Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People Select Committee - Thursday, 27th May, 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Remote Meeting

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item


To note the appointment of County Councillor T. Thomas as Chair.


To appoint a Vice-Chair.


Councillor Brown was proposed by Councillor Powell, seconded by Councillor Lane.



Declarations of Interest.


There were no declarations of interest.



Public Open Forum.


No members of the public were present.



Presentation regarding the New Curriculum for Wales - Discussion with the Education Achievement Service. pdf icon PDF 4 MB


James Kent (Assistant Director: Professional Learning) delivered the presentation and answered the members’ questions, with Darren Jones (Principal Challenge Adviser) and Sharon Randall-Smith.


From September last year, schools were meant to have a full year of preparation for the new curriculum. Where are Monmouthshire schools now in relation to the preparatory steps?

We’ve spoken to a number of schools over that last 5-6 months, regarding distanced and blended learning. There’s a continuum, in terms of preparedness: some schools are in a strong position because they had done a lot of work before the pandemic and some will require additional support as we move forward. We are currently talking to Estyn and Welsh Government about the ‘Journey to 2022’ document because we want to ensure that schools aren’t rushing – it’s important that this be done properly. We know that curriculum design development takes years to get right, and we don’t want there to be unintended consequences of not getting that engagement right. How that is framed is important, and making sure that schools feel supported. It is important that every member of staff has that opportunity for engagement, understands the key aspects of the curriculum framework, and has time to trial and develop.

There are two aspects. Every school was in a slightly different place before the pandemic, and each has developed according to individual circumstances. Some schools have been significantly affected by Covid, with bubbles of pupils away for significant periods, while others haven’t. There have been many positives during this time as well. The way that virtual learning is now delivered, through virtual provision, has enabled more schools and practitioners to take part in the engagement sessions. Also, the fact that sessions are now recorded means that professional learning can be accessed at a time that is convenient, and watched several times, if that is helpful. Over this time, there has been a big focus in schools on pedagogy, leading to more collaboration in schools, networking, etc. The pandemic has affected the timeline for some schools, of course, but there has been a development of new skills and understanding in this time too. For those schools that have been unable to move forward at a fast pace, there will be bespoke support and the framework around them to continue the progression at their own pace. It takes time to build and embed a curriculum for our children.

Schools will have support from their school improvement partner or their school-to-school link. We have provided school development planning guidance to help with strategic planning over the next year. There is a national professional learning programme for senior leaders, headteachers and middle leaders that we have made available live and asynchronously. We will have professional learning support available for HLTAs and TAs. We have a secondary curriculum design network to support our deputy heads, and area learning and subject networks that are looking at planning within and across areas of learning. Moreover, if schools require bespoke support we will provide  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Children and Young People Select Committee Forward Work Plan. pdf icon PDF 511 KB


The next meeting will cover the new school in Abergavenny. Councillor Edwards proposed putting 21st Century Schools back on the agenda for a meeting later in the year. He also reminded the committee that the Chief Officer offered in the previous meeting, to give an update to the committee on his schools visits. Mr McLean confirmed that these are ongoing and he could be available at the next meeting (8th July), if the committee wishes.



Council and Cabinet Work Planner. pdf icon PDF 198 KB


To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting. pdf icon PDF 373 KB


The minutes were confirmed and signed as an accurate record (proposed by Councillor Groucott and seconded by Councillor Powell).



Next Meeting: Thursday 8th July 2021 at 10.00am.