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Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008 (including whipping declarations)
Councillor Huw David - Leader of Council
Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell – Cabinet Member Education
Lindsay Harvey - Corporate Director – Education and Family Support
Nicola Echanis - Head of Education and Family Support
Michelle Hatcher – Group Manager Learner Support
Becca Avci – Welsh in Education Strategic Plan Co-Ordinator
Robin Davies – Group Manager, Business Support
Gaynor Thomas - School Programme Manager
Alix Howells - Consultation, Engagement and Equalities Manager
Stephanie Thomas - Early Years and Childcare Manager
Bethan Davies – Childcare Team Manager
Christopher Newcombe –- Central South Consortium
Nicola Williams – Headteacher, Afon Y Felin Primary School
Catrin Coulthard – Headteacher, Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Calon Y Cymoedd
Meurig Jones – Headteacher, Ysgol Gyfun Gymraeg Llangynwyd
Helen Jones – Headteacher, Maesteg School
The Cabinet Member for Education and the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support made opening remarks.
The Group Manager - Learner Support briefly presented the report, the purpose of which was to update the Committee as to the implementation and the progress of the Welsh in Education Strategic Plan, a 10 year plan due to end in 2032.
The Chairperson thanked the Cabinet Member and Officers and Members discussed the following:
· Whether Councillors could observe the Welsh Education Forum (WEF).
· The School Improvement Group, which focussed on improving the standards in all Bridgend schools in line with WESP which was attended by the Chair of SOSC 1 providing a link from the Committee
· The availability and quality of resources for education in Welsh, the finances to source required textbooks and, given the pressure on budgets, the significant investment in digital information available by way of “one to one” chrome book availability within the Welsh Medium schools and further resources available within the online platform via Hwb.
· The outcome of the consultation, which was widely distributed, feedback from members of the WEF and amendments made, the measures undertaken to ensure that Estyn’s requirements were met including: revisiting the membership of WEF, establishing subgroups to ensure a wider reach, steps taken, and information on the work completed had been shared with subgroups.
· The aims and delivery timescale of the action plan to be submitted to Welsh Government (WG) on 16 December 2022 which was a comprehensive 5 year plan generated by all stakeholders and delivery partners and would be shared as soon as approval was granted.
· The financial mechanisms that will be explored, additional funding received by local authorities from the WG following a commitment to implement WESP including the funding for the 4 hubs, modernisation of schools and further investments through negotiations with WG.
· Catchment areas for Welsh Medium Schools, current legislation not allowing for cross county catchment, and consideration of a Welsh seedling school.
· Parents discontinuing children’s education in the medium of Welsh from nursery to primary and the creation of a Welsh Medium seedling school.
· Variability in transition rates, the location of schools being a factor, opening childcare hubs in Bro Ogwr and the seedling school to facilitate the transition, and a new development in Bettws and Blackmill being created to assist.
· Fewer children joining Welsh Medium secondary school because their families are not Welsh Speakers and parents sending children to Welsh Medium primary schools due to proximity, and capacity within the English medium schools.
· Praise for quality of Welsh Medium education, the quality of facilities, costs of refurbishment and maintenance work for schools in the borough, 21st Century Schools modernisation and plans to move Llangynwyd to a more up to date facility.
· The sufficiency in relation to the expected growth regarding relocating Ysgol Bro Ogwr and increasing the pupil numbers, the Pupil Admission Number in the 10 year WESP, further plans to increase provision in the east of the Borough and a significant expansion at Bro ... view the full minutes text for item 2.
The Scrutiny Officer presented the Committee with the Forward Work Programme (FWP) in Appendix A for discussion and consideration, requested any specific information the Committee identified to be included in the items for the next two meetings, including invitees they wished to attend, requested the Committee to identify any further items for consideration on the FWP having regard to the selection criteria in paragraph 4.3, asked the Committee to note the Recommendations Monitoring Action Sheet to track responses to the Committee’s recommendations made at previous meeting in Appendix B and asked the Committee to note that the FWP and Recommendations Monitoring Action Sheet for the Committee would be reported to the next meeting of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Members discussed the consistent budget pressure due to the Authority’s generous home to school transport offer and agreed that it would likely be considered in more detail during Medium Term Financial Strategy and budget discussions.
The Committee requested that the following item be considered for addition to the 2023-24 Annual Forward Programme at the next Scrutiny Planning Meeting for SOSC 1:
- The Action Plan relating to the 5-year WESP to include performance
monitoring and risk management. Members requested that schools who
have begun implementation of the WESP be invited to discuss their
Members requested that English and Welsh-medium schools be included in the scope of the Catchment Areas Information Report to be provided.
There were no further items identified for consideration on the FWP having regard to the selection criteria in paragraph 4.3, and this could be revisited at the next meeting.
There were no requests to include specific information in the item for the next meeting.
RESOLVED: That the Committee approved the FWP in Appendix A,
subject to the incorporation of the above requests, noted
the Recommendations Monitoring Action Sheet in
Appendix B and noted that the FWP, Recommendations
Monitoring Action Sheet and any updates from the
Committee would be reported to the next meeting of COSC.
To consider any item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in
accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.