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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)
Lindsay Harvey, Corporate Director - Education and Family Support;
Cllr Smith, Cabinet Member for Education and Regeneration
Nicola Echanis, Head of Education and Early Help.
Mark Shephard, Chief Executive;
Robin Davies, Group Manager Business Strategy and Performance;
Tony Hart, Senior Transport Officer
Jonathan Parsons, Group Manager Planning & Development Services
The Group Manager Business Strategy and Performance introduced the Home to School report following a recent independent review by Peopletoo, and updated Members on the measures identified and proposals pertaining to the current status in Bridgend borough.
Members noted that no representatives from Social Services had been invited to attend despite the relevance of the subject matter. The Group Manager Business Strategy and Performance advised that officers had yet to assess whether the proposals contained in the review were feasible or indeed accepted, and this needed to be determined.
Members asked how many learners can be transported on one bus. The Group Manager Business Strategy and Performance advised that the review identified the opportunity to commission Social Services’ vehicles (mini-bus size) that would otherwise be sitting dormant to transport a learner home. He noted there would be an insignificant number of buses available, notwithstanding the benefit to some learners and the financial benefit to the Local Authority (LA).
Members noted a need to introduce walking routes in some wards, e.g. Penyfai, whilst conceding that primary school learners should be required to walk to school. The Group Manager Business Strategy and Performance responded that not all walking routes were identified as available and safe, and only those routes that legislation identified as safe would the LA consider to be available. Those that were unavailable historically would therefore remain so in accordance with legislation. This was reiterated by the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support, who also agreed with Members that the subject formed an important aspect to the curriculum and the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.
Members noted that in relation to Post-16 Education Transport, 1) the proposal to remove all transport provision for schools other than those protected (Welsh Medium and Faith schools) was discriminatory and was anticipated to have a detrimental effect on schools’ uptake; Faith schools were not identified in the report and a significant issue was the majority of Roman Catholics in Bridgend borough who lived in Maesteg and how would they be able to access schools such as the Bishop of Llandaff, and 2) the coordination of provision in schools will enable learners to attend a different school. How will transport be arranged and at whose cost? The Group Manager Business Strategy and Performance confirmed that the impact on Post-16 Transport was recognised and that Cabinet would have a full report available to them. It was further confirmed there was no proposal to remove Post-16 Transport from protected schools which, in Bridgend borough, equated to one Welsh Medium and one Faith. Further, the availability of transport can affect the decision to attend a Faith school. The Group Manager Business Strategy and Performance acknowledged this risk but confirmed the proposal was to protect Welsh Medium and Faith schools only and that it was for Cabinet to make the decision. The risk was further acknowledged by the Corporate Director – Education and Family Support. He pointed out that 1) Post-16 Education was non-statutory, 2) Post-16 ... view the full minutes text for item 108.
The Scrutiny Officer presented a report to Members which provided feedback from the previous meeting of SOSC2 in relation to the item on Prevention and Wellbeing, including Day Time Opportunities for discussion and approval.
Members accepted the feedback and assigned all to green status. They confirmed they did not wish to add any further comments.
The Scrutiny Officer presented a report to members of the items prioritised by the COSC, which included the next item delegated to the Committee.
Members agreed with the two items in respect of Transformation Grant and Remodelling Children’s Residential Services Project.
Members requested that, due to the cross-cutting impact of Learner Travel on Social Services and the Committee, a Combined Meeting of SOSC1 and SOSC 2 would be held to receive the reports on 9 March.
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.
The meeting closed at 11.30.