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​Written Assembly Questions tabled on 21 July 2017 for answer on 28 July 2017

R - Signifies the Member has declared an interest.
W - Signifies that the question was tabled in Welsh.

(Self-identifying question no. shown in brackets)

Written Questions must be tabled at least five working days before they are to be answered. In practice, Ministers aim to answer within seven/eight days but are not bound to do so. Answers are published in the language in which they are provided, with a translation into English of responses provided in Welsh.

 

To ask the First Minister

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the First Minister confirm how many face-to-face meetings he has had with the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union since 1 March 2017 and confirm the dates of any conference calls that he may have had with the same Secretary of State on the same period? (WAQ73952)
 
Answer received on 31 July 2017

The First Minister (Carwyn Jones): The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government has been leading on engagement with the Department for Exiting the European Union on behalf of the Welsh Government and has regular meetings and conversations with the Secretary of State as set out in answer to your WAQ73953.
I have had a number of conversations and meetings with David Davies since he took office. Our last meeting was on 9 March in Downing Street.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm the age of the new rolling stock that was announced by him for the Welsh rail network on 17 July 2017? (WAQ73957)

Answer received on 31 July 2017


The Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure (Ken Skates): The 5 Class 319 units coming into the Wales and Borders franchise were manufactured in 1987 – 1988. They are specifically to provide short term relief for capacity issues caused by the inflexible existing rail franchise which we inherited from UK Government. 

They have all undergone scheduled body shell exterior and interior overhauls in the last 32 months. The units have been enhanced to comply with the Persons of Reduced Mobility (PRM) requirements with fitment of an accessible toilet, passenger information systems, priority seating, wheelchair spaces, revised door sounders and applicable colour contrast compliance. 

As well as providing much needed additional capacity for passengers, the Class 319 units will create headroom to allow rest of the fleet to undergo their own essential PRM upgrades.  Until UK Government reach a final agreement to transfer franchising functions to Wales (the date of which has repeatedly slipped) these upgrades are technically the responsibility of UK Government, who have taken no action on this issue despite requests from Welsh Government.  Welsh Ministers have taken the decision to step in to avoid significant elements of the existing fleet being taken out of service on 1 January 2020.  These new trains will allow a refurbishment programme to take place, as well as providing capacity enhancements, protecting Welsh rail users from a cliff edge caused by DfT's repeated slippages in devolving rail franchising powers and unwillingness to take responsibility for the PRM upgrades.

These trains are a very welcome addition, however they are not the long term proposition for Wales & Borders.  That is a matter for our bidders who are being asked to put in place a sustainable, low carbon, efficient and above all customer friendly solution for all of Wales.

Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide details of the specific sectors that will be included in the employability programme? (WAQ73990)
 
Answer received on 3 August 2017

The Minister for Skills and Science (Julie James): Our commitment is to offer the skills and experiences people need to thrive and prosper. We will not be identifying specific sectors for inclusion in the employability delivery plan but rather work across the Welsh Government to identify the skills needed by employers to ensure the economy thrives.

The theme of employability runs throughout this Government’s work and  is not just about jobs and skills; it is about getting every aspect of Government—education, health, housing, communities, transport, rurality, childcare, regional development—working together to support people into sustainable employment.

We will also work closely with the Regional Skills Partnerships to identify the skills needs for their regions and utilise their Regional Employment and Skills Plans. The plans will outline the priority sectors for each region and provide Welsh Government with the mechanism to align regional skills provision to investment and growth opportunities.

We will also use the Wales Employment and Skills Board (WESB) to support our focus on employability including how to engage employers. This new working arrangement, as well as utilising the Council for Economic Development, chaired by the First Minister, will provide us with an enhanced strategic perspective on skills and will strengthen links with business, social enterprise and trade unions to influence policy across skills and the wider economy.


Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary outline further details about the Welsh Government's new employability programme will be published? (WAQ73991)

Answer received on 3 August 2017
 
Julie James: The Employability Delivery Plan will be published at the end of 2017 and will be underpinned by a new employability offer under the name Working Wales.  This will consist of 3 new programmes to be delivered from April 2019:

  • Adult Employability Programme
  • Youth Employability Programme - Engagement (aimed at those furthest from the labour market)
  • Youth Employability Programme - Work focus (aimed at those closer to the labour market)

Working Wales will replace our current suite of programmes: ReAct, Jobs Growth Wales, the Employability Skills Programme and Traineeships. Between now and April 2019 these programmes will be reconfigured to inform the new delivery approach.
 
Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide copies of any correspondence between himself and the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children regarding provision on the early years, childcare and play workforce in the employability programme? (WAQ73992)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017

Julie James: There has been correspondence from the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure and I on the early years, childcare and play workforce provision linking with the employability agenda.  A response will be issuing shortly.  

 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-being and Sport

Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide an update on what the Welsh Government is doing to raise awareness of Slapped Cheek Syndrome amongst a) health workers and b) expectant mothers? (WAQ73951)
 
Answer received on 3 August 2017

Cabinet Secretary for Health, Well-Being and Sport (Vaughan Gething): The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring women and families have access to a range of advice and guidance during pregnancy. All parents in Wales receive a copy of 'Bump, Baby and Beyond' during antenatal appointments. This is designed to provide critical information for pregnancy and the early years of a child's life and contains advice on rash in pregnancy, including slapped cheek syndrome. This is in addition to individual care planning and assessment by a named midwife and associated health professionals.

Health professionals have also recently been reminded to adhere to the guidance 'Infections and Rashes in Pregnancy: A Guide for Health Professionals' and Public Health Wales has published new guidance on infection prevention and control in schools which highlights the risks of slapped cheek syndrome to pregnant parents and staff.

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm how many times the Welsh Government has received a request from Welsh health boards to raise the salary cap of advertised roles when seeking to appoint new senior managers and directors in Wales, and if so, provide details of these requests including whether they were approved? (WAQ73954)  Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide full details of any requests received by the Welsh Government from Welsh health boards to raise the advertised salary cap for senior management and director positions they are wishing to fill, and confirm if any such requests were approved by the Welsh Government, for the last 3 years and per health board? (WAQ73955)
 
Answer received on 3 August 2017

Vaughan Gething: I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.
 

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Further to the answer provided in WAQ73807, will the Cabinet Secretary confirm if monies are claimed from the EU by the Welsh Government on a monthly basis rather than annual basis from rural development plan expenditure and if so, confirm the exchange rate at 1 June 2016 and the rate at 1 June 2017? (WAQ73956)

Answer received on 27 July 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs (Lesley Griffiths): Monies claimed under the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014 -2020 are drawn down from Rural Payments Agency on a daily basis.
At the end of each European Commission (EC) quarter a claim is made to the EC in € at the exchange rate provided by the EC at the time. The payment relating to the claim is then paid to the Rural Payments Agency to reimburse the payments made to Welsh Government.
The exchange rate at 1 June 2016 was €1 = £0.76125
The exchange rate at 1 June 2017 was €1 = £0.86793
The £ Sterling value of the programme is based on a planning exchange rate, which takes into account both previous and forecast future monthly exchange rates.
Since May 2015, when the programme was approved, the exchange rate has been particularly volatile, with a low of €1 = £0.70 and a high of €1 = £0.90. As such the current planning exchange rate is €1 = £0.80.M
My officials continue to monitor exchange rate closely.
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary had with NRW regarding their recent review on the use of firearms on NRW owned or managed land? (WAQ73958)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Lesley Griffiths: The Chief Executive of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) informed me, NRW had issued a call for evidence on the use of shooting on land managed by NRW at my meeting with him on 15th February 2017.

 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm the value of the shooting industry to the Welsh economy? (WAQ73959)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Lesley Griffiths: In 2014, the Public and Corporate Economic Consultants (PACEC) published a report on the Value of Shooting, The Economic, Environmental and Social Contribution of Shooting Sports to the UK which contains data for Wales (https://basc.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/downloads/2014/07/The-Value-of-Shooting2014.pdf).

