Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Denise Kevern  Email: denise.kevern@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5145

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.

 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Peter Brooks, and Clare Morris and from Alexander Seadon (Parent Governor Representative).

2.

Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

3.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 45 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved –

 

That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2016.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Children and Young Peoples Scrutiny Panel held on 18 October 2016 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

5.

In-Depth Scrutiny - Preventative Approaches to Bringing Children into Care pdf icon PDF 166 KB

The Panel is asked to note the analysis of the impact of early help and statutory child in need including child protection interventions on diverting children from becoming looked after children.

 

Note the areas for further enquiry and analysis and endorse the proposed actions to progress the in-depth scrutiny exercise.

 

Note that a report on the impact of the placement strategy will be presented to the Scrutiny Panel.

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Senior Assistant Director who explained that most children who became looked after children had received or were receiving children’s social care services at the point at which they became looked after. The Council’s early arrangements were based on purposeful voluntary engagement and intervention with children and their families. Intervention as early as possible paid off, early in the life of a child and early in the life of a problem.

 

He highlighted that children aged 10-13 were less likely to receive help than any other age band and that this was a critical time where the adverse impact of poor parenting on children’s behaviour starts to become entrenched. He described how early help and intervention across the borough had helped achieve sustained change.

 

He said that an Early Help Deep Dive took place in Central Area Central A in November 2016. The analysis found that only 1 in 71 children who received targeted early help went on to have a child protection plan and only 1 in 166 children went on to be looked after in this area. Performance was better than borough performance with 1 in 38 children in Central A under a child protection plan compared to borough of 1 in 31, and 1 in 38 became looked after children compared to 1 in 30.

 

He continued that the Children in Need rate per 10,000 children was 650.3 and this was lower than both the London average (690.4) and the National average (667.1) and that 10% of these children were disabled. The Royal Borough of Greenwich was middle ranking in terms of children becoming Children in Need. Child abuse or neglect accounted for nearly half of all these children.

 

The Senior Assistant Director detailed that the areas for further enquiry and analysis were; case analysis of the Early Help Tracking Meeting and referrals identified via MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub) which were early help related; the findings of the Early Help Deep Dive needed to be reviewed and the practices replicated more widely; further research on preventing child protection intervention; targeted early help for 10-13 year olds; track back the pathway into care for children who had become looked after within the last six months and whether any early intervention had been received and utilising data capability to ensure the right children were getting early help and that a proactive approach was in place.

 

The Panel queried if GPs were able to make referrals to MASH regarding early intervention, to which the Senior Assistant Director replied that yes, they were very keen to be involved in making referrals.

 

The Panel asked for an explanation of the coordination between services, for example the Troubled Families Programme and Families First. The Senior Assistant Director stated that early help is consent based and that there was an established process which checked who the different teams were coordinating with. There had been a large improvement in the last two years in collating data. Families First was an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

School Admissions 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 164 KB

The Panel is asked to scrutinise key points from the annual report by the Royal Borough of Greenwich to the Schools Adjudicator about admission arrangements,      recent trends in planned admissions to primary and secondary schools and information about admission appeals.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Head of Admissions, Place Planning, Systems and Resilience who gave an overview of School Admissions 2015-16. She highlighted that two objections to admission arrangements for own admission authority schools had subsequently been received and looked in to. She asked that the Panel note that the Department for Education had stated its intention to consult on proposed changes to the Schools Admissions Code 2014 in order to provide statutory guidance regarding summer born children.

 

She continued that Royal Borough of Greenwich had offered 96.5% primary preference offers in 2016 despite the fact that the number of applications has increased. Three children were allocated a school more than two miles from their home address but had subsequently secured places at preference schools either from the waiting list or a successful appeal.

 

The Panel was interested in comparable data with other authorities. The Head of Admissions, Place Planning, Systems and Resilience explained that it was not possible to access comparable data from other authorities. The information published was in relation to offers made to schools regardless of borough residency, and not offers made to Royal Greenwich residents regardless of where the school is based.

 

In response to a question regarding how many of the 134 allocated a Royal Borough of Greenwich school were late applications, the officer responded that there were 57.

 

The Panel also asked if there was a geographical pattern for parents who did not receive their first preference, to which the officer replied that she felt not, but that there was scope for review. The Panel asked that information be provided at Ward level of children that did not get any of their preference places particularly for secondary placements.

