Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms, Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

Items
No. Item

47.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

There were no apologies for absence.

 

48.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

In respect of Minute 57 (St Olaves Update), Councillor Wells declared that he was a Member of the Court of St Olaves and St Saviours.

 

In respect of Minute 53 (questions to the Portfolio Holder), Councillor Fortune declared that he was a Member of the Board of a Clarion Charity.

 

49.

MINUTES OF THE EDUCATION, CHILDREN & FAMILIES SELECT COMMITTEE MEETING HELD ON 29 JANUARY 2019 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Minutes:

A Member noted that Minute 42 referred to the ‘Corporate Parenting Fun Day’.  This should say ‘Celebration of Achievement’.

 

The minutes of the meeting held on 29 January 2019, were agreed, and signed as a correct record, subject to the amendment outlined above.

 

 

50.

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

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions to the Chairman of this Committee must be received in writing 4 working days before the date of the meeting and must relate to the work of the scrutiny committee.  Please ensure questions are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on Thursday 7th March 2019.

Minutes:

No questions had been received.

51.

MATTERS ARISING AND WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 115 KB

Minutes:

Report CSD19049

 

The Committee considered a report dealing with the Committee’s business management.

 

In respect of matters arising from the previous minutes, a Member reported that following the Select Committee meeting she and the Leader of the Labour Group had met with the Interim Executive Director of ECHS to discuss when the information concerning the disapplication request had been relayed to Head Teachers.  At that meeting the Members present had been informed that the proposal had initially been rejected by the Schools’ Forum on 8th November 2018.  For the purposes of clarification the Interim Executive Director explained that in November the Schools’ Forum had not rejected the proposals as this was not in the Forum’s gift.  The proposals had been discussed and concerns raised however it was agreed that the proposals should go out for consultation.  The formal rejection of the proposals by the Schools’ Forum came at the meeting which took place on 10th January 2019.  A Member stressed that the key issue was that Members of the Education Children and Families Select Committee should have been notified of the proposals and the concerns raised by the Schools’ Forum following the November meeting.

 

In relation to the Committee’s scrutiny of the Portfolio Holder concerning the Dedicated Schools Grant at the meeting on 29th January 2019, a Member highlighted that a strong point had been made about the need for the Local Authority and the Portfolio Holder to work with the Schools’ Forum and give due consideration to recommendations arising out of Schools’ Forum meetings.  The Portfolio Holder refuted the suggestion that recommendations from the Schools’ Forum were dismissed.

 

Moving on to the 2019/20 Work Programme, the Committee noted that it was for the new Committee which would be constituted at Annual Council to develop and agree its work programme.

 

RESOLVED: That the report be noted.

 

52.

ANNUAL SCRUTINY REPORT 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Minutes:

The Annual Scrutiny Report was noted.

53.

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

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions to the Education, Children & Families Portfolio Holder must be received in writing 4 working days before the date of the meeting and must relate to the work of the Portfolio.  Please ensure questions are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on Thursday 7th March 2019.

 

Minutes:

One oral question had been received from Cllr Angela Wilkins:

 

1. How many LB Bromley children are on the London Gangs Matrix and what is LBB doing to support them?

 

Given the recent report published by the Children’s Commissioner which estimates that “only a fraction of the 27,000 children who are involved in gangs are known to children’s services what is LBB doing to work with schools, GPs, youth clubs, health professionals, families and others to identify these ‘missed’ children?

 

 

Reply:

 

We work with the Police Gang Lead to provide the numbers of children involved in gangs.

 

We have 12 young people we are working with that we know are gang linked , 2 of which reside in other LA’s but have links to Bromley . 

 

The Missing Exploitation Gang Affiliation (MEGA) panel meets every week to track new information, intelligence and progress of those young people we are working with. The panel is attended chaired by the Head of Service for MASH, Referral & Assessment EDT and Atlas team and attended by colleagues from Education, Youth Offending Services, Probation, Housing, Health and the Police.

 

New children and young people are added to the panel and names taken off the panel list dependent upon evidence of information shared. 

 

We also work with agencies such as Safer London, Red Thread re Gang exit strategies

 

Supplementary Question:

 

This is a complex area that crosses a number of departments and portfolios.  Which Officer and Portfolio Holder take the lead on co-ordinating the Local Authorities response?