The League Against Cruel Sports has also published a study on the findings of the above PACEC report (https://www.league.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=633863b8-4a59-41b0-91d2-31195de24d87).
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm if an impact assessment has been carried out on the effective control of wild deer in Wales should NRW impose a ban on the use of firearms? (WAQ73960)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Lesley Griffiths: Earlier this year NRW held a call for evidence from external stakeholders on the use of shooting on land which they manage. I understand that NRW have established an expert group to evaluate the evidence provided by this review process. 

I await the outcome and further discussion of this review with NRW.  

Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm how many times she has met with each of the deer initiative partners in Wales since coming into post? (WAQ73962)

Answer received on 28 July 2017 
 
Lesley Griffiths: The Deer Initiative Partnership in Wales includes private landowners, farmers unions, organisations within the game and shooting sectors and nature conservation bodies. I have met representatives from the those groups involved in the Deer Initiative Partnership on a number of occasions.  


Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): Does the Welsh Government have any intention of updating its action plan for wild deer management in Wales and can she tell us when that update will be published? (WAQ73961) 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide a breakdown on how the Welsh Government has met each of the actions in the Wild Deer Management in Wales Action Plan? (WAQ73963)

Answer received on 27 July 2017

Lesley Griffiths: The Strategy for Wild Deer Management in Wales was published by the Welsh Government in February 2011 and is supported by an action plan.   
 
The strategy stresses the importance of a co-ordinated approach to deer management at a landscape scale involving private landowners, public bodies and nongovernmental organisations. The Deer Initiative Partnership in Wales, part funded by Welsh Government through Natural Resources Wales, takes a partnership approach to deliver actions on privately owned land. Natural Resources Wales carry out actions on Welsh Government owned land on our behalf

A five year review has been undertaken of this approach which included gathering the views of a range of stakeholders and building these into an updated action plan. Officials have been working with stakeholders to finalise the updated Action Plan for Wild Deer Management in Wales which will be published by the end of this summer. 
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What action has the Welsh Government taken to prevent the Curlew from becoming extinct since that bird was added to the Birds of Conservation Concern 4: the Red list for Birds, in December 2015? (WAQ73964)

Answer to follow.
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What is the Welsh Government doing to control the grey squirrel population? (WAQ73965)

Answer received on 27 July 2017

Lesley Griffiths: A draft grey squirrel management action plan has been co-produced by Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales with input from a working group of a range of stakeholders.
It seeks to address the WG policy for the management of grey squirrels as set out in the Woodlands for Wales strategy as well as meeting the requirements of EU Regulation No. 1143/2014 on the Prevention and Management of the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Alien Species.
A stakeholder event was held on 6 July 2017 to discuss the proposals and a full consultation will be held in the autumn. 
  
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): 12. What is Welsh Government doing to protect the forestry industry in Wales from pests and disease? (WAQ73966)

Answer received on 27 July 2017

Lesley Griffiths: The Wales Tree and Plant Health Steering Group draws together Welsh Government, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), representatives from the forestry sector, Defra, APHA, Forestry Commission GB and environment groups to manage delivery of the Wales Tree Health Strategy. The Steering Group meets every 2 months (or more regularly should there be urgent matters to be resolved).
The Wales Tree and Plant Health Surveillance Group is comprised of representatives of Welsh Government, NRW, Forest Research and the Animal and Plant Health Agency. It monitors emerging plant health risks and undertakes contingency planning for response to plant health outbreaks. High profile tree and plant pests for Wales are monitored and reviewed by the Surveillance Group and an updated list is maintained for review by the Steering Group.
The Surveillance Group is closely monitoring the progress in Europe of Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterium which causes disease in a wide range of woody commercial plants such as grapevine, citrus, olive and several species of broadleaf trees widely grown in the UK, as well as many herbaceous plants. The disease has not yet been detected in the UK.
Welsh Government works with a range of partners in order to monitor and manage tree health and diseases. With Forest Research, we have plant health information available on our stands at the Royal Welsh Show and on their websites. People who are concerned are being encouraged to report diseases on the Forest Research Tree Alert website.
Some examples of ongoing tree health work are:
· ‘Tree Health’ days for stakeholders to be briefed on tree and plant health issues, organised by Farming Connect and Forest Research.
· Joint seminars about tree health awareness and key pests are undertaken by NRW with Forest Research.
· NRW provides awareness training to external groups and stakeholders such as the Wildlife Trusts.

