Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Guildhall
Contact: Craig Stevens Scrutiny Facilitator
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Carrie Harper, John McCusker and Debbie Wallice and co-opted member Mrs Rosalind Williams.
To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 June 2019
AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 20 June 2019 be signed as a correct record.
To consider the report of the Chief Officer Governance & Customer
The Chief Officer Governance and Customer submitted a report (COGC/30/19s) to consider the Annual Report of GwE (North Wales Regional School Improvement Service) 2018/19 attached at Appendix 1.
The Chair welcomed GwE representatives Arwyn Thomas and Alwyn Jones to the Meeting. In presenting the GwE Annual Report to the Committee Arwyn Thomas referred to the work being undertaken by them in respect of the areas of curriculum development, leadership, assessment, improving the quality of teaching and new accountability measures, set against the backdrop of the significant national changes taking place in education at present. Members were advised that GwE was working with all schools to support their engagement with the reform journey which was embedded in both regional and local priorities.
Thereafter Alwyn Jones provided an overview of the work that had been undertaken by the service in supporting and challenging Wrexham schools, including professional learning programmes available for staff at all levels, research projects with which a significant number of Wrexham Primary and Secondary schools were engaged, the G6 regional management information system for sharing successful practice and GwE support for schools through the reform journey with particular reference to ALN and curriculum changes. Members were advised that standards in Wrexham Primary Schools were good, with outcomes at the Foundation Phase and Key Stage 2 having improved in recent years. The priority for GwE and the local authority remained raising standards in Wrexham Secondary Schools. Members were assured that the conditions were now right for school improvement with reference made to changes in leadership both at headteacher and middle management level, core subject advances and the positive engagement of Wrexham Secondary Schools.
In conclusion, Arwyn Thomas highlighted the strategic objectives and main priorities for the coming year for the service as outlined in the report, stressing the importance of effective partnership working to facilitate a self-improving system.
The Chair thanked the GwE representatives for their presentation and invited Committee Members to ask questions. During debate the following matters were highlighted:
· Assurance sought that there was now sufficient capacity in the GwE model to support the improvement of secondary schools in Wrexham, in light of the cuts to the consortia core budget and grants. Members were advised that investment in leadership programmes, schools working within clusters collaborating and demonstrating shared responsibility provided both a range of expertise and sustainability which should produce results in the mid to longer term.
· Acknowledgement of the need for schools to balance time and resources in order to engage with the collaborative model.
· Assurance provided that the Estyn Inspection profile across the region was strong.
· The written statement by the Welsh Government entitled The School Performance and Absence Targets (Wales) (Amendment) Regulations 2019 which referred to changes in Key Stage 4 performance measures and target setting arrangements which would support self evaluation and “should not be aggregated up to a local authority measure of performance to hold schools to account.”
· The need to secure consistency across schools. Assurance was provided that standards in Wrexham secondary ... view the full minutes text for item 8.