Scrutiny Councillors meet with pupils from Bishopston Primary School

Scrutiny councillors on the Education Performance Panel met with the Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills and Director of Education to discuss the Covid recovery in Education, Pupil Development Grant spend, and Regional Education Improvement Service (ERW). The Panel started the meeting with the Head teacher and four pupils from Bishopston Primary School and heard about their thoughts on remote and blended learning.  They discussed ways in which they stayed healthy during lockdown, the challenges they faced learning from home, the home highlights and how they made progress. The Panel was pleased to hear how they were now glad to be back in the classroom.

Education & Schools Recovery from Covid

The Panel was pleased to hear that primary schools had fully returned and that a full return of secondary pupils will start from 12 April. The Panel heard that 100 Primary pupils and about 400 secondary pupils have had to self-isolate because of a few cases that come into schools from the community.

The Panel expressed their appreciation for the efforts made by schools and the education department in the management of a seamless as possible return to school and for the important focus on pupil and staff welfare.

Pupil Development Grant

The Panel received a summary of the spend to support vulnerable pupils. The Panel heard that the Pupil Development Grant (PDG) has helped schools to improve the outcomes of vulnerable pupils across Swansea. Officers explained that wellbeing has been central to a lot of the monies spent including for example in supporting families.

The Panel heard that PDG for the next year has not yet been allocated from Welsh Government and that there are concerns about the year on year allocation of the grant as its making it difficult to plan ahead.

Regional Education Improvement Service (ERW)

The Panel heard that a report has gone to Cabinet asking them to defer removal of Swansea from ERW to allow more time for the region to set up the arrangements for a new regional body that will commence from 1 September 2021. Swansea, Carmarthenshire, Powys and Pembrokeshire Councils have agreed to remain within the interim partnership until 31 August 2021.

The Panel asked what the governance arrangements of the new partnership will be and how scrutiny will fit into this new model, what its key objectives will be and how will success be measured. The Panel was informed that new arrangements will be taken to each local authorities Cabinet for agreement and that these plans and the governance model will also be shared with scrutiny locally.

To view details of what was discussed at this meeting please click here.

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