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Agenda and minutes

Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 21st June, 2018 2.00 pm

With effect from 1 April 2016 Agenda and Minutes will be available in both Welsh and English. Reports are working documents and produced in English only in accordance with Welsh Language Standard 41 of this Council’s Final Compliance Notice from the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Venue: Meeting Room 1, Guildhall

Contact: Tracy Davies  Scrutiny Facilitator

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chair

To invite nominations to appoint a Chair of the Scrutiny Committee for the forthcoming year

Minutes:

The Head of Corporate and Customer Services was in attendance for this item and requested nominations for the appointment of a Chair for this Scrutiny Committee for the ensuing year.

 

AGREED – That Councillor Carrie Harper be appointed Chair of the Lifelong Learning Scrutiny Committee for the ensuing year.

2.

Presiding Chair

Minutes:

AGREED – That the Vice-chair, Councillor Michael Dixon, Chair this meeting.

3.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillor R Alun Jenkins and co-opted members Mr Brent Evans and Mrs Maureen Williams.

4.

Declarations of personal interests, if any

Members are reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare the existence and nature of any personal interest in respect of any of the business to be transacted at this meeting

Minutes:

Members were reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare any interests in relation to any of the business to be transacted at this meeting.  The following declarations were made:

 

Agenda item 6 – Personal, not prejudicial – Councillors Dana Davies and Carrie Harper – Parent of child in school sixth form education and Councillor Debbie Wallice – Parent of a child who had recently left sixth form education – Coleg Cambria.

5.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 81 KB

To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 April 2018

Minutes:

AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 April 2018 be signed as a correct record.

 

Head of Education reported that following discussions with Welsh Government, the EAL grant would now be reinstated for the year 2018/19 (£311k) and continued at a similar level for 2019/20 and thanked the Leader of the Council and the WLGA for their assistance. (Minute 44 refers).

 

6.

Variation in order of agenda

Minutes:

AGREED – That Agenda Item 6 be brought forward and taken at this time.

7.

Learner Outcomes Report for Wrexham Pupils in Coleg Cambria 2016/17 pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Members declarations of interest in relation to this item are set out in Minute 4 above)

 

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/54/18s) to consider the education standards for Wrexham pupils attending Coleg Cambria and to consider the percentage of pupils in Year 11 remaining in full time education.

 

The Chair welcomed Carys Davies, Assistant Principal and Director of Curriculum (Coleg Cambria), to the meeting.  She presented the report to the Committee highlighting the key improvements in performance across qualifications and commented that the college was deemed to be “excellent” by Estyn inspectors.

 

Members considered the report and commended Coleg Cambria on the successful learner outcomes outlined in the report.  In debate the following matters were highlighted:

 

·         Support for more able learners to progress to universities.  Reference was made to the Welsh Government's Seren programme which aimed to provide access routes to top higher education institutions, helping to remove barriers such as low aspiration and confidence.

·         Noted that there had been a recent increase in the number of Coleg Cambria students progressing to university to study medicine.

·         Course options for less academically able pupils.  Noted that c.90% of pupils were on academically assessed courses, however the college did provide a small number of alternative courses such as technical or trade courses.

·         Closer working with the schools network resulted in a better understanding of the importance of learners achieving a GCSE in English and Mathematics.  The letter from the college to applicants attached at Appendix 2 referred.

·         Support for learners from more deprived areas.  Carys Davies informed the Committee of the TRAC programme which provided a programme of support and coaching for learners.

·         Restrictions on the sharing of pupil data between schools and colleges at the time of application in light of GDPR restrictions.  Noted that WCBC had an information sharing protocol with Coleg Cambria but this was limited to sharing GCSE results on the day of enrolment.  To enable more information to be shared earlier would require parental consent.  Suggestion that the Committee raise concerns with the WLGA and GwE to enable discussion at a national level.

·         Successful completion levels were above Wales national comparator levels following focus on academic progress targets.

·         The importance of assessment for learning and career pathways to encourage pupil engagement.

 

AGREED –

 

(i)         That the Chair, in consultation with the Head of Department and the Lead Member for People – Education, write to the Welsh Local Government Association with a  view to addressing the concerns raised at the meeting regarding the sharing of pupil data between schools and further education colleges.

 

(ii)        That a further progress report be submitted in June 2019, to include more information regarding progression rates to Oxbridge and any developments regarding the sharing of pupil data referred to in (i) above.

8.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To consider the report of the Head Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/61/18s) to assist the Committee in considering and agreeing its work programme.

 

The Committee considered the report and in discussion –

 

·         Noted that the report in respect of Education Standards scheduled for the meeting on 18 October 2018 would be a slimmed down standardised report for North Wales Authorities and would focus on Local Authority progress (percentage point increase), including a broader range of courses in the data.  A trajectory, broken down by individual schools, would be provided but no Local Authority comparative data would be included.

·         Agreed that a report on the quality of SEN service provision and demand replace the report on the performance of FSM pupils and other vulnerable groups of learners scheduled for the meeting on 11 April 2019.

 

AGREED – That subject to the aforementioned the work programme in report HF/61/18s be agreed.

9.

Membership of Scrutiny Task and Finish Groups pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/59/18s) to consider membership of the Committee’s Task and Finish Groups following any changes in Committee membership agreed at Annual Council in May 2018.

 

In reviewing the membership of the School Performance Task and Finish Group the Committee agreed that in view of the ongoing terms of reference of this group, the group be renamed the School Performance Monitoring Working Group, to report back to Committee on an annual basis and that Councillor Carrie Harper replace Councillor Robert Walsh on this group.

 

The Committee reviewed and agreed the terms of reference of the Period Poverty Task and Finish Group as set out in the report.  A Member queried whether there would be sufficient time to undertake the review to inform how the Welsh Government funding is to be spent.  The Head of Education stressed the importance of early recommendations from the Group.

 

AGREED –

 

(i)         That the School Performance Task and Finish Group be renamed the School Performance Monitoring Working Group and that Councillor Carrie Harper replace Councillor Robert Walsh on this group.

 

(ii)        That the terms of reference of the Period Poverty Task and Finish Group be agreed.