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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 4, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Moore  0207 527 3308

Items
No. Item

166.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Nick Ward.

167.

Declarations of Interest

If you have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest* in an item of business:

§  if it is not yet on the council’s register, you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent;

§  you may choose to declare a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest that is already in the register in the interests of openness and transparency. 

In both the above cases, you must leave the room without participating in discussion of the item.

 

If you have a personal interest in an item of business and you intend to speak or vote on the item you must declare both the existence and details of it at the start of the meeting or when it becomes apparent but you may participate in the discussion and vote on the item.

 

*(a) Employment, etc - Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

(b)  Sponsorship - Any payment or other financial benefit in respect of your expenses in carrying out duties as a member, or of your election; including from a trade union.

(c) Contracts - Any current contract for goods, services or works, between you or your partner (or a body in which one of you has a beneficial interest) and the council.

(d) Land - Any beneficial interest in land which is within the council’s area.

(e) Licences- Any licence to occupy land in the council’s area for a month or longer.

(f)   Corporate tenancies - Any tenancy between the council and a body in which you or your partner have a beneficial interest.

 (g) Securities - Any beneficial interest in securities of a body which has a place of business or land in the council’s area, if the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body or of any one class of its issued share capital. 

 

This applies to all members present at the meeting.

Minutes:

None.

168.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None.

169.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Minutes:

The Committee agreed to revise the sixteenth bullet point under minute 161 as follows:

 

·         The Committee expressed their concern for the outcomes of pupils with mental health issues and other vulnerabilities such as drug dependency and special educational needs, commenting that these could be significant barriers to their engagement with employment, education and training. It was queried how many young people NEET had mental health issues, and if there was a follow up when they moved into the 19-24 age group to confirm if they continued to have mental health issues. Officers did not have figures available at the meeting however advised that this would be investigated. It was commented that mental health issues were recorded as health issues.

·         It was queried how many young people NEET had an Education, Health and Care Plan. It was advised that this would be investigated as figures were not available at the meeting, however it was thought that few had EHCPs.

 

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 September 2016 be confirmed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them, subject to the following amendment to the sixteenth bullet point under minute 161: 

·         The Committee expressed their concern for the outcomes of pupils with mental health issues and other vulnerabilities such as drug dependency and special educational needs, commenting that these could be significant barriers to their engagement with employment, education and training. It was queried how many young people NEET had mental health issues, and if there was a follow up when they moved into the 19-24 age group to confirm if they continued to have mental health issues. Officers did not have figures available at the meeting however advised that this would be investigated. It was commented that mental health issues were recorded as health issues.

·         It was queried how many young people NEET had an Education, Health and Care Plan. It was advised that this would be investigated as figures were not available at the meeting, however it was thought that few had EHCPs.

 

 

170.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair suggested that the Committee should have a greater role in reviewing the Council’s corporate parenting function and in particular the work of the Corporate Parenting Board.

 

Councillors Caluori, Gill, and Ismail declared an interest as members of the Corporate Parenting Board.

 

Members considered that scrutinising the work of the Board would be prudent and requested that an annual report from the Corporate Parenting Board be added to the Committee’s work programme.

171.

Items for Call In (if any)

Minutes:

None.

172.

Public Questions

Minutes:

None.

173.

Post-16 Education, Employment and Training: Witness Evidence pdf icon PDF 261 KB

To include:

 

·         Paul McIntyre, Assistant Head, Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School

·         Evidence from another school (TBC)

·         Alison Bennett, Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance Specialist (supporting written evidence attached: ‘Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance in Islington’s secondary schools’)

·         Responses to questions raised by the Committee at September 2016 meeting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)  Evidence from Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School

 

Paul McIntyre, Assistant Headteacher of Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School, made a presentation to the Committee on the school’s work to prepare its students for further education, employment and training.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         The school worked to raise the aspirations and develop the character of its pupils. The school sought to provide pupils with a robust set of transferrable skills they could apply to any vocation.

·         Preparing pupils for further education, employment and training began in Year 7, with raising awareness of different career paths and helping pupils to identify their own skills. Work on employability skills began in Year 9, and pupils carried out work-related activities in Year 11.

·         The school considered that it was very fortunate to be based in London, as its pupils had many opportunities open to them.

·         Although schools had limited resources to invest in extra-curricular activities, the school had introduced the Skills Programme to develop pupils’ personal, learning and thinking skills. This was a fortnightly programme for pupils in Years 7, 8 and 9 and focused on areas such as communication and presentation skills, leadership, group dynamics, interview role-play, and resilience.

·         Information, advice and guidance on employment was also provided through assemblies, with speakers, sometimes former pupils, attending to speak on different career paths. The school considered it important to provide pupils with positive role models.

·         Every pupil in Years 10 and 11 had a conversation with the careers team about their aspirations. Information, advice and guidance was also provided through the pastoral team. The school wanted all staff to feel that they were contributing to the pupils’ futures.

·         The school had developed long-term relationships with businesses to support the provision of information, advice and guidance and work-related learning. The school had a particularly positive relationship with Hogan Lovells law firm; the firm supported a mentoring programme, school trips to their offices were held, and each head of year met the firm to discuss their pupils’ needs.

·         In response to a question, it was confirmed that the school followed up the destinations of its alumni and these were displayed on a board in the school.

·         The school valued the council’s support for apprenticeships, commenting that pupils and parents were sometimes sceptical of non-academic pathways. The school wanted vocational pathways to be held in the same regard as academic pathways. 

