Agenda and draft 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.





Andrew Tarrant, Co-opted Panel Member gave his apologies to the Panel.



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.



There were none.


MINUTES - 10th July 2018 pdf icon PDF 119 KB


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


Update on Secondary School Place Sufficiency in the Greater Bath Consortium Planning Area pdf icon PDF 90 KB

This report is an update on actions taken by Officers to ensure an effective strategy, that has been agreed with all Bath secondary schools and academies (schools), to secure sufficiency of secondary school places in the Greater Bath Consortium (GBC) Planning Area for the future.


The Director of Education Transformation introduced this report to the Panel.


She explained that during 2018 as the school admissions process progressed it became clear that a number of additional secondary school places would be required for the GBC Planning Area for Year 7 admissions in September 2018.  She said that the projected pupil numbers indicated there were sufficient places for all Bath residents, however as some of these places were able to be taken up by pupils from outside of the Bath area, there were insufficient places for Bath children.


She stated that the Council introduced a new admissions process for September 2018 Year 7 admissions onwards which allowed parents to name five school preferences on their application form, sufficient to name all schools in Bath. She explained that the majority of Bath parents chose not to indicate five preferences, which contributed to pupils from outside of Bath being able to obtain a place. She added that the legal framework for school admissions means that the Council cannot prevent this from happening.


The Panel were shown a video relating to School Admissions, the video can be seen at:


She informed the Panel that officers from the People and Communities Department consulted with the Bath Education Trust (BET) and met with the Headteachers or their representatives, from all of the Bath secondary schools within the GBC Planning Area to agree the provision of additional places for September 2018 admissions.


She said that schools were also invited to submit proposals to support the provision of future additional places in the medium to longer term from 2019 onwards to meet the future projected increase in demand based on the pattern of applications for places seen in 2018.


She explained that as a result of the discussions with schools, some additional places have been created for Year 7 admissions in 2018 and further additional places will be created for admissions in 2019 onwards. She said that a total of 118 additional places per year group are planned to be provided, for admissions in 2020 onwards.


The Chair asked if the parents of Year 6 pupils are sent a package of information relating to the admissions process.


The Education Business Manager replied that all of the relevant information is contained on the Council’s website.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if the video shown would be sent to all Headteachers.


The Director of Education Transformation replied that Headteachers of all Primary and Secondary Schools will be sent the video and encouraged to share it with parents.


Councillor Matt Cochrane asked if the Council were to undertake any other measures to ensure the message is circulated as widely as possible.


The Education Business Manager replied that the Council’s Communications Team were also expected to do a release of information on this matter.


The Corporate Director added that Ward Councillors have a role to play in the process by advising parents appropriately if asked for advice.


Councillor Sally Davis suggested that a link to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.


Bath Community Academy Site pdf icon PDF 379 KB


The Education Business Manager introduced this report to the Panel. He informed the Panel that there are currently a number of short term, two year contracts with a nursery, GLL (Better) operating the sports centre and Bath Spa University that need to be honoured. He added that the income generated by these current leases can provide resources to ensure safe and secure management of the site giving time to develop a long term plan for the future use of the BCA site. He said that there is considerable interest in the future use and development of the site that could benefit the local community.


Councillor Matt Cochrane asked that given the level of interest in this issue, how often the Panel will receive updates.


The Education Business Manager replied that the Panel could be updated on progress every two meetings.


Councillor Michelle O’Doherty asked why a Site Audit would take 10 months.


The Education Business Manager replied that time was needed to assess the condition of all the buildings on site, assess the site for its future capabilities and whether any areas would require demolition.


Councillor Paul May stated that it was key to be transparent on this process.


The Chair agreed and said that the consultation process was therefore very important. She asked whether Ward Councillors would be involved.


The Corporate Director replied that they planned to engage widely on this matter and to be clear of the parameters of what can be done on the site. He said that Ward Councillors would be consulted as part of the process.


Councillor Paul May stated that there was no grand plan at this stage and in response to a question raised at the last Cabinet meeting there is no restricted covenant relating to the site to be used solely for educational purposes.


The Corporate Director added that there is a process to be followed for the site to be released for non-educational use.


The Chair asked when the consultation process is likely to commence.


The Education Business Manager replied that at this stage he would say July 2019.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if assurances can be given that whatever the future use of the site, the current facilities will continue to be available to the community in the longer term. She asked if conversations have taken place with GLL about extending their opening hours to daytime.


The Education Business Manager replied that discussions have taken place and at this stage they cannot commit to extending their opening hours.


The Panel RESOLVED to:


i) Note the planned use of the site for the next 2 years

ii) Note the proposed options and outline timeline to develop a master plan for the future use of the site.



Children and Social Work Act 2017 Update pdf icon PDF 92 KB

This briefing updates the Panel on the relevant provisions of the Act and actions that have been taken or are being taken locally as a result.


The Corporate Director introduced this report to the Panel. He stated that the Act was wide ranging but that the main purpose of the legislation was to:


·  Improve decision making and support for looked after and previously looked after children in England and Wales.

·  Improve joint work at the local level to safeguard children and enable better learning at the local and national levels to improve practice in child protection.

·  Promote the safeguarding of children by providing for relationships and sex education in schools.

·  Enable the establishment of a new regulatory regime specifically for the social work profession in England.


Councillor Matt Cochrane asked what the proportion of care leavers was that retain engagement with the Council.


The Corporate Director replied that 94 care leavers were contacted and of that figure 26 have taken up engagement.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked how the ‘Local Offer’ would be approved.


The Corporate Director replied that the Council will be asked to sign up to it.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if there are the resources to deliver a Personal Advisor for care leavers up to age of 25.


The Corporate Director replied that the Council is in receipt of £7,292 of new burdens funding for this work. He added that roles within the team have flexibility to provide assistance when necessary.


The Chair asked the difference between the roles of the Personal Assistant and the Personal Advisor mentioned in the report.


The Corporate Director replied that they are in fact the same person.


Chris Batten commented that the funding from Government was not sufficient.


Councillor Paul May agreed that it was not enough and said that he was due to meet with a Government representative to discuss the issue further. He added that keeping contact with these young people until 25 was so important and that he would be happy to report back on any progress made.


The Corporate Director added that new duties have been assigned to the Head of the Virtual School and new national guidance has been issued strengthening the requirements in respect of Looked After Children as well as previously Looked After Children and with additional emphasis on ensuring their mental health needs are met.


He said that the Council has received £30,000 for this additional work which has enabled the role to become full time.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked how will the local authority, police and CCG work together in the absence of the LSCB and can we have assurances that reviews of safeguarding will take place during the transition process.


The Corporate Director assured the Panel that the LSCB will not cease until new arrangements are in place. He added that he felt that having these three agencies retain oversight of this work was a positive message as they already worked together within the Board.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked what are the resource implications for the police who are overstretched anyway and can we be assured that the police have the resources to engage in the new arrangements.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.


Supporting Children of Alcoholics pdf icon PDF 79 KB

This report was requested to provide assurance that all the relevant policies, procedures and strategies of this Council recognise and address the particular needs of the children of alcoholics.


The Corporate Director introduced this report to the Panel. He explained that the Council resolved at its March 2018 meeting that it has a responsibility to support the children of alcoholics and to ensure that the needs of these children are met.


He stated that the initial review of policies, procedures and strategies indicates that we have a range of positive measures in place to ensure that the children of alcoholics have their needs identified, and that families can access appropriate support to address these needs.


He said that further work is required to complete the review and produce a set of recommendations to further improve the existing arrangements and that the Council has asked that we share the findings with the National Association for the Children of Alcoholics (NACOA) and invite them to comment on our support offer. He added that a further report will be brought to Panel when this has been completed.


Councillor Paul May added that he thought the Panel would benefit from receiving a presentation on the Complex Trio that had been previously given to the Health & Wellbeing Board by the Service Manager, Connecting Families.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked if the presentation could also be given to the Corporate Parenting Group.


The Panel RESOLVED to note the positive assurance provided from the initial analysis work described in this report and to receive a further report in due course when the assessment has been completed and shared with the National Association for the Children of Alcoholics (NACOA).


Elective Home Education pdf icon PDF 123 KB

The PDS Panel is informed that there has been a rise in the number of children and young people who are electively home educated (EHE) in Bath & North East Somerset. This rise is reflected nationally and concern is growing that this rise is due is to increasing numbers of vulnerable children and young people who are EHE and potentially out of sight of the education system and possible support services.


The Head of Education Inclusion Services introduced this report to the Panel. He informed them that there has been a rise in the number of children and young people who are electively home educated (EHE) in Bath & North East Somerset. He added that this rise is reflected nationally and concern is growing that this rise is due is to increasing numbers of vulnerable children and young people who are EHE and potentially out of sight of the education system and possible support services.


He said that all local authorities are reporting experiencing a rapid growth in the numbers of children who are EHE, especially children removed from registered schools in key stages 3 and 4. He said that a concern is the challenges for EHE parents of children coming out of Year 11 to arrange exams, with limited access to post 16 options, with no qualifications and high risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).


He said that for many years within Bath and North East Somerset the numbers of EHE children remained fairly stable with the majority being a parental informed choice where children never entered the formal education system. He added that there has been a definite upward trend in numbers over the last few years of pupils coming out of the school system across the authority.


He informed the Panel that in response to the growing national concern, the DfE has carried out a formal consultation on EHE which B&NES took part in. He added that the consultation closed on 2nd July 2018 and that the date for the feedback outcome is yet unknown, but may have an impact on the DfE guidance that will be published. He said that if additional guidance or duties are introduced the Panel is advised that this is likely to have additional resourcing requirements.


He explained that in March 2018 the CMES presented a report to the LSCB highlighting their concerns. He said that the Board tasked the service with formulating a task finish group to look at the issue locally and to carry out an audit of the last 12 families who have notified the local authority that they will be electively home educating their child/ren and to report their findings back to the Board.


