Agenda and minutes

Tuesday, 3rd March, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool NP4 6YB

Contact: Jacquelyn Tranter  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

No. Item


Attendance / Presenoldeb


Officers on the dias:

Nigel Aurelius, Assistant Chief Executive, Resources (ACE)

Delyth Harries, Monitoring Officer and Deputy Chief Legal Officer (MO&DCLO)

Dermot McChrystal, Chief Officer Education (COE)

Chris Slade, Senior Democratic Services Officer (SDSO)

Alison Ward, Chief Executive (CE)


Other Officers attending or observing from the gallery for parts of the meeting: 

Steve Jarrett, Head of Highways Transportation and Property

Jason Lewis, Head of Strategic Human Resources

Jason O’Brien, Head of Children’s Services

Tom Roberts, Senior Corporate Improvement and Scrutiny Officer

Nansi Salkeld, Acting Head of Democratic Services

Lynne Williams, Head of Business Support and Intelligence


Other people attending:

One member of the public


Apologies for Absence / Ymddiheuriadau am absenoldeb


2.1       Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ron Burnett, Mike Jeremiah, Jason O’Connell and Chris Tew.


Declarations of interest / Datganiadau o fudd


3.1         The MO&DCLO reminded Members of their responsibility to declare personal and prejudicial interests, and advised that should they enter into any discussions in relation to an individual school that they have a connection with, then they should declare an interest.


3.2      No interests were declared.


School Categorisation and Performance / Categoreiddio a Pherfformiad Ysgolion pdf icon PDF 645 KB


4.1         The COE introduced the report and outlined in brief as follows:-

  • The categorisation of schools in Wales was a process that examined each schools capacity to self-improve and identified those with the greatest ability to improve and those who required support.
  • There was an expectation that the best performing schools would share best practice in their own cluster and across the region.
  • The categories mirrored the support and intervention by the Education Achievement Service (EAS).
  • Over the last three years the proportion of primary schools in the green had increased to 52%; two schools required higher levels of support.
  • Secondary schools in the borough had been an area of concern for many years.
  • Meetings were taking place on a monthly basis to look at the issues, review the progress made and also to look at each schools development plan.
  • There had been a series of changes in education since 2017 in Key Stage 4.  Looking back to when the Recovery Board was put in place, the rate of improvement particularly around Key Stage 4 was faster than others, but since 2016 the results had plateaued.  Since then the results of the majority of schools had stalled and declined across Wales.  Nevertheless, the outcomes and capacity for improvement had remained too weak and performance had remained poor. 
  • Reviewing the reports some key characteristics came out, in particular there were changes in senior management and staff, there were weaknesses in teaching and also in some schools ability to plan for improvement and self-evaluate. 
  • Working with partners it was also recommended an enhanced approach for schools to have their own school development plans; taking all their issues on board, planning out how to address them and improve their  effectiveness.  According to the first round of this work, the feedback was that there was a lot to do, which had already commenced with the schools creating their own development plans, and they were also arranging workshops and surgeries in order to look at improvements.
  • It was important to expect the best outcomes and to push for the best for Torfaen’s pupils, not just Key Stage 4 but all years throughout.
  • There was strength in the primary sector which needed to be moved forward into secondary.  There was a need to get consistency of teaching and leadership across the board. 
  • Members had scrutinised the draft EAS business plan and recognised that work had already been undertaken; it was just that the outcomes of the work had not yet been realised.  Work on support for learning and leadership was ongoing and the local authority (LA) was being independently evaluated.
  • Discussions were ongoing with the EAS and Welsh Government (WG) on the self-evaluation review.  The review was underway with a meeting planned for that week.  Support was expected to be ongoing through throughout the year; it was important not to rush the work, it had to be done properly.
  • They would be working closely with the head teachers and it was important for Members to know  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Date and time of next meeting 10/03/20 / Dyddiad ac amser y cyfarfod nesaf 10/03/20


5.1       Council NOTED that the next extraordinary meeting of the Council was scheduled for Tuesday, 10 March 2020 at 10.00am in the Council Chamber at the Civic Centre, Pontypool.