Agenda and minutes

Learning Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 28th November, 2018 1.30 pm

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

Contact: Geraint Thomas  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

No. Item


Welcome & apologies / Croeso ac ymddiheuriadau


1.1       Apologies were received from Councillors Glyn Caron, Kathy Evans, Richard Overton, Rose Seabourne and Colette Thomas.


Declarations of interest / Datganiadau o fudd


2.1       The CLO reminded Members that if they felt that they had an interest to declare in any items, they should do so and record it on the Declarations of Interest pro forma provided.


2.2       The Chair declared a personal interest in agenda item 6 as she was a school governor at Croesyceiliog School.


Minutes 3/10/18 / Cofnodion 3/10/18 pdf icon PDF 396 KB


3.1       The minutes of the meeting held on 3rd October 2018 were confirmed as an accurate record.


3.2       The CLO left the meeting.


Action sheet / Taflen Gweithredu pdf icon PDF 103 KB


4.1       The Chair read out the following email from Cllr Rose Seabourne regarding the Executive Member’s response to recommendation 3 from the previous meeting:

“The plan should be put together with the knowledge of all stakeholders and should be presented to elected members before acceptance by the PSB. Surely such contribution will only strengthen the plan prior to agreement”.


4.2       The Chair explained that the response from the Executive Member had stated that there was no scope at present to have wider engagement around the plan with all stakeholders. The Committee agreed to go back to the Executive Member to ask when wider engagement would be likely.


4.3       The committee noted the action sheet.


Exclusions, Attendance & EOTAS (Education Other Than At Schools) / Gwaharddiadau, Presenoldeb ac EOTAS (Addysg ac Eithrio Mewn Ysgolion) pdf icon PDF 463 KB

Additional documents:


5.1       The Chair introduced the HoL, SEWO and SALNM.


5.2       The HoL gave a brief introduction to the ‘Attendance’ section of the report, highlighting the following areas:

  • The verified data regarding secondary school attendance showed an increase from 93.7% to 94% during the previous three years.
  • Torfaen had risen from 16th position in Wales to 9th position, as a result of the above improvement. Torfaen was one of only two Local Education Authorities (LEAs) in Wales to improve, with the majority of Wales seeing a downward trend.
  • Abersychan School and Cwmbran High School had risen from attendance benchmark quartile 4 to 1 during the previous three years, and other Torfaen schools were looking to visit them in order to share good practice.
  • Primary school attendance had seen a slight dip from 94.8% to 94.5% during the previous three years, so there was more work to do in this area. The decrease had slowed down from 2% to 1% during the previous two years.
  • Following the launch of the ‘Strive for 95’ campaign in January 2018, primary schools attendance did not improve as fast as secondary schools. The strategy was reviewed during the summer and a shift in performance was now being seen at primary school level. Another review would take place in January 2019.


5.3       Dr John Sheridan entered the meeting.


5.4       Following Members’ questions and comments, the HoL, SEWO and SALNM made the following main points:

  • The HoL confirmed that a consistent approach was seen across Torfaen schools regarding the ‘Strive for 95’ campaign, as all schools had the strategy and access to the same resources, flowcharts and Education Welfare Officers (EWOs). She reminded the Committee that the LEA’s role was to support and guide schools.
  • The HoL explained that a member of each school’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT) was responsible for attendance and their work around how they were attempting to increase this should be included in headteachers’ reports to governing bodies.
  • The HoL explained that pupils were being encouraged to attend registration in order to get their mark prior to attending medical appointments. They should then return promptly to school after their appointments.
  • The HoL confirmed that SLTs in schools should ensure that all school policies are shared with supply teachers.
  • The HoL confirmed that Torfaen schools used electronic systems to monitor attendance; however a swipe card system would have budgetary implications.
  • The HoL stated that holidays were one of the main causes for an increase in unauthorised absences and this was a trend across Wales. She added that no Fixed Term Penalties (FTPs) had been issued in Torfaen to deal with this issue and the LEA and schools needed to get the message across to parents that missing school was detrimental to their child’s education.
  • The HoL acknowledged that some statistics did not show correlation between attendance and achievement; however she stated that this was down to the quality of teaching and learning, and engaging with pupils. She confirmed that the LEA  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Schools Standards Monitoring Sub Committee - Update Report / Is-bwyllgor Monitro Safonau Ysgolion - Adroddiad Diweddaru pdf icon PDF 336 KB


6.1       The Chair explained that the Sub Committee had not met recently due to issues around the availability of school data. Further information and clarification was expected from Welsh Government regarding this issue and therefore it was hoped that the Sub Committee would meet in early 2019.


6.2       Members noted the report.


Date of next meeting 6/2/19 / Dyddiad y cyfarfod nesaf 6/2/19


7.1       The date of the next meeting was noted. The Chair informed the Committee that they would be considering the EAS Business Plan and Educational Attainment (including achievement of vulnerable learners).


7.2       The meeting ended at 3.00pm.