Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms, Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

Items
No. Item

37.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Christopher Pierce and Councillor Robert Evans attended as his substitute.  Apologies for absence were also received from Councillor Ellie Harmer, Mary Capon, Joan McConnell and Aaron Regisford.

 

Apologies for lateness were received from Councillor Tom Philpott.

38.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

The Chairman declared that he was a Governor of London South East Colleges in relation to Item 16: BTA Pupil Referral Units: Extension and Variation to Contract.

39.

MINUTES OF THE EDUCATION SELECT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 23 JANUARY 2018 AND MATTERS OUTSTANDING FROM PREVIOUS MEETINGS pdf icon PDF 160 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In respect of Minute 23: Living in Care Council Presentation, Councillor Mary Cooke confirmed that she had met with representatives of the Living in Care Council to discuss their ideas on improving the care experience for all children looked after and would be taking this forward with the Portfolio Holder for Education, Children and Families.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 23rd January 2018 be agreed and that matters outstanding be noted.

40.

QUESTIONS TO THE SELECT COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC AND COUNCILLORS ATTENDING THE MEETING

To hear questions to the Committee received in writing by the Democratic Services Team by 5.00pm on 21st February 2018 and to respond.  Questions must relate to the work of the scrutiny committee.

 

Minutes:

No questions had been received.

41.

QUESTIONS TO THE PORTFOLIO HOLDER FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC AND COUNCILLORS ATTENDING THE MEETING

To hear questions to the Portfolio Holder received in writing by the Democratic Services Team by 5.00pm on 21st February 2018 and to respond.  Questions must relate to the work of the Portfolio.

 

Minutes:

No questions had been received.

42.

PORTFOLIO HOLDER UPDATE

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder gave an update to Members on work in progress across the Education, Children and Families Portfolio.

 

A range of events had been delivered in recent months including the annual Celebration of Achievement Event to recognise the academic and personal achievements of Children Looked After, and a highly successful takeover day at the Council which had included pupils from schools across the Borough as well as representatives of the Bromley Youth Council and Living in Care Council.  A number of new governance arrangements had also been established including the SEND Governance Board which brought together key partners including schools to ensure suitable services were in place for children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities, and the Corporate Parenting Board which aimed to develop a robust Corporate Parenting Strategy in partnership with the Living in Care Council.  The Portfolio Holder continued to attend meetings of the Children’s Service Improvement Governance Board and Youth Offending Service Management Board, and had undertaken a number of visits to children’s services including the Quality Assurance and Virtual School Teams.  A response had been received from the Secretary of State in relation to the Select Committee’s review on the Education Landscape in Bromley and would be provided to the Select Committee following the meeting.

 

A range of work was underway to ensure sufficient school places were in place across the Borough.  An alternate temporary site for the proposed Buller's Wood School for Boys had been presented to the Secretary for State for approval.  If this proposal was taken forward the building, which was owned by the Education and Skills Funding Agency, would require planning permission for change of use to Class D1 (non-residential institutions) as well as refurbishment, but there was currently no expectation that the Local Authority would contribute towards the cost of these works.  National Offer Day for secondary education was 1st March 2018 and as this had been undertaken using a ‘two track’ process, prospective pupils who had applied for a place at Buller’s Wood School for Boys would not be disadvantaged if the school did not open as planned in September 2018.  There were sufficient places to accommodate all applications for Bromley secondary schools for the 2018/19 academic year with a small surplus of unallocated places.

 

A Member raised a concern at Harris Girls’ Academy Bromley’s recent consultation on changing its admissions criteria to favour admissions from Harris primary schools and queried whether the Local Authority had responded to the consultation.  The Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that the Local Authority responded to all such consultations and the Local Authority’s response would be provided to the Member following the meeting.  The Portfolio Holder noted that academy schools were able to set their own admissions criteria, but that there was currently no shortage of school places in the North of the Borough.  A number of academies and free school providers had received approval from the Department for Education to establish new secondary education provisions in or around the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

EDUCATION INFORMATION ITEMS

43a

Minutes of the Education, Children and Families Budget and Performance Monitoring Sub-Committee meeting held on 17 January 2018 pdf icon PDF 236 KB

Minutes:

The Committee noted the minutes of the Education, Children and Families Budget and Performance Monitoring Sub-Committee meeting held on 17th January 2017.

44.

EDUCATION SELECT COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 362 KB

Minutes:

Report CSD18052

 

The Chairman noted that this was the final meeting of the 2017/18 municipal year and that he would be recommending that the Select Committee explore the issue of non-university technical education and apprenticeships as part of the 2018/19 work programme.

