Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall - County Hall. View directions
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To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillors M Barnes, L George, D Jones, K Lauren-Parry and P Roberts, Parent Governor Representatives N Bufton and A Davies.
County Councillors M Alexander (Portfolio Holder for Education) and A Davies (Portfolio Holder for Finance)
Officers in attendance: M Evans (Senior Manager Schools Transformation), I Macdonald (Passenger Transport Operations Officer), A Wozencraft (Principal Officer Admissions and Transport), S Anderson (ALN Manager) and E Patterson (Scrutiny Officer)
In the absence of the Chair and Vice Chair, County Councillor B Davies was elected Chair for the meeting
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members.
The following County Councillors declared personal interests in having children or grandchildren in schools in Powys or as LEA Governors:
County Councillors G Breeze, S C Davies, D O Evans, G Jones, D Jones-Poston, S McNicholas E Roderick, D Selby and R G Thomas
Declarations of Party Whips
To receive disclosures of prohibited party whips which a Member has been given in relation to the meeting in accordance with Section 78(3) of the Local Government Measure 2011.
(NB: Members are reminded that under Section 78 Members having been given a prohibited party whip cannot vote on a matter before the Committee.)
There were no declarations of party whips.
To undertake pre-Cabinet scrutiny of the Home to School/College Transport Policy.
This item was considered at scrutiny on the 13th March 2018 and Cabinet on the 10th April 2018. It was consulted on between May and July 2018. This Policy is due for consideration at Cabinet on 18th September 2018.
The following documents are attached:
· Draft Cabinet Report 18th September 2018
· Appendix A – Consultation summary
· Appendix B – Home to School Transport Policy consultation version
· Appendix C – Home to School Transport Policy post consultation version
· Appendix D – Impact Assessment – Home to School Transport Policy 2018
· Scrutiny observations of 13th March 2018
· Home to School Transport Policy
o Appendix A – Consultation Summary Report
o Appendix B - Home to School Transport Policy – Consultation
o Appendix C - Home to School Transport Policy – post consultation version
o Appendix D – Impact Assessment
· ESG Scrutiny Observations on Home to School Transport Policy – March 2018
· Pre consultation scrutiny observations had been considered by Cabinet on 13 March 2018
· The Policy under consideration had been prepared post consultation and would be considered by Cabinet on 18 September 2018
· The existing Policy had been in place since 2011 and was subject to legislative changes
· The key changes related to qualifying distances, suitable schools, catchment schools, ALN and a proposal to charge for Post 16 education
· It was acknowledged that further work would need to be undertaken in relation to charging for Post 16 and transport to Welsh medium schools. A further report on these issues would be available during the spring term for consideration.
· 300 responses to the consultation plus a further 15 emails had been received
· Members had thought that the consultation was not significantly robust either in terms of numbers of responses or geographical spread
· Further clarity was needed regarding definitions of suitable school or catchment school
· The method by which the distance to the nearest school was calculated was not clear – was this by way of a bus route, main road, footpath etc
· The Committee were of the opinion that the Policy failed to clarify points and could confuse rather than assist parents
· It was not possible to judge the impact on either parents or the Authority as no financial analysis had been provided
· Members discussed whether there should be further consultation on the amended Policy - if Cabinet approve the Policy at their meeting in September, it is proposed that implementation will take place on 1 September 2019. Further reports relating to language provision and Post 16 will be considered in the New Year.
· Whilst acknowledging that further reports would be forthcoming consideration must be given to definitions of schools in terms of language provision. It was noted that the Welsh Language Commission had commented on the contradiction between the Authority’s ambition and the transport policy. Equality was essential and this was not currently happening.
· Further information was requested regarding patterns of journey times
· Comment was made that uncertainty in transport contracts did not allow contractors to invest in appropriate vehicles which may impact upon health and safety standards. New contracts were being let on a 5 – 7 year basis with a 12 week notice period. A further report on contracts was requested.
· Provision of Post 16 was under review and this should be considered holistically with the transport review. Many Powys students study outside of the county and a wider view should be taken to retain young people within the county.
· Although the Policy states that journey times will be a maximum of 1 hour for secondary pupils and 45 minutes for primary ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
To provide Education Updates on the following projects:
· Additional Learning Needs Transformation Programme 2018-2021
· Digital Learning
· Additional Learning Needs Transformation Programme 2018-2021
· Digital Learning Project – Scope Brief
· An overview of the Transformation Programme was given
· A Programme Manager and Programme Officer have been appointed and are expected to take up post in late September 2018
· Two stakeholder events took place in May which had been well attended by professionals. Members asked what officers had learned from these events. Although nothing new had been brought to officers’ attention, the events had been appreciated as an opportunity to engage.
· The programme was moving into Phase 4 which had 8 work streams – the first six of which are aligned to the Welsh Government:
o Individual Development Plans (IDP)
o Avoiding disagreements
o 0-5 years of age
o 16-25 years of age
o Parental Engagement
o Workforce Development
o Specialist Centres
o Pupil Referral Units/Alternative Learning
· The Welsh Government Advisor has commented favourably on progress to date and the Powys model will be used as a model of good practice
· The Committee questioned what changes would be visible in schools – the biggest change was in the age range which would be extended from 0 – 25 years of age from the current 5 to 16 years of age. The Welsh Government’s new Code of Practice will be statutory. Within schools there will be a move away from statements to Individual Development Plans. School Action and School Action+ will no longer exist. The Welsh Government have still to issue guidance on how this will be implemented and further action is pending awaiting receipt of this guidance.
· Schools were to be responsible for working with Health Authorities which had raised some concerns – Members were informed that the Welsh Government are to ensure that each Health Authority will employ a Designated Education Officer who would have oversight. The most appropriate professional working with a young person will lead on their IDP but it is still unclear how this will be implemented
· It had been reported that money had been allocated to progress the review and Members sought clarity on how much had been allocated to Powys. No money had been allocated to date.
· Would there be one ALN Co-ordinator per authority or cluster or region? Each school currently has an ALN Co-ordinator but they do not have to be a qualified teacher. The role will become statutory under the new Code of Practice and will have to be a qualified teacher. There will be further discussions on age ranges and whether there may be a consortium or cluster ALNCo for 3yr+ settings. These costs will be met from schools delegated budgets and not central support services. This element is being addressed through the Fair Funding Formula Review that is currently taking place.
· The ALN Manager confirmed that IDPs were on track and that Powys was further ahead in the process than other authorities
· Members questioned how effective collaboration was – the Welsh Government have made it clear that all bodies taking part must collaborate and are implementing ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To receive a verbal update from the Chair of Learning, Skills and Economy Scrutiny Committee.
There was no Chair’s briefing in the absence of the Chair.
Forthcoming dates for this Committee are:
· 14th September 2018
· 1st October 2018
In addition, two further dates have been arranged where briefings for scrutiny members on education matters will take place. These will be held on:
· 19th September 2018 – 10.00am
· 25th September 2018 – 10.00am
It was noted that there would be an additional meeting on Wednesday 29 August 2018 at 10 am to consider the Fair Funding Formula.
Further meetings would be held on 14 September and 1 October 2018.
Briefing meetings will be held on 19 and 25 September 2018 at 10am – it is hoped that these will be run via Skype