He said that the findings of the audit demonstrated a high level of concern regarding the vulnerability of the families choosing to EHE their children. He explained that only in one case did it seem that a parent had made this decision in an informed way. He said that the other families, just under half of secondary school age, had removed their children from education due to a series of difficulties relating to their children’s needs and their education, including exclusions, dissatisfaction with support or lack of support, difficulties with meeting special educational needs and disabilities, emotional and mental health, either relating to the child, or as indicated in professional notes, relating to parental mental health. He added that it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


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.


Academies Policy


He explained that following the debate at the last Panel meeting that he has decided that there are no changes required to the current Policy for Academies and Free Schools and that the Local Authority maintains a neutral position.




He said that there is likely to be a SEND joint inspection soon which will result in a letter to the Council rather than an overall rating. He added that in other locations these reports have been quite firm so we are looking at all elements of our performance.


Autism Awareness


In response to the motion raised at Council by Councillor Tim Ball he said that there are three providers that regularly work with the Council on this matter. He acknowledged that issues do remain to be resolved, particularly around the high number of SEND exclusions, low performance figures of identified children and the number of EHCPs that are in place.


He added that he was committed to discussing any issues found with the Panel.


School Performance


He said that the gap for vulnerable children had unfortunately grown. He added though that in context both parties had shown improvements in their performance.


Youth Service


He said that the previously agreed reduction in the Youth Service budget is due to take place in October and the full business plan for a Staff Mutual is imminent. He added that discussions with the three sites continue with different options emerging and that as part of the process it is clear the Council supports strongly many commissioned third sector bodies and I am trying to build links with them.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked how imminent the Staff Mutual plan was.


Councillor Paul May replied that mainly the discussions revolved around the three centres. He added that Riverside was progressing positively, there were some complications between the school and the church in Peasedown St John and that the cost of the Southside building was still being debated.


He added that he was awaiting the Business Plan.


The Corporate Director commented that a formal decision on the Staff Mutual is expected by the end of October 2018 for it to be able to go live in April 2019. He added that Youth Connect is to be restructured and that discussions are ongoing as to the transition arrangements that will be put in place.


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


Corporate Director's Briefing

The Panel will receive a verbal update on this item from the Corporate Director (People).


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 is set out below.


GCSE and A Level Results


Early results as reported by schools indicate that pupils in Bath and North East Somerset have improved their GCSE results compared to last year. In a year when pupils, parents, teachers and school leaders have been concerned about the new, more challenging GCSE courses it is a credit to all concerned that results have improved.


Initial data across the area shows that the average Attainment 8 score (a measure showing how well pupils have done in a range of 8 subjects) has risen so that it is now equivalent to a strong pass (Grade 5). The proportion of pupils achieving at least a strong pass in both English and maths has risen from 42% to 48% and the proportion achieving at least a standard pass (Grade 4) has risen from 63% to 69%.


Early indications of A level results across the area show a substantial increase in the average grade achieved by pupils and this is a real credit to the hard work that they and their teachers have put in. From the results of nearly all the schools and colleges in the area it would seem that the average grade achieved has moved from a C in 2017 to halfway between a C and a B grade in 2018.


Alternative Education Provision


The Council has commissioned 2 new providers of Alternative Provision who have commenced locally from September 2018. Learn@ (for secondary-age provision) and Broadlands (Primary) were both successful in securing the necessary DfE registration status in time for the start of term.


Adoption West


Adoption West, the new Regional Adoption Agency serving B&NES, Bristol, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire will be in place from 1st October 2018, with staff transferring across from individual local authorities on 1st November. A joint scrutiny arrangement is proposed for this service, which will be run by a new company wholly-owned by the 6 Local Authorities.




Applications for school places for September 2019 are now open and we are encouraging families to use all 5 preferences on the application form to ensure their child has the best chance of securing a suitable local school place. We are conscious that the admissions process is complex to understand and heavily prescribed by the national Code of Practice.


The national Schools Adjudicator has recently determined an objection to the admissions criteria of Beechen Cliff School. The Adjudicator has found 16 ways in which the criteria do not comply with the Admissions Code and has given the school 2 months to revise them accordingly.


The Adjudicator also commented on the number of children in South West Bath being allocated a school place on the far side of Bath. His findings indicated that this was in part because parents did not understand the implications  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

Director's Briefing pdf icon PDF 49 KB


Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 108 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 asked for the Structure Chart mentioned earlier in the meeting to be added to the workplan.


Chris Batten asked for the Panel to receive a report on the support available to Young Carers.


Councillor Liz Hardman reminded the Panel they had earlier discussed receiving additional information relating to the Toxic Trio.


Councillor Paul May suggested that they keep in mind the need to have a report following on from whenever the SEND Joint Inspection is carried out.


Kevin Burnett said that a follow up report on Elective Home Education should be added to the workplan.


The Panel RESOLVED to approve these proposals.