Action: Head of Admissions, Place Planning, Systems and Resilience

 

The Head of Admissions, Place Planning, Systems and Resilience explained that for places in secondary transfer there had been a significant increase in demand in 2015-16. This was attributed to various factors including rising standards, investment in buildings and facilities and improvements to the admissions brochure.

 

Three applicants refused the allocation offered, of which one has since found a place, one moved to Kent and the other child was logged as having made alternative arrangements.

 

She further said that the Council had consulted on proposed changes to its school banding arrangements and Cabinet had agreed that they should be reviewed and amended.

 

The Panel enquired what the Year 7 Published Admission Number (PAN) was for Corelli College and what the Year 7 vacancy rates were. The Head of Admissions, Place Planning, Systems and Resilience replied that the PAN was 240 and that the school had increased its Year 7 places two years ago. The current vacancy rates were Corelli College 32, International Academy Greenwich 28, Plumstead Manor School 14 and St Mary Magdalene CE School (secondary phase) 14.

 

A Panel member questioned if the balance of single sex schools had an impact and was concerned that Plumstead Manor had 14 vacancies as it had previously been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Annual Report on Elective Home Education
September 2015 to August 2016 pdf icon PDF 451 KB

The Panel are asked to review the annual report on Elective Home Education (EHE).

 

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Head of Behaviour and Attendance Service and the Elective Home Education Officer (EHEO) who explained that the majority of referrals came from schools, admissions and the Child Missing Education Officer following a parent’s stated intention to educate their child at home. A small number of referrals came from other agencies such as A&E. The EHEO detailed the safeguarding checks and highlighted that if there were any concerns following the risk assessment, a home visit was undertaken but parents had a right to refuse visits from the EHEO. The EHEO’s role was therefore based on building good relationships with parents and working together and that if a parent chose not to cooperate, the EHEO could not force them to. Following a home visit safeguarding concerns are referred to MASH (Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub). The EHEO noted that there had been a distinct trend in the increase in parents opting to home educate their children, and this was generally for less than 12 months.

 

The Panel queried how long it took from a School Attendance Order (SAO) being initiated to prosecution being taken. The EHEO replied that the process was subject to guidelines and timescales within the SAO, and that an SAO was the last resort.

 

The Panel asked that case studies be provided to demonstrate the achievement of those young people that go back in to mainstream education after a period of being home educated.

Action: Elective Home Education Officer / Senior Corporate Development Officer

 

The Panel asked why parents opted to home educate their children to which the EHEO responded that parents were well-informed and aware of their choices and were likely to home educate if they were not allocated a preference school at the admissions stage. The Home Education team were trying to broaden the information received on the parent’s referral letter to identify why the home education route had been taken.

 

The Panel also asked if home education was officially monitored for example by the Department for Education, to which she replied no; but that the Council had provided their views to Ofsted and there was work in progress to change this.

 

Resolved:

 

1.     That the Panel noted the annual report on Elective Home Education.

 

2.     That the Panel noted the trend data and any implications.

 

3.     That the Panel noted and agreed the areas for further improvement and action.

8.

Annual report on Children Missing Education September 2015 to August 2016 pdf icon PDF 321 KB

The Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Panel are asked to review the annual report on Children Missing Education September 2015 to August 2016.

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Children Missing Education Officer (CME) and the Partnership Manager Attendance and Behaviour who gave an update on the service and highlighted that in 2015/16 there was a reduction in Children Missing Education but 2016/17 had seen the figures rise again. This was due to more referrals coming from schools and the work of the Attendance Advisory Service.

 

She continued that areas for improvement in 2016-17 were; greater accuracy in recording ethnicity and MASH referrals; implementation of the new CME legislation which required additional leavers and joiners information transfer from schools to the Local Authority; further CME training with schools; development of clear and robust methods for capturing the reasons for CME and continued development of speedy and effective contacts to locate and report missing children.

 

She asked the Panel to note that the Ofsted inspection of June 2016 in regard to CME practice in Greenwich had been outstanding.

 

The Panel queried why the ethnic breakdown showed a high level in the unknown column. The Children Missing Education Officer reiterated that this was in part because the Admissions Team were not permitted to ask for ethnicity information. The Team were investigating ways to improve this information.

 

In response to a question regarding children moving home regularly; the officer replied that temporary housing was a factor and the team were working closely with other boroughs but that this was a social issue and was not recorded as a cohort.

