Agenda and minutes

Venue: Brunswick Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  01225 394458

No. Item




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.




The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.



The Chair drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.





Apologies were received from two of the Panel’s co-opted members David Williams and Andrew Tarrant.



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 or a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.


There were none.




There was none.



At the time of publication no notifications had been received.



Councillor Dine Romero addressed the Panel, a summary of her statement is set out below.


There may not yet be a lack of school places across the whole of the Bath area, but their distribution is uneven. There is a lack of secondary school places in the SW of Bath. 


As I have stated before at other meetings, encouraging parents to choose 5 out of 7 schools only gives an illusion of choice, but does not allow for a real choice of 5 schools.


The nature of the schools in Bath does not give parents a real choice. Two schools are denominational, and at least one has an admissions criteria that makes a successful application from someone of no religion unlikely. Two schools are single sex, so automatically removes one choice for parents, one is only for children in years 10 and above. Only two are both mixed and non-denominational.


The criteria of the Bath schools means that for most parents they really only have a choice of 3 schools, 4 if you include St Mark’s.


But this also fails to take into account the arrangement between the two single sex schools, this means that a sibling will get admissions priority at the partner school.


Lumping all the secondary schools in Bath under the Greater Consortium Planning Area umbrella does not disguise the fact that the only school with capacity is St Mark’s. This school is the furthest school from children in the SW of Bath. Far away enough that some children will be entitled to free home to school transport as they are over 3 miles away. 


If you are a parent would you want your children to go to a school that is considerable far away? Although Bath is a small city it is quite a distance between St Marks and Odd Down. Far enough away that children will need to take 2 buses to and from school each day - unless they are driven. And I am sure that the Council will not want to be seen to be encouraging more journeys across town, adding to the congestion and already poor air quality. 


You may think this a minor point, but children will find it harder to participate in after school activities, and they may be actively discouraged from joining after school clubs, especially in the darker winter evenings. 


What I suggest is needed is a small change to the Schools Organisational Plan. The whole of Bath is divided into 3 non equal parts, to take into account differences in capacity, and that these 3 areas are allocated to each of the 3 co-ed, non-Catholic schools.


As is now the whole consortium area would be used to allocate places for the two single sex schools, and the Bristol diocese would continue to advise on its catchment, which is significantly larger than Bath, or Bath and NES.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if she felt that the School Organisation Plan truly reflected reality.


Councillor Romero replied that she did  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Call-in of Cabinet Decision E3037 Primary and Secondary School Organisation Plan 2017 - 2021 pdf icon PDF 76 KB

This report sets out the Call-in received from 10 Councillors of the decision relating to the Primary & Secondary Organisation Plan 2017-2021. The role of the Panel is to consider the issues raised by the Call-in notice and to determine its response.

Additional documents:


Councillor Paul Crossley, Lead Call-In Member addressed the Panel, a summary of his statement is set out below.


I hope to be able to persuade you to refer this policy back to Cabinet for reconsideration and amendment.


As a Council and as Councillors we seek to ensure that we balance and provide resources on a just and equitable basis (as far as is possible) across all residents in the authority area.


Education is one of the most valuable services that the public sector provides to people in exchange for the taxes they pay. Children only get one chance at a secondary education and in this authority area we can be justifiably proud that regardless of administrative format or mix of Councillors, it has always ensured that our young people get the best possible start in life.


This call-in is about the equitable access to schools in the City of Bath to all the children of the City and surrounding villages. We have no major problem with the decision that the Cabinet has reached on access to secondary education in the NE Somerset part of the area.


We do, though, consider that the policy reached for the city schools has some major flaws that need to be reviewed and revised. It cannot be right that a policy for school allocations disadvantages an entire section of the community and that further that section contains the most disadvantaged sector of our city in terms of income and health.


The current proposal means that children from the lowest income houses will:


1. See its children sent to the farthest away school from their homes,

2. Involve them in the longest journey times,

3. Cost them the most expensive journey to school – except of course for those few who will be more than 3 miles away from St. Mark’s.


For passengers up to the age of 15 a FIRST DAY ticket is £2.10 and for those pupils over 15 the ticket price is £3.00. I will let you contemplate the maths for 190 school day bus trips. From anywhere in the SW of Bath to get to St Marks requires 2 bus journeys.




The current proposal means that children with the most social disadvantages and the most likely to have additional needs will be sent to school the furthest from home.




The current proposal will generate the maximum number of extra car journeys at a time when as a Council and as a Community we are becoming more and more aware of the need for clean air.




Finally, the current proposal does not adequately address the fact that children from outside the authority area are attending our schools. I welcome the fact that children from outside B&NES choose to be educated in our schools but as we have lost a secondary school at the Rush Hill site any policy must give priority access to our children over any from any other  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


MINUTES: 20th March 2018 & 16th April 2018 pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Additional documents:


The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous two meetings as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chair.


Ofsted Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 85 KB

This paper seeks to update the PDS Panel on the progress made in addressing the 8-Key Areas of challenge to the Council by Ofsted inspectors following their four week long inspection in April / May 2017.

Additional documents:


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care introduced this report to the Panel. He said that it had been one year since the inspection and that officers have taken on the challenges raised by Ofsted.


He explained that Improvement Plan is regularly discussed by the Improvement Board and that the 8 challenges have been delegated individually to relevant managers.


He then responded to a number of questions that had been submitted prior to the meeting by Councillor Liz Hardman.


