Venue: COUNCIL CHAMBER
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence received from Claire Brown and Maureen Harris (Co-optees).
Declarations of Interest (including whipping declarations)
Members 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 and Finance Act 1992 relating to Council Tax, the Local Government Act 2000, the Council’s Constitution and the Members Code of Conduct
(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 declared an interest in item 3 (Update on progress on Afon Taf High School) as she is Chair of Governors at the School and therefore did not take part in the debate for this item.
To meet with the Cliff Smith (Head Teacher) and Mrs Rosa Lazell (Chair of Governors) of Afon Tâf High School
The Chair welcomed Mr Cliff Smith, Headteacher of Afon Taf High School.
The Chair officially invited Rosemary Lazell as a guest to the meeting for this item only as she is Chair of Governors at Afon Taf High School.
Mr Smith thanked the Committee for the invite to the meeting and gave details of the School.
Mr Smith then referred in detail to the following:
· The success of Afon Taf School’s Results.
· Schools Challenge Cymru Scheme.
· Developing capacity within the Senior Management Team.
· Improving ICT Equipment within the School.
· Involvement of the Challenge Adviser.
· Afon Taf High School’s surplus places.
· Falling rolls in Secondary Schools across Wales.
· Pupils choosing Schools outside of the County Borough.
· Progress made on cluster work with Schools.
· Update on the School Refurbishment Project as part of the 21st Century Schools Programme.
· Financial Planning.
· Support given to the School.
· Changes to the staffing structure at the School.
Cliff Smith and Dorothy Haines provided advice and background information in relation to the following questions from the Committee:
· Clarification whether pupils and parents choosing schools outside the County Borough is a growing issue with Afon Taf.
· Consideration of having children’s opinions of the 6 form college facility in the County Borough.
· The requirement to promote success stories of Schools and Colleges throughout the County Borough.
· Clarification in the drop of teacher numbers within the School.
· In relation to concerns expressed in relation to the School Refurbishment (e.g. lack of break out areas, design) at which stage were these concerns raised?
· Has the liaison between the School, Local Authority and the Contractors met with your satisfaction?
· In relation to support and challenge, what does the School require to continue success in the future?
On behalf of the Committee, the Chair thanked Mr Smith for attending today, his efforts in the success of the School and wished him all the very best for his retirement.
To consider the attached report
Rosemary Lazell returned as a co-optee member of the Committee.
Dorothy Haines took the Committee through the report in relation to School Planning and advised members on the up to date position, as follows:
· Framework for School Organisations.
· Surplus places.
· School buildings and the 21st Century Programme.
· The Local Authority exploring Salix funding to help bring energy efficiency into Schools.
· Capital maintenance works.
· The key priorities for improvement.
Dorothy Haines provided advice and background information in relation to the following questions from the Committee:
· Clarification on transport arrangements and surplus places at Bishop Hedley High School.
· In relation to Welsh Government’s figures suggesting that the population of Merthyr Tydfil will decrease in the coming years - do you agree with this projection locally and who could be the most affected age groups?
· What is the criteria to determine the condition of Schools in the County Borough
Alan Rees (Co-optee) left the meeting at 5.10 pm.
· Clarification on whether enough has been done to manage the expectations of Schools having refurbishment in comparison to the budget?
· Are there any Schools who have oversubscribed been considered for extensions to their buildings within the 21st Century Schools Programme?
· In relation to Greenfields School, they have a 23% growth in the last 4 years. Is this set to continue? How is the Authority going to accommodate this due to the needs of the pupils at the School?
· A significant percentage of parents require support in completing application forms for school places - who gives this support?
· Due to the large increase in the number of mid-term admissions currently taking place, is there any trend in data from one School to another?
· Clarification on the criteria of applications in areas where Primary Schools are oversubscribed.
The contents of this report be noted by the Committee.
To consider the attached report
Dorothy Haines took the Committee through the report in relation to the Self Evaluation of support for School Improvement. She highlighted the key priorities to develop strategies to secure excellent leadership across all Schools and ensure governance in all Schools is good or better.
The contents of the report be noted by the Committee.
Ann Roberts (Co-optee) left the meeting at 5.25 pm.
Scrutiny Referrals, Feedback and Follow up Actions
The Chair updated members on the Governance Scrutiny meeting that she attended.
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.
To consider the attached report
Discussion ensued on the Forward Work Programme, as follows:
· Follow up with Cabinet Member, Dorothy Haines and Anthony Lewis in relation to the 21st Century Schools Programme to ensure that the best facilities are provided for the children.
· Monitor the increase in numbers of pupils at Greenfield Special School.
· Monitor the requirement to secure places in Schools for children with specialised needs.
· Need to confirm a visit to the Troedyrhiw Primary School. Scrutiny Manager to liaise with the Headteacher of Troedyrhiw Primary School on this.
Any other business deemed urgent by the Chair
The Chair advised that there was no business deemed urgent.