next six months.


7.    The first Estyn monitoring visit took place on October 13th - 15th 2014 to assess progress in response to recommendations 2 and 6.  Cabinet considered the letter from Estyn following the visit at the meeting on 12th January 2015.  The letter stated that the authority was making good progress in the areas evaluated during the visit.

Relevant Issues and Options

8.    The PIAP has been further amended to reflect progress to date: in some places amendments have been made to the plan to reflect changes in the personnel responsible for implementation and other contextual changes.


9.    Appendix A describes the further progress that has been made to implement the action plan: work remains on schedule.  The focus of recent activity has 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.
10.    Challenge sessions have taken place to establish progress in relation to the recommendations and to identify further activity.  The impact of the effectiveness of much of the work, including recommendation 1, will be evident following teacher assessment and external examinations which are currently underway.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

11.    The resource implications are itemised in the PIAP.

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

12.    The delivery of high quality education services to children and young people is vital for sustainable communities.

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

13.    The Legal basis for the inspection of Local Authority education services for children and young people (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.
  • 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 local authority education services for children and young people 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 & Skills Act 2000.
14.    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

15.    There are no crime and disorder implications.

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

16.    There are no equal opportunity implications.

Corporate/Service Objectives

17.    This report supports the Council's corporate objectives for education and lifelong learning.

Policy Framework and Budget

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

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

19.    Not applicable.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

20.    Lifelong Learning.

Background Papers


Contact Officer

Jennifer Hill, Director of Learning and Skills

Officers Consulted

Mike Glavin, Head of School Improvement and Inclusion

Meryl Plummer, Lead Officer for School Improvement

David Davies, Lead Officer for Inclusion

Paula Ham, Head of Strategy, Community Learning and Resources

Responsible Officer:

Jennifer Hill

Director of Learning and Skills