The Cabinet Member for Schools,
Lifelong Learning and Skills, Councillor Wyn Thomas presented the report and Mr
Barry Rees, Corporate Director, Mrs Elen James, Corporate Lead Officer:-Lifelong Learning and Chief Education Officer, Mr
Clive Williams , Corporate Lead Officer Schools and Deputy Chief Education
Officer provided a power point presentation highlighting its content.
It was reported that at the Cabinet meeting held virtually
on 11 January 2022, it was agreed that it would be timely to undertake a review
of the post-16 provision in Ceredigion. The aim of the review was to provide an
analysis and appraisal of the current post-16 provision in Ceredigion and
identify sustainable options for the future, along with their potential
advantages and disadvantages.
The aim of
the review was to:
• create a
set of agreed principles that were learner-centric
• offer a
range of accessible and sustainable options whilst ensuring that the voices of
the learners, governors, parents, headteachers and Local Authority officers
were an integral part of the process
• ensure that
full consideration had been given to the findings and recommendations of
Estyn’s national reviews and the background to Welsh Government’s current
policy, including the Commission for Tertiary Education and Research and the
Wellbeing of Future Generations Act
rurality and the implications for carbon footprints.
also a wider context to this review, namely:
Government’s decision to establish the Commission for Tertiary Education and
Research (CTER) which would be responsible for the strategy, funding, and
oversight of the further education sector, including colleges and the sixth
forms in schools.
Thematic Report regarding Post-16 Partnerships (January 2021).
• The opportunities
available through the Mid Wales Growth Deal, the Economic Strategy, and the
Regional Partnership Board with regards to the needs and skills of the
workforce for the future and the central role of the Regional Skills
Partnership (RSP)in the collection and analysis of information.
• The need to
ensure a broad and quality vocational offer, along with a wider offering of
A-Level subjects, which allows learners to pursue different combinations of
subjects and to specialise in their interests, regardless of where they live in
Report – A review of the current 16-19 curriculum in Wales (October 2022)
It was agreed
that a set of “agreed principles which were learner centric” should be created,
to ensure that the voices of learners, governors, parents and headteachers are
an integral part of the report.
Member were informed that 6 principles were created -
1) The needs of the learner should be
prioritised over any organisational needs.
2) The generally high standards in
Ceredigion schools should be maintained and improved.
3) There should be more fairness
and equal opportunities for all learners across the county in terms of the
offer, advice and guidance, pastoral care and wellbeing, travel requirements,
learning pattern and access to support. This include ensuring bespoke and
specialist support for pupils with additional learning needs ensuring a
continuum of education for them in the absence of a special school in the
4) The Welsh-medium offer should be improved to be at least
consistent with the English medium offer to increase the number of Welsh
speakers in Ceredigion and to contribute to a bilingual workforce and
5) Access to a wide range of quality academic and vocational
courses should be ensured, increasing the number of vocational courses
currently available for pupils in all parts of the county.
6) The governance of the post-16 provision should promote
the above principles, consider the strategic quality improvement processes,
ensure that expenditure was kept as much as possible within the post-16 budget
and allow decisions to be made that consider environmental sustainability and
A key part of the review included gathering the views of a
broad group of stakeholders. Surveys were sent to key groups, namely learners,
parents / carers, teachers and employers, and a total of 1,306 responses were
received from these individuals. In addition, interviews were conducted with
representatives from educational providers, the local authority
and other partners.
were analysed and placed under six main themes -
• Wide choice
with the world of work
between schools or the establishment of centres of excellence
• Teachers and
good, unbiased advice
The next step was to consider the current situation, i.e, the number of pupils, the financial situation, the
range of subjects available to the learners etc, and to produce options to
consider that look at the advantages and disadvantages in the context of the
In short, the
review asks for views regarding four possible options:
Maintain the Current Situation
Develop the Current Situation
Post-16 provision would continue on
the 6 existing sites. The 6 current Governing Boards would continue with their
current roles in terms of governance up to 16 but agree with the Local
Authority to form a Strategic Board which would manage the Authority’s post-16
suitable arrangements for joint planning of the curriculum
and then commission the provision from the schools, e-sgol
and other partners.
Provision in some schools
This option would be a development of Option 2 above. It
would mean closing the post-16 provision at one or more sites. Then, as in
Option 2, those Governing Boards would continue with their current roles in
terms of governance up until the age of 16 and agree with the Local Authority
to form a Strategic Board that would manage the Authority’s post-16 budget,
ensure suitable arrangements for joint planning of the curriculum and then
commissioning the provision from the schools, e-sgol
and other partners. The Board would also be responsible for monitoring the
quality of the provision and make recommendations to the Local Authority and
the providersfor improvement.
This option would offer a more far-reaching change. It would
mean closing the current post-16provision and establishing a Centre of
Excellence, involving a range of partners, at one or more suitable geographical
sites. A Governing Body independent of the schools would be responsible for the
funding and the curriculum and would appoint a small number of core staff to
steer and manage the work.
Following questions from the floor on the options presented,
it was AGREED to recommend to Cabinet to undertake a Feasibility Study to
consider Option 2 and Option 4 in the Review, however, Option 3 should also be
considered if the information provided for Option 2 and 4 was not viable.