 

Reply:

 

This would sit within Community Safety with the Portfolio Holder for Public Protection and Enforcement taking a strategic lead.  From the Officer side, the Head of Trading Standards and Community Safety takes the strategic lead and is currently working to develop a multi-disciplinary panel to coordinate work across the Local Authority.  It is still early days but the plan is to undertake a mapping exercise to ensure a proportionate and relevant response across the Borough.

 

The Chairman suggested that it would be useful to for both the Education, Children and Families Select Committee and the Public Protection and Enforcement PDS Committee to be provided with a written statement outlining the work that was currently underway.

 

2. How many children referred to Children’s Services have county lines connections? Are these children being treated as victims or perpetrators?

 

Reply:

 

There are currently 15 Young People known to have county lines links. 

 

On a case by case analysis, some are treated as perpetrators and victims due to the information known about them. Others are treated as victims.

 

 

3. What is LBB doing to work with housing associations to re-locate families at risk of gangs/youth violence?

 

Reply:

 

Bromley does not hold housing stock and is a member of the Pan-London Housing Reciprocal agreement which relates to the relocation of social tenants to other boroughs.   There is a great amount of work between the Local Authority and Housing Associations to identify and target people in terms of early intervention.

 

Supplementary Question from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

54.

PORTFOLIO HOLDER UPDATE

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Families, Cllr Peter Fortune, attended the meeting to respond to questions from the Committee.  The Portfolio Holder gave a brief introduction highlighting the following issues:-

 

  • The outcome of the Ofsted Inspection of Adult Education had been fantastic and reflected the fundamental changes to services delivery that had taken place.
  • The last meeting of the Children’s Service improvement Governance Board had taken place on Friday 8th March 2019.  Thanks needed to be extended to the Independent Chairman of the Governance Board, Isobel Cattermole, for her invaluable contribution to supporting the improvement journey.
  • School places had now been allocated.  73% of applicants had received their first choice.  96% of applicants had received one of their first 3 choices.  These statistics were testament to the extensive work that had been done around school place planning.
  • The Buller’s Wood planning application for temporary buildings at the St Hugh’s site had been submitted and was likely to be heard over the next month or so.

 

Cllr Fortune then responded to questions making the following comments:-

 

  • The Portfolio Holder acknowledged that Members of the Committee could have been notified earlier of the decision to submit the disapplication request.  It was suggested that all Members of the Select Committee should receive minutes from meetings of the Schools’ Forum when they were published.
  • Following the rejection of the disapplication request by the Secretary of State, a contribution of £2m to high needs funding had been made by the Council.  On 27th March 2019 a delegation including representatives from the Local Authority and Schools was due to meet the Minister in order to raise issues around school funding.
  • In relation to the planning application for Buller’s Wood; the submission of the application was done by the School and the ESFA.  The Local Authority had no influence over how the application was submitted and was not involved in the decision to submit a separate application for the temporary accommodation. 
  • The Executive Assistant for the Children, Education and Families Portfolio noted that there was a significant amount of misinformation about School Place Planning.  An event was being held on 18th March 2019, which sought to dispel some of the myths about School Place Planning that existed.
  • Bromley was a net importer of pupils.  Details of the number of pupils offered places out-of-borough were not available at the meeting.  The Chairman suggested that this type of question should be submitted to a Full Council meeting to enable a full response to be provided.
  • In relation to the Aeronautical College at Biggin Hill, the Portfolio Holder was due to meet with the Principal of London South East College to discuss the next steps.
  • The Portfolio Holder confirmed that his support for the Select Committee process vacillated.  He could see that there were significant benefits and the detailed scrutiny of specific issues delivered some beneficial outcomes.  However, there remained challenges around identifying reports that were required to be presented to the Committee.  It was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

55.

SCRUTINY OF THE DIRECTOR OF EDUCATION

Minutes:

It was agreed that this item wold be deferred until the Committee’s meeting in July 2019.

56.

EDUCATION INFORMATION ITEMS pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the Education, Children and Families Budget and Performance Sub-Committee held on 23rd January 2019, were noted.

57.

