Agenda and minutes

Children, Young People & Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel
Wednesday, 8 June 2016 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Easthampstead House, Town Square, Bracknell, RG12 1AQ

Contact: Lizzie Rich  01344 352253

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Councillor Mrs Birch be elected Chairman of the Children, Young People and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel for the municipal year 2016/17.

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Councillor Brossard be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Children, Young People and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel for the municipal year 2016/17.

3.

Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 166 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Children, Young People and Learning Overview and Scrutiny Panel held on 13 April 2016.  The actions arising from the previous Panel meeting are appended to the minutes.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the 13 April 2016 meeting of the Panel were approved as a correct record, and signed by the Chairman.

4.

Declarations of Interest and Party Whip

Members are requested to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interest, including the existence and nature of the Party Whip, in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.

 

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or an affected interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.

 

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest, nor any indication that Members would be participating whilst under the party whip.

5.

Urgent Items of Business

Any other items, which pursuant to Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, the Chairman decides are urgent.

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

6.

Public Participation

To receive submissions from members of the public which have been submitted in advance in accordance with the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.

Minutes:

No submissions were made by members of the public under the Council’s Public Participation Scheme for Overview and Scrutiny.

7.

Quarterly Service Report pdf icon PDF 1 MB

To consider the latest trends, priorities and pressures in terms of departmental performance as reported in the QSR for the fourth quarter of 2015/16 (January to March 2016) relating to Children, Young People and Learning, giving particular attention to outcomes of Ofsted school inspections, Fixed Term Exclusions and school attendance.

 

Panel members are asked to give advance notice to the Overview and Scrutiny Team of any questions relating to the QSR where possible.

Minutes:

The Panel received the Children, Young People and Learning Quarterly Service Report for the period 1 January to 31 March 2016.

 

The Director of Children, Young People and Learning highlighted some headlines from the report including:

  • the imminent handover of the new Warfield West School
  • the continued success of the online school place application system
  • the publication of a range of annual Statements of Purpose for Children’s Social Care
  • the successful launch of the MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) based at Easthampstead House
  • a pleasing external assessment report received regarding the Youth Offending Service’s recent inspection
  • the beginning of Ofsted’s SEND (Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities) inspections in May 2016; the closest inspection to Bracknell Forest had been in Brighton and Hove
  • the new education Bill, entitled Education for All was expected in June 2016

 

Ian Dixon, Head of Targeted Services in Learning and Achievement attended the meeting to present on School Exclusions and Attendance.

 

It was explained that only a headteacher of a school could exclude a pupil, and only on disciplinary grounds. Exclusions could last for a maximum of 45 school days in a school year, or they could be permanent. In exceptional cases requiring further evidence or a police investigation, a fixed term exclusion could be extended. All exclusions had to be reported and counted, including lunchtime exclusions for disruptive behaviour. Informal or ‘unofficial’ exclusions were unlawful.

 

Data demonstrated that for the number of primary school fixed period exclusions and of primary school days lost, Bracknell Forest was significantly below the national average. With regard to the number of secondary school fixed period exclusions, Bracknell Forest was in line with its statistical neighbours and below the national average. However, it was reported that although the number of secondary school exclusions was below the national average, there were an average of 7.1 days lost as a result of exclusion in Bracknell Forest compared to the national average 4.9 days lost. Work was ongoing to establish the cause for the high number of days lost.

 

The number of fixed period exclusions in schools between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2016 demonstrated that The Brakenhale School had reported 156 exclusions, the most of all Bracknell Forest schools. College Hall Pupil Referral Unit had reported 87 exclusions, and it was noted that there were no national benchmarks for PRUs against which to compare.

 

With regard to attendance, it was explained that absences were monitored rather than attendance. Absence could be defined as a pupil’s overall absence, an authorised absence which was usually on medical grounds, an unauthorised absence such as a term-time holiday, or persistent absence where a pupil’s absence equates to 10% of their possible attendance. It was noted that this number had been tightened from 15% last year.

 

It was reported that Legal Services were examining the judgement following the Isle of Wight case with a parent taking his child on an unauthorised holiday, and the Department for Education intended to strengthen the guidance around unauthorised holiday.

 

The total  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Annual Report on the Statutory Roles and Responsibilities of the Director and Lead Member for Children's Services 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 264 KB

To note the report and the range of activity undertaken by the Director of Children's Services and the Lead Member for Children's Services in fulfilling the statutory guidance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered the Annual Report on the Statutory Roles and Responsibilities of the Director of Children’s Services and the Lead Member for Children’s Services 2015/16.

 

Members were pleased with the report and the progress it demonstrated. It was suggested that the report be amended to include reference to the work with Young Carers and Home Educated children in the year 2015/16 before going to the Executive.

9.

Family Focus Programme Update pdf icon PDF 171 KB

To receive an update in respect of the Family Focus programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered the report on the Phase 2 of the Family Focus programme.

 

Karen Frost gave an update on the Family Focus programme. Phase 1 had run for three years and had completed in March 2015. Bracknell Forest officers had worked with 115 families in Phase 1, and the targets for these families had been met. The Bracknell Forest programme had been recognised as one of the best performing programmes in the country, and the team had been invited to work with the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) on the new programme for Phase 2.

 

The new programme would be a five year programme to focus on a minimum of 380 families in the Borough.  The criteria considered when assisting the families would be broader, and would include a holistic approach to tackling domestic abuse, mental health needs, substance abuse, poverty, debt and housing issues. All referrals to the programme would be assigned an allocated key worker through the Early Intervention Hub. Every family would develop an Outcome Plan, and the focus was on working alongside the family.

 

The success of the programme would be measured by a National Impact Study with the DCLG who would process the details of all families who agreed to their details being shared.

10.

Update on Provision for Young People Not In Education, Employment or Training (NEET) pdf icon PDF 175 KB

To receive an update in respect of activities to support young people who are NEET.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered the Update on Provision for Young People Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET).

 

It was explained that NEET levels and statistics gave a reliable indication of future economic and employment rates in the Borough. It was highlighted that the number of young people who were NEET could change at any time, but was generally around 100-115.

 

There had been a successful bid for European funding to fund the Elevate hub which was due to transfer from the Chief Executive’s Office to the Children, Young People and Learning directorate.

 

In response to Members’ questions, the following points were raised:

  • The report data had been gathered from a range of sources including Advisa and the Secondary Schools and was reported to the Department for Education. The figures for the ‘Not Known’ category has been included as it was expected that these people were NEET.
  • Prevention work against becoming NEET began in Year 8 in the Secondary Schools, and a new employment programme at Kennel Lane Special School had begun in 2016 with good feedback.

Young people benefited from good mentoring relationships with adults, and this had particularly been key with Looked After Children in the Borough who had been assigned mentors.

11.

Report of the Review of Child Sexual Exploitation pdf icon PDF 177 KB

To consider and agree the draft report of the review of child sexual exploitation undertaken by a Working Group of this Panel.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Report of the Review of Child Sexual Exploitation was postponed to be discussed at the September Panel meeting.

12.

Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 108 KB

To consider scheduled Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions relating to Children, Young People and Learning.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Panel considered the scheduled Executive Key and Non-Key Decisions relating to Children, Young People and Learning.