Issue - meetings

Update on the Key issues effecting Education over the coming year

Meeting: 28/06/2021 - Regional ERW Scrutiny Councillor Group (Item 3)

Updates from Lead Director - Gareth Morgans


Gareth Morgans (Lead Director for ERW) attended the meeting and outlined the current position with regard to changes to ERW and future plans.  A presentation was provided outlining the key points, including:

·         ERW will formally come to an end on 31st August 2021.

·         Carmarthenshire, Pembrokeshire and Swansea have agreed to develop a school improvement partnership which will start on 1st Sept 2021.

·         Ceredigion and Powys will work together on some aspects of school improvement.

·         The new partnership will only need to support 264 schools and 80,364 learners. (57% of ERW schools and 65% of learners)

·         Pure school improvement activity will remain with each Local Authority.

·         We will have a regional network of school improvement leads to work collaboratively, to solve problems and share effective practice.

·         In the short term the new regional partnership will predominately focus on the continuous professional development of the education workforce. 

·         Improved value for money in this model is evident: services offered centrally can better support staffing at a local level.

·         The vision will be:  The Partnership will be planned as a regional collaborative arrangement designed to promote excellence in all of our schools by means of an effective self-improving system based on honest self-evaluation and mutual support at all levels.  It should inspire excellence in teaching and learning, and support and nurture leaders to enable them to grow schools that will encourage their staff and pupils to the achieve the best outcomes as they thrive as individuals, learners, citizens and contributors

·         The Partnership will-

­       Provide a secure central service which can encourage excellent people to commit to it, enabling funding to be delegated purposefully and provide higher levels of funding to reach schools as our key partners.

­       Be an acknowledged hub of excellence, led by securely employed, high level specialists, who are able to provide leadership and support for local or other sub-regional groupings. 

­       Be a partnership enabling the best use of intelligence about schools and the resources available to support improvement.

­       Share learning across the region to better support schools using consistent school improvement methodologies.

­       Establish a consistent regional approach to reduce duplication, ensure fairness and equity for all schools and to demonstrate value for money.

­       Have a secure and effective model of governance to underpin a more responsive and innovative regional service which supports accountabilities that are shared regionally and locally.

­       Develop a formulated regionally and agreed School Improvement strategy to be delivered locally to ensure the best possible provision of school improvement to further improve learner outcomes. 

·         The functions, draft governance structured and branding where also covered in the presentation.

Meeting: 13/05/2021 - Scrutiny Performance Panel – Education (Item 5)

5 Update - 21st Century Schools Programme pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Cllr Jen Raynor Cabinet Member Education Improvement, Learning and Skills and Helen Morgan Rees, Director of Education

Additional documents:


The Cabinet Member for Education, Learning and Skills, Head of Capital Team, Education Planning and Resources and Head of Planning and Resources attended the meeting update and discuss progress with the 21st Century Schools Programme in Swansea.

·         The programme was reviewed at the meeting highlighting the longer term, this was complemented by other capital investment and annual structural maintenance programme.  The Band A is £51.5m and has improve 9 schools.  The Band B is a much larger £149.497m spent on schools, there was a seamless transition from A to B and it is hoped that will be the case when Band C is introduced (although that is unknown at the moment).

·         The Panel were reminded of the Capital Intervention rate (percentage covered by Welsh Government) of 65% mainstream schools, 75% ALN (special schools / PRUs), Mutual Investment Model School builds (MIM) 81% and Voluntary Aided Schools 85%.  Councillors heard about the different streams and about the complex nature of the MIM.

·         Panel were told the Band B programme is almost 3x the size of Band A and is being delivered with less capacity and in spite of impact of Covid: the total spend has been delivered or committed of £54.8m (including WM & RICS).  That a detailed business case development has been made for a further £52.5m.  This represents 73% of the total programme (excluding the aided sector).

·         The number of schools (out of a total of 94) that have / will have benefited from capital maintenance 1/4/2012 to 31/3/2019 (Band A period) is Capital Maintenance work on 89+ and schools with a total spend of £22.754m.  And 1/4/2019 to 31/3/2022 (Band B period) is Capital Maintenance work on 63+ schools with a total spend of £14.374m.

·         It has included the new builds Gorseinon Primary, Maes Derw PRU, YGG Tan-y-lan, YGG Tirdeunaw.  Extensions and other works at YGG Gyfun Gwyr and Bishopston Comprehensive.

·         Remaining Band B works include: Business case development in progress for YGG Bryntawe, Gowerton School, Special Schools and options being scoped for the remainder of the programme.

·         The programmes risks and issues include: Capacity and resilience within the council, capacity and resilience outside the Authority, possible funding risks, especially in relation to WG capital, developer contributions and timing uncertainty.

·         Work to reduce infant class sizes includes funding envelope now  £1,919m: Penyrheol Primary School –Internal remodelling to create two classroom bases, Hendrefoilan Primary School –Additional single classroom extension, Seaview Primary School  –remodelling and single class extension and YGG Bryniago -Single classroom extension, on site completion due October 2021

·         Welsh Medium -YGG Y Login Fach extension to provide two additional classrooms and YGG Bryn y Môr removal of existing double demountable and replacement with a four classroom block.

·         Local Development Plan identified sites include: Penllergaer, Garden Village and Cefngyfelach.

The Panel thanked the officers for their hard work in moving the programme forward efficiently and in keeping the programme to time wherever possible through the difficult Covid period. The views of the Panel will be included in a letter to the Cabinet Member for Education Improvement, Learning and Skills.

Meeting: 22/04/2021 - Scrutiny Performance Panel – Education (Item 7)

7 Update - New Curriculum including progress with its implementation pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Cllr Jen Raynor Cabinet Member Education Improvement, Learning and Skills, Helen Morgan Rees, Director of Education and Rob Davies,  Head of Secondary Phase Team

Additional documents:


Rob Davies, Head of Secondary Phase Team provided a presentation updating the Panel on the current position with regard to the implementation of The New Curriculum for Wales (CfW) here in Swansea.


·         Prior to pandemic

Working Group established to set up a Curriculum Implementation

Welsh Government (WG) release final CfW22 documentation –Jan 20

Science of Learning Cross Phase Heads Conference, Swansea Curriculum Implementation Plan launched – 4-phase plan

·         Hiatus with main curriculum work due to disruption of the pandemic but:

A lot high-quality professional learning has taken place

A small amount of more “normal” development continued through networks & governor training

WG continued with CfW roadmap – Journey to CfW released Nov 21 (4-phase plan), CfW bill passed – March 21 – Qualifications Reform Consultation – April 21 and School Improvement Guidance Consultation – March 21

·         Next steps include:

Give schools space for the summer term, probably longer

Update Swansea’s Curriculum Implementation Plan to reflect changes given the pandemic and newly emerging regional landscape

Aim to revisit with schools in the autumn, or when time allows

·         Swansea has a three implementation plan 2019-2022 but because of Covid there has been a degree of disruption.  The plan will be reviewed to incorporate any changes needed.

·         There is restructuring of the school improvement service at a local level but it is uncertain in relation to changes to the regional footprint.  The Challenge Adviser will become School Improvement Advisers.  Their role will be a much more supportive one for schools in this current time.

·         From the Additional Learning Needs perspective the new curriculum is very exciting as it is able to be more responsive to ALN needs.



Meeting: 17/12/2020 - Scrutiny Performance Panel – Education (Item 8)

8 For Information - Annual Audit of Schools pdf icon PDF 556 KB


The Annual Audit of School Report was noted.