Education Improvement & Modernisation Strategy
- Meeting of Lifelong Learning OSC - Expired 07/05/15, Thursday, 19th June, 2014 2.00 pm (Item 7.)
- View the declarations of interest for item 7.
- View the background to item 7.
That the report be noted.
The Chief Officer (Education and Youth) introduced a report to update members on the draft Education Improvement and Modernisation Strategy and how it supports the Council Plan 2014-15 for “Modernised and High Performing Education”. He provided background information and advised that the priorities for planning across all phases of education in 2014-15 were as detailed in the report.
The Chairman invited members to consider the individual areas for improvement as detailed in the Education Improvement Modernisation Strategy.
Mr. David Hytch referred to the key targets and outcomes for the Authority in relation to the outcomes for Mathematics, English, and Welsh first language and queried the outcome for KS4 which appeared lower than the outcomes for KS2 and 3. In his response the Chief Officer referred to the Annual Performance Letter of the Welsh Audit Office which was presented to Cabinet on 17 June 2014. He advised that the letter confirmed that GCSE outcomes in Flintshire remained the highest in Wales and also that there was an improvement in performance of primary schools across Flintshire. The Welsh Audit Office acknowledged that despite relatively low levels of funding, education in Flintshire continued to progress.
During discussion members put forward the following questions, comments and observations on the Education Services Action Plans:
Plan 4: Improving the preparation of young people for the work place.
Councillor Paul Shotton requested more information about the financial support provided by the 14/19 Network Grant.
Plan 5: Continuing the implementation of 21st Century Schools programme
Councillor Marion Bateman referred to the risk that the real costs of the 21st Century Schools Programme may not be achievable within budget. The Chief Officer explained that full and final costings would be agreed with contractors prior to the Authority agreeing to sign-off and submit to the Welsh Government (WG). Within the final business case efficiencies would be identified which would not be a detriment to learners in Flintshire.
During discussion the Chief Officer took the opportunity to give a verbal update on the Statutory Notices issued in relation to the Croft Nursery, Queensferry Primary School and St. Ethelwold’s Primary School. He advised that a Ministerial decision had been received to support the closure of the Croft Nursery and the expansion of the age range for Queensferry Primary and St. Ethelwold’s Primary schools.
The Chief Officer reported that staff at the Croft Nursery would be moving to Queensferry Primary or St. Ethelwold’s Primary schools in the Autumn term to assist during the transition period. Parents and carers had been asked to express a second preference to attend either Queensferry Primary or St. Ethelwold’s Primary schools and all preferences had been accommodated. Members were informed that the Croft Nursery building would be utilised for the expansion of the Flying Start Programme. The Chief Officer advised that the remaining Statutory Notices should be resolved before the Summer recess.
Plan 6: Continuing to implement the School Modernisation Strategy including review of assets and Primary and Secondary School Organisation.
The Chairman requested that in future plans an evaluation of outcomes at the 6th Form Hub be included as an action. The Chief Officer confirmed that all Post 16 provision would be subject to the annual planning and review cycle required by the WG.
Plan 8: Raising Standard through effective use of new technologies.
The Chief Officer responded to the queries raised by Councillor Nancy Matthews and advised that whilst Officers were not able to be present at every consortia meeting they continued to provide advice and support on the work in progress between consortia.
Plan 9: Ensuring best quality educational support during implementation of the national model for regional working.
Councillor Stella Jones referred to the risk that the current capacity of the Authority’s Officers to support schools was limited, particularly in the Primary phase. She also expressed concern that primary schools were dissatisfied with the support provided by GwE. Officers acknowledged the comments made and explained that there was further work to be undertaken to improve the capacity of support provided by Officers across the Primary sector.
Councillor Marion Bateman expressed concerns about long term sickness absence within GwE and how this impacted on the support provided for Primary schools. The Chief Officer agreed to look into the specific matter raised by Councillor Bateman and provide a response to her following the meeting.
In response to a suggestion made by Councillor Paul Shotton, the Chief Officer proposed that Mr. Ashleigh Jones, Principal Officer GwE, be invited to attend a future meeting of the Committee to address members concerns around support for Primary schools.
That the report be noted.
- Education Improvement & Modernisation Strategy, item 7. PDF 33 KB
- Enc. 1 for Education Improvement & Modernisation Strategy, item 7. PDF 141 KB