Cyflwynwyd gan:Cllr. Beca Brown
To accept and note the information in the report.
The report was submitted by Cllr Beca Brown
To accept and note the information in the report.
The report was submitted and pride was expressed in the Department's performance and the good work that was happening within Gwynedd Schools. Reference was made to the new school to be built in Cricieth to improve the learning environment and ensure the best resources in order for learners and the pride that existed as a result of the development. It was explained that there had been a delay over the last year to present the new vision for post-16 education, however the Department was now in a position to be able to proceed with this project. Mention was made of the Condition and Suitability project that had experienced challenges at times. Nevertheless, it was reported that the investment in the condition and suitability of Ysgol Bethel, Ysgol Glan-y-môr and Ysgol Cymerau had been completed during the year with work continuing on the sites of other Schools across the County.
It was reported that the Covid period had highlighted the vulnerability of children in the age groups 0-5 and 16-24 and the well-being and attainment gap by now was one of the main priorities of the Education Department. It was reported that there was inconsistency across the County in terms of the range and availability of services in the early years sector; the project groups will agree on specific work streams and had prioritised undertaking an assessment.
Pride was expressed in the new curriculum for Wales and reference was made to the public attention given to certain aspects of the curriculum such as Relationships and Sexuality Education. The opportunity was taken to express an appreciation of the professionalism, support and commitment of the Schools and every trust was expressed in the Headteachers and teachers to be able to interpret and convey this code in an age-appropriate and developmental appropriate way to each child.
Reference was made to the Education Immersion System that was a new vision and it was noted that the immersion support system was available to every School in the County. The exciting and innovative work that had happened in Gwynedd was mentioned such as the new immersion scheme written and developed in Gwynedd that will be shared nationally. The school categorisation system that came into force in September 2022 was reported on and the Education Department will work with each School that falls into category 3 in the County to ensure appropriate progress.
To close, gratitude was expressed to the Education Department and particularly to the teachers and all school staff in Gwynedd for their tireless work in a challenging time to ensure the best education for the County's children by caring for their health, safety and welfare and to deliver a huge range of work.
Observations arising from the discussion
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>There was a wish to congratulate the Department for their work maximising the welfare of children and young people across the County.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>An enquiry was made about the GwE Service and if the Cabinet was likely to receive feedback from the performance of GwE. It was stated that there was a reference to GwE in the report, however, GwE was part of the annual Education Department item in the Education and Economy Scrutiny Committee and there would be a report on their performance at that Committee.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>It was added that it was proposed over the next 12 months to review how GwE had operated up to now and to forward plan the future direction. This would be submitted to the Cabinet next year and there would be an opportunity to offer guidance and observations.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Reference was made to the finance received from the Government towards the cost of providing free school meals and it was asked if this finance was sufficient to compensate the Council. It was also asked whether there had been an increase in the numbers who receive free school meals.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>In response it was noted that the picture had been mixed across the County and the demand had not been as high as envisaged. It was noted that there was a need to review why the picture was so varied especially from area to area. It was noted that the capital funding received had addressed Gwynedd's needs regarding the costs thus far.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>It was added that there were two elements to the funding, the capital element and the cost element of providing a dinner based on a specific rate from the Welsh Government. It was reported that it was not possible to provide a dinner for this cost and would lead to a financial deficit. This would be considered in a revenue bid of a quarter million that would be submitted to the Cabinet in the near future.
<![if !supportLists]>· <![endif]>Following a question regarding the immersion system it was noted that two phases of capital funding had been received of 1.1 million each. There was an investment in 3 sites with the first phase of the funding and 2 out of these 3 centres in the new locations had by now opened. It was reported that there had been difficulties with the third site in Tywyn and therefore the language centre would be located temporarily at the Ysgol Bro Idris site in order to have an additional presence in Meirionnydd. It was hoped to be able to open the site in Tywyn by September. In terms of the second phase of funding it was proposed to submit a business case to the Welsh Government by March to release this money.