 

The Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director: Education, Care and Health Services noted that Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Reform including co-production and the Local Offer was another area the Select Committee might consider reviewing during the 2018/19 municipal year.

 

RESOLVED that the work programme for the 2017/18 municipal year be endorsed.

45.

ANNUAL SCRUTINY REPORT 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 108 KB

(to follow)

Minutes:

The Committee considered the annual report of the Education, Children and Families Select Committee that would be provided to the meeting of Executive and Resources PDS Committee on 21st March 2018.  The Chairman thanked all Members and Co-opted Members for the significant contribution they had made to the Education, Children and Families Select Committee during the 2017/18 municipal year.

 

A Member noted that the Select Committee had received the presentation from the Living in Care Council at its meeting in October 2017, and requested that a correction be made to Paragraph 2.5 of the report to reflect this.

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

46.

SCRUTINY OF THE DEPUTY CHIEF EXECUTIVE AND EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (ECHS)

Minutes:

The Deputy Chief Executive and Executive Director: Education, Care and Health Services gave an update to Members on work being undertaken across the Education, Care and Health Services Department.

 

 “The Roadmap to Excellence” was continuing to guide improvement across Children’s Services, with 93% of the 326 key actions identified by the Children’s Service Improvement Governance Board having now been delivered.  It was planned to undertake a skills audit to identify the full range of skills available to staff within the Department that could be used to benefit children and young people.  The Eclipse IT system was ready to be launched; however in light of the need to work with Ofsted as part of the ongoing monitoring programme, the Local Authority would liaise with the Department for Education before moving over to the new social care recording system as it would require the full migration of existing data with no capacity for parallel running.  The number of permanent staff in the Children’s Social Care Service had increased from 42% in March 2017 to 75% in February 2018, with the aim of achieving and maintaining 90% permanent staff.  To support this, a robust recruitment and retention programme was in place and the Local Authority continued to participate in recruitment programmes for newly qualified social workers as well as those encouraging former social workers to return to the profession and to recruit mature entrants to social work, who were able to qualify within 18-24 months via a fast-track programme.  A Member underlined the importance of ensuring that sufficient funds had been allocated to support the recruitment and retention of children’s social workers, including retention fees and bonus payments, and the Deputy Chief Executive agreed to present a report on the funding of recruitment and retention measures within the Children’s Social Care Service in the short to medium term to a future meeting of the Council’s Executive.

 

In considering education, work to strengthen relationships with key partners including academies and free schools was ongoing.  The Local Authority continued to work closely with schools in meeting its statutory duty to safeguard children, including through the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO).  The Bromley Safeguarding Children Board had undertaken a Safeguarding Audit of schools which aimed to ensure that schools had due regard to the need to safeguard and promote the welfare of children.  The Local Authority had a statutory duty to provide sufficient school places, including for pupils living out-of-Borough who had expressed a preference for attending a Bromley school.  A Member noted the growing interest in learning Mandarin across the Borough, particularly in Orpington which had an established Chinese population, and suggested that schools be encouraged to build this into their curriculum.

 

In response to a question from a Member, the Deputy Chief Executive confirmed that the “Caseload Promise” which ensured social workers had a manageable caseload of 12-15 cases had been delivered across the Children’s Social Care Service and that funding was in place within the Education, Children and Families Portfolio budget to maintain  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

PREVENTING PERMANENT EXCLUSION FROM SCHOOL pdf icon PDF 409 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered a report providing an update on the level of exclusions from Bromley schools, as well as the steps being taken to help schools reduce the use of permanent exclusions as a sanction and the destinations for children who have been excluded from school.

 

Having decreased significantly since 2011, the use of both fixed-term and permanent exclusion had begun to increase in recent years, with the performance of Bromley schools comparing unfavourably with the average performance of schools in London and England since the 2015/16 academic year.  During the 2016/17 academic year, 17 children had been excluded permanently from Bromley primary schools; however in the 2017/18 academic year to date, just one child had been excluded permanently.  The use of fixed-term exclusion in secondary schools was low compared with London and the national average; however the number of permanent exclusions from Bromley secondary schools had been high in recent years, with 68 children excluded permanently during the 2016/17 academic year.  This had subsequently reduced and levels were now comparable with the London and national average with 22 children excluded permanently from Bromley secondary schools during the 2017/18 academic year to date.  The majority of children excluded permanently from school continued their education in a Pupil Referral Unit with the aim of being reintegrated into a mainstream school after a programme of intervention; however this was often not appropriate for Key Stage 4 pupils who might benefit more from accessing a vocational programme.  There were 238 children in Bromley whose parents had elected to teach them at home, which was broadly in line with other local authorities.

