Questions to CM Education and Young People

Questions at any time to the Cabinet Member for Education & Young People

From June 2015 

For questions before June 2015 please contact democratic services at Newport City Council  

Question from Councillor David Fouweather

Subject: Teaching of Welsh language in schools

Q.1 How many primary school teachers here in Newport are of a decent standard to be able to properly teach the Welsh language?

Q. 2 How do you plan to increase the number of secondary school pupils in English medium schools to take the full course Welsh GCSE?

Q. 3 Can you tell me if any surveys have been carried out with parents and pupils in English medium secondary schools to see if they are supportive of the teaching of the Welsh language, whether they consider that it is important for their children to study the Welsh Bacc. at the expense of not being able to pick another GCSE subject? 

Date received: 4 September 2015


Q.1 All primary school teachers in Wales are teachers of the Welsh language and must be suitably equipped to deliver the teaching and learning of Welsh within their own classrooms. Head teachers work with their staff to ensure that adequate training is put into place to support their classroom planning and delivery. 

The following information describes the support provided to Newport primary and secondary schools via the EAS: 

All infant, junior and primary schools receive 9 curriculum support visits per annum as part of the EAS core service. All nursery schools, special schools and pupil referral units receive a termly visit. All schools have the support of a designated Welsh in Education Officer. The focus of support is based on the strengths and weaknesses of the school in relation to Welsh, as identified by an applied success criteria used by the Welsh in Education Officers with progress made in the following areas monitored during the year:

  • The school’s success in embracing and reflecting the Welsh Government’s aspirations to promote a Welsh ethos, to inform the learners of the benefits of learning the Welsh language and to provide appropriate opportunities for all pupils to achieve their full potential in relation to their Welsh language skills.
  • % of learners achieving level 4+ in Welsh Second Language
  • The quality and impact of standardisation and moderation
  • Estyn inspection findings and recommendations
  • The impact of self- evaluation of teaching and learning on future planning
  • Leadership and management of Welsh
  • The level of staff confidence and training

As part of the core service to the primary sector, schools will also have access to the Welsh Language Support team’s comprehensive central Welsh language and methodology training programme (available through CPD Online) and termly co-ordinator networking opportunities. Self-supported reviews will be available to schools based on the mid-way point through the inspection cycle.

The highly successful schemes of work, teaching, learning, ICT and assessment resources created by the team in collaboration with highly skilled practitioners from within the SE Wales region are also available to schools, most recently the Hwyl Dan 7 Coch, Melyn, Glas & Gwyrdd packs for the Foundation phase. 

Secondary schools receive termly in-house support by designated secondary specialists. These officers provide guidance and advice on curriculum planning, assessment and pedagogical development. They also review standards of teaching and learning through scrutiny of learners’ work, listening to learners and where agreed appropriate, through departmental review. Officers also provide support on self-evaluation, analysis of learner outcomes and targets for improvement. Advice on the provision for Welsh within secondary schools is also provided as well as whole school Welsh language development. School to school support is encouraged through the sharing of good practice in the termly Heads of Department Forum, the Outstanding Teacher Forum and through PLCs.  

For all schools, both Welsh and English medium, additional enhanced support is targeted to schools in most need, or growing schools (Welsh medium), as outlined by WEG terms and conditions and agreed by local authorities. These schools are identified by the Welsh in Education Officers in collaboration with local authorities and system leaders.  

The team also monitor cluster moderation processes and national reading test processes on behalf of local authorities and monitor and authorise the expenditure of the WEG by schools on behalf of the Welsh Government.  

Standards in Welsh Education:

Successful pupil outcomes in Welsh second language provide a valuable insight to the skill set of primary school teachers in Newport. 

Standards at Key Stage 2, 2nd language Welsh are strong. 86% of pupils achieved the expected level (Level 4) in 2014-15. This was a 6% improvement from last academic year. Newport primary schools have the joint highest level of performance within the region (alongside Monmouthshire). Newport is 4% higher than the regional average performance in this measure. 

Newport pupils also continue to demonstrate strong performance in the expected level +1 (Level 5) indicator. 32% of pupils achieve L5; this is the highest performance in the region (4% higher than the regional average). Level 5 outcomes increased by 2% from 2013/14. 

Q.2 The local authority considers this to be an important issue and has ensured that this action is a priority within the Newport Welsh Education Strategic Plan 2014-17. There is an expectation that the teaching of the full course GCSE Welsh, across years 9-11 is explored in all secondary schools. Successful local curriculum models will continue to be shared locally and regionally. Schools will be encouraged to share good practice and resources through regular secondary Welsh meetings and Professional Learning Communities.