ST OLAVES UPDATE pdf icon PDF 157 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report ECHS19031

 

The Committee received a report providing an update on the actions taken to address the recommendations made in the independent Report of Investigation into St Olave’s Grammar School which was issued in July 2018.  Independent monitoring had been undertaken by an experienced School Improvement Partner (SIP) jointly appointed by the School and Local Authority.  A six-month review was undertaken in January 2019, with participation by the School, Local Authority, Rochester Diocesan Board of Education and the Foundation Trust.  The School Improvement Partner reported that progress has been made against all of the 49 recommendations, with 30 recommendations completed and 19 recommendations underway.

 

The Chairman welcomed to the meeting the Venerable Dr Paul Wright, Chairman of the Governing Body of St Olaves, and Mr Andrew Rees, Head Teacher.  The Committee extended its congratulations on the positive outcome of the Ofsted inspection.

 

The Venerable Dr Paul Wright reported that a great deal had happened since the last update to Committee.  The outcome of the Ofsted inspection had been encouraging and the findings of the inspectors had validated the partnership work between the School, Local Authority, Rochester Diocesan Board of Education, and School Improvement Partner that had taken place prior to the Inspection.  When the Ofsted inspection took place the School had been able to demonstrated that the recommendations arising from the Independent Investigation had been acted upon.

 

Dr Wright reported  that a strong Governing Body was now in place and this had instilled confidence in the leadership and management of the School.  There were some ongoing actions however plans were in place to address these.

 

Mr Rees highlighted that the report from Ofsted had recognised the improvements made across the school.  It was particularly noted that that parents were positive and that St Olave’s had transformed from where it was 18 months ago.

 

The Director of Education emphasised Ofsted’s recognition that strong leadership had driven improvements.  The School had worked well with the Local Authority and other partners and there was confidence that when the 12 month update was provided all 49 recommendations would have been completed.

 

A Member noted the positive relationships that St Olave’s was developing with primary schools in the more deprived parts of the Borough.  It was emphasised that these positive relationships would encourage diversity at St Olave’s.

 

In response to a question from the Vice-Chairman concerning actions that were not yet implemented, the Head Teacher confirmed that the School was moving toward acting on all recommendations.  However, the management at the school were keen to ensure that all policies were discussed appropriately and that changes were properly embedded before signing any actions off.

 

In response to a question the Head Teacher confirmed that there was ongoing support for the pupils and families that had been affected the most under the old leadership regime.  Avenues of ongoing support would also be available through the Local Authority.

 

In relation to pupils progressing into the Sixth Form, the Head Teacher confirmed that as a Grammar School  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.

58.

CORPORATE PARENTS - THE ROLE OF THE ELECTED MEMBER pdf icon PDF 109 KB

Minutes:

The Children and Social Work Act 2017 defined for the first time, in law, the responsibilities placed upon councils to ensure the best outcomes for Children Looked After and Care Leavers. These duties took up the first chapter and first paragraph in the Act and its prominence highlighted the significance of this duty. The Act outlined these duties as a set principles i.e.

 

a)  to act in the best interests, and promote the physical and mental health and well-being, of those children and young people;

b)  to encourage those children and young people to express their views, wishes and feelings;

c)  to take into account the views, wishes and feelings of those children and young people;

d)  to help those children and young people gain access to, and make the best use of, services provided by the local authority and its relevant partners;

e)  to promote high aspirations, and seek to secure the best outcomes, for those children and young people;

f)  for those children and young people to be safe, and for stability in their home lives, relationships and education or work;

g)  to prepare those children and young people for adulthood and independent living.

 

As Corporate Parents, every Councillor and officer within the Council had a responsibility to apply the above principles in the day to day decision making particularly when making decisions about services which may impact CLA and Care Leavers.  All elected members and officers had a duty to act as a parent would for their own child albeit at a much larger scale. Lead Members, Councillors on corporate parenting boards, and on overview and scrutiny committees had particular responsibilities, however all members would need to ensure that they advocated and considered the impact of services for Children Looked After and Care Leavers.

 

The Chairman welcomed Aneesa Kaprie, Head of CLA and Care Leavers; Melissa Bob Amara, Active Engagement Officer; and Tia Lovick, Chairman of the Living in Care Council, to the meeting.  The Committee expressed thanks for the comprehensive and interesting report that had been provided.  Members congratulated Tia who was a recipient of the Mayors Award in 2019.

