Agenda item

Performance report for the financial year 2020/21

To receive a report from the Director of Children and Families which provides a summary of performance information relating to outcomes for Leeds children and young people.


The report of the Director of Children’s Services provided a summary of performance information relating to outcomes for Leeds children and young people.


In attendance for this item were:

·  Councillor Jonathan Pryor - Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education

·  Councillor Fiona Venner - Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships

·  Sal Tariq - Director of Children and Families

·  Julie Longworth - Deputy Director of Children and Families

·  Shaheen Myers - Deputy Director of Learning

·  Ruth Terry - Chief Officer Social Work

·  Tim Pouncey - Chief Officer Resources and Strategy

·  Val Waite - Head of Service, Learning Inclusion

·  Chris Hudson - Performance Programme Manager, Intelligence and Policy Service


The Executive Member for Adult and Children’s Social Care and Health Partnerships gave a brief introduction and particularly made reference to the number of Looked After Children, which has steadily increased since March 2021 but is also reflective of the national trend. It was highlighted that there are currently 1,333 children looked after, which is a rate of 78 per 10,000.  Members were informed that there was an increase both locally and nationally in the number of adolescents coming into care who have complex and challenging needs, who are often survivors of trauma.  In terms of planning for the future, this links to current ‘invest to save’ proposals around improving fostering and residential provisions.


The Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education and the Director of Children and Families also highlighted the following points:

·  While the service remains optimistic that exams will go ahead as planned this year, it is acknowledged that the level of disruption caused by Covid and previous lockdowns will likely have an impact on exam results.

·  School staffing remains a challenge in terms of managing the impact of Covid and particularly.  While no schools have had to close, it was highlighted that Head Teachers are under tremendous pressure in managing more of a mix of classroom teaching and remote learning for those pupils having to isolate.  While rates linked to the Omicron variant are now starting to level out, the number of infected children in the under 12 age group is still relatively high. 


Members discussed a number of matters, including:


·  Exams – Responding to Members questions in relation to digital devices it was noted that each school has different plans in place for those young people who do not have access to digital devices. During lockdown work had been undertaken to ensure that each household had access to a digital device to access learning. It was acknowledged that catch up efforts in tackling lost learning during lockdown had not been as smooth as it could have been, due to staff and pupil absence through Covid.  Linked to this, it was also acknowledged that GCSE’s and AS exams were not at the same levels as they were a couple of years and that this needed to be addressed at a national level.

·  NEET – Not known figures – In response to Members questions it was noted that the figures were gathered from a variety of sources, including schools, colleges and from other local authorities bordering the Leeds boundary. Relationships with careers leaders in school is on-going and process mapping is taking place. The service is looking to recruit someone to co-ordinate this work. Members were advised that information is on the system for individuals and work on the data is being undertaken to support these young people and secure a positive destination. The Board was also advised that figures for NEET were higher in the inner-city areas of the city.

·  ECHP – It was noted that there was an increase in the number of applications for EHCP. It was acknowledged that many of the pupils going on to further education whether in colleges or staying at the same school for sixth form, were applying for a EHCP. Members were advised that where the pupil was applying and remaining at the same school, they had already been receiving FFI funding. However, in year 9 they are considering destination moves and to get the additional support they need from providers, colleges and external support outside the straight-forward school system they are required to have an EHCP. It was noted that Leeds has a higher number than nationally who require an EHCP to ensure they have the right support for which ever pathway they wished to choose.

·  Infant mortality – In response to a question about why infant mortality rates remained high, the Board were informed that nationally the figure was higher. Reference was made to studies being associated with smoking and co-sleeping, which also had links to poverty and therefore it was noted that the Child Poverty Panel were due to look at this issue.

·  Attainment – Reference was made to the attainment indicators set out in Appendix 3 of the report and the comparative figures with other local authorities. It was noted that although other authorities were doing better than Leeds, Leeds was still improving but not at the same rate as other local authorities. It was recognised that in terms of the progress measure, Leeds is doing well. It was also noted that the Council has a strong relationship with schools and academies who have worked with the Council in creating the 3A’s Plan, which has been well received across the city. It was acknowledged that this policy was pragmatic and had key actions, which can show improvements as a service, the priorities that schools are currently facing and how this links into the Ofsted Framework.

·  CPD Training and educational gap filling –It was recognised that in terms of Covid there will be gaps in children’s education. It was noted that schools have different aspirations programmes and there are opportunities for children and young people to access these through careers guidance, bespoke or national training.

·  Parental involvement – It was acknowledged that during the pandemic work had been done to ensure that each household had a digital device so children could access learning. However, there was concern that children and young people had not been encouraged to participate in learning and that the gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged had grown wider. It was noted that schools have their own catch-up programmes and there is a national tutoring programme too. The tutoring programme offers guidance to parents to identify gaps in education and on how it can be delivered.

·  Social skills – It was recognised that many young people had missed out on social skills due to the pandemic. However, there was the opportunity for schools to engage with the service to look at an individual’s needs. There were offers of support for social and emotional needs. It was recognised that young people going into exams would require support not only with the leaning but also with their mental health.

·  Obesity in young people – It was acknowledged that obesity in young people had increased with a higher number of these young people living in the inner-city areas. It was also noted there is family support through the Henry Programme.


RESOLVED – To note the content of the report.


Supporting documents: