Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, The Rhadyr, Usk, NP15 1GA

Contact: Democratic Services 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


Item 5: EAS Business Plan 2019-20 – County Councillor T. Thomas declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest as a Governor of Ysgol Gymraeg Y Fenni.


Public Open Forum


No members of the public were present.


Reconfiguration of the Sensory and Communication Support Service (SENCOM): Roger Thurlbeck, Head of SENCOM pdf icon PDF 177 KB


The Select Committee welcomed Roger Thurlbeck, Head of Sensory and Communication Support Service (SENCOM) and thanked him for providing information on the service and the update that Newport City Council (NCC) has agreed to defer withdrawal for 12 months. Questions and comments were invited as follows:


Member Scrutiny:

·         The opinion was expressed that the best outcome would be for NCC to remain in the service.  The Chair explained that NCC’s Leader had responded to letters that its original position was that an equivalent service could be delivered at less cost to benefit young people in Newport by running its own service.

·         A Member questioned the impact on staff of a deferment and was informed that if that was the case, the original staffing complement of 46 staff across three teams would continue, the change management process would be deferred and the TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings and Protection of Employment) process would stop.

·         County Councillor A. Watts, attending as a guest, asked what the day to day service would be if the changes occurred.  Considering the authority’s funding share, it was asked if there was an opportunity to seek new partners, commenting that Bristol City Council has an excellent service.  It was responded that it is intended to continue with the same advice, support and teaching input by looking at the data for the remaining authorities, trends and time required to retain the current range of skills and experience and to balance the budget. A staffing structure was developed using this information.  Potentially 16 staff would be lost and families would experience changes in personnel for which a transition process would be established.


Concern was expressed about longer term resilience.  Professional partnerships are always welcomed but initially some time will be necessary to embed the new structure before exploring opportunities. The Chair commented that education is devolved and delivered by Welsh Government and Welsh local authorities and provided assurance that there is considerable expertise within Wales.  Councillor Watts observed that courses for mandatory qualifications are only available in England and Scotland. 

·         A Member raised concerns that there should be no reduction in time allocated to students.  It was responded that students have different levels of need that impact on their learning and so training, support and communication with schools has been reviewed to provide service levels according to need. 


The Cabinet Member empathised with staff, particularly in respect of impact on their morale and wellbeing.  He emphasised the authority’s commitment to the Gwent-wide service and welcomed the deferment of withdrawal by NCC.  He acknowledged the uncertainties for staff, parents and children.  An urgent meeting with NCC has been requested to provide reassurance for staff and families.


Mounton House: Proposed Change to Funding Formula pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Additional documents:



The purpose of this report is to seek the view of the CYP Select members regarding the consultation on the proposed changes to the funding formula for Mounton House Special School.


Key issues:


1. The funding formula for schools is regularly reviewed for schools to ensure that the funds are distributed fairly.

2. The consultation document attached in appendix 1 identifies the issues with the current formula and the reasons to make the changes.

3. The consultation document details the list of consultees this includes all elected members.

4. The consultation period is for 4 weeks and closes on 22nd February 2019 (noon).

5. The Headteacher has met with the CYP finance manager to discuss the proposal.

3.6 At the time of writing this paper no responses have been received, however all responses up to the closing date will be included in the cabinet paper for the meeting on 6th March 2019.


Member Scrutiny:

The Children and Young People Finance Manager presented the report seeking the views of the Select Committee on proposals to alter the funding formula for Mounton House Special School. Following presentation of the report, questions and comments were invited.  (Members were informed that these would be added as consultation feedback).


·         A Select Committee Member supported making the funding formula appropriate to the needs and requirements of schools but expressed concern that changing the formula would effectively remove £275,000 from the Education budget.  It was accepted that there is a gap between the funding received by the authority and the costs of services; Children and Young People Directorate have to contribute towards this and various options have been considered. Formula funding of school budgets is based on pupil numbers; these have reduced at the school.

·         In response to a query, it was confirmed that a formal response from the Governing Body has not yet been received. 

·         A Select Committee Member, in response to a question, was informed that income from out of county pupils is held centrally and this is has been reported as a budget pressure as numbers have reduced. 

·         Seeking clarification of the total funding, a Select Committee Member was informed that the school received funding of £1,559,000, centrally, £756,000 is recouped from other authorities leaving the net running costs of the school as £803,000.  £275,000 for SEBD (Social Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties) has been removed from the funding as explained in the consultation report.  It is anticipated that the out of county pupil income will be reducing to £350,000 due to a reduction in admissions.

·         A Member expressed surprise that the number of pupils in the school is reducing and queried if some pupils were being retained in mainstream schools with support.  The Chief Officer explained that there had been a steady decline, adding that the restrictive profile of the school plus the impact of neighbouring authorities making their own provision is affecting admissions numbers.  He confirmed that proactivity on inclusion is encouraged.



EAS Business Plan: Helen Power, EAS pdf icon PDF 510 KB

Additional documents:



This report asks for members to consider the full contents of the draft EAS Business Plan 2019-2020 and the Local Authority Annex 2019-2020, as part of the regional consultation process.  Through this activity members will ensure that the plan enables appropriate support for schools to improve and that all pupils reach their potential across Monmouthshire.



1. Members are asked to take the opportunity to comment on the contents of the Business Plan as part of the consultation process, and provide a written response as appropriate.

2. Members are asked to consider the main strengths and areas for development within Monmouthshire, as detailed in LA Annex and to consider how LA services can be aligned to meet the ambitious targets within the Business Plan, therefore ensuring all pupils meet their full potential.


Key Issues:

1. The EAS is required to submit an annual overarching regional Business Plan with

accompanying annexes for each of the five Local Authorities (LAs). This Business Plan (2019–2020) outlines the programme of work that is required to continue to accelerate outcomes and provision for children and young people in settings and schools in South East Wales. The plan focuses on the need to raise aspiration and accelerate improvement in pupil outcomes, improve the quality of teaching and leadership, support schools to realise the national reform agenda and to continue to build upon the self-improving system within and across schools and settings.

2. Priorities for the Business Plan have been derived from Local Authority Strategic Plans, the progress that has been made towards the previous Business Plan, areas that have been identified as requiring improvements through internal self-evaluation processes, external research and feedback from Estyn. The delivery model for the Business Plan is on a regional basis, the needs of each school and trends within each LA are met through bespoke work with each school. This Business Plan addresses Monmouthshire local authority strategic priorities that fall within the remit of the work of the EAS.

3. The delivery model for the Business Plan is on a regional basis, the needs of each school and trends within Monmouthshire are met through bespoke work with each school. The EAS offers a wide range of bespoke support that is based upon best practice.

4. The EAS Business Plan priorities continues to be shaped using the outcomes of external reviews and research:


 Member scrutiny:

The EAS Principal Challenge Adviser for Monmouthshire and Principal Challenge Adviser for Newport introduced the EAS Business Plan for 2019/20.  Following presentation of the report, questions were invited:


·         In response to a question, it was explained that pupils have been consulted via School Councils; a summary of feedback received was offered.  It was confirmed that staff have been consulted through strategy groups and should have been included on the list of consultees, and that feedback will be provided for next year.  Some concern was expressed that feedback appeared to have been obtained from Headteachers only.

·         Guidance on interpreting the data presented in the LA specific appendix  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


School Categorisation Report: Helen Power, EAS pdf icon PDF 155 KB



1. The Minister for Education and Skills announced the introduction of the National School Categorisation System in September 2014. The system, which covers both primary schools and secondary schools, has evolved over subsequent years.

2. From 2017-2018, Welsh Government removed the data-driven judgement that placed schools into a standards group as part of Step 1. Discussion around the school’s self-evaluation and school development planning has become the central feature of the model. The school’s data remains as a starting point for discussions within the school, and with the Challenge Adviser, about their capacity to improve in relation to leadership, teaching and learning.


Key Issues:

1. The following terminology is used to describe the outcomes of each step of the categorisation process:


Step 1: no standards group is published for 2018-2019

Step 2: the outcome is a judgement about a school’s improvement capacity (A-D)

Step 3: leads to a support category for each school (green, yellow, amber, red)


2. A range of other risks where they occur are considered when making a judgement about a school’s improvement capacity and a decision about their support category.

3. The performance of eFSM pupils is taken into account giving consideration to the school’s support category. Consideration should be given to performance over time (3 years minimum.)

4. For new and amalgamated schools any available performance data is used to inform discussions as part of Step 2 of the process – the self-evaluation of the school’s capacity to improve.

5. Changes to a school’s support category in year

The National School Categorisation process is carried out on an annual basis. The outcomes are communicated to the Welsh Government each year for publication following national verification in January. However, it is possible for each region to review a school’s categorisation at any point during the year in response to changes in circumstance. These changes will not be published nationally.

Circumstances that may necessitate a review include:

·         Schools that are making very good progress.

