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Contact: Sioned Williams 01286 672729
To receive any apologies for absence.
Councillor Keith Jones, Dilwyn Ellis Hughes (UCAC), David Healy (Teachers' Unions), Karen Vaughan Jones (Parents' Representative - Dwyfor Area Governor).
DECLARATION OF PERSONAL INTEREST
To receive any decleration of personal interest.
No declarations of personal interest were received from any members present.
To note any items that are a matter of urgency in the view of the Chairman for consideration.
There were no urgent items.
The Chairman shall propose that the minutes of the meeting of this Committee held on the 13 June 2017, be signed as a true copy.
The Chair signed the minutes of the previous meeting of this committee held on 29 June 2017 as a true record.
To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Housing, Leisure and Culture.
Appendices separate for Committee members only.
The documents are exempt under Paragraphs 14 and 16 of Schedule 12A of The Local Government ACT 1972. (Information relating to financial, business and legal matters).
The front report will be open but the Appendices include information which is commercially and legally sensitive. That is because releasing the full appendices would permit suppliers who are independent of the Council to come to conclusions about the financial performance and management fees of the various delivery models. As a consequence, publication could undermine any future procurement exercise and open the Council to financial risk. It also includes legal advice which is subject to legal privelege.
Submitted - report of the Senior Corporate Support Manager outlining the basis for recommending establishing a Council Controlled Company to provide leisure facilities within the County. The series of questions/observations from individual members in relation to the following were responded to:-
§ Loss of democratic control by establishing the new company.
§ Lessons learnt from other councils that had adopted a similar model.
§ The importance of considering the risk of conflicts as the directors would be accountable to the Company's act and to Gwynedd Council.
§ Concern regarding the status of the Welsh language within leisure centres and the importance of the Council's role in safeguarding the language from further decline.
§ The Company's intention to support centres which were a financial failure.
§ Building management arrangement.
§ Staff savings.
§ The Council's right to appoint members to the Company's Management Board.
§ Ensure that the Company would not follow the same path at CCG, where the Welsh language was not essential to the post of the director.
§ Importance of appointing a dynamic and proactive leader with a strong developmental vision.
§ Ensure an innovative vision to develop the service.
§ The company's commitment to working towards the objectives of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.
The Chair summarised the main conclusions of the discussion as follows:
§ Option six should be recommended, namely to establish a council-controlled company.
§ Members of the Committee needed to further scrutinise as the work to develop the details of the company were received.
RESOLVED: Recommend option six.
Submitted - report from the Cabinet Member for Education and Head of Education presenting information at an early stage to elected members on performance at end of key stages for the 2016/2017 school year. The series of questions/observations from individual members in relation to the following were responded to:
§ Concern that assessing the Foundation Phase through the medium of Welsh was putting the Council at a disadvantage.
§ The Free School Meals measurer was misleading and suggested that Gwynedd was one of the richest counties nationally, whilst there were areas within the county that had gained access to European structural funds because of their poverty.
§ Suggestion to differentiate between the performance of children from Welsh speaking homes and children from non-Welsh speaking homes in order to be able to compare with other counties.
§ Disappointment was expressed that literature was not a subject included as one of the main KS4 measures.
§ Bridge the 'arm's length' policy which existed between Headteachers and Foundation Phase practitioners to dispose of both learning cultures in schools.
§ GwE intervention in KS3.
§ The impact that sitting exams earlier was having on KS4 results.
During the discussion about the contributing factors towards the results of the Foundation Phase, the GwE Primary Phase Representative noted the following points:
§ There were problems in regards to teacher assessments and GwE had worked with Headteachers to set out pupil standards, standards of provision and expectations from the perspective of the Headteachers and the senior education management team.
§ It was very difficult to gain consistency regarding the definition of 'best fit' whilst assessing any child. It was noted that six Regional Education Directors had worked with GwE to publish a regional statement, which set out that any teacher assessment was based on the teacher's professional opinion, and there were clear guidelines explaining how to reach that judgement.
§ There was an additional challenge in the Foundation Phase this year. Children at the end of the phase would be assessed against a set of new revised outcomes, which would include more challenging elements than the previous year. As a result of this change, GwE was running a new training programme for teachers in order for schools to meet the additional requirements and expectations.
During the discussion about Key Stage 4 results, the following was noted:
§ There had been a fall in KS4 results in Gwynedd, and across Wales. It was emphasised that the specifications had changed drastically this year, especially in the main measures, which is Mathematics, Science, and Welsh (Language) or English (Language). The main changes had been that Mathematics had been split in two, namely numeracy and mathematics, and Welsh and English literature did not count towards the TL2+. Due to these changes, it was not possible to compare between this year's KS4 results and results of previous years. Therefore, Gwynedd's situation in the region and nationally should be reviewed, and Gwynedd was currently in first place regionally and fifth nationally.
A report was submitted, along with a draft version of the Gwynedd Secondary Sector Language Strategy, which addressed many of the questions submitted by the committee members in advance. The series of questions/observations from individual members in relation to the following were responded to:-
§ Opportunity for the Language Committee to scrutinise the strategy.
§ To what extent could the authority intervene in schools where the Welsh language was deteriorating?
§ The cost of Language Immersion Units and who paid for them, in the context of Wylfa B.
§ The importance of schools' role to arrange Welsh 'gigs' to promote socialising through the medium of Welsh.
§ The importance of School Councils role to enable pupils to take ownership of the strategy.
§ How does the Council promote the Welsh language as a work skill?
§ Importance of concentration and encouraging young people to digitally communicate through the medium of Welsh.
§ To accept, note and thank the officer for the report.