Two guest speakers attended our meeting. First to speak was Dr Vince Browne, the new Executive Headteacher at the new mixed school in Barry. He discussed the lack of funding for Vale schools. It has become a well known fact that pupils in the Vale receive the lowest amount of money per head from Welsh Government in the whole of Wales, and it has been this way for over five years.
We questioned Dr Browne on the formula used to calculate funding, and he tells us that the data being used is from the early nineties, and that the formula itself has not been reviewed for almost twenty years. Other than the size of catchment areas, Welsh Government have not released a lot of information on how funding is calculated for different local authorities in Wales. Dr Browne continued by saying that in order to keep schools performances up, the council is having to give funding boosts to education by cutting other services. The low funding has a chain effect on many other services, the one most relevant to us being the Youth Service.
Our second guest speaker was Rhys Jones, a Senior Youth Manager of the Vale Youth Service. He came to talk to us about the proposed changes to the Youth Service. There are to be many less part time jobs in the service, but the creation of several new full time posts. In addition, Llantwit Youth Centre is to be sold off to save money and because it needs a lot of money spent on it to make it more suitable for young people. The Youth Service is still going to provide youth provision in the area but it would be run differently. A group has been set up trying to save the youth provision too.
Despite the commitment to keep the Youth Cabinet and Youth Action Groups as they are, and to press on with the youth exchange in summer, there is still a cloud of uncertainty above the Youth Service’s future and the way youth provisions will be run. The Youth Mayor & Vice Chair of the Vale Youth Forum will be attending the Learning and Culture Scrutiny Committee next Monday (26th March) where the youth service restructure will be on the agenda, and they will be asking questions on behalf of young people in the Vale.
Other than these hot topics, we approved the draft plan of the work experience menu. We have ideas on the types of placements that we would like the Council to offer young people in Key Stage 4 & 5. We now need to communicate this to the Council's relevent department.
This was our penultimate youth cabinet meeting. The next meeting in April will be the last joint meeting with the Cabinet and the last meeting of our term of office. We agreed to hold the Youth Cabinet elections in late April by holding an extraordinary Vale Youth Forum meeting. This will get the new Youth Cabinet together before exams. We are continuing to press that individuals may make a video, pamphlets, give a speech or canvass in any other creative manner to enable a diversity of people to stand for election.