Agenda and minutes


No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence received from Maureen Harris (Co-optee).


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.


Best Start to Life 2 pdf icon PDF 323 KB

To consider the attached report


Sue Walker referred members to the Best Start to Life 2 (Wellbeing objective:  Children and young people are equipped with the skills they need to be successful learners and confident individuals) and advised that the Officers present will give members an update on progress against the objectives set.  


Sue Walker, Joe Colsey, Annabel Lloyd, Sarah Bowen and John Sellwood gave an update on each project listed at Appendix II, as follows:


·         Achieving excellence in Schools.

·         Improving outcomes for pupils with ALN.

·         Strategy for Success  -  Improving outcomes for children looked after.

·         Improving Pupils’ Wellbeing

·         Active Merthyr Plan


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


Achieving Excellence in Schools


·         Query on how the Peer Review has had an impact in the 3 Schools that have completed the Peer Review and any lessons learned that will further influence  the Schools that yet to have this review?


·         In relation to the feedback from the 6 Schools that have completed the governing self-evaluation audit, how has it improved the way they challenge Schools to secure better School improvement for the benefit  of the pupils?


·         In relation to the 32% of Schools that have expressed an interest in undertaking a Peer Review during 2017-2018, what is the overall target and how will you get other Schools on board?


·         Is there sufficient numbers of Governors in each School?


·         Completion of the Self Evaluation Reviews by the Governing Bodies.


Improving outcomes for Pupils with ALN


·         Are the LEA and Schools ready for the introduction of the ALN Bill?


·         Clarification on the timescales for the review of EOTAS AND LRB’s.


·         Clarification on the EOTAS provision not being fit for purpose, as outlined within Project Issues at Appendix II of the report.


·         Delegation of ALN monies to Schools.



·         Is there adequate education provision within the County Borough for children and young people with social emotional behavioural difficulties?


·         Are we now dependent upon external support to achieve the outcomes for children with additional needs and what is the LEA officer support?


·         Clarification on whether there is enough resources or finance available in relation to the ALN?


Strategy for Success


·         Clarification on the % of pupils who achieved the level 2+ threshold as outlined on page 20 of the report


·         Up to date position in relation to ensuring that Schools track and report attainment and progress looked after young people.


·         Progress on the Child Friendly Handbook for Schools.


·         Clarification on the current number of children looked after not in an educational placement?


·         How have you involved the views of children looked after and foster carers to help inform what type of support is needed.


·         In relation to the project risks at page 24 of the report  -  what are the likelihood and impact scores as they are not included within the report?


Improving Pupils’ Wellbeing


·         Clarification on the 25% of schools having pupil led attendance committees and what issues have been raised within these committees.


·         Councillor Chris Davies referred to the national  ...  view the full minutes text for item 628.


Attendance and Exclusions pdf icon PDF 182 KB

To consider the attached report


Alan Rees Co-opted left the meeting at 5.00 pm.


Sarah Bowen referred to the report on Attendance and Exclusions.


She advised members that progress has been adequate but in order to bring further improvements, focus needs to be on:


·         Enabling Schools to improve rates of attendance and exclusions.


·         Building the capacity within Schools to meet the emotional social and behavioural needs of pupils.


·         Enabling Schools to improve levels of parental engagement. 


The Chair advised that Councillors Chris Jones, Sherelle Jago and himself will not take part in this item as they are involved in a project on Attendance and Outcomes and will therefore only be observing. 


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


·         In relation to the strategies introduced to address poor behaviour, how do the Schools engage with the parents to address poor behaviour?


·         Clarification on linking into the Strengthening Families Programme?


·         Are all Schools issuing Fixed Penalty Notices?


·         Do other LEA’s or Schools across Wales prosecute in relation to attendance?


·         How can there be an outcome of adequate if we are still 22 out of 22 Local Authorities?


·         Clarification on the increase of exclusions for both Primary and Secondary Schools.


Key Stage 4 Standards 2016/2017 pdf icon PDF 198 KB

To consider the attached report


Sue Walker took members through the Key Stage 4 Standards Report and advised that several key changes had been implemented to the KS4 performance measures in 2016/17, which impacts on comparisons with previous years. 


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


·         You say that “no School operates a three year KS4”.   Can you explain more about this and does this operate in other areas with good results?


·         The Authority’s ambition is to be ranked within the top ten Local Authorities in Wales by 2020  -  previously it was the top 10 by 2016, and top 10 by 2017?   Do you think that we should be setting a more realistic and achievable target?


·         Do young people get the opportunity to have a say when they can sit an assessment?


·         Clarifications on boys under achieving on certain subject areas.


·         Level of support given to young people.



Anne Roberts and Rosa Lazell (Co-optees) left the meeting at 5.25 pm.


Estyn Inspection Areas pdf icon PDF 270 KB

To consider the attached report


Sue Walker referred members to the report on Estyn Inspections Areas and advised that the purpose of this report is to provide the current judgement for the SER inspection areas, namely 1.3 Wellbeing and Attitudes to Learning and 2.2 Support for Vulnerable Learners.


She made members aware that the judgement for both inspection areas is ‘adequate and needs improvement’ because ‘strengths outweigh weaknesses but important aspects require improvement’.


Councillor Chris Davies congratulated the officers for the amount of work that has been done in preparing the evidence for the outcomes within this report. 


National Categorisation of Schools pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To consider the attached report


Joe Colsey referred members to the report and advised that a national categorisation model was introduced in September 2014 which categorises Schools according to the level of support that they require to improve.  


She gave members a detailed update on the current position together with where we want to be and what we need to do next.


Claire Brown (Co-optee) left the meeting at 5.40 pm. 




Scrutiny Referrals, Feedback and Follow up Actions


The Chair advised that there were no referrals, feedback or follow up actions to discuss.


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 148 KB

To consider the attached report

Additional documents:


Councillor Chris Davies referred to the briefing note that he had initially prepared on education outcomes for children looked after to be discussed at February’s Scrutiny meeting with the Central South Consortium. 


He advised that he had met the Chair and Sue Walker outside of this Committee and he would now propose that:


·         The topic for discussion with the CSC on the 19th February meeting should be “How CSC are supporting schools and to raise the standards at Key Stage 4”.


·         A separate joint Scrutiny meeting be arranged with colleagues of Social Services to look at the outcomes of children looked after in more detail.    


  This proposal was seconded and approved by the Committee.


Any other business deemed urgent by the Chair


The Chair advised that there was no business deemed urgent.


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