 

The Panel requested that a report be provided on alternative provision for children that were excluded from school, to be brought to a future meeting of the Panel.

Action: Children Missing Education Officer / Senior Corporate Development Officer

 

Resolved:

 

1.     That the Panel noted the annual report on Children Missing Education September 2015 to August 2016.

 

2.     That the Panel noted the trend data and any implications.

 

3.     That the Panel noted and agreed the areas for further improvement and action.

9.

Education Standards 2015-16 pdf icon PDF 127 KB

The report provides an analysis of educational performance during the 2015/16 academic year, including:

 

      Summary of the quality of education offered, as judged by Ofsted inspections;

      Borough level summary of outcomes achieved by children and young people at each key stage;

      Acknowledging the significant changes in assessment 2016 and the impact that this has had on reporting outcomes;

      Analysis of the performance of vulnerable groups.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Children and Young Peoples Scrutiny Panel noted the presentation item 9.5 - Royal Greenwich schools making “Greenwich a great place to grow up” 2016 outcomes.

 

The report was presented by the Assistant Director Inclusion, Learning and Achievement, the Head of Performance Analysis Service, the Head of Secondary Standards and the Head of EYFS and Primary Standards and the following statistics were highlighted; Persistent Absence had a threshold of 10% and Royal Borough of Greenwich (9.6%) was better than both the London (10%) and National (10.3%) averages. A key priority was the reduction of Fixed Term Exclusions, and this tended to be a secondary school issue. For Permanent Exclusions the Borough was rated as 5th best but Fixed Term Exclusion was 30th in London for 2014/15.

 

Royal Borough of Greenwich was rated 1st nationally for the Early Years Foundation stage. In Key Stage 1 there had been significant changes in assessment levels that were no longer recorded and the Borough outperformed national levels in all categories for 2016. Key Stage 2 (KS2) performance was also above the national level in all categories. In KS2, disadvantaged pupils also achieved above the national level. The looked After Children data for KS2 was provisional.

 

In Key Stage 4 there were changes to how data was collected in 2016. The Borough’s children performed well in English A-C but Maths A-C outcomes were lower, the two scores were combined which affected the Borough’s overall performance (60.6%). Therefore Greenwich was below the London score of 65.9% but above the national of 58.7%. Improving this statistic was a priority for the Borough and was being reviewed in detail.

 

In Key Stage 4 English Baccalaureate Greenwich were ranked 50th nationally at 26.5% which was above the national average.

 

50% of Disadvantaged Children in Key Stage 4 achieved A-C grades in the Borough. Schools were challenged and individual children’s needs were reviewed. Provisional Attainment 8 and progress 8 also outperformed the 2016 national average, but again Maths was the problem.

 

In responses to questions from the Panel the Officers provided the following answers; in schools where the English grades were largely below C, staff in schools with good grades were liaising with them and sharing their teaching models. Recruitment of Maths and Physics teaching staff had proved to be difficult. The Baccalaureate was not appropriate for all pupils as the children had to able to study a modern foreign language. The aspiration was for every child to achieve the best they could.

 

The Panel asked that a report be brought to a future meeting demonstrating the outcomes of high achieving Year 6 teachers collaborating with Secondary teachers to improve attainment in Key Stage 4.

Action: Assistant Director Inclusion, Learning and Achievement

 

The Officers continued that Key Stage 5, A level entry was lower than the national average and the gap was not closing. This was a cause for concern. The BTEC entries at Distinction were improving. Vocational attainment versus academic was better against the national average.

Young  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Commissioning Future Reports pdf icon PDF 48 KB

The Panel is asked to note the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel on 4 April 2017 and Corporate Parenting Panel on 18 April 2017 as outlined in the body of the report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair said Panel members had visited Children’s Centres in the Borough and a report would be brought to the meeting of 16 March 2017.

 

Resolved:

 

1.     That the Panel noted the work items that were scheduled for the meetings of 4 April 2017 and the Corporate Parenting Panel 18 April 2017.

 

2.     That the Panel noted the single agenda item meeting 16 March 2017 to address the in-depth scrutiny of Children’s Health Services, to which Members of the Healthier Communities and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Panel would also be invited to attend.

 

3.     That the Panel noted that they were asked to identify any specific themes or lines of enquiry to be covered in the reports for these agendas.