 

In presenting to the Committee, Tia Lovick explained that feedback received by the Living in Care Council (LinCC) demonstrated that there had been a huge improvement in respect of engagement and involvement from elected members.  LinCC would be inviting Members to its meetings so that Corporate Parents could get to know some of the children for which they had responsibility.  The Corporate Parenting Fun Day was also an initiative that had been established to help Members get to know some of the children so that decisions could be well informed.  The idea was for members of LinCC and elected Members to jointly plan and arrange the Fun Day for maximum benefit.  The two Corporate Parenting Fun Days that had taken place (in 2017 and 2018) had both been a big success.  Disappointingly in 2018 only the Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Families,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 58.

59.

WITNESS SESSION: LIFELONG LEARNING IN A RAPIDLY CHANGING WORLD OF WORK

(A)  CAROL ARNFIELD, HEAD OF EARLY YEARS, SCHOOL STANDARDS AND ADULT EDUCATION, LBB

 

(B)  TRACEY DAVIS, LONDON SOUTH EAST COLLEGE

 

(C)  COLIN MACLEAN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, COMMUNITY LINKS BROMLEY

 

(D)  SHAKEELA SHOURIE, WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT PROJECT LEAD – STEP UP TO SOCIAL WORK, LBB

Minutes:

The Committee had been provided with a range of written evidence in advance of the meeting.  This included a report providing an overview of Lifelong Learning and some of the opportunities available across the Borough, a submission from the Bromley Branch of the University of the Third Age (U3A), and a submission from Community Links Bromley.

 

The Chairman welcomed Ms Carol Arnfield, Head of Early Years, School Standards and Adult Education (LBB), Ms Tracey Davis, Vice-Principal, London South East Colleges, and Mr Colin Maclean, Community Links Bromley to the meeting. 

 

The Committee began by congratulating the Head of Early Years, School Standards and Adult Education and all the staff involved in the successful outcome of the Ofsted Inspection of Adult Education.

 

The Committee explored a number of themes and issues with the witnesses and the Chairman suggested that the direction of the Committees enquiry could be distilled into three main headings:

 

  1. Universal upskilling and provision of employability skills targeting those with more limited exposure to the universal educational system.
  2. “Mid-career” training for people in the 40-50s who may have experienced redundancy and need to refocus their skills for a new career.
  3. Active retirement.

 

The Head of Early Years, School Standards and Adult Education began her presentation by emphasising that she welcomed the opportunity to champion lifelong learning due to the immeasurable benefits to both individuals and communities.  Over the past few years, as a result of advances in the provision of technology and the impact that this has had on daily life, it had become increasingly important for adults to engage with lifelong learning.  Last year Bromley’s Adult Education Service had a very successful year, developing a strong range of partnerships and a significant improvement in student achievements and this was reflected in the outcome of the Ofsted Inspection.

 

The Vice-Principal of London South East Colleges provided the Committee with some details around the vocational offer available at London South East Colleges.  There were currently 12,000 learners on a range of vocational programmes which offered ‘employability skills’ described as “real skills for the real world”.  Looking to identify skills gaps, the College worked alongside a variety of employers to ensure that industry needs were being met.

 

The Chief Executive of Community Links Bromley explained that his organisation was a Council for Voluntary Service and provided support work to the charity and voluntary sector.  The importance of volunteering could not be underestimated.  The Committee noted that the report provided by Community Links Bromley had provided examples of some of the targeted interventions in Bromley.

 

The Chairman noted that the University of the Third Age (U3A) had provided a very interesting submission to support the Committee’s review.  The Committee expressed disappointment that the Workers Educational Association (WEA) had not been able to provide any information.

 

Noting the advances that had been made in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the emerging suggestions that AI would start to have an effect on professions such as Law and Human Resources, the Chairman queried whether any reports  ...  view the full minutes text for item 59.

Concluding Remarks

Noting that this was the last meeting over which the Chairman would preside, Members of the Committee thanked Councillor Bennett for his professional and courteous chairmanship of the Committee.  Membership extended good wishes to Councillor Bennett for his year as Mayor of Bromley.

 

In response, Councillor Bennett expressed thanks to the Committee and to the Vice-Chairman, Councillor Reddin.  Councillor Bennett commented that he could not have asked for a better Vice-Chairman.  Finally, Councillor Bennett thanked both the Interim Executive Director, and the Clerk to the Committee for their support

 

Original Text: