Agenda and minutes

Venue: Brunswick Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  01225 394458

No. Item




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. She asked the Panel to join her in a minutes silence to remember Sue East, former Headteacher of St Andrew’s Church School, Bath who died on 19th December 2018 following a short illness.





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.





David Williams, Co-opted Panel Member had given 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 - 18th September 2018 pdf icon PDF 115 KB


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


Narrowing The Gap

The Panel will receive a verbal update on this item from the Director of Education Transformation.


The Director of Education Transformation introduced this item to the Panel and was joined by the Senior Education Improvement Adviser and the Head of Education Inclusion Services to give them a presentation, a copy of which can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book or as an online appendix to these minutes, a summary is set out below.


Schools Strengths


  Performance at the end of end of Reception remains above national

  Reading is a strength at both KS1 and KS2

  The disadvantaged gap is closing at the end of reception and for year 1 Phonics

  B&NES is second in the South West for attainment at KS2

  Inspection outcomes are strong for settings and schools; 85% schools and 94% of EY settings are Good or Outstanding


Performance at the end of Reception


Disadvantaged Pupils - B&NES gap is generally nearly double the national gap and is only improving very slightly in terms of EYFS Good Level of Development.


Year 1 Phonics Disadvantaged Gap


There has been a strong overall increase in phonics scores in Year 1 for all pupils as well as disadvantaged pupils but the gap remains much larger than national.


Key Stage Two Disadvantaged Gap


Neither local (-31%) nor national (-20%) gaps are closing.


Key Stage 2 Progress


Progress for disadvantaged pupils in B&NES improved strongly from 2016 to 2017 but has now stalled and remains much lower than for similar pupils nationally.


Key Stage 4 Disadvantaged Gap


The gap had closed in the 2017 results, but has since widened through 2018.


KS4 data for 770 pupils disappeared nationally in 2018


Children with SEND


2 Cohorts: SEN Support & EHCP. Data is from 16/17.

  EYFS Good level of development is improving & is above national.

  Attainment is above national average at the end of KS2

  At the end of KS4 Attainment for SEN Support is roughly line with KS4, for the EHCP cohort it is below national

  At the age of 19 children achieving level 2 & 3 qualifications has been improving, children with EHCP’s are above national. For SEN support is just below, but has been improving significantly since 2013.

  The LA is also working to introduce a universal graduated approach to SEND to support schools with identification of SEND

  LA provides funding to EY settings to provide additional support. Children in receipt of this funding are making positive progress

  Continue to work to support the early years as a strategy to ensure the best start in life for children with SEND


How B&NES compares with the National gap in 2018


  Reception 147th out of 150

  Phonics 146th out of 150

  KS1 Reading Joint 147th out of 150

  KS1 Writing Joint 142nd out of 150

  KS1 maths Joint 139th out of 150

  KS2 RWM 149th out of 152

  KS4 English and maths at 4+ 150th out of 151


Narrowing the Gap  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

Narrowing the Gap pdf icon PDF 375 KB


Bath Studio School

The Panel will receive a verbal update on this item from the Director of Education Transformation.


The Director of Education Transformation announced that they are awaiting a final decision regarding the proposal to close the Bath Studio School and it was hoped that this would be received soon and before the national offer date in March.


She added that if the proposal is approved the school will close at the end of the school year 2019/20 - with no further students being admitted to the school from September 2019, this will enable all current students to complete the courses and qualifications they have enrolled on.


She said that during this period Wellsway Multi Academy Trust will work individually with students to support their on-going education and transition and will also be available to talk to their parents/carers about future education options for students currently at the school.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked who owns the school buildings as she had heard rumours that Aspire Academy and Three Ways School could look to use the site to expand the local SEND provision.


The Director of Education Transformation replied that no decision on the use of the site would be made prior to a final decision about the closure of the school.


The Corporate Director added that the matter of additional local SEND provision was an active conversation.


The Head of Education Inclusion Services said that he thought that the buildings were owned by the Link Foundation Trust / Wellsway Academy.


Councillor Paul May said that it was important to work with the local community at this time and supply information to them as soon as it was possible.


Director of Children & Young People - Vision Presentation pdf icon PDF 78 KB

The Panel will receive a presentation on this item from the Director for Children and Young People.


The Director of Children and Young People addressed the Panel, a summary of her presentation is set out below.


