Agenda and minutes

Education & Children Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 6th June, 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Chamber, County Hall, Carmarthen, SA31 1JP. View directions

Contact: Llinos Jenkins  01267 224088

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors J.Jenkins and S. Najmi.

2.

DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL INTEREST INCLUDING ANY PARTY WHIPS ISSUED IN RELATION TO ANY AGENDA ITEM.

Minutes:

The following Declarations of Interest were received :

 

Councillor

Minute Item(s)

Nature of Interest

G. Jones

5. Music Service Update

Wife works in the Education Department

D. Jones

5. Music Service Update

Children are beneficiaries of the Music Service.

 

 

 

There were no declarations of prohibited party whips.

 

3.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS (NONE RECEIVED)

Minutes:

The Chair advised that no public questions had been received.

 

4.

ADDITIONAL LEARNING NEEDS - TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMME UPDATE pdf icon PDF 507 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Education Services gave an overview of the report and drew Members’ attention to the three overarching aims of the Additional Learning Needs and Education Tribunal (Wales) Bill and the six areas of focus (noted on pages 9 and 10 of the report).

 

The following observations/questions were raised on the report:

 

Members noted that the timeline within the report was quite tight and asked whether the department was confident that they could undertake the work required within the timescale. The Additional Needs Provision Manager advised that a significant amount of work had been done in raising awareness, partnership working specifically in relation to Person Centred Planning (PCP), Individual Development Plans and Post 16 Transition. The department had also identified PCP Champions to lead on PCP training, which should ensure that by the end of 2020 all Primary and Secondary Schools will have a PCP Coach. It was also noted that the authority had lead the initial pilot for Individual Development Plans (IDPs) which was based at Ysgol Glan y Mor and its feeder schools, and as a result most schools are familiar with the principle of PCPs and IDPs. The Additional Needs Provision Manager advised that she was confident that the work required was going well.

 

In response to a question on the partnership with Hywel Dda University Health Board (HDUHB) the Director of Education and Children’s Services advised that the six local authorities within HDUHB working with a Designated Clinical Lead Officer (DECLO) to support the changes. Although concerns have been raised in relation to the capacity of the Health Board to provide a clinician to attend all school visits, the Code of Practice within the Bill clearly sets out what is expected of each Health Board and their duty in relation to providing what is required. The Director of Education and Children’s Services further advised that in most circumstances the authority valued the advice of the Health Board over the structured formal reporting, noting that it could take up to 26 weeks to develop an IDP. However, the presence of the right people e.g. Speech and Language Therapists etc. at planning meetings was encouraging. He also acknowledged that more complex cases were revised annually, during which process there was a need for a more formal approach. The Additional Needs Provision Manager advised that the Health Board has a Multi-Agency Steering Group which local authorities can work with, should the need arise.

 

Members asked for clarification on the consultation approaches noted in section 5(ii) of the report and asked for further information. The Additional Needs Provision Manager advised that the priorities were to build good partnerships between parents and settings in order to support the rights of the child, and these priorities should be communicated clearly to parents so that they can understand what to expect. The advertised workshops were well attended and links with the inclusion department has improved with the use of Family Liaison Officers. The Director of Education and Children’s Services noted that workshops  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

MUSIC SERVICE UPDATE: MAY/JUNE 2019 pdf icon PDF 418 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Curriculum and Wellbeing gave an overview of the report and drew members’ attention to the recent and ongoing achievements of the Music Service.

 

The following observations/questions were raised on the report:

 

In answer to a question on the shortfall which was noted in the report as having reduced over previous years, the Head of Curriculum and Wellbeing advised that the previous year’s shortfall was £147,000 and could be considered as related to the core funding element of the service’s finances.

 

Members asked for further information in relation to the integration of the Music Service within the new curriculum and its effect on future provision. The Music Service Coordinator advised that some guidance had already been released and many of the areas covered by Expressive Arts are already in place, however it was unclear whether further guidance would be given by the Welsh Government. The Head of Curriculum and Wellbeing advised that there are a few fields within Expressive Arts that require cross subject skills. Several local authorities have placed Music within Expressive Arts, possibly in order to attract more grant funding, others have included Music within Humanities. It was noted that each of these models have potential and risk attached, however if further guidance is received from Welsh Government the situation could be very different in six to nine months. It was also noted that the Welsh Government were withholding funding to employ a consultancy to improve provision across Wales, with a remit to improve access and to look at existing best practice, this could further shape the future of the service.

 

Whilst acknowledging the confines of the budget, Members asked for clarification on costs passed on to pupils and the advice given to schools in relation to costs. The Head of Curriculum and Wellbeing advised that pupils are charged varying amounts e.g. £30 per term, which included ensembles and lessons. Pupils who qualify for Free Schools Meals (FSM) and pupils who are studying towards GCSE or A Level Music are not charged. However, some schools do not pass on charges to pupils. The Music Service Coordinator acknowledged that schools could source music lessons at a lower rate from external sources, but it would not include ensemble, orchestra and residential courses. Through charging for music lessons schools and the service has seen an improvement in attendance, practice and development. The Director of Education and Children’s Services advised that the decision to pass on charges, or not, was a matter for each Governing Body; they can be advised by the Music Service but the decision lies with each individual school. £86,289 was made available by the Welsh Government to support and enhance music provision within any one of nine possible areas, of which FSM Support was one area. The Director acknowledged that schools could benefit from clearer guidance in relation to charges and their application.

 

Members asked whether anything further could be done to encourage participation. The Head of Curriculum and Wellbeing advised that there already programmes in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

EXPLANATION FOR NON-SUBMISSION OF SCRUTINY REPORT pdf icon PDF 29 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the reasons for the non-submission of the following report:-

 

-  Fostering Annual Report

 

RESOLVED that the information should be circulated to members outside of the committee process.

 

7.

FORTHCOMING ITEMS pdf icon PDF 191 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered the list of forthcoming items and agreed that the items should be presented to the next meeting.

 

With reference to the Digital Schools Strategy Update, Members requested that the following information be included within, or noted alongside the report –

 

- How the strategy is funded, and what is the level of capital expenditure

- Training is available for teachers

-  Schools succeeding in this area and schools which are less progressive in their development

- The level of support given to school governors to understand this agenda

- The support available from the department to schools that do not have the required infrastructure. Is this just a matter for schools in rural areas?

- The strategy in relation to the changes to the new curriculum

 

Members also reviewed the decision of the committee to only circulate the Agenda for the meeting electronically, and agreed that all future meetings would be paperless – acknowledging that all Council meetings would be paperless from the 2nd of September 2019.

 

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that

 

7.1 - the list of forthcoming items to be considered at the next scheduled

meeting to be held on 4th July 2019, be agreed

7.2 – all future meetings of the Education and Children Scrutiny Committee should be paperless