It should be noted that NRW carry out regular surveillance for quarantined organisms and key pests and diseases. This includes Phytophthora ramorum and Chalara dieback of ash and they support Welsh Government on a number of GB groups such as DEFRA’s Risk Register Group (Forestry) and the GB and NI Steering Group.
One opportunity arising from the impact of the disease is that felled areas will be restocked with a wider diversity of species, enabling greater ecological resilience to be built in to Wales’ woodlands and therefore ensuring that the natural resource can deliver a range of ecosystem services.
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What percentage of new forestry plantations on Welsh Government land are affected / destroyed by grazing deer? (WAQ73967)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Lesley Griffiths: Deer are present in numbers which could cause negative impacts on woodlands in approximately 36% of the Welsh Government woodland estate. Natural Resources Wales carry out work to mitigate these impacts. Natural Resources Wales estimates that 600ha of the annual replanted restock would be vulnerable to deer grazing and therefore actively manage the deer populations to protect this. 

 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What percentage of the wild deer population in Wales are non-native invasive species of deer? (WAQ73968)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Lesley Griffiths: Of the five species currently resident in Wales, red deer and roe deer are native. Sika and muntjac are non-native species, having been introduced in the late 19th century. Fallow deer are now widely regarded as 'naturalised'. It is estimated Sika and Reeves muntjac make up fewer than 5% of the total Welsh deer population. 
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): How many stakeholders has the Cabinet Secretary met regarding outdoor recreation activities since she came in to post? (WAQ73969)
 
Answer received on 27 July 2017

Lesley Griffiths: Since taking up this portfolio I have had regular meetings with key access stakeholders, including the farming unions and the CLA, at which access to land and water have been discussed.

I have attended one meeting with Local Authority and Local Access Forum representatives to discuss, and see for myself, how Welsh Government funding has supported rights of way improvement and the continued enhancement and promotion of the Wales Coast Path.

I will be meeting the Director of Ramblers' Cymru in August to learn more about their contribution to improving opportunities for walking outdoors.

Where I have been unable to attend meetings on access and outdoor recreation I have directed officials to attend in my place.

Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): How many individuals or organisations/groups benefited from the SPLASH funding pot? (WAQ73970)
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): How much funding was allocated via the SPLASH funding during its existence? (WAQ73988)

Answer received on 27 July 2017

Lesley Griffiths: SPLASH funding supported 134 projects. The SPLASH fund operated between April 2008 and March 2014, allocating a total of £2.61 million.


Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What is Welsh Government doing to improve the quality of our rivers in Wales? (WAQ73971)

Answer received on 28 July 2017 
 
Lesley Griffiths: The river basin management plans, published in 2015, include detailed assessments of all Welsh rivers and measures that we are planning to take to improve their quality. Currently over a third of our rivers achieve good status under the Water Framework Directive and we aim to increase this to nearer half our rivers in the lifetime of this Assembly.
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What is the Welsh Government doing to protect rivers in Wales against agricultural pollution? (WAQ73972)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Lesley Griffiths: As set out in The Welsh Government’s Water Strategy for Wales we have committed to tackling agricultural pollution and a sub group of the Wales land management forum is taking this piece of work forward.  

I am also revising the Code of Good Agricultural Practice, and have commissioned ADAS to look at and report on the best ways tackle agricultural pollution, this sits alongside the SSAFO (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (Wales) Regulations, and the Nitrate Pollution Prevention (Wales) Regulations 2013. This sits alongside the current interventions already in place including Cross Compliance rules. 

In addition I am looking at exploring better ways of tackling agricultural pollution through the Environment (Wales) Act and the current consultation on Taking Forward Wales' Sustainable Management of Natural Resources (SMNR) which closes in September. Linked to the proposals in the SMNR consultation. 
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What is the value to Wales of the rod licencing system in 2016 – 2017? (WAQ73973)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Lesley Griffiths: In total 53,248 rod licences were sold in Wales during 2016 – 2017 financial year to a value of £1,042,510. This money is used by Natural Resources Wales to fund part of its fisheries service in exercise of its statutory functions in relation to fisheries under the Environment Act 1995.