Vision and Year One Priority Areas


Deliver the Council’s Core Offer


Protecting and caring for our most vulnerable


·  Ensure a robust safeguarding system to protect children (and adults) at risk

·  Assess and meet the needs of children and young people where they have suffered significant harm or are at immediate risk of significant harm

·  Assess and meet the needs of children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities

·  Ensure that the voice of children, young people, parents and carers is central to all service planning and review


Nurturing residents’ health, safety and wellbeing


·  Provide or commission services for families in our area that support them to raise their children


Providing ways for everyone in the community to reach their full potential


·  Support young adults that have left our care until the age of 25


Provide strong and effective social work leadership


·  Development of an integrated practice model, e.g. unifying framework

·  Development of an organizational development strategy for social care, to address recruitment, retention and staff development


Ensure robust finance overview and scrutiny

·  Strengthen current finance scrutiny

·  Delivery of savings plans


Councillor Liz Hardman asked what she thought was likely to be the main obstacles she would face within the role.


The Director of Children and Young People replied that a huge commitment exists within B&NES, but that the funding surrounding the SEND reforms was likely to be the biggest challenge. She added that the Council will use the data it has to project ahead in order to attempt to meet demands. She said that collaborative working will be significant factor in the years to come.


Councillor Peter Turner asked how the effectiveness of the role will be measured.


The Director of Children and Young People replied that she has set herself a plan and discussed priorities with her Senior Management Team and that these will be monitored on a regular basis.


The Chair commented that around 18 months ago she and David Williams had met with a group of social workers and wanted to ask if the issues they raised at that time had been addressed.


The Director of Children and Young People replied that she recalled the positive feedback of this meeting and said that as a result new developments were in train. She added that day to day she sits in the same work area as the social work staff.


The Corporate Director added that it was good to now have the Principal Children & Families Social Worker to act as a link between the relevant teams.


The Chair asked how the increasing problem of ‘County Lines’ is being addressed.


The Director of Children and Young People replied that the Council has been working on this issue for some time and that strategies regarding it are being delivered.


The Corporate Director added that Police intelligence was of course also key on this matter.


Councillor Paul May commented that integration and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.


Corporate & Budget Planning 2019-20 pdf icon PDF 116 KB

This report presents the Council’s Organisational Plan 2019/20 to the Panel for consideration and feedback as part of the Council’s operational planning and budget development process.

Additional documents:


The Director for Partnership & Corporate Services introduced this report to the Panel. He explained that the Organisational Plan forms an important part of Bath and North East Somerset Council’s strategic planning framework.


He added that the plan translates the Council’s strategy and vision for the future into a more detailed annual Organisational Plan, setting its key activities and projects for the Council to achieve this.


He said that the plan outlines the draft budget savings proposals where appropriate, which will be proposed as part of the budget setting process for the Council 2019 – 20 budgets which will be considered by the Cabinet and Council at their meetings in February.


Councillor Liz Hardman asked what is the total Children & Young People budget, what was the percentage overspend last year and to what extent are we going to be within budget this year.


The Corporate Director replied that they have a budget of £25.3m, they were overspent by 5% on the budget last year and are currently 9% overspent on the budget for this current year.


Councillor Hardman asked if this figure could be accommodated in the current year and in the budget going forward.


Councillor Charles Gerrish, Cabinet Member for Finance and Efficiency replied that these figures were largely due to the number children in care within B&NES which was currently 191. He said that the Council is in a position to deal with this having received a Government grant under the care envelope and if necessary the revenue contingency reserves and has made budgetary provision within the proposals for next year.


Councillor Hardman asked how the Youth Connect Services redesign is progressing and to what extent has the Youth Services staff mutual progressed.


The Corporate Director replied that the proposal had received support in principle from the Cabinet at the end of October 2018, that the due diligence process was still ongoing and that further meetings were due this week, so he was optimistic that it would be concluded shortly.


Councillor Paul May, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People added that the sources of funding need to be secure as the contract is due to be for five years to enable a degree of stability for those concerned.


Councillor Hardman asked if the Council would commission services from the Staff Mutual.


The Corporate Director replied that they would.


Councillor Matt Cochrane asked if the figure of £3m was the true cost of supporting the 21 children with the most complex needs in 2018-19.


The Corporate Director replied that it was as there are a number of young people that have expensive placements.


Councillor Charles Gerrish added that a number of these placements are outside of B&NES.


Councillor Cochrane asked if the site of the Bath Studio School were to be used for further SEND provision would that potentially lead to families moving to the area to use it and has that happened historically.


Councillor Gerrish replied that he was aware of families that have moved  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.


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.


New Director for Children &Young People’s Service


I was delighted to be part of the interview panel in October when we appointed a new Director to take on the role previously held by Richard Baldwin and, on an interim basis, by Angela Clarke. I would like to set on record my thanks to Angela for her work during the last 5 months of 2018 and the professional way that she carried out the interim assignment and handed over the baton to Mary Kearney-Knowles at the end of December.  Mary is known to many of us from her previous role here as Senior Commissioning Manager and I am confident that we have made an excellent appointment.