1.  Could you explain what the “Balanced Scorecard” is ( R50) and how it will help improve the impact of visits to Care Leavers (recommendations 2 and 6)


He shared with the Panel copies of the Balanced Scorecard and said it was a great way for teams to identify the key indicators that relate to them. He added that this is then discussed at team meetings and supervision and when pressure is identified teams work on how this should be addressed.


2.  a) What improvements have been made through “educating external partner agencies including Language Schools on the requirements of private fostering arrangements and the need to know by the LA?


b) How successful has contact been with Independent and Boarding Schools?


c) What were the changes made to the structure of the service delivery regarding private fostering that had just been implemented at the time of inspection and how have these improved outcomes?


He replied that prior to the inspection the Council had put in place a dedicated social worker for private fostering and that leaflets were distributed to GP Surgeries, Schools and Nurseries.


He added that Language Schools were contacted directly regarding this subject and that training has been offered through the LSCB.


He said that all schools are subject to the Council’s safeguarding processes and each school has a dedicated leader on safeguarding. He added that the dedicated social worker was now in the process of re-contacting all schools on this matter.


He informed the Panel that a report on Private Fostering is submitted annually to the LSCB.


The Chair asked if there was still only one recognised case of private fostering within B&NES.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care confirmed this. He added that he personally felt there were likely to be more cases, but reminded the Panel that the Council is reliant on these arrangements being self- reported.


Kevin Burnett suggested that this information could be enquired about on the application forms Primary and Secondary schools. He asked how the indicators on the scorecard were picked.


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that they have been developed as a group.


3. Has the review of Pathway Planning templates taken place which will be linked to an up to date Needs Assessment? Any changes from this assessment?


The Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care replied that the Pathway Plans have just been completed and these will relate particularly to Care Leavers. He said that the templates will be launched on June 5th  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Cabinet Member Update

The Cabinet Member will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update provided.



Councillor Paul May, Cabinet Member for Children & Young People addressed the Panel, a summary is set out below.


Youth Connect


I attended a public meeting at Riverside Youth Centre on 16th April, together with the Corporate Director, where I hope we were able to clarify the Council’s position on the future of the site and the counter some of the press comments that suggested we were intending to sell it. I have repeatedly stated that I am committed to ensuring there are ongoing services in this locality and we are looking to secure alternative arrangements for how the centre is managed and run but which can contribute to the sustainability of those services.


He said that a business case for the site was being worked upon and that he would bring this to the Panel and intended to submit it to WECA to gain funding.


Virtual School


I attended the regular performance meeting for the Virtual School, together with Councillor Hardman on 24 April. Amongst other topics, we were able to be assured about the ongoing efforts to tackle some of the challenges about fixed term exclusions for looked after children, which are reported on within the Ofsted Improvement item on today’s agenda.


Working with Bath College and other partners


I have been engaged in a constructive dialogue with Bath College, together with officers, as well as other parties, to explore the potential for some new and exciting ways in which we can work together to support vulnerable learners and young people with SEND locally. I hope to bring forward more specific news on these developments in the near future.


St. Mark’s School


He said that he hoped that the increase in numbers that will attend the school from September will be a positive move and allow them to show the good work the school does.


Schools Forum / School Standards Board


He said that both bodies have different functions to address and therefore will remain in place. He added that the Corporate Director has been asked to Chair the School Standards Board.


Mental Health


He suggested that the subject of Children’s Mental Health be the subject of a future report to the Panel.


The Chair thanked him for his update on behalf of the Panel.


People and Communities Strategic Director's Briefing

The Panel will receive a verbal update on this item from the People and Communities Strategic Director.


The Corporate Director addressed the Panel, a copy of his briefing can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book or as an online appendix to these minutes, a summary set out below.


Schools Standards Board


We have previously described the proposed development of a Schools Standards Board for Bath and North East Somerset, involving the LA, MATs, Dioceses, Teaching School and Regional Schools Commissioner. The first meeting is now set for 23rd May and we will report back on progress at future panel meetings.


Narrowing the attainment gap


The proposed Scrutiny Inquiry Day to explore the issue of inequalities has been put on hold for the time being. In the course of planning the event and looking at ways to bring good practice to the local system, we have engaged with Daniel Sobel of Inclusion Expert, an organisation with a track record in this field and so we are exploring ways in which we could commission some bespoke support to work with local schools in the near future using established approaches. It was felt that the timing of any Scrutiny Inquiry Day might be more effective if it followed on from this work.


Integrated working between Council and CCG


We are continuing to develop proposals to more closely integrate our working arrangements with the CCG, particularly in order to further enhance the way we commission services for both children and adults across the NHS and local authority spectrum of services. A shadow integrated health and care board will meet for the first time in early June. Further updates will be shared as they become available.


He also informed the Panel that the Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care is due to leave the Council in the coming months for a new job.


The Chair thanked the Corporate Director for his update on behalf of the Panel and wished the Divisional Director for Safeguarding & Social Care the best of luck for the future.

Directors PDS briefing pdf icon PDF 42 KB


Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 110 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chair and supporting officers.



The Chair introduced this item to the Panel. She said that they would add to their workplan the topics of Children’s Mental Health and School Admissions Update as had been mentioned earlier in the meeting.


Kevin Burnett asked if the Panel should make any recommendations to the Council regarding academies and their admissions criteria.


Councillor Sally Davis suggested that the Panel ask the Cabinet Member to act on their behalf in light of the views expressed in the earlier debate.


Councillor May replied that he felt that the Government were recognising that this is a growing issue.