 

A range of measures were in place to prevent the use of permanent exclusion.  This included the Inclusion Support Advisory Team, which provided support to children with special educational needs, the Primary Outreach Service, which offered a structured programme for children designed to meet agreed goals and change behaviour, and Alternative Provision, which was typically offered to Key Stage 4 pupils who had disengaged from education for some time.  Representatives from Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services were working with the Local Authority and Bromley schools to develop universal and targeted programmes of mental health support to build skills for schools and resilience for children to support them in maintaining their education. 

 

In considering the report, the Vice-Chairman noted that the Local Authority had provided funding to establish and deliver the Primary Outreach Service for a period of two years with the expectation that the service would then be funded directly by primary schools.  It was important to ensure that this expectation was made clear to primary schools and that the benefits of continuing the service were communicated.  The Interim Director: Education reported that the Primary Outreach Service worked closely with early intervention services and the Bromley Children Project in forming part of the offer that provided support to vulnerable children and their families.

 

A Member queried the statutory guidance regarding groups vulnerable to exclusion, and the Interim Director: Education confirmed that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

48.

WITNESS SESSION: EARLY YEARS, CHILD MINDING AND THE 30 HOUR CHALLENGE

(A) Carol Arnfield: Head of Service, Early Years, School Standards and Adult Education, LBB

 

(B) Liz Hodgman: Early Years Strategy Manager, LBB

Minutes:

The Committee had been provided with a range of written evidence in advance of the meeting.  This included a report explaining the position in relation to Early Years, Childminding and the 30 Hours Challenge in Bromley, as well as a link to the Department for Education Evaluation of the pilot schemes that had been run in relation to the provision of 30 hours funded childcare.

 

The Chairman was pleased to welcome Carol Arnfield, Head of Early Years, School Standards and Adult Education (LBB), Liz Hodgeman, Early Years Strategy Manager (LBB), and Angela Leeves, Chairman of the Early Years Foundation Stage Forum and Early Years provider to the meeting.

 

Context

 

The Head of Early Years, School Standards and Adult Education clarified that one of the Local Authority’s duties in relation to childcare provision was to provide information, advice and assistance to parents and prospective parents, which included people who were expecting or planning a child.  The majority of childcare provision in Bromley was delivered through the private, voluntary and independent sectors; however the Local Authority provided two maintained nurseries at Blenheim Children’s Centre and Community Vision Children and Family Centre.  Charges to attend the maintained nurseries were currently set at the lower end of the market rate, although increases in charges were planned for April and September 2018 that would bring nursery fees in line with other local provision.  A new structure would also be introduced to the two maintained nurseries to make them more commercial and create additional places.

 

The Chairman emphasised the importance of promoting the excellent quality of Early Years provision available in Bromley as well as upcoming opportunities for training and employment in the Early Years sector. 

 

Early Years Provision

 

The Early Years Strategy Manager explained that Bromley had a significantly higher number of childminders than any other London Boroughs, supplying 2877 childcare places which was 25.7% of the total number of Ofsted registered Early Years places within the Borough.  People who provided care in their home for children for more than two hours a day as a paid provision were required to register as childminders unless they had a close family relationship to the child they were caring for.

 

With regard to specialist provision, the Early Years Strategy Manager confirmed that all Early Years providers were expected to offer care to children with special educational needs and disabilities that met their individual needs, and that this was supported by a programme of assessment and additional funding.  The Outreach and Inclusion Team provided support to Early Years providers in meeting the needs of children with high level special educational needs and disabilities, and this could include the involvement of other professionals.  The Phoenix Centre offered a range of Early Years services to children with special educational needs and disabilities such as classroom assessment, but the emphasis was on supporting children to remain within mainstream settings where appropriate.

 

The 30 Hours Challenge

 

The Head of Early Years, School Standards and Adult Education reported that the Local Authority had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

COMMITTEE CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Minutes:

The Committee agreed that a further meeting of the Select Committee be arranged once the provisional report had been drafted to enable Members to contribute to the report before it was presented to the next meeting of Council.

50.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS AMENDED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ACCESS TO INFORMATION) (VARIATION) ORDER 2006, AND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as 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.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as 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.

51.

PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY OF PART 2 (EXEMPT) EXECUTIVE REPORTS

51a

BTA PUPIL REFERRAL UNITS: EXTENSION AND VARIATION TO CONTRACT

Minutes:

The Committee considered the report and supported the recommendations.

 

Original Text: