Scrutiny consider proposed changes to the Ethnic Minority and Achievement Service

Scrutiny Councillors on the Schools Scrutiny Performance Panel took a look at the report of the Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning Skills that brings forward recommendations for changes to the Ethnic Minority and Achievement Service in Swansea, a their meeting on the 18 July 2018.

They considered the Cabinet report and proposed decision and gave their views to Cabinet on the 19 July 2018 prior to the decision being made.

The cabinet report outlines three options moving forward, with the preferred option being option 2: Retain small central service for new arrivals and schools with low numbers of English as an Additional Language learners (EAL).  Devolve remaining funds to schools with higher number of EAL learners using a formula to develop their own provision.

After considering the cabinet report, speaking to the Cabinet Member and Officers, the Panel agreed the following points that were raised at Cabinet on the 19 July 2018:

The Panel support the proposed decision and agree that Option 2 should be the preferred way forward for the service.   They believe that this model will, given the current financial circumstances, provide the best balance by retaining a small central team and then devolving the rest of the funds to schools.  Given this they would like to stress the following points:

  • That the impact of this on pupil attainment will need to be monitored closely by the local authority and by individual schools.
  • That the local authority and schools will, in the future, need to develop much wider working relationships with, for example local communities, community groups and the university in order to provide support and fill some of the language gaps that are identified.
  • That an audit of those organisations that currently provide support for, and/or receive a grant for the ethnic minority support needs to be completed. This can then be used to build and develop more resilience and support for those pupils who require it.
  • The need to recognise that support goes beyond language needs
  • The committee is concerned about the perceived lack of understanding demonstrated by representatives of Welsh Government.
  • The potential negative impact on the experiences of our children and young people and their rights as outlined in the Children’s Measure and UNCRC is of concern. With our greater understanding of the long term impact of adverse childhood experiences- impact (positive or negative) must be measured/monitored beyond the narrow parameters of what we currently measure as “attainment”.


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