The Committee received for consideration the Draft Divisional Service Delivery Plans relevant to the Education and Children’s Services directorate for 2023/24 as follows:
The Draft Divisional Service Delivery Plans set out the strategic actions and measures to be implemented within each Division in order for the Council to progress with its well-being objectives, thematic priorities and service priorities. In this regard, the Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language referred to the consultation session held on 27 January 2023 which provided an opportunity for Members to provide feedback on the Corporate Strategy, which had subsequently been approved by the Council at its meeting on 01 March 2023.
In terms of the Children’s Services Service Delivery Plan it was acknowledged that the elements relevant to the Education, Young People and Wels Language Scrutiny Committee related to the following areas:
· Schools Safeguarding and Attendance
· Educational Psychology
· Play Sufficiency Assessment
The issues/observations raised by the Committee were addressed as follows:-
In view of the new curriculum, a query was raised in respect of the support mechanisms in place to assist schools with the requirement to maintain systematic records to report progress and to enable reflective practice. The Director of Education and Children’s Services explained that regular measures were in place for the current year pending Welsh Government’s development of a new data environment. An assurance was provided that the Authority, together with Partneriaeth, were responding to the new requirements for schools to support and evidence the skills progression of individual learners in accordance with the 6 areas of learning and experience, and this system would be further strengthened and applied consistently amongst school clusters.
Members welcomed the importance placed on the music service for Carmarthenshire which was considered to be an integral service to the creative element of the new curriculum. The Director of Education and Children’s Service emphasised that additional funding had been received to enable the Authority to continue with the service provision and it was recognised that Authority was in a positive position to have an in-house music provision which was responsive to the needs of pupils and communities. The Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness reported that the Authority led its own National plan for music to ensure that the learning offer for music reached as many learners as possible.
Furthermore, the Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness was delighted to report that the music service would be sharing digital advancements at the Bett Conference 2023 by way of showcasing a ‘soundtrap’ package which combined music and digital experiences developed in collaboration with schools in America. In response to a request, it was agreed that a demonstration and general update would be offered to members in due course.
In response to a query, it was confirmed to the Committee that he high number of headteachers scheduled to retire imminently presented a risk to the Authority, however the Director of Education and Children’s Services was pleased to note that several high-quality appointments had been made recently in line with the Authority’s succession planning arrangements and efforts were ongoing to promote Carmarthenshire Council as an employer of choice.
RESOLVED that the Draft Divisional Service Delivery Plans relevant to the Education and Children’s Services directorate for 2023/24 be endorsed and referred to the Cabinet for consideration.