Agenda and minutes
Early Years, Children and Youth Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel
Monday, 24th September, 2012 4.30 pm
Venue: Council Chamber - Guildhall, Bath. View directions
Contact: Mark Durnford 01225 394458
WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting, especially Hazel Stockwell-Cooke and Mike Fidanoglu who were representing the Young Person’s Equality Group and the Youth Parliament respectively for the first time at this meeting.
EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE
The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.
The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS
Chris Batten, a Co-opted Member of the Panel had sent his apologies.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:
(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.
(b) The nature of their interest.
(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest, (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)
Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officer before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.
There were none.
TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN
There was none.
ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC OR COUNCILLORS - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS OF THIS MEETING
At the time of publication no notifications had been received.
Representatives from YAGA were present and addressed the Panel on their recent work regarding public transport. They showed them their picture story board of learning how to catch the bus.
They spoke of how they would like to be able to catch the bus more often, independently. They also highlighted that it can sometimes be difficult to catch the bus if you have mobility difficulties as the steps are too high and that sometimes you cannot take wheelchairs on the bus.
Their banners are going to be on show in Bath Library on 8th October for one week.
They explained that they plan to do a similar project in the future regarding train journeys.
Councillor Lorainne Morgan-Brinkhurst wished to congratulate them on their work.
The Chairman thanked them for attending and asked that they keep the Panel updated with the project.
Tess Daly wished to respond to a matter raised by Councillor Ian Gilchrist at the previous meeting on the subject of diocesan representation on Local Authority committees dealing with education.
She referred the Panel to a direction that had been made by the Secretary of State for Education and Employment. The direction had been in effect from November 1st 1999.
In the direction ‘diocesan body’ means a Church of England Diocesan Board of Education, the Bishop of a Roman Catholic Diocese, a Roman Catholic Diocesan Schools Commission or its equivalent.
The direction applies in relation to any committee appointed by a local authority in accordance with section 102 of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended by the Local Government Act 2000 and the Localism Act 2011) wholly or partly for the purpose of discharging any of the authority’s functions with respect to education.
As a member of the committee they shall be entitled to vote on any of the following matters:
i) Matters which relate to schools maintained by the local education authority;
ii) Matters which relate to pupils who are educated in schools maintained by the local education authority, or who are educated by the local education authority otherwise than at school.
The Chairman thanked her for providing this information.
The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.
Exam Results - Key Stage 2 / Key Stage 4 / A Level
The Panel will receive a verbal update on this item from the Head of School Improvement and Achievement.
The Head of School Improvement and Achievement introduced this item to the Panel. She explained that the results were provisional and as in previous years the Panel would receive a written report at their November meeting.
· Whilst there are no national comparisons published B&NES has seen an improvement in the percentage reaching the threshold of 78 points and 6+ in all scales of communication. Language and Literacy and Personal Social and Emotional development (61.7% 2012, 58.2% 2011).
· The gap between the lowest attaining 20% of children and their peers has widened slightly (by 2%). The gap has been significantly affected by the increase in the number of Early Years children in Special Schools (6 in 2011, 18 in 2012).
Key Stage 1
· Results are either slightly below or close to last year’s. We will need to see if this reflects the national picture.
· The proportion achieving national expectation of Level 2+ has dropped by 1 ppt in writing (87%), reading (84%) but remained the same (93%) in Maths. Results remain above 2011 national averages.
· High attainers have performed well in:
Maths 28% L3 (last year 28%)
Reading 37% L3 (last year 37%)
Writing 17% (last year 19%)
Key Stage 2
- Level 4+: 88%, 3 ppt above national of 85%
§ 3% improvement from 2011
§ Joint highest performing in South West
- Level 5: 43%, 5 ppt above national
§ 8 ppt increase on 2011
§ Joint highest performing in South West
- is a particular strength of the local authority
- 91% level 4+, increase of 4 ppt and 4% above national (87%)
- Highest in South West
- Higher attainers have performed particularly well with 55% gaining L5 (6ppt on 2011. 7% above national
- Highest in the South West
- 84% level 4%. This cannot be compared with last year as assessment procedures have changed. Writing is now based on Teacher Assessment. Results are 3 ppt above national and joint highest performing in South West with 2 LAs
- 32% Level 5, 4 ppt above national.
- Second highest performing in South West.
- Level 4+ 86% - national 84%
- B&NES joint highest performing in South West
- Improvement of 4% since 2011
· English & Maths Combined
- L4+ 82% (3ppt above national and an improvement of 5ppt since 2011 (77%)
- English: LA 88% (86%) (National 89%)
- Maths: LA 86% (83%) (National 87%)
- Whilst progress has improved this year it continues to be a priority.
5 A*- C including English and Maths
- 57.1% (2012)
- 64.2% (2011)
The average LA result is down on the previous 4 years but this is in the light of the English examination with one school seeing a 30% drop in their A* - C results.
Councillor Liz Hardman wished to congratulate all the teachers, pupils and schools for their hard work. She asked if any schools or the Council were challenging the English examination results. ... view the full minutes text for item 39.
Family Intervention Project
The Panel will receive a briefing on this item from the Youth Offending Team Service Manager.
The Youth Offending Service Manager introduced this item to the Panel. She informed them that the Family Intervention Project (FIP) had been operational in Bath and North East Somerset since January 2010. By April 2011 when the interim internal evaluation report was completed, eighteen families had been assessed and accepted onto the programme and seven of these had ended their contact. The multi-agency Steering Group considered that this was a good time to take stock of what had been achieved to date and to identify key learning for building on the whole family approach to supporting some of the most vulnerable families living in the area.
She added that key workers hold 5-6 family cases each year and interventions last an average of twelve months, but can be up to 18 months.
The Youth Offending Team Manager (Prevention) gave the Panel an example of a case study. He explained that the family in question were at risk of being evicted as all members were engaging in anti-social behaviour before the team engaged with them around 18 months ago.
The family were assessed through announced and unannounced visits to their home and were subsequently provided with a key worker. The key worker’s role was to develop positive relationships between the family and outside agencies such as the Police, Social Workers, School and other voluntary agencies.
He added that the intervention had been successful and that all members remain in the family home. The younger children have a better relationship with their parents, the parents have embarked on some relationship counselling whilst they both have also gained employment.
Their case was due to close later in the week.
Councillor Liz Hardman commented that it was very good to see the holistic approach working so well. She added that it was vital that the good quality professional staff be retained and hoped it would receive the relevant funding required.
The Youth Offending Service Manager replied by paying tribute to the current staff as it was a very demanding role. She added that she felt they were very settled in their roles and had a lot to offer the national troubled families initiative, known locally as Connecting Families.
The Divisional Director for Preventative Provider Services added that an Interim Project Manager had been appointed for the connecting families’ project and that FIP work would become part of this preventative work.
The People and Communities Strategic Director added that funding was available through the Complex Families Initiative but he was already aware that around £1m would be cut from its budget for 2013. He also felt that it would take at least ten years to see the true benefit of the project.
The Youth Offending Team Manager (Prevention) commented that he agreed that it was a generational project and that the staff were very key to its success.
The Chairman thanked them both very much for the update.
The purpose of this report is to provide members with an overview of permanent exclusions of pupils from school and to ascertain if there is any impact on the numbers of permanent exclusions as a result of secondary schools converting to academies.
The Divisional Director for Preventative Provider Services introduced this item to the Panel. He informed them that there had been no permanent exclusions in the primary sector since 2009-10 and that the numbers had always been relatively low.
He added that the number of permanent exclusions in secondary schools and academies had reduced significantly, since their peak in 2005-06. In 2005-06, permanent exclusions were high nationally and Bath and North East Somerset was the highest excluding authority within the South West region.
By 2009-10, Bath and North East Somerset was the lowest permanently excluding authority in the South West region. This improvement was the result of a number of initiatives, such as a significant change in the statutory guidance on exclusions, a campaign through the National Strategies to reduce exclusions and improve the ability of teachers to better manage poor behaviour and, more locally, the introduction of an agreed scheme where funding was deducted from the excluding school to provide support at the receiving school. In addition, the local authority was able to set up systems, such as the Behaviour and Attendance Panels that enabled schools to find more flexible responses to challenging behaviour e.g. a managed move to another school, rather than a permanent exclusion.
Peter Mountstephen commented that schools should look for further transition opportunities in an attempt to avoid any confrontations when moving from Primary to Secondary schools.
Councillor Ian Gilchrist asked if some pupils had been excluded on more than one occasion.
The Divisional Director for Preventative Provider Services replied that yes that was a possibility.
Councillor Ian Gilchrist asked if the exclusions had been mainly issued by Academies or schools that were judged to be outstanding.
The Divisional Director for Preventative Provider Services replied that the exclusions were spread across all schools.
The Chairman thanked him for the update.
This is a briefing report for members on the proposals within the Department for Education document An Action Plan for Adoption: Tackling Delay, and an outline of the preparations the Council’s Children’s Service has made in anticipation of these, and further proposals to be published later in the year.
The Divisional Director for Specialist Provider Services introduced this item to the Panel. He explained that in the Action Plan for Adoption, the Government has set out its proposals for tackling delay in the adoption system. The plan outlines what the Government intends to do to accelerate the whole adoption process so that more children benefit from adoption and more rapidly.
Councillor Ian Gilchrist asked if there was an imbalance between the numbers of children requiring adoption and potential adoptive parents.
The People and Communities Strategic Director replied that he believed there to be around 4,000 children requiring adoption and only 1,100 potential adoptive parents.
Councillor Ian Gilchrist asked if there were any of the national proposals that the Council had not taken up.
The Divisional Director for Specialist Provider Services replied that the Council were looking to take them all forward in time.
The People and Communities Strategic Director commented that securing a long term placement was the highest priority and that the Council was proud of having no post adoption breakdown over the past eight years.
The Panel RESOLVED to:
i) Note the briefing paper, preparations and actions taken by the Children’s Service thus far.
ii) Request a further report from the Divisional Director for Specialist Provider Services detailing the actions to be taken to respond to the final proposals.
Cabinet Member Update
This item gives the Panel an opportunity to ask questions to the Cabinet Member and for her to update them on any current issues.
Councillor Dine Romero, Cabinet Member for Early Years, Children & Youth addressed the Panel. She spoke of how she expected there to be some challenging times ahead and that she would welcome any issues to be raised with her.
The Chairman asked for her to perform a similar role and advise the Panel as soon as possible of any upcoming issues.
Councillor Ian Gilchrist asked if she would be willing to share her priorities with the Panel.
Councillor Dine Romero replied that she would be happy to do so in due course.
People & Communities Strategic Director's Briefing
The Panel will receive a verbal update on this item from the People and Communities Strategic Director.
The People & Communities Strategic Director addressed the Panel.
He informed them that phase one of the departmental re-structure had been completed, the broad Divisional structure had been agreed and the Divisional Director appointments have been made.
Deputy Director (Children) Mike Bowden
Deputy Director (Adult Care, Housing & Health) Jane Shayler
Divisional Director (Specialist Provider Services) Maurice Lindsay
Divisional Director (Preventative Provider Services) Tony Parker
He added that phase two would commence on 8th October when Head of Service/Service Manager roles will be appointed to. Meetings with the Unions and Associations are planned and a series of staff briefings started in late July and will run through until January 2013.
Partnership with the PCT/CCG
He explained that work continues apace and the Council has endorsed the revised Partnership Framework between the Clinical Commissioning Group and the Council. The CCG has published its draft Commissioning Plan for 2013-14 and it is making good progress towards achieving ‘authorisation’ by the NHS. This process will start in mid-October
Tracey Cox has now been confirmed as the CCG Chief Operating Officer. Sarah James is the Chief Finance Officer and Dr. Simon Douglass the Accountable GP for the CCG. Appointments are yet to be made by the National Commissioning Board to its Local Area Team (Gloucestershire, Swindon, Wiltshire and Bath and North East Somerset).
Plans for the transfer of Public Health Services are in place.
The Service is preparing to participate in the regional programme to promote self-improvement in Children’s Services which is part of a wider LGA sponsored national programme.
Bath and North East Somerset will be ‘challenging’ Swindon on Safeguarding and the implementation of the Munro Reforms. Dorset will be ‘challenging’ Bath and North East Somerset on the discussion of children and young people from care.
He stated that he would update the Panel in January 2013.
New Ofsted Inspection Framework
He informed the Panel that not one authority had attained a rating of ‘Good’ from the first four that had been visited.
The Chairman on behalf of the Panel thanked him for his update.
This report presents the latest Policy Development & Scrutiny Workplan for the Panel.
The Chairman introduced this item to the Panel and informed them that the questionnaires for the Home to School Transport Review had been sent out.
She acknowledged that the Adoption Action Plan would be placed under Future Items so that an update could be received when ready.
Councillor Liz Hardman asked if the Panel could receive a report on funding for Special Needs Schools.
The Divisional Director for Preventative Provider Services replied that the Cabinet were due to receive a report on this issue at its October meeting. He added that a current consultation on the subject was due to close in four weeks’ time. He proposed to bring a report to the Panel at their November meeting.
The Panel RESOLVED to agree with the proposals stated above.