Narrowing the Gap for disadvantaged children


Officers have launched a new initiative with primary schools to tackle the attainment gap for some of our disadvantaged children as you have heard earlier in the meeting. I was very sorry not to have been able to attend the launch with head teachers, as it has been a key personal priority for me to ensure we are effectively tackling this challenging but very important issue. Whilst our headline data for attainment is amongst the best, we still absolutely have to pay attention to the differential outcomes that could otherwise remain disguised by the positive overall picture.


SEND Inspection


The panel will recall that we anticipate receiving a joint inspection from Ofsted and CQC looking at the whole SEND system in the area, across the Council, schools and health system.  These inspections have been happening across the country and are followed by a published letter giving a narrative of an area’s strengths and areas for development, rather than a graded judgment of Good, Outstanding, etc. The call is expected on a Monday morning with inspectors arriving the following Monday for a week-long visit. We welcome this as an independent assessment of our performance and identification of areas where we can improve our response to children and young people with SEN and disabilities


Regional Improvement Alliance


Both the Corporate Director and I have been involved in the development of the new South West Regional Improvement Alliance, which was launched at a leadership summit on 9th January in Taunton. Representatives from all 16 South West authorities were present, including Directors, Lead Members and Chief Executives as well as the LGA. We have agreed a Memorandum of Understanding about how we will work together to improve children’s services and children’s outcomes, through a range of activities which include:-

  • An annual self-assessment peer challenge;
  • Sharing data and benchmarking performance across the region and beyond;
  • Thematic Peer Challenge between pairs of authorities;
  • Participating in a regional improvement plan, networks and summits;
  • Offering and seeking mutual support and sharing of good practice;
  • Co-ordinating support requests from national and other partners outside the alliance.


Schools Funding Update


The Schools Forum in January received an update on funding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Corporate Director's Briefing

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


The Corporate Director addressed the Panel, a summary is set out below.




National Offer Day for secondary admissions for September 2019, is 1st March. This year we did receive a greater number of 4th and 5th preferences from parents (an increase from 5% to 19% of parents making use of these) and fewer selecting only 1 or 2 preferences (reduced from 74% to under 60%). We hope that this will mean fewer parents disappointed by the outcome of the admissions process, but there is clearly further to go in getting the message across that limiting your application to one or 2 preferences simply limits your chances of getting a school that is convenient or preferable and in no way strengthens your application for your top choice schools.




Four more schools have Regional Schools Commissioner agreement to become academies in the coming months, so we anticipate that by the start of the new academic year in September 2019, 83 % of schools (and 83% of pupils) will be in academies. That will leave 2 secondary and 12 primary maintained schools.


Elective Home Education (EHE)


The local authority continues to address rising numbers of vulnerable families removing children from school rolls to electively home educate and has been carrying out the following actions:


  • Created additional capacity within the role of the EHE Co-coordinator.
  • Formalising links with our Student & Family Support Service to create support packages for families who are considering EHE
  • Developing links between our school nursing team and children missing education service to ensure that the health needs of these children are not left unassessed.
  • Started a consultation with Head teachers to amend our Fair Access protocol to allow parents a 10 day cooling off period before children are removed from a school roll. The outcome of this will be known at the beginning of February 2019


We are awaiting the outcome of the DFE consultation on EHE. This is expected in early spring.


We anticipate bringing a full update on EHE to the Panel’s March meeting.


Youth Connect


Following the Cabinet decision in October to support, in principle, the establishment of the staff mutual, there has been a process of due diligence underway as well as planning for the set up and transition. A final decision on the establishment of the Staff Mutual is expected in the next few weeks. Work is progressing to finalise lease arrangements for the Youth Hubs at Riverside and Peasedown St John, although there is a slight delay with the latter, at the request of the Church.



Adoption West


Adoption West, the new Regional Adoption Agency serving B&NES, Bristol, Gloucestershire, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Wiltshire is still proceeding through the set up process but the start date has been delayed again to 1st March 2019, to ensure the arrangements are finalised and robust. A Service Director has been appointed to lead the new service.


Bath West Children’s Centre


We have written to the Bath Gazette to correct  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.


Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 111 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.


Councillor Hardman asked for the Panel to be updated on the work of supporting the children of alcoholics.


The Corporate Director informed the Panel that it was not likely for the report relating to the future arrangements of the LSCB to be ready by March.


Councillor Michelle O’Doherty asked if the Panel could receive a report regarding the mental health support provision available for children within schools.


The Corporate Director replied that historically he believed that this information was under the remit of the Health & Wellbeing Select Committee, but said that this was a conversation that could be had with their Chair.


Councillor Paul May suggested that as part of the Youth Justice Update for March, a section on County Lines is included.


Kevin Burnett stated that he felt that the Council and its officers are doing an amazing job for our young people.


The Chair said that this view was endorsed by the whole Panel.