In 2013 16.70% of KS4 pupils took up a full course Welsh GCSE, while 57% of KS4 undertook a short course.  A local target is in place to improve full course welsh GCSE to 30% by 2017. 

Q. 3 A survey of this nature has not been organised by the local authority. It is likely that individual secondary schools receive feedback around their curriculum from parents and pupils.                                  

It should be noted that Welsh second language is compulsory at all key stages (this includes Key Stage 4). For learners at Key Stage 4, Welsh second language will be part of each individual’s learning pathway. The course of study followed should be designed to encourage both the abilities of young people as learners and their desire to access future learning opportunities. GCSE full course welsh gives learners the opportunities to progress to AS/ A Level Welsh and beyond.

The Welsh Baccalaureate is also compulsory at Key Stage 4. 

Newport’s Welsh in Education Strategic Plan aims to develop Welsh medium education and second language Welsh skills in order to support the Welsh economy and strengthen the bilingual workforce in wales. 

Date issued: 7 September 2015


Member Question: Councillor M Kellaway

Subject: Caerleon Comprehensive – Welsh Government Colour Banding Ratings

Cabinet member as you are in charge of education a teaching professional could you explain please why Caerleon Comprehensive school was amber last year is now in the red category, rather than improve the school is getting worse.  

How do you plan to ensure improvements are made so not to fail the children attending, of which I do have an interest.  

Date received: 1 February 2016


In 2014-15, Caerleon Comprehensive was placed in an amber support category. The EAS worked with the school to address shortfalls which were prioritised in the School Development Plan. As these priorities were addressed, it was apparent that the school had further under developed areas linked to teaching learning. During this time there were significant changes to the Senior Leadership Team, which for any school is difficult.  

In August 2015 examination results showed a decline in pupil standards. Level 2 inclusive Performance was 66%, which was a 6% decrease from 2014. This was also 16% below the target which was set by the school.  

The decline in pupil outcomes resulted in the school receiving a ‘4’ for ‘step one’ of categorisation. This number is calculated and provided by Welsh Government. A school receiving a ‘4’ for step one is a school which requires the highest level of support. This is linked to the ‘red’ categorisation.  

The newly appointed Head Teacher, Chair of Governors, Chief Education Officer, Principal Challenge Adviser and myself have agreed an appropriate intervention and support plan to ensure the school has the capacity to self-improve. The plan is targeted at developing high quality pedagogy and tracking pupil standards to ensure that better outcomes are secured. The LA is monitoring this plan regularly to ensure that the school is making the necessary steps to improvement.  

Date issued: 8 February 2016

Member Question: Councillor M Evans

Subject: Duffryn High School

I have understandably been inundated with emails from extremely concerned parents from Duffryn High School and from prospective parents of the new Welsh Secondary School, originally planned to open this September 

  1.  When were Natural Resources Wales originally consulted on this issue? 
  2. How early in the feasibility process were their concerns formally raised?
  3. What contingency plans were put in place at the time?
  4. How much money to date has been spent on these proposals?  
  5. Is there any way these hurdles can be overcome by improved design?
  6. Where will the children who were due to go the new Welsh School be going?
  7. What will now be done to ensure pupils at Duffryn High have the much needed improvements they deserve?  

Date received: 4 February 2016


  1. Consultation with NRW was on an on-going iterative basis, commencing 2nd December 2014 culminating in objection received dated 20th November 2015. No issues were raised at the cabinet meeting held in July 2015 when the proposals were agreed.
  2. 20th November 2015.
  3. It was believed that the flood risk could be mitigated by on site construction works and comprehensive Flood Emergency Management Arrangements as described to the Planning Committee.
  4. It is estimated that in excess of £1m will have been spent.
  5. The objection by NRW is the hurdle, they do not object to the design which incorporate flood proof buildings.
  6. A proposal is about to be published by the Council to consult on a temporary location of the Ysgol Gymraeg Bro Teyrnon site, a permanent location will be determined as soon as possible. You will be aware that the Planning Application in relation to the Duffryn site is to be re- submitted for consideration by the full Council.
  7. The Council remains committed to significant improvements to the Duffryn High School.  

Date issued: 17 February 2016

Member Question: Councillor D Atwell

Subject: Education Services Budget

Following a recent discussion on financial matters, I understand that the Education department has actually lost circa £500K from its overall budget; I would be pleased if you would comment on this matter and perhaps an explanation.  

Date received: 2 March 2016


The Head of Finance has assured me that there  is no evidence to back up that suggestion and he cannot see where that information may be coming from. As you have since confirmed, your source was uncertain but if you have any real evidence, please bring it forward and I will investigate.  

Date issues: 14 March 2016