Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall. View directions
Contact: Elizabeth Patterson
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillors B Davies and S Davies and Dr A Clark (Head of Schools). County Councillor P Roberts apologised for his late arrival joining the meeting at 11.00am.
County Councillor M Alexander (Portfolio Holder for Learning and Welsh Language), E Towns (Senior Challenge Advisor), L Lovell (Senior Challenge Advisor) and E Patterson (Scrutiny Officer).
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members.
No declarations of interest were received.
Declarations of Party Whip
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.)
No declarations of party whip were received.
To authorise the Chair to sign the minutes of the following meeting(s) as a correct record:
· 28th March 2019
The minutes of the meeting held on 28th March 2019 will be approved at the next meeting of committee.
To undertake performance review scrutiny of the Powys Schools categorisation 2019 together with plans for the future regarding accountability measures. Documents provided:
· Scrutiny briefing
· Categorisation Powys Schools
· Categorisation across ERW region
· Draft evaluation and improvement (accountability) arrangements for Wales
The Senior Challenge Advisors presented a report on the national categorisation of Powys schools (copy attached with signed minutes).
Categorisation is a national two stage process whereby schools are assessed by Challenge Advisors using 17 criteria to assess their capacity to improve and are placed into one of four categories. A and B schools can demonstrate an ability to self-improve, C and D schools need additional support to improve. The second stage indicates how many days support a school needs to improve and is banded as follows:
Green - 4 days support
Yellow - 10 days support
Amber - 15 days support
Red - 25 days support
Nationally there has been a focus on the colour of categorised schools with red schools perceived as poor rather than schools that need additional support.
Overall there has been an increase in schools most able to self-improve from 31 to 34 schools (36%) and there is the highest number of schools in the category A and B (71%). There are then fewer schools in category C and D with 3 schools in category D.
There has been more improvement in the primary sector than the secondary sector.
There are 16 schools in category C of which there are 11 with a new or acting head. Any school with a new or acting head is immediately assessed as need an additional 10 days of support which places it in the amber category.
The Portfolio Holder observed that this demonstrated a weakness where an excellent school may have new or acting head teacher and be reported as amber which is not publicly perceived positively which is quite different from a school that is struggling.
Does the schools service know which position the amber schools in Powys are?
Yes. It is necessary to provide additional support to new and acting head teachers to secure leadership.
Can scrutiny be provided with information regarding the movement of schools between categories?
This can be provided.
The Portfolio Holder observed that within the category of self-improving schools there were some that were easier to manage than others. The School Organisation Policy expects head teachers to be heads of more than one school so that their skills can be shared across more schools.
The Senior Challenge Advisor confirmed that Powys has the highest amount of new and acting heads across the ERW region (for example Swansea and Neath Port Talbot areas have no executive or acting head teachers) however, there have been a number of Powys head teachers successfully completing their NPQH this year and therefore the picture may look different next year. There is an area divide with schools in south Powys having multiple applicants for headships but some schools in north Powys having no applicants at all. Overall there are more amber schools in north Powys. The requirement in Wales for head teachers to have the NPQH is a particular problem in Powys where as it is not possible to attract from across the long border with England. To ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
To receive a verbal update from the Chair of the Learning and Skills Scrutiny Committee.
This item was deferred.
To consider the scrutiny work programme.
The work programme was noted.