Issue - meetings
Regional School Effectiveness and Improvement Service (GwE)
(a) That the presentation on supporting the reform journey be noted; and
(b) That the Committee accepts the offer of a workshop in the Autumn.
The Interim Chief Officer (Education & Youth) introduced the update from GwE including the annual report 2017/18 identifying strengths in standards, provision and leadership, along with areas for improvement and development.
The Committee welcomed GwE representatives Arwyn Thomas, Managing Director and Alwyn Jones, Assistant Director, who gave a presentation covering the following:
· Wales Reform Journey
· Toward a self improving school system
During the presentation, information was shared on preparations for education reform involving the development of a new curriculum with a local rather than national focus and culture shift to support rather than challenge schools. An offer was made to deliver a workshop to Members in the Autumn to provide clarity on the next steps to help understanding of the changes ahead.
In response to a question from Councillor Cunningham on governance arrangements, the Managing Director said that regional and local accountability was in place through the GwE joint committee (comprising representatives from the six local authorities) and regular meetings between GwE representatives and the six Overview & Scrutiny committees. He highlighted the importance of effective communication channels to ensure that schools received adequate support and referred to business plans detailing the offer for each local authority in the region.
Rebecca Stark asked about timescales to show how the eight elements of education reform would come together. The Managing Director said that milestones were set for the initial two year period and a phased approach would be taken to prepare for the reforms in discussion with Welsh Government (WG). Timescales would be shared via a cluster approach with the aim of each partner reaching the same stage simultaneously. The Interim Chief Officer said that timelines published by WG could be made available to Members and she provided clarification on other timelines that were in the remit of local authorities. In response to concerns about early availability of resources, the Managing Director acknowledged that some materials were slow in emerging and that the preparations would help to achieve more stability in the system. Rebecca Stark also spoke about the need for funding to help schools implement the changes, particularly in the secondary sector. The Managing Director said that representations were being made to WG for funding to support schools in becoming reform ready and he referred to a potential increase in teacher training days to assist schools. The Interim Chief Officer spoke in support of this approach due to the pressures already absorbed by schools and she said there was a degree of optimism for additional funding from the UK Government.
Lynn Bartlett welcomed the focus on support for schools but said that funding was required to support school collaboration. The Managing Director spoke about the importance of directing funding to clusters to enable those schools to make their own key decisions. In response to further comments, he spoke about an increased focus on wellbeing as part of the Curriculum Development element.
Following praise by Councillor Heesom for the vision behind the reforms, the Managing Director said that this was ... view the full minutes text for item 7