Pembrokeshire Schools

Admission Forum Minutes - 4 November 2021

Minutes Of A Meeting Of The Pembrokeshire Admission Forum Held Via Microsoft Teams On Thursday, 4 November 2021 At 8.30a.m.

Present:

Councillor Alison Tudor

Ven. Paul Mackness (Interim Chair) - Church in Wales Representative

Heather Cale - Head Teacher, St Mark's VA School

Rev John Cecil - Church in Wales Representative

Erica Davies - Admissions Officer (Authority Officer)

Nick Dyer - Head Teacher, Gelliswick VC School (Primary)

Jane Harries - Head Teacher, Haverfordwest High School (Secondary)

Tom Moses - Parent Governor Representative

Steven Richards-Downes - Director of Education (Authority Officer)

Michele Thomas - Head Teacher, Pembroke Dock Community School (Primary)

 

Also in Attendance:

Matthew Johns - Statutory Transport Officer

Huw Jones – Resources & Governance Manager

David Thompson - Policy & Improvement Programme Manager

Yasmin Todd - Local Community Representative, Military Service Families

Lydia Cheshire - Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer

 

Apologies for Absence:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors John Davies and Guy Woodham and Alison Kavanagh (PGR).

 

11. Appointment of Chair & Vice-Chair

The Policy & Improvement Programme Manager sought nominations for the role of Chair, but with no nominations received Ven. Paul Mackness agreed to Chair the meeting for this meeting only and the group agreed for nominations for both Chair and Vice-Chair to be sought again at the June 2022 meeting.

Details of the Chair/Vice-Chair commitment were outlined and Members were encouraged to get in touch with one of the admissions team if they wished to discuss taking on the role from June.

Action: That nominations for both Chair and Vice-Chair to be sought at the June 2022 meeting.

Responsible Officer: Policy & Improvement Programme Manager

 

12. Admission Forum Membership

The Policy & Improvement Programme Manager advised that the core membership currently stood at 14 with one vacancy. A warm welcome was expressed to the four new members as follows:

  • Michele Thomas, nominated by Pembrokeshire Association of Primary Headteachers (PAPH) as Headteacher representative to replace Debbie Davies who retired at the end of the last academic year.
  • Nick Dyer, nominated by PAPH as Headteacher representative to replace Paul Harris whose term of office was due to end on 4November 2021 but had confirmed that he would be retiring at the end of December 2021.
  • Jane Harries, nominated by Pembrokeshire Association of Secondary Headteachers (PASH) as Headteacher representative to replace Paul Edwards.
  • Yasmin Todd, representative of the Local Community for Service Families as agreed at the last forum meeting.

The one vacancy was highlighted to be a representative for the Roman Catholic Church. It was stated that although nominations had been requested from Mr Paul White after Sue Robert’s term of office ended on 20 October 2020 nothing had been received.  Heather Cale suggested that with Mr White’s approval, Sarah Mansfield, Headteacher at Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary School could be nominated. Rev John Cecil advised that he would email Mr Paul White regarding the suggestion, which was agreed by the group.

The group were updated that Ven Paul Mackness’s term of office was due to end on 21 November 2021 and the Chair advised that he would be re-appointed.

Action: That an email be sent to Mr Paul White suggesting that Sarah Mansfield, Headteacher at Mary Immaculate Catholic Primary School be nominated as the Roman Catholic Church representative.

Responsible Officer/Member: Rev John Cecil

 

13. Minutes of the previous meeting

Moved by Rev John Cecil, Church in Wales Representative; Seconded by Heather Cale, Head Teacher, St Mark's VA School.

Resolved

That the Minutes of the meeting held on 10 June 2021 be approved as a correct record.

 

14.  Matters arising from the minutes

The Chair and the Policy & Improvement Programme Manager both provided updates on the three actions contained with the Minutes of the last forum meeting as follows:

 

Minute No.

Action

 

Responsible Officer

Update

1

That Yasmin Todd be invited to join the Forum membership as a representative of the Local Community, representing Military Service Families.

Policy & Improvement Programme Manager

That Yasmin Todd had accepted the invitation and joined the core membership of the forum.

1

That the appointment of a new Chairman and Vice-Chairman be added to the next forum agenda.

 

Democratic and Scrutiny Services Officer

As agreed during agenda item 2 - nominations for both Chair and Vice-Chair will be sought at the June 2022 meeting.

9

That a letter be sent to Teleri Williams on behalf of the Forum expressing their sincere thanks for her many years of dedicated service to schools admissions.

Policy & Improvement Programme Manager

Letters of thanks were sent to both Debbie Davies and Teleri Williams expressing thanks from the Forum.

 

An additional update was provided which related to the second bullet point of Minute 3 stating that the transport section of the website had been further enhanced and now included an ‘entitlement checker’ whereby parents could input their postcode to check whether their child would be entitled to free school transport. It was hoped that the facility would aid parents in their decision making process when selecting their preferred school to know at the time of application whether they would be entitled to free school transport or not and therefore assist in reducing the number of transport appeals.

 

15.  Annual Report to Forum

The Admissions Officer outlined the Admission Forum Annual Report 2020/21 as contained within the agenda pack, which the forum proceeded to approve and agreed for it to be submitted to Welsh Government.

Action: That the Admission Forum Annual Report 2020/21 be submitted to Welsh Government.

Responsible Officer: Admissions Officer

 

16. Monitoring of VA School Admission Arrangements

The Resources & Governance Manager outlined the Monitoring of VA School Admission Arrangements report and highlighted that three schools were currently over-subscribed (Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi, Holy Name and St Oswalds). It was stated that Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi had agreed to the additional numbers as they were able to accommodate them but it was added that a capacity review of the school may need to be undertaken.

On considering the report Members raised the following points:

  • The Chair stated that he was also Chair of Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi’s  Admissions Committee and following a question from the Head Teacher of Gelliswick VC School he advised that he had been assured that there was capacity at both Primary and Secondary level although change was most needed currently for the secondary phase.
  • Tom Moses, Parent Governor Representative, highlighted that the increase in numbers was linked to the recent re-organisation of secondary school provision within Haverfordwest and it was queried if the opening of the new Haverfordwest High school would assist with the over-subscription. The Chair advised that it was likely that some pupils would revert back to Haverfordwest High although added that many had been drawn for wanting faith-based education.
  • The Head Teacher of Haverfordwest High School raised concerns regarding the financial knock on effect the fluctuation to the capacity of a school could cause on neighbouring schools.
  • The Statutory Transport Officer outlined the transport pressures that were being caused by the migration of pupils attending schools out of their catchment area and advised that the Authority were not required to provide transport to pupils attending faith schools, which had caused an increase in the use of public transport and parents making the decision to fund transport themselves. The increase of fuel costs were highlighted and it was commented that operators would need to pass those costs on therefore the Authority were anticipating increased tender costs for 2022.
  • Tom Moses, Parent Governor Representative queried if any additional information was required from parents who were wanting to enrol their child into a school outside of their catchment area, based on faith grounds. The Chair advised that as VA schools manage their own admissions often a letter was requested from the respective priest/minister to support the child’s application although that was not always the case as it was a parental choice.
  • Discussion was had regarding the positive impact the increase in second home tax could have on village school admission numbers although it was commented that unfortunately Ysgol Penrhyn Dewi may not have capacity to take on all admission requests of children moving into the catchment area since the new housing development had been constructed as they were already at capacity with the additional non-catchment pupils in some year groups.
  • Following a question from Councillor Alison Tudor, the Statutory Transport Officer outlined the two catchment areas for Ysgol Caer Elen.
  • The Director of Education advised that any feedback arising from the forum meetings would be fed back to the respective Governing Body by himself and the Resources & Governance Manager.

In summing up the group agreed to note the content of the admission arrangements report. 

 

17. Report on Admission Appeals

The Policy & Improvement Programme Manager outlined the current admission appeal position, as at 16 September 2021, as follows:

Since the last meeting of the Forum on 10 June 2021 14 individual appeals had been received.

Of the 14 appeals, 6 were subsequently cancelled/withdrawn due to a change of circumstances or due to places being offered at a later date.

Of the remaining appeals, 8 were heard with 7 being upheld and 1 refused as follows:

  • 3 – Ysgol Caer Elen – upheld
  • 3 – Ysgol Bro Gwaun – upheld
  • 1 – Pembroke Dock Community School  – upheld
  • 1 – Fenton School – refused

It was added that with regards to communication with parents via the website, a corporate approach had been taken to ensure that all forms contained on the Councils website would be available as an e-Form, therefore work was ongoing to develop the current PDF appeals form in e-Form.

 

18. Suggestions for future items for consideration by the Forum

Suggestions for future items for consideration by the forum were made as follows:

  • Election of Chair and Vice-Chair – agreed for June 2022 meeting.
  • ALN Data - A number of headteachers raised concerns regarding how sufficient data would be received after the ALN transformation takes place and the importance of receiving detailed data, on point of admission, was highlighted. The Director advised that the use of SIMS’s would assist with the matter and agreed that a discussion regarding the expectations of the system would be beneficial at the June 2022 meeting. The Resources & Governance Manager advised that the team had been working on the transition from 'teacher centre’ to ‘sims’ although stated that by the June 2022 meeting the transition would have already happened. 

 

19. Date of next meeting

The group agreed that the next forum meeting would take place on 9 June 2022 at 08:30a.m.

 

The meeting ended at 9.28a.m.

ID: 8866, revised 05/07/2022
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