Agenda item

Estyn Post Inspection Action Plan


(a)          That the Committee endorses the draft post inspection action plan for agreement by Cabinet; and


(b)          That the committee congratulated the team for the work which they have done.



            The Chief Officer (Education & Youth) presented the report which followed the Full Estyn Inspection held in June.  Following on from this she agreed to bring a report to committee focusing on how the Council would manage the recommendations within the portfolio and the report was accompanied by the draft Post Inspection Action Plan, which was currently in the process of consultation.  The Chief Officer went on to explain the business plans would be adjusted to reflect the priorities to enable delivery of the recommendations and outlined how the business plans had been split to ensure these actions were robust, easier to monitor and scrutinise at Committee.


            Once the Plan had been scrutinised it would be shared with Head Teachers for their comments and then presented to Cabinet for approval.  The Plan would be reviewed half- termly but as there were a number of actions and delivery dates it was proposed that a timescale of 12 – 18 months was envisaged for delivery of the core priorities with the Council Plan.


            Councillor Kevin Hughes referred to unauthorised absences from school.  The Chief Officer said it was the parents’ responsibility to ensure their children attended school and that all schools had structured attendance management policies in place.  A Charter was being produced outlining what parents and pupils can expect from schools and the local authority and what schools could expect from pupils and parents.  This would give schools more confidence to challenge parents and not authorise absences.


            Mr David Hytch asked questions on the remit of the Emotional Wellbeing Group; the management of school budgets, the work of the task group and the role of the section 151 officer.             The Chief Officer responded that the Emotional Wellbeing Group worked across portfolios and with external organisations to map the interventions, resources and funding available.   Welsh Government (WG) had recently announced additional funding to support Emotional Well Being and the Council had been requested to outline how the funding would be utilised to support pupils. 


            On budget deficits, the Chief Officer explained that a number of secondary schools were in deficit, some significantly.  The reasons were very complex and a financial risk to the Council.   She outlined the processes in place to support schools.  The Task Group included the Chief Executive, Leader and the Corporate Finance Manager as Chief Financial or Section 151 Officer. It had recently reviewed the guidance provided to schools which would be presented to the School Budget Forum in the New Year.  If a school had done all it could but still had a deficit there was support and scope for the Council to intervene if necessary to manage this.


            The Chair asked if there was scope to change the formula or inject more funding if the need arose.  The Chief Officer explained the School Budget Forum would be reviewing all three formulas with school budgets being protected but that schools had to absorb costs.  The Council was looking to WG for more support for school funding.


            Councillor Gladys Healey asked whether parents who had dropped off their child at school   but who had subsequently truanted   would be held responsible.   The Chief Officer explained that schools carry out registration in classes twice a day to ensure all pupils were present.  If a pupil was missing there were procedures in place: this was also a safeguarding issue.  On emotional welfare, Education Welfare Officers visit schools and are often aware of family issues and carry out home visits.  This would be reviewed via the Action Plan and schools were addressing this by not allowing pupils out of the school grounds at lunchtime.


            Mrs Lynn Bartlett said that there was a need to understand the data to establish where the issues were and asked if schools were approaching 95% attendance whether they were managing attendance well.   The Chief Officer concurred but said there were still some concerns. 


            The Chief Officer then provided information on the progress of the recommendations.


The resolution within the report were moved by Councillor Kevin Hughes and seconded by Councillor Gladys Healey.




(a)          That the Committee endorses the draft post inspection action plan for agreement by Cabinet; and


(b)          That the committee congratulated the team for the work which they have done.


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