 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What is Welsh Government doing to promote and protect angling in Wales? (WAQ73974)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Lesley Griffiths: Angling on Wales' rivers, seas, lakes and ponds provides important economic benefit to rural and coastal communities as well as being a healthy activity undertaken by many individuals across Wales.  

Angling, at sea and on our rivers, requires healthy populations of fish as well as healthy riverine and marine environments. The Welsh Government is committed to delivering clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas around Wales.

Welsh Government provides grant funding to Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to undertake its statutory duties including, in relation to fisheries, to "maintain, improve and develop" fisheries of salmon, trout, eels, lampreys, smelt and freshwater fish. This is in addition to the monies raised through rod licence sales. NRW will shortly be bringing forward a consultation on proposals to increase the protection of salmon and sewin stocks which are under pressure across much of Wales.

Agricultural pollution is one of the main threats to freshwater fish in Wales. Welsh Government is working closely with NRW and the agricultural sector to tackle the problem of agricultural pollution and a number of initiatives are on-going. 
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): How many stakeholders has the Cabinet Secretary met with regarding mobile animal exhibits in Wales? (WAQ73975)
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): How many stakeholders has the Cabinet Secretary's officials met with to discuss mobile animal exhibits in Wales? (WAQ73976)
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): How many stakeholders residing outside of Wales have been contacted regarding the recent mobile animal exhibit scoping exercise prior to drafting the consultation? (WAQ73977)
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): How many meetings has the Cabinet Secretary held with stakeholders regarding mobile animal exhibits? (WAQ73978)

Answer received on 3 August 2017
 
Lesley Griffiths: I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What discussions has the Cabinet Secretary had with the UK Government regarding food labelling? (WAQ73979)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Lesley Griffiths: I discussed food labelling with the then Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Andrea Leadsom at our meeting in November 2016.

 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): When will the public consultation on the code of practice for dogs be issued? (WAQ73980)
 
Answer received on 3 August 2017

Lesley Griffiths: I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What plans does the Welsh Government have to promote responsible pet ownership in Wales? (WAQ73981)
 
Answer received on 3 August 2017

Lesley Griffiths: I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What is the position of the Welsh Government on effective pest control on land it owns? (WAQ73983)
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What is the Welsh Government's policy on wildlife management on the land it owns? (WAQ73984)
 
Answer recieved on 28 July 2017

Lesley Griffiths: The way our animals are treated is an important reflection of society’s values and we are committed to improving animal welfare standards for all animals in Wales.  As part of this pest control and wildlife management in Wales is governed and regulated by legislation which includes the Agriculture Act 1947, Pests Act 1954, Forestry Act 1967, Plant Health Act 1967, Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended), Deer Act 1991 (as amended) and the Animal Welfare Act 2006.   

 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): How many Welsh Government departments with an interest in the environmental sector have been involved in the recent consultation on the use of firearms on land NRW owns or manages? (WAQ73985)

Answer recieved on 28 July 2017
 
Lesley Griffiths: NRW engaged with the Department of Economy, Skills and Natural Resources prior to NRW’s call for evidence on the use of shooting on land managed by them.  
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): How will the responses to the recent 'Taking Forward Wales', sustainable management of natural resources consultation be collated and measured? (WAQ73986)
 
Answer received on 3 August 2017

Lesley Griffiths: I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.
 
Paul Davies (Preseli Pembrokeshire): What is the timescale for reporting on the responses to the 'Taking Forward Wales', sustainable management of natural resources consultation document? (WAQ73987)

Answer received on 3 August 2017

Lesley Griffiths: I will write to you as soon as possible and a copy of my letter will be published on the internet.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What steps is the Welsh Government taking to ensure that there is sufficient holiday childcare provision available for parents in Wales, including those who will fall outside the scope of the Welsh Government's childcare offer for Wales? (WAQ73950)

Answer recieved on 26 July 2017
 
The Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Children (Carl Sargeant):  Local authorities have a statutory duty to conduct Childcare Sufficiency Assessments and to secure, as far as is reasonably practicable, sufficient childcare to meet the needs of parents who want to study or work. 

