Agenda and draft minutes

Scrutiny Board (Children and Families)
Wednesday, 4th March, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Contact: Angela Brogden (0113 37 88661)  Email: Angela.brogden@leeds.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

CO-OPTED MEMBERS (VOTING)

 

Mr E A Britten – Church Representative (Catholic)

Mr A Graham – Church Representative (Church of England)

Mrs K Blacker – Parent Governor Representative (Primary)

Ms J Ward – Parent Governor Representative (Secondary)

 

CO-OPTED MEMBERS (NON-VOTING)

 

Ms H Bellamy – Teacher Representative

 

83.

Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents

To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25* of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).

 

(* In accordance with Procedure Rule 25, notice of an appeal must be received in writing by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting).

Minutes:

There were no appeals.

 

84.

Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public

1.  To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.

 

2.  To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.

 

3.  If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-

 

RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:

 

No exempt items have been identified.

Minutes:

There were no exempt items.

 

85.

Late Items

To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.

 

(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)

Minutes:

There were no formal late items.

 

86.

Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests

To disclose or draw attention to any disclosable pecuniary interests for the purposes of Section 31 of the Localism Act 2011 and paragraphs 13-16 of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests.

 

87.

Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors A Hussain, W Kidger and J Lennox. Councillor J Dowson attended the meeting as substitute for Councillor Hussain.

 

Apologies were also received from Co-opted Members C Foote, E Holmes and D Reilly.

 

88.

Minutes - 5th February 2020 pdf icon PDF 298 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 5th February 2020.

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held 5th February 2020, be approved as an accurate record.

 

Matters Arising

 

Minute 80 – Scrutiny Inquiry into Exclusions, Elective Home Education and Off-rolling. Reference was made to the Board’s earlier request for additional detail surrounding the number of pupils being placed in alternative provision via the Area Inclusion Partnerships.  While it was agreed that this would be made available to Board Members in time for its next meeting, Members also acknowledged the need to consider such sensitive information appropriately.

 

89.

Scrutiny Inquiry into Children's Centres - recommendation tracking update pdf icon PDF 604 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services and Director of Children and Families presenting the progress made in responding to the recommendations arising from the Scrutiny Board’s earlier inquiry into Children’s Centres.

Minutes:

The report of the Head of Democratic Services and Director of Children and Families set out the progress made in responding to the recommendations arising from the earlier Scrutiny Inquiry into Children’s Centres.

 

The following were in attendance for this item:

·  Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Learning, Skills and Employment

·  Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Children and Families

·  Phil Mellen, Deputy Director for Learning

·  Andrea Richardson, Head of Service for Learning for Life

 

In consideration of the report, the status of each recommendation was agreed as follows:

Recommendation 1 – Achieved

Recommendation 2 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

Recommendation 3 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

Recommendation 4 – Achieved

Recommendation 5 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

Recommendation 6 – Achieved

Recommendation 7 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

Recommendation 8 – Achieved

Recommendation 9 – Not fully implemented (Progress made acceptable. Continue monitoring.)

 

The following key points were also raised during consideration of this item:

·  Recommendation 1 – whilst the Board agreed to close out this recommendation, Members had highlighted the potential benefits of having Early Years representation on Children Centre Advisory Boards too. It was agreed that this would therefore be looked at.

·  Recommendation 2 – whilst acknowledging the challenge with the way each GP Surgery operates independently, the Board noted the communication benefits of having specific health visitors and midwifery contacts for every surgery. Moving forward, it was acknowledged that there would be ongoing discussions with the Council’s new Director of Public Health in terms of the future direction of travel.

·  Recommendation 4 – Whilst welcoming the increase in enquiries and engagement through the use of digital channels, Members were assured that posters and leaflets were still being used too.  The Board was informed that mechanisms are in place to continue monitoring usage and that work was also being undertaken to review the capacity needs for each centre to facilitate their own web-site.

·  Recommendation 5 – The Board discussed the processes in place for assessing language development in early year children and also acknowledged that the 3 As Strategy has driven a clear focus on early language and literacy in the early years too.

·  Recommendation 8 – in response to a query regarding the sustainability of Children Centre buildings and maintenance, the Head of Service for Learning for Life reported that there had been strong pro-active focus over the last 18 months by Childrens Service Asset Management to improve children’s centre buildings.  Linked to this, it was also noted that 20 centres are currently managed and governed by schools.

