Agenda and minutes

Learning Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 20th March, 2019 1.30 pm

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

Contact: Geraint Thomas  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome & apologies / Croeso ac ymddiheuriadau

Minutes:

1.1       Apologies were received from Councillors Gwyn Jenkins, Richard Overton and Rose Seabourne, and Dr John Sheridan.

2.

Declarations of interest / Datganiadau o fudd

Minutes:

2.1       There were no declarations of interest.

3.

Minutes 6/2/2019 / Cofnodion 6/2/2019 pdf icon PDF 492 KB

Minutes:

3.1       The minutes of the meeting held on 6th February 2019 were confirmed as an accurate record.

4.

Action sheet / Taflen Gweithredu pdf icon PDF 106 KB

Minutes:

4.1       The Committee noted the action sheet.

5.

Childcare Offer / Cynnig Gofal Plant pdf icon PDF 443 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1       The HoL gave a brief introduction to the report, highlighting the following areas:

  • The Local Authority (LA) had entered the Childcare Offer pilot in Phase 2 during September 2018, and it was due to run until 2020.
  • The LA was the engagement authority and was working in collaboration with Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council (BGCBC), who acted as the delivery authority and had been part of Phase 1 of the pilot.
  • Torfaen County Borough Council and BGCBC ran the pilot across the whole of their respective boroughs, in the interest of fairness, whereas some local authorities chose to only run it in specific wards.

 

5.2       The EYM explained that the full rollout of the pilot phase across Wales would take place in April 2019.

 

5.3       The Committee viewed a short video that provided feedback from users of the Childcare Offer, and the Chair confirmed that comments had been sent to the Committee from childcare providers prior to the meeting.

 

5.4       Following Members’ questions and comments, the HoL, EYM and CM made the following main points:

  • The EYM confirmed that Welsh Government (WG) had published their evaluation of Phase 1 of the pilot, which showed that the Childcare Offer allowed 60% of parents more opportunity to access training and development, 66% had more flexibility at work and 40% were able to access more hours of childcare, which was beneficial to their child’s social and learning development. On top of this, parents felt reduced levels of stress and anxiety, as well as the financial benefits on offer.
  • The CM explained that the Childcare Offer allowed some parents to access more hours of formal childcare, which freed up grandparents who had previously provided informal childcare.
  • The CM confirmed that the Childcare Offer was helping to counteract poverty and boost the local economy, as parents had an increased level of disposable income.
  • The EYM suggested that the £20,000 grant allocation for Additional Learning Needs (ALN) may be better used towards early intervention in some circumstances, and the HoL hoped that WG would re-word their guidance around this grant to reflect the above. The EYM added that the Early Years and ALN teams were working closely in respect of this and that the £20,000 was being used regarding training this year.
  • The EYM confirmed that the £20,000 mentioned above would not go very far if several children required one-to-one ALN support; however she mentioned that several other grants and support were available and could assist with this. She confirmed that the LA was providing feedback to WG regarding these concerns.
  • The HoL explained that refugees and asylum seekers did not fall within the ALN bracket, but they could be signposted to a variety of available support. The CM confirmed that she was aware of asylum seekers who had accessed grants as the parents were undertaking training.
  • The CM confirmed that non-approval of the Childcare Offer could be for a variety of reasons, such as parents not working the correct number of hours per  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Date of next meeting 8/5/2019 / Dyddiad y cyfarfod nesaf 8/5/2019

Minutes:

6.1       The date of the next meeting was noted. The Chair informed the Committee that they would be considering the ALN Code.

 

6.2       The meeting ended at 3.20pm.