·         Schools that become subject to a higher degree of risk

·         Schools in inspection follow up

6. The National School Categorisation system is not contingent on the outcomes of an individual school’s inspection. Where school self-evaluation and monitoring of schools’ performance are effective this should result in appropriate action that will support a school’s self-improvement and avoid the need for inspection follow-up activity. However, where a school requires follow up as a result of inspection the associated degree of risk, and the need to provide evidence of a school’s progress against its recommendations, is weighed carefully when determining a judgement about a school’s improvement capacity and making a decision about its support


7. The level of support available for each category is as follows:

·         Green support category - up to 4 days of challenge adviser time.

·         Yellow support category - up to 10 days of challenge adviser time.

·         Amber support category - up to 15 days of challenge adviser time.

·         Red support category - up to 25 days of challenge  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Play Action Plan and Play Sufficiency Assessment pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Additional documents:



To advise members of the timescale for the submission of the play sufficiency assessment and to present progress on the assessment and the proposed action plan for 2019/20.

Key Issues:


Key issues:

1. Statutory Play Sufficiency Assessments (PSA) were undertaken in 2013 & 2016. The duty on local authorities is to undertake a full review of the PSA every three years. The updated PSA is required to be submitted to Welsh Government by 31 March 2019 having been approved by Cabinet or in a final version timetabled to be so approved.

2. “Wales: A Play Friendly Country” is statutory guidance to local authorities on assessing and securing sufficient play opportunities for children in their areas. It gives detail to the duty under Section 11 of the Play Opportunities, Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010.

3. In summary, the statutory requirements are that a local authority

·         must assess the sufficiency of play opportunities in its area; and

·         must secure sufficient play opportunities in its area for children, so far as reasonably practicable, having regard to its assessment.

4. In addition to undertaking a full review every three years, local authorities are required to produce a progress report and update the Play Action Plan on an annual basis.


Member Scrutiny:

Following presentation of the report by the Interim Performance, Evaluation and Programme Development Lead for MonLife and the Community Infrastructure Coordinator, the following observations were made by Select Committee Members:


·         A Member acknowledged the important role of providing play facilities for children, noting in particular, the lack of all-weather sports and play facilities.  It was proposed that outdoor facilities should be reviewed as a priority.  It was questioned if there is the opportunity to engage with partners.  In response, it was confirmed that a meeting is being set up with the Collaboration Group that manages outdoor pitches in Wales in the context of the proposals for a new school in Abergavenny.  Secondly, the success of the indoor play provision in the new facility in Monmouth has encouraged interest in pursuing similar provision at Caldicot and the other leisure centre sites.  Whilst welcoming this information, the Member was also concerned about rural areas.

·         A Member congratulated all involved in holiday play provision.

·         In response to a question about open access community play being moved from Chepstow Leisure Centre, it was confirmed that there has been growth in numbers of children attending and that choice of venue is critical. Some free places are offered for the Monmouthshire Games for FSM pupils but it is sometimes difficult for the children to travel to the leisure centre.  To assist, the hours will be extended to include a food option at open hours’ sessions, hopefully with Welsh Government funding. It was added that the Town Council will be considering improvements at Piggy’s Hill. 

·         A Member recommended that Committee Members should take advantage of any invitation to visit the Monmouthshire Games to see the good work in session.



Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Additional documents:


The minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed and signed as a true record.


Children and Young People Select Committee Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 217 KB


Special Meeting: 22nd March 2019 to consider:


·         School Catchment (after consultation which concludes on 6th March 2019)

·         The Future of Mounton House Special School


Actions Arising from previous meeting pdf icon PDF 42 KB


Arising from the minutes, the Chair reported that a meeting has taken place with the Chair of the Monmouthshire Association of School Governors and the Parent Governor Representative.  The outcome is that the areas of disagreement in the Partnership Agreement between the authority and the Association have been satisfactorily resolved.  The amendments are being drafted and the revised document will return to a future meeting.


The Scrutiny Manager will chase progress on the Budget proposals action point.


SENCOM: This point was addressed at the meeting today with the attendance of the Head of Service.


Council and Cabinet Work Planner pdf icon PDF 301 KB


Thanking the Select Committee for allowing his attendance, County Councillor A. Watts referred to an allegation of bullying/racial incident in a comprehensive school. In response, it was confirmed that schools have a statutory duty to report racial incidents.  A report of incidents for all categories under the Equalities Act 2010 (not detail of individual cases) was requested for the Special Meeting on 22nd March 2019.



Date and time of the next meeting: 4th April 2019