Agenda and minutes

Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee
Thursday, 18th January, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Oak Room, County Buildings, Stafford

Contact: Julie Roberts  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were none at this meeting.


Minutes of the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee held on 15 December 2017 pdf icon PDF 127 KB


RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting of the Prosperous Staffordshire Select Committee held on 15 December 2017 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman.


Skills and Employability Self-Assessment and Adult and Community Learning - Quality Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 419 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People


Additional documents:


The Self-Assessment Report was a fundamental tool that Ofsted Inspectors used to judge the quality and effectiveness of an organisation in providing education opportunities to young people and adults.  The Select Committee considered and commented on the quality assurance and performance of the portfolio of the learning provision commissioned, in order to further improve quality, outcomes for learners and in remaining a good learning provider in Staffordshire.


Community Learning was an umbrella term describing a broad range of learning that brings together adults, often of different ages and backgrounds, to pursue an interest, address a need, acquire a new skill, become healthier or learn how support their children.  It was mainly non-accredited and could be undertaken for its own sake or as a step towards other learning or work.  It may happen in personal or work time and be delivered by providers in the public, private or voluntary community sectors across Staffordshire.  Community Learning supported wider government policies on localism, social justice, stronger families, digital inclusion, social mobility and upskilling English and Maths skills and preparing for employment.


The funding comes from the ESFA as part of a national scheme.  In 2015 Community Learning was re-commissioned and a decision was made to reduce the funding allocation of leisure programmes in order to focus on targeted provision.  Targeted provision includes family programmes, provision for learners with learning difficulties and disabilities and those with enduring mental ill health, programmes to support employability and English, Maths and IT skills and more recently the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) provision.  In the academic year 2014/15 the funding allocation for leisure provision was £577,000 and 60% of the total ESFA allocation and this decreased to £360,000 and 35% in 2016/17.  Targeted provision increased from £384,000 and 40% of the total ESFA allocation in 2014/15 to £670,000 and 65% in 2016/17.


The Select Committee were shown a video, in which learners explained how a particular course had been of benefit to them.  They were informed that the Community Learning offer aimed to target people who felt excluded from participating in society, and that 38.1% of learners were from wards of high levels of deprivation and a third of the learners had learning disabilities or difficulty with learning.  The aim was to enable these learners to have better lives and be able to do more for themselves.


A member commented that the offer covered a broad scope and queried how this was narrowed down and focused on the outcomes which were trying to be achieved.  The Cabinet Support Member referred to the programme areas outlined in the report and pointed out that there were a number of family learning schemes, which involved the whole family learning together and focused on core skills in English, Maths and Language.  In relation to Adults with learning difficulties and/or disabilities the focus was on improving independence and confidence.  In the area of functional skills and employability skills the focus was on equipping people with the tools to go on to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 71.


School Attainment and Improvement pdf icon PDF 522 KB

Report of the Cabinet Member for Children and Young People


Additional documents:


Staffordshire showed a positive direction of travel in terms of the percentage of schools judged as Good or Outstanding (and the percentage of all pupils that attended these schools).  As at 1 September 2017 89% of Staffordshire schools were judged as good or outstanding, an increase of three percentage points since the same point in 2016 and the fourth highest year-on-year improvement of their statistical neighbour local authorities.  The 2017 target of 92% was not met, however Staffordshire improved at a faster rate than the national average during 2016/17.  The percentage of pupils attending schools graded good or outstanding had increased from 82% in August 2016 to 85% in August 2017. 


The new primary and secondary accountability measures introduced in 2016 and the further changes to Key Stage 4 in 2017 with the introduction of “9-1” reformed GCSEs in English and Maths continued to limit trend comparisons over time.  Levels of attainment and progress in the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) and Key Stage 1 (KS1) remained strong and continued to outperform national levels of performance.  In 2017, attainment at the end of Key Stage Two (the primary phase) improved by more than the improvements seen nationally.  Staffordshire results were now above national in all key measures.


The focus in 2017/18 would continue at Key Stage Two (KS2), Key Stage Four (KS4) and Key Stage Five (KS5) where there remained variations in attainment and progress of schools.  Further improvements were required to gain ground in the rates of attainment and progress achieved by their statistical neighbours and nationally, particularly at KS4 and KS5.  Staffordshire schools also needed to continue to do more to tackle variations in attainment and progress between localities and for different pupil groups, such as those eligible for Free School Meals (FSM) or Disadvantaged pupils (DA). 


Education and Skills was a key priority that would be developed in the County Council Strategic Plan 2018/2022 and would set out how working with all their partners they would:

“Offer Staffordshire parents and their children high performing early years provision, schools and colleges to attend.  Encouraging and helping parents to become more involved in and ambitious for their child’s education, whilst influencing early years settings, schools, colleges and universities to support each other to improve, excel and contribute fully to their communities.”


In response to a question about his role in Education the Cabinet Member informed the Select Committee that if young people come out of school better educated and better able to play an active and positive part in society they will prosper and do better, and their children would be more likely to do the same.   This would also be likely to have a positive effect on their health outcomes and the number of children coming into the County Council’s system from a childcare, looked after and safeguarding perspective would be lower than it currently is.  Also the local authority has a statutory obligation around school improvement.


It was questioned what the County Council had to do with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 72.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 293 KB


The Select Committee received a copy of their 2017/18 Work Programme.  Members noted that the item on the Economic Growth Capital and Development Programme was to be deferred.


RESOLVED That the Work Programme be noted.


School Funding Formula (Briefing Note) pdf icon PDF 228 KB


Following two consultations the Department for Education had announced a National Funding Formula (NFF) for schools.  This would come into effect in time when the “hard” formula was introduced.  From 1 April 2018 local authorities could choose to transition to the NFF with political approval.  A recommendation was being taken to the Cabinet that Staffordshire schools should transition to the NFF to take advantage of the per pupil protections and to ensure a smooth transition when the hard formula was implemented.


RESOLVED – That the Briefing Note be received.