ERW Scrutiny Councillor Group – 27 February 2017

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The Chairs and Vice Chairs of all six local authorities’ Education Scrutiny Committees came together in Ceredigion for their bi-annual Scrutiny Councillor Group.  Detailed below are the views, conclusions and recommendations from that meeting.

Performance Management

The Councillor Group heard about the package of training on performance management for schools and how it is being introduced.  They welcomed the development of this package recognising the importance of performance management in the school improvement process.

School Categorisation

The Councillor Group had previously expressed concern regarding the public understanding the Categorisation system particularly the fact that this is about the support schools receive rather than as a ‘grading’ system.  They were pleased to hear that there has been a positive change in the communication of this issue and in how information about categorisation is being communicated and reported in the press.

The Group also had asked the Chief Executive of ERW to provide them with further information on what is being done to address the Estyn comment ‘Local authority portfolio holders do not have a clear enough input to the management or oversight of the work of ERW despite their key responsibility in their local authority for the oversight of education services’.  They heard that in order to address this issue the portfolio holders will be involved in the six weekly Hub Quality Assurance meetings. A survey of portfolio holders across the region has been completed and they have said they are happy with their involvement.

The Group discussed the current position in relation to numbers and quality of Challenge Adviser support for local authorities.  They were concerned to hear that not all Local Authorities in the region have reached their full agreed quota.  They were however pleased to hear that the level and quality of Challenge Adviser support has improved hugely.

The Campaign to Recruit teachers

The Group were pleased to hear about plans for a campaign across all regions in Wales to encourage people to get into teaching.  They agreed that there is a need for the use of positive messages about teaching in Wales.

Elective Home Education

The Group previously wrote to the Welsh Minister for Education after the last meeting but were disappointed with her response and with the non-statutory guidance that was recently published. They felt that there are solid safeguarding legislative powers that are available that could be used in relation to this aspect but that there seems to be a reluctance to link this to the Elective Home Education guidance.  They plan to write to Welsh Government again on this matter.

School Governance

The Group had a session looking at School Governance where the new training that is available online, accessible through the ERW website was discussed.  The Group agreed that it was important that Headteachers are encouraged to develop their Governing Body using these resources.

The Panel will write giving these views to the Chair of the ERW Joint Committee and have also asked for further information at their next meeting on why are some local authorities not at the agreed full quota of Challenge Advisers and what is being done to address this.

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