A local authority's role in facilitating the childcare market is supported by the Revenue Support Grant.  They also receive a share of £2.3million through the Out of School Childcare Grant to support them to meet the needs identified in their Childcare Sufficiency Assessments.  This will include supporting sufficient holiday childcare provision.

The Welsh Government provides funding to Cwlwm to support sustainable childcare throughout Wales. 

It is likely that the Childcare Offer will stimulate demand for holiday provision and my officials are exploring with Early Implementer local authorities and Cwlwm what could be the barriers and enablers to ensuring sufficient supply.

Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary publish the Welsh Government's latest draft of the early years, childcare and play workforce plan? (WAQ73989)
 
Answer received on 27 July 2017

Carl Sargeant: I do not intend to publish the current draft of the early years, childcare and play workforce plan.  As I stated during my attendance at the Children, Young People and Education Committee on 20 July, I will write to the Committee with details of the timeframe for publication of the final document.    
 
Llyr Gruffydd (North Wales): Will the Cabinet Secretary provide copies of any correspondence between himself and the  Minster for Skills and Science regarding provision on the childcare workforce within the Welsh Government's proposed new employability programme? (WAQ73993)
 
Answer received on 28 July 2017 

Carl Sargeant:  I have been working with the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure and Minister for Skills and Science to develop a plan to support the childcare and play workforce, recognising the role that employability plays within this.  We have corresponded and met and I expect to be able to say more about this matter during the Autumn.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government

Andrew RT Davies (South Wales Central): Will the Cabinet Secretary confirm how many face-to-face meetings he has had with the Secretary of state for exiting the European Union since 1 March 2017 and confirm the dates of any conference calls that he may have had with the same secretary of state in the same period? (WAQ73953)
 
Answer received on 27 July 2017

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance and Local Government (Mark Drakeford):  I have had three face-to-face meetings since 1 March 2017 with David Davies, the Secretary of State for exiting the European Union and have had calls on the following dates: 29 March 2017, 15 June 2017, 3 July 2017 and 19 July 2017.

To ask the Cabinet Secretary for Education

Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): How will the new Estyn inspection framework contribute to reducing the attainment gap for pupils eligible for free school meals in Wales? (WAQ73948)

Answer received on 27 July 2017
 
The Cabinet Secretary for Education (Kirsty Williams): My officials have worked closely with Estyn to ensure the revised supplementary guidance on inspecting approaches taken by schools to support disadvantaged learners is strengthened under the new inspection arrangements. The new framework, to be introduced this September, integrates the well-being, achievement and the progress of disadvantaged learners throughout the areas for inspection. Alongside this, consideration will be given to the extent to which schools adopt a strategic approach to improvement for this cohort of learners.
 
Lynne Neagle (Torfaen): What steps will the Cabinet Secretary take to ensure that the school categorisation model in Wales continues to prioritise reducing the impact of deprivation on educational attainment? (WAQ73949)

Answer recieved on 26 July 2017

Kirsty Williams: The priority to reduce the impact of deprivation on educational attainment has a very clear focus in relation to the school categorisation model. The data measures for primary schools are calculated and benchmarked against levels of free school meal eligibility. This is to ensure that the wider social context of deprivation has been factored in.

As part of a school’s self-evaluation, the performance of eFSM learners are reviewed and analysed as an area of clear focus.

If standards are not good or not improving, then leadership, as part of step two, cannot be judged as wholly effective. This is also the case where the performance of learners eligible for free school meals (eFSM learners) or any other vulnerable group is not improving at a sufficient rate.

For Secondary schools, where performance of Level 2 threshold including English/Welsh first language and mathematics for eFSM learners is below the agreed eFSM minimum standard (30% in 2015, 32% in 2016 and 34% in 2017) the schools standards group defaults to at most a 3 on the standards axis. If a school achieves less than the agreed eFSM minimum standard then it can not be categorised as a green school.

The categorisation model will continue to prioritise reducing the impact of deprivation on educational attainment.

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