Venue: Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool NP4 6YB
Contact: Jacquelyn Tranter Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services
Attendance / Presenoldeb
Officers on the dias
Nigel Aurelius, Assistant Chief Executive (Resources)
Delyth Harries, Monitoring Officer
Jacquelyn Tranter, Senior Business Support Officer (Democratic Services)
Alison Ward, Chief Executive
Other Officers attending or observing from the gallery for parts of the meeting
James Griffin, Head of Transformation and Improvement
Stephen Jarrett, Head of Highways, Transportation and Property
Dermot McChrystal, Chief Officer Education
Gareth Phillips, Communications Manager
Keith Rutherford, Chief Officer, Social Care & Housing
Debbie Harteveld, Managing Director, Education Achievement Service (EAS)
Other people attending
Apologies for Absence / Ymddiheuriadau am absenoldeb
2.1 Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Giles Davies, Kathy Evan, Raymond Mills and Richard Overton.
Declarations of interest / Datganiadau o fudd
3.1 The Monitoring Officer explained that the report covers all schools in Torfaen but gives more information in relation to two schools. Therefore she advised members that they would have a personal interest if they are:
3.2 The Monitoring Officer stated that she had been made aware of the following interests:
3.3 Members confirmed those interests.
3.4 Cllr Fiona Cross stated that she also had a niece who attended Cwmbran High School.
3.5 The Monitoring Officer explained that she had advised that this is a personal interest on the basis that the recommendation in the report is to note the contents and members are not making any decisions and will not be proposing any actions in relation to those two schools.
3.6 Also, the Monitoring Officer advised that members do not at this stage need to declare an interest in relation to any other schools however if during the meeting they ask a question or enter into a debate in relation to another school then they should consider whether they have an interest to declare at that time.
4.1 The Chief Education Officer presented a report on:
· a brief summary of performance in schools;
· the support provided to schools in difficulty and those schools in special measures in particular;
· an outline of the key actions to support improvement in secondary schools in the coming year;
· the concerns arising from information reported in the media about alleged levels of school debt in Torfaen.
4.2 Members commented on the report, in summary as follows:
· appreciation for the hardworking staff and governors for their loyalty and commitment;
· the importance of attracting governors with skill and expertise or encouraging governors to undertake training and learning to increase understanding and knowledge;
· the Leader thanked the Chief Education Officer for his honest and detailed report which showed self-awareness of where we need to improve;
· the Leader suggested that experienced primary governors may be better placed in secondary schools where more support is needed;
· the importance of achieving a sense of community within secondary schools;
· the Executive Member echoed the sentiments of the Director of Education’s report and the importance of appointing hard working governors;
4.3 In summary, the CEO highlighted the following points:
· there is an improving picture in Torfaen’s primary schools, with a significant majority of primary schools requiring low levels of support;
· the Strive for 95+ campaign improved attendance significantly over the last year, nearly all schools have improved performance;
· days lost to exclusion and overall number of exclusions has dropped consistently over time in primary schools;
· secondary schools are an area of concern with some schools requiring the highest levels of support from the local authority and the Education Achievement Service (EAS);
· too many secondary schools have had Estyn follow-up after inspections because of concerns around standards, outcomes for learners and issues related to leadership;
· development of leadership in all secondary schools remains a priority, without this, improved outcomes will not be achieved;
· secondary attendance has remained the same over the last year;
· days lost to exclusion has dropped, the total number of exclusions has increased mainly at Abersychan, Cwmbran High and Ysgol Gyfun Gwynllw, other schools have reduced exclusions;
· support is provided in line with categorisation;
· schools requiring highest level of support have monthly meetings with the head teacher, Chair of Governors, Chief Education Officer, Head of Pupil Support, Executive Member for Education, Challenge Adviser for the school and EAS officers and school staff as required;
· there is a clear structure in place to look at what improvements are required and discussion at the monthly meetings include the school’s plan for improvement, the pace of progress and how the authority and the EAS can support the school. This process provides a detailed knowledge of the school and direction for appropriate support;
· meetings are held throughout the year to support their trajectory in terms of recovery;
· in some schools, progress has not been at an acceptable level therefore statutory powers have been invoked;
· At Cwmbran High the use of statutory powers has been invoked several times. Most recently, the authority consulted ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Date and time of next meeting / Dyddiad ac amser y cyfarfod nesaf
5.1 Council NOTED that the next meeting was scheduled for Tuesday 23rd July 2019 to be held at the Civic Centre, Pontypool.