Agenda item




[Note: Councillor B. W. Jones had earlier declared an interest in this item and remained in the meeting during the deliberation of the matter but did not vote].


Committee considered a report which provided an update on the current position in respect of recruitment and retention in schools. In this regard, the report set out statistics for the county, together with comparable figures at a national level pertaining to the recruitment and retention of teachers, the number of Welsh language medium teachers, the number of students applying for and completing Post Graduate Certificates in Welsh and English and an overview of the current leadership context.


In reviewing the report, a synopsis of the array of measures being explored to address the significant challenges was provided to the Committee in the context of professional development programmes, marketing campaigns and the recruitment process within the Council.  Detailed consideration was given to the overarching recommendations set out in the report.


A number of observations and queries were addressed, as follows:


In response to a query, the Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness reported that there was a national shortage of people interested in teaching as a career.  Reference was made to anecdotal evidence of teaching becoming a less desirable profession for a variety of reasons which needed to be addressed, including the remuneration for Teaching Assistant roles commensurable to the requirements of the role.  The Strategic Lead for School Effectiveness provided an assurance that a Consultative Group had been established within the Authority to review all aspects of the teaching structure and was comprised of a vertical slice of employees involved in the education of Carmarthenshire pupils.  It was acknowledged that more work could be done on a national level to tap into the wealth of experience available which would, in turn, contribute positively to the learning experience.


In response to a request for further information pertaining to the professional learning offer, the Committee was advised that the Carmarthenshire Leadership Academy had been co-constructed with school leaders and would be supported by a central online platform to assist schools in prioritising training requirements to areas of need.  An assurance was provided that additional support was available from the School Improvement Team to the smaller schools with limited extended leadership structure.


A suggestion was put forth to undertake a task and finish on school federations to explore the correlation between recruitment and budget implications within the context of the Modernising Education Programme.  The Chair advised that, if appropriate, the need for a task and finish group could be reviewed following delivery of the workshop on school federations to the Committee scheduled in the Spring 2024.  The Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language highlighted that the Cabinet was currently reviewing the school footprint as part of the Modernising Education Programme to address the significant challenges currently faced by schools.


Following a query on the impact of school building maintenance costs on school budgets the Director of Education and Children reported that information would be circulated to the Committee on the calculation of the funding formula and school budget allocation per head. It was confirmed that Governing Bodies were responsible for ensuring that the funding was utilised to meet the needs of their respective school.  It was however acknowledged that the funding did not meet all costs incurred by some schools, particularly in respect of repair and maintenance of buildings as the budget allocation was primarily based on pupil numbers. Initiatives such as the handy van service had been rolled out to primary schools in an endeavour to ease the burden of schools in this regard.





the report be noted;



information on the calculation of the funding formula and school budget allocation per head be circulated to the Committee;



the comments and observations made by the Committee in respect of the recruitment and retention in schools be noted by the Cabinet Member for Education and Welsh Language and the Director of Education and Children’s Services.


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