·  Recommendation 9 – Linked to future tracking reports, the Board agreed to maintain a watching briefing regarding the financial sustainability of Children’s Centres.

 

The Chair requested that a further tracking report be brought back to the Board during October/November 2020 and thanked the officers in attendance for their contributions.

 

RESOLVED

a)  That the contents of the report be noted;

b)  That  ...  view the full minutes text for item 89.

90.

Scrutiny Inquiry into Exclusions, Elective Home Education and Off-Rolling - Session Two pdf icon PDF 239 KB

To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services presenting key information linked to the second session of the Scrutiny Board’s Inquiry into Exclusions, Elective Home Education and Off-rolling.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that presented key information linked to the second session of the Scrutiny Board’s Inquiry into Exclusions, Elective Home Education and Off-rolling.

 

The following information had been appended to the report:

·  Training and support from Leeds City Council (Appendix 1)

·  Exclusion from maintained schools, academies and pupil referral units in England. Statutory guidance for those with legal responsibilities in relation to exclusion. Department for Education (Appendix 2)

·  Report of the Children’s Commissioner. Exclusions. Children excluded from mainstream schools – May 2019 (Appendix 3)

 

The following were in attendance:

·  Councillor Jonathan Pryor, Executive Member for Learning, Skills and Employment

·  Councillor Fiona Venner, Executive Member for Children and Families

·  Phil Mellen, Deputy Director for Learning

 

In introducing this report, the Chair highlighted the importance of undertaking a thorough inquiry into this matter.  It was therefore acknowledged that further evidence gathering would likely continue into the new municipal year for the successor Scrutiny Board to conclude.

 

The Chair explained that a number of representatives of the Scrutiny Board had taken part in focus group discussions with the Leeds Youth Council on Saturday 15th February 2020 and invited those particular Board Members to relay their feedback to the Board. 

 

During the Board’s discussion, the following key points were raised:

 

·  It was noted that while many of the young people who took part in the focus groups had not necessarily experienced being formally excluded, they still had particular strong views surrounding the use of internal exclusions and isolations.

·  There was consensus amongst the young people that schools needed to have appropriate enforcement measures to deal with disruptive pupil behaviour.  However, many felt that the use of internal exclusion was not being applied appropriately and would often be used as a sanction for minor offences, such as forgetting planners or not correctly adhering to the school’s uniform code. Consequently those pupils would then miss their daily lessons.

·  The young people felt that more teachers would benefit from having mental health training to help them identify and deal more effectively with issues affecting pupils’ behaviour.

·  The Board also discussed the need to strengthen teacher training programmes in terms of having a greater emphasis around child development and how biological factors, such as puberty, can particularly affect behaviours.

·  Linked to this, the Board also emphasised the importance of schools taking a more holistic approach towards tackling behavioural issues to help identify any potential underlying issues, such as having a troubled home life; being a young carer; or having underlying health conditions.

·  The Board felt that schools should be reviewing their approach when repeated sanctions are being applied to particular pupils with no remedial affect.

·  The Board was informed that further work was being undertaken with the Council’s Voice and Influence Team to support the Children and Families Learning Inclusions with capturing the voice of excluded young people more effectively.

·  The Board also expressed an interest to hear directly from young people who had experienced exclusion.  Linked to this, the Chair  ...  view the full minutes text for item 90.

91.

Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 150 KB

To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2019/20 municipal year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report that invited Members to consider the Board’s Work Schedule for the remainder of the current municipal year.

 

The work schedule for 2019/20 municipal year, was appended to the report.

 

Members discussed items on the work schedule with particular reference made to the following meetings and events:

 

·  While it was noted that the working group meeting regarding the Ombudsman report had been scheduled for Monday 16th March 2020, it was acknowledged that the recent announcement made by Ofsted regarding a Joint Targeted Area Inspection during w/c 16th March 2020 may impact on the directorate’s capacity to facilitate this meeting.

·  It was noted that up to 6 representatives of the Scrutiny Board had been invited to attend the Post-16 SEND education OBA event on 19th March 2020 at 9.30 am.

 

RESOLVED – That the work schedule be noted

 

92.

Date and Time of Next Meeting

Wednesday, 1st April 2020 at 10.00 am (Pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9.45 am)

Minutes:

Wednesday, 1st April 2020 at 10.00 a.m. (Pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9.45 a.m.)

 

The meeting ended at 12:45 pm