Agenda and minutes


No. Item


Apologies for absence


No apologies for absence were received.


Declarations of Interest (including whipping declarations)

Members of this Committee are reminded of their personal responsibility to declare any personal and prejudicial interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda in accordance with the provisions of the Local Government Act 2000, the Council’s Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct.  In addition, Members must declare any prohibited party whip which the Member has been given in relation to the meeting as per the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011. 




a.    Members are reminded that they must identify the item number and subject matter that their interest relates to and signify the nature of the personal interest; and


b.    Where Members withdraw from a meeting as a consequence of the disclosure of a prejudicial interest they must notify the Chair when they leave.



Rosemary Lazell, Co-optee, advised that she is a member of the Governing Bodies for Afon Taf High School and Ynysowen Community Primary School.


School Balances 2015/16 pdf icon PDF 163 KB

See attached report

Additional documents:


Anthony Lewis took the Committee through the report and gave an update regarding the current position on the School Balances  for 2015/16, advising the Members as follows:


·         Financial monitoring policies that have been implemented.


·         Schools balances reported at the end of the 2014/15 financial year.


·         2015/16 approved budgetary position on Schools.


·         Current projected outturn position based on information which has been reported and approved by Governing Bodies.


·         Pupil led funding review update, i.e. effective financial monitoring, scrutiny and challenge, the key measures of success


·         A breakdown of where the Authority wants to be.


A member queried the Gurnos Nursery excess balance of “+25”  in Table 3 of the report.  Anthony Lewis advised that this figure should read “+15”.


Officers provided advice and background information in relation to the following questions from the Committee:


·         In relation to Afon Taf, what is the realistic timescale that you expect to reduce their deficit to zero?  


·         Clarification on the outcome/findings of the Schools Forum with regard to the changes to the funding methodology as outlined in the pupil led funding review update at paragraph 5.4 of the report.


·         The timescale of the wider local Authority review for the funding methodology which will consider a more equitable allocation of resources.


·         Pupil/teacher ratio, and the difference of funding amounts per school within the Borough.


·         Clarification on previous fundamental reviews of the Authority’s formula funding.


·         Potential alterations to Schools and how this will reflect on the particular school’s formula funding. 


·         When the original review started in 2014, did you anticipate the lack of consensus between the Schools and why wasn’t the thoughts of breaking it down, as suggested, actually started at that time?


·         Decisions made by the Schools Forum and the choices provided to the Headteachers. 


·         An explanation on why the schools’ balances vary so much?


·         Looking at the balances on Secondary Schools, should we be concerned about all our Secondary Schools?


·         Surplus places in Secondary Schools.


·         The difficulties Finance Committees of Governing Bodies are experiencing to keep track of their finances, with the figures differing between what is being supplied by the Authority and Governing Bodies.  


Councillor Richard Thomas, Chair of the Schools Forum, gave an overview of the role of the Schools Forum.




·         The contents of the reports be noted by the Committee.


·         In relation to the difference in figures being supplied by Governing Bodies Anthony Lewis to look at this as a matter of urgency. 


Alan Rees (Co-optee) and Councillors Simon Williams and Richard Thomas left the meeting.


Performance Board Action Points - Parental Engagement pdf icon PDF 172 KB

Standing item. To receive updates on areas for improvement; 1) Parental Engagement (Lead Officer Sarah Bowen); 2) More Able and Talented Pupils (Dorothy Haines); 3) Governance & Governing Bodies (Dorothy Haines); 4) Collaboration (Dorothy Haines); and 5) Corporate Support Services (Glynis Estabanez). (These were identified in the Performance Board report to Learning & LAESCYP meeting on 25th January 2016). Numbers 1 to 4 managed by this scrutiny committee; and 5) by the Governance Scrutiny Committee.


Sarah Bowen took the Committee through the report and gave an update on progress being made on improving parental engagement in particular pupil learning.  She advised Members as follows:


·         Priorities identified in order to improve pupils’ well-being and the impact on their attainment.


·         The inclusion service which has provided support, advice and guidance to all Schools.


·         The Adult Community Learning Service which provided a number of Family Learning Programmes.


·         The programmes which focus on improving parental engagement.


·         The advice, support and guidance provided by the Authority to meet the specific needs of the parents of particular groups of pupils.


·         Thy key next steps to agree with schools the measures that will be used to inform future planning and to evaluate the impact of the actions taken. 


Officers provided advice and background information in relation to the following questions from the Committee:


·         Is there any evidence that increased parental engagement has had a positive effect on educational attainment in the County Borough?


·         Is there a detailed action plan on how we are going to progress parental engagement?




The contents of the report be noted by the Committee.


Scrutiny Referrals, Feedback and Follow up Actions

To receive any referrals from the other Scrutiny Committees and Audit Committee; an update from the Chair on their attendance at the Service Performance Challenge Meetings and to consider any follow up actions from the previous Meeting(s).


The Chair advised that there was no update in relation to this item.



Reflection and Evaluation of Meeting

To receive an update from the Chair


The Chair and the Committee reflected in detail on the issues that had been considered at the meeting, in particular:


Surplus places

·         This to be considered at a future meeting.


Figures being provided by Governing Bodies differ from those supplied by the Local Authority

·         Agreed at the meeting that Anthony Lewis will take this up as a matter of urgency.

·         Update on progress to be reported back to a future meeting.


Pupil led funding review  -  Schools formula funding.

·         This is to be brought back to a future meeting.


HR Reviews

·         The Chair to update members at a future meeting.




Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 171 KB

See attached report.

Additional documents:


The Chair to liaise with the Scrutiny Office on the Forward Work Programme, in particular:


·         Invitation to a School to attend a future meeting.


The Chair to arrange a meeting of all Learning and LAESCYP members in April/May to discuss the forward work programme. 



Any other business deemed urgent by the Chair


The Chair advised that there was no business deemed urgent.


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