Agenda and minutes

Scrutiny Board (Children and Families)
Wednesday, 5th February, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR

Contact: Angela Brogden (0113 37 88661)  Email:

No. Item



Mr E A Britten – Church Representative (Catholic)

Mrs K Blacker – Parent Governor Representative (Primary)

Ms J Ward – Parent Governor Representative (Secondary)




Ms C Foote – Teacher Representative

Mrs H Bellamy – Teacher Representative

Ms D Reilly – Looked After Children / Care Leavers Representative



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).


There were no appeals.




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.


There were no exempt items.




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.)


There were no formal late items, however the draft minutes of the meeting on 22nd January 2020 were circulated to Members prior to the meeting.




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.


There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests.




Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes

To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.


Apologies were received from Councillors C Gruen, J Illingworth, K Renshaw, A Hussain and B Flynn. Councillors J Dowson, N Dawson, P Wray, K Ritchie and P Latty were in attendance at the meeting as substitutes.


Apologies were also received from Co-opted Members Andrew Graham and Emma Holmes.




Minutes - 22nd January 2020 pdf icon PDF 247 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on Wednesday 22nd January 2020.


(To follow)


RESOLVED – That the minutes of the meeting held 22 January 2020 be approved as an accurate record.




Scrutiny Inquiry into Exclusions, Elective Home Education and Off-rolling - Session One pdf icon PDF 240 KB

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

Additional documents:


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


The following was appended to the report:


-  Scrutiny Inquiry Terms of Reference

-  Exclusions, Elective Home Education and Off-rolling report submitted 23 October 2019

-  Children’s Commissioner report ‘Skipping School: Invisible Children’ published February 2019

-  Children’s Commissioner report ‘Exclusions’ May 2019

-  Timpson Review of School Exclusion May 2019


The following were in attendance:


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

-  Steve Walker, Director of Children and Families

-  Phil Mellen, Deputy Director for Learning

-  Val Waite, Head of Learning Inclusion


The Deputy Director for Learning introduced the report, highlighting the following:


·  Permanent and fixed-term exclusions. Although the number of permanent exclusions in Leeds have decreased in recent years, the number of fixed term exclusions have increased. Members were advised that a restorative approach is encouraged to all schools, with a reduced focus on exclusions, however approaches and ethos vary across schools.

·  Internal exclusions. Members were also informed that the prevalence of internal exclusions within each school, also referred to as ‘isolation’, is not measured as schools are not obliged to provide this data to the local authority.

·  Elective Home Education and off-rolling. Members were advised that although it was important to recognise that often families make positive and informed decisions to home educate their children, there had been a significant increase in families choosing to home educate children with SEND and for those in the final years of secondary school. There is also growing concern that this trend may be a result of schools off-rolling pupils to benefit the school, by encouraging families to home educate their child and avoid the prospect of permanent exclusion.

·  Area Inclusion Partnerships. Members were advised that despite the local authority’s reduced control over schools, Area Inclusion Partnerships aim to prevent exclusions and promote inclusion, by ensuring that a multi-agency panel supports children at risk of exclusion, and therefore avoid any of the measures above to be taken.


Members discussed a number of matters, including:


·  Statutory guidance for exclusions. Members queried the disparity between school approaches in relation to exclusions, despite the statutory guidance provided by central government. Members were advised that the statutory guidance still allows for interpretation, which reduces the consistency across schools.

·  The child’s right to education - It was noted that the introduction of the 3 A’s strategy aimed to further promote a child’s right to education and to also adopt a whole systems approach in terms of improving the outcomes of particularly vulnerable groups.  Linked to this, reference was made to the role of early help and the importance of supporting them in challenging schools around exclusions and also working with schools to explore other appropriate solutions.

·  Children looked after. In recognising that often the most vulnerable children and young people are at a higher risk of exclusion, Members sought assurance that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 80.


Work Schedule pdf icon PDF 150 KB

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

Additional documents:


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


RESOLVED – That the draft work schedule be noted and updated to reflect the Board’s discussions during the meeting.




Date and Time of Next Meeting

Wednesday, 4th March 2020 at 10.00 am (Pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9.45 am)


Wednesday, 4th March 2020 at 10.00 am (Pre-meeting for all Board Members at 9.45 am)