Agenda and minutes


No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received for Councillor L Davies and co-opted members C Brown and R Lazell.


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




No Declarations of Interest were made.


The Effectiveness of the Central South Consortium (CSC) pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To consider the attached report


The Chair introduced the officers in attendance and proceeded in giving a speech highlighting all that Dorothy Haines has achieved in her time with the Authority. The Chair presented Dorothy with a bunch of flowers as a thank you for all the excellent work that has been carried out.


Councillor Chris Davies echoed what Harvey said and on behalf of the Independent Group thanked Dorothy for all that has been achieved and wished her all the best in her retirement.


Dorothy Haines introduced the item to the committee and highlighted the salient points in the report


Councillor Lisa Mytton entered the meeting (4.15pm)


The following questions were then raised by the Committee and were responded to in detail by the Officers:


·         Aspirationally we want to be in the top 10, where are we currently in the performance tables


·         The report states that the LA supports the consortium’s approach to shifting the culture of school improvement from dependency on central support to a model, which is led by schools, for schools. Can you provide examples of where this is currently happening.


The Officers asked for further questions to be withheld until after Item 4 had been presented.


Resolved that:


The content of the report be noted.



Impact of work in the Central South Consortium's business plan on the region and Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council and the outcome on the Estyn monitoring visit pdf icon PDF 3 MB

To consider the attached report.


Mike Glavin and Joanna Colsey presented to the report to the committee in three stages. Stage one, Business Plan and the impact regionally. Stage two, the impact the Business Plan has had in Merthyr Tydfil; and finally stage three: an update in relation to Estyn outcomes and the progress made in addressing them.


The following questions were then raised by the Committee and were responded to in detail by the Officers:


·         It is mentioned in the report that you are held to account for budgetary control by a joint committee. In the previous report there was comment (at 7.2) that the local authority must ensure that the work of the Central South Consortium (CSC) remains within budget. Are you currently operating within budget


·         In relation to the funding from this authority for 2017/18 is it a compulsory amount and do we get value for money


·         Can you please define a vulnerable learner


·         You say that “Boys’ performance across the local authorities was far too variable”. Why do you think this is and how best should it be addressed.


·         The report states that outcomes from GCSEs cannot be compared to those of previous years due to course changes. Can you tell the committee how Merthyr is performing compared to all Wales figures.


·         Is the investment in leadership provision likely to continue in the future


·         In relation to the 5 priorities for the CSC, how did you come to identify those priorities and why aren’t they measured or time specific


·         In relation to measuring the 5 priorities will you being making changes in line with ESTYNs findings


·         Can you elaborate on the progress you have made with vulnerable learners particularly in relation to looked after children and what more you plan to do


·         What interventions are currently in place as looked after children in Merthyr Tydfil are underachieving


·         During 2016/17, 7 schools required green support and 17 required yellow support. Is this an improvement over the previous year


·         How are the 4 “amber” schools progressing


·         In relation to the Donaldson Report, what is the consortium doing to support and prepare schools in Merthyr Tydfil


·         You eluded to the new ESTYN common inspection framework, how are schools currently being prepared for this new way of thinking


The Chair thanked the Officers on behalf of the committee for their excellent report. 



Self-Evaluation of Support for School Improvement pdf icon PDF 145 KB

To consider the attached report


Sue Walker introduced the report and highlighted the salient points before welcoming questions from the committee which were responded to in detail by the appropriate officers.


·         Is the Local Authorities ambition to be good/excellent in all areas by 2020 a realistic target


·         Are records kept of all the responses/evidence to the self-evaluations and if so would the committee be able to access them


·         In relation to the informal and formal notices, what is the protocol if schools do not follow the process


Resolved that:


The contents of the report be noted.


Wellbeing Objective; Best Start to Life - Children and young people are equipped with the skills they need to be successful learners and confident individuals pdf icon PDF 240 KB

To consider the attached report


The Chair advised the Committee that there was a change to the agenda order and that Item 6 will be considered as Item 5.


Dorothy Haines introduced the report and apologised to the committee for an error whereby Youth Services had been deleted from the report. It was proposed that the Lead Officers introduce each specific project and the committee ask questions once each project had been presented.


Project One: Achieving Excellence in Schools was presented by Joanna Colsey.


The following questions were then raised by the Committee and were responded to in detail by the Officers:


Councillor L Mytton left the meeting (5.30pm)


·         Can you explain to the committee how will you measure how skilled up Governors will become and how will you measure the impact of this


·         Is there now a more proactive governing body, as in previous reports there has been mention of reluctance to attending training outside of usual meetings.


·         In relation to schools taking part in peer reviews and identifying areas of provision and leadership which need improvement in order to become excellent, can you explain how this will work


Project Two: Improving outcomes for pupils with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) was presented by Dorothy Haines


·         Are we as an Authority ready for the implementation of the Additional Learning Needs Bill


·         In relation to the Risk Management of this project it has been scored a 3 for the likelihood schools do not see the value in implementing PCP, why would you think that schools would not see the value in implementing this


Project Three: Improving outcomes for Children Looked After was presented by Dorothy Haines


There were no questions from the committee in relation to this project.


Project Four: Improving pupils’ wellbeing was presented by Sarah Bowen


·         In relation to secondary school pupil attendance , how likely is it that we will reach the attendance target for 2017/18


·         Not all schools have adopted fixed penalty notices, how are you going to address this issue

Allan Rees left the meeting (5.55pm)


·         Are all schools within Merthyr Tydfil going to adopt the same policy in relation to fixed penalty’s as the current situation is sending out conflicting messages to parents and pupils


·         The report mentions pupil led attendance committees, can you provide more information about these committees and what do you hope to achieve


·         In relation to the wellbeing survey, can you explain what is it, does it work and are there any results from previous years


·         You mention the toolbox of resources that are available to support low level mental health needs, can you confirm when this will be available to schools


·         What partners have you consulted with while putting this toolkit together, and have you consulted with internal departments


·         Are you aware of the work currently being carried out by the Merthyr Youth Forum and the launch of their mental health DVD this week


Project Five: Active Merthyr Tydfil presented by John Sellwood


·         You have provided expected benefits from this project, can you explain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 325.


Wales Audit Office Review – “Overview and Scrutiny Fit for the Future? Project” pdf icon PDF 553 KB

To consider the attached report


The Scrutiny Officer updated the committee in relation to the Wales Audit Office inspection and their wish to meet with Councillors in November.


Task and Finish Group Update - The effect of poor attendance on outcomes within our schools

To receive a verbal update from the Chair


The Chair provided an update in relation to the task and finish group who are currently investigation links with school attendance and its effect on performance. The committee were informed that the findings would not be made available until December as the data needed to be verified.


Scrutiny Referrals, Feedback and Follow up Actions


The Scrutiny Officer advised that there was no update on this item.



Reflection and Evaluation of Meeting

To receive an update from the Chair


The Chair and the Committee reflected on the items discussed at the Meeting.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 866 KB

To consider the attached report


The Scrutiny Officer addressed the Committee in relation to Councillor Davies request to set-up a visit to Greenfield School and confirmed he will make the necessary arrangements.


Any other business deemed urgent by the Chair


The Chair advised that there was no business deemed urgent.



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