Education & Children Scrutiny Committee

One Day Investigative Scrutiny Review 2019/20


Federating schools in Carmarthenshire


Draft Planning & Scoping Document









At the ECS Scrutiny Committee Forward Work Programme meeting held on the 5th June, Members asked for a focused scrutiny review on the federating of schools within the LA. The ECS Scrutiny Committee held on the 4th July 2019 agreed in principle that the review would be held on the 6th November 2019.


The Education and Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee has a key role to play in monitoring services, development of key policies and strategies, as well as identifying areas for improvement or development within their remit.


Guidance for governing bodies and local authorities on the process of federating maintained schools in Wales was issued by the Welsh Government in May 2014. The guidance outlines the process in relation to governing body led federations and local authority led federations, and to date, this authority has not led the federating of schools. However, it is likely that the authority would lead schools to federate as part of future plans.





Elected & Co-opted Members


6 Members (Politically Balanced 3 PC, 1 LP, 1 U/NIG, 1 IG)


Advisors / Support Officers


Officers from the Department of Education and Children


Democratic Services


The main aims of the review



1.    To gather and consider evidence from staff, parents and governors of schools who are, or have been, involved in the federating process.

2.    To review the support currently available for federating schools.

3.    To identify good practice and common issues encountered.

4.    Assist Members in gaining a clear understanding of the issue, in order to identify possible best practice, evaluate current process and shape future process.

5.    To consider whether available support is sufficient to meet the needs of schools.


Scope of the study


The study will consider the views and experiences of four schools that have been through, or are going through, the federating process, and the viewpoint of officers involved in the process.


It will consider evidence from four federations – three formal and one informal), representing primary and secondary federations. Suggested federations  -

Swiss Valley and Dafen Primary Schools (Informal Federation)

Ponthenri, Carwe and Gwynfryn Primary Schools

Bryngwyn a Glan y Môr Secondary Schools

Trimsaran and Mynydd y Garreg Primary Schools


How it will contribute to achieving corporate / community objectives and priorities


1. Help to give every child the best start in life and improve their early  

    life experiences.


3. Support and improve progress and achievement for all learners.

    We will provide an excellent school in the right place by:

a.    Improving the condition, suitability and resource efficiency of our    

      schools network through the Modernising Education Plan.


Initial list of key officers, stakeholders, partners or other agencies to involve


·         Department of Education and Children’s Services Officers

·         School-based Staff

·         School Governors

·         Democratic Services

·         Other partners as identified during the review period


What information / documents are required to inform the work of the study?


Federation process of maintained schools in Wales- Guidance for governing bodies and local authorities (May 2014).


Estyn Thematic Report-   Federated schools - Common features of effective federation-


Scrutiny in Carmarthenshire – Scrutiny Committee and Task & Finish Group Participants Charter and guidance for participants. 



If any of the links listed above do not work, please contact the report author.


Timescale for completion of the review

September 2019

·         04/09/19

Scoping and Planning document to the ECS Scrutiny Committee

Selection of Members (6+CO)

Briefing meeting

·         Circulate invitation to relevant individuals/schools


October 2019

·         15/10/19 – Planning meeting if required


November 2019

·         06/11/19 – Scrutiny Inquiry

A briefing session for Members (45mins) on the process of federating

Morning session to focus on gathering evidence from schools perspective. A set of pre-agreed questions will be circulated to participants ahead of the meeting. Participants who do not wish to attend can submit a response in writing.

Afternoon session to focus on DECS current practice and review of evidence.

·         25/11/19 – Review session


December/January 2019/20

·         Draft report and findings to ECS Scrutiny Committee 19/12/19 – 23/01/19


March 2020

·        11/03/19 Final report to ECS Scrutiny Committee