·         The format of work experience had changed in recent years. The school no longer arranged one or two week placements in business; instead the school wanted to provide pupils with a real insight into organisations. The school arranged tours to businesses, provided pupils with the opportunity to interview employees, and arranged structured opportunities for pupils to experience day-to-day work in some of its partner organisations. Pupils were encouraged to arrange traditional work experience themselves over a weekend or holiday.

·         The school supported pupils in drafting and regularly reviewing their CVs. Feedback on CVs was given by the school’s business partners at ‘Present Yourself  ...  view the full minutes text for item 173.

174.

SEND Reforms and Impact - Update pdf icon PDF 515 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Candy Holder, Head of Pupil Services, introduced the report which set out progress made on implementing the reforms to how young people with special educational needs and disabilities are supported.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         The last time officers presented to the Committee it was suggested that the service should focus on a smaller number of priorities. It was reported that officers had since reduced the number of strategic priorities from 30 to 7.

·         Islington was making good progress in converting statements of special educational need into Education, Health and Care Plans, and was progressing ahead of other inner-London boroughs.

·         A team of six parent consultants had been established to help with engagement and co-production.

·         Feedback on the EHCP assessment process had been mapped and was generally positive.

·         A discussion was had on outcomes. Although academic achievement was very important, qualitative or ‘soft’ outcomes were also important, particularly to parents. Increased confidence, wellbeing, and engagement in social activities were considered to be very positive outcomes. The service had developed a RAG-rated framework to map the progress of young people against qualitative outcomes. The Committee considered progress against these outcomes and welcomed the depth of data available.

·         It was hoped to appoint a special school representative to the Youth Council in the next election.

·         It was queried how outcomes were measured for primary-school aged children. In response, it was commented that outcomes for that age group were often focused around speech and language development which were ‘health’ outcomes. The Committee thought that RAG-rating progress was a very clear way of measuring performance.

·         Members queried if any negative feedback had been received on the EHCP assessment process or the implementation of EHCPs by schools, and if there had been any increase in dissatisfaction since the EHCP process had been introduced. In response, it was advised that complaints had decreased over the past two years. All comments were analysed and there were no obvious factors which required addressing, however it was acknowledged that sometimes groups of families would unite around particular issues. Officers understood the importance of assessments being carried out appropriately, effectively, and in a timely manner.

·         It was queried if Islington had enough special school spaces, noting that another borough only had 30 special school spaces for around 100 children diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. Officers advised that Islington had three good special schools and The Bridge School was expanding. It was also advised that Islington began assessments for children with autistic spectrum disorder at the point of identification, rather than at formal diagnosis. This ensured that support was delivered faster.

 

RESOLVED:

That the progress made to date be noted and a further update be received in 12 months’ time.

175.

Quarterly Review of Children's Services Performance (Q1) pdf icon PDF 219 KB

Minutes:

Carmel Littleton, Corporate Director of Children’s Services, and Finola Culbert, Director of Targeted and Specialist Children and Families Services, introduced the report which assessed the performance of the Children’s Services directorate from April to June 2016.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         This was the first quarterly performance report to the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee. Such performance reports were previously considered by the Policy and Performance Scrutiny Committee. The Committee had the opportunity to revise the performance measures received to attain a broader understanding of Children’s Services’ performance.

·         It was noted that 95% of families with children under-5 being registered at a Children’s Centre was the Council’s best ever performance. Officers would be working to increase this figure further.

·         Although the national issues with the government’s Troubled Families programme were recognised, it was positive that 30 families had achieved successful outcomes through Islington’s Stronger Families programme.

·         The percentage of persistently absent primary school children was better than target at 9.5%, however the service was working to reduce this.

·         The quarter 2 report would include GCSE results for 2015/16, and it was indicated that these were above the national average.

·         The vast majority of Islington school leavers moved into sustained education, employment or training, at 96.7%.

·         The recruitment of new foster carers was a challenge across north London, partially due to housing sizes and the availability of spare bedrooms.

·         Although the number of children reported to be missing from care had increased, it was thought that this was due to the introduction of a new centralised reporting system. This system recorded each instance a child went missing from care, and some young people may have gone missing on multiple occasions within the quarter. A CSE and Missing Children Co-Ordinator had been in post for nine months and senior officers were confident that high-risk children were being supported appropriately. It was advised that the children who went missing from care were predominantly 16 and 17 year olds who had entered the care system as teenagers.

·         It was explained that homeless 16 and 17 year olds were required to be placed into care since the Southwark judgement of 2009. These children were very vulnerable; some were affiliated to gangs or had experienced sexual exploitation. These children were particularly difficult to engage with and some would drift in and out of the family home.

·         A member queried why Islington’s Stronger Families programme was considered a success, whilst the Troubled Families programme nationally had been regarded as a failure. In response, it was advised that the Council had made a sustained effort to support families and the Stronger Families programme was only a single element of the range of support services provided by the Council. For example, families on the Stronger Families programme would also be supported by early help services. This was not the case in many other local authority areas, which may have different priorities. However, officers did acknowledge that there were issues with the performance measures used by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 175.

176.

Executive Member Questions pdf icon PDF 78 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Joe Caluori, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families, answered questions related to his portfolio.

 

Ernestas Jegorovas asked if the Council was committed to the government’s School Census, and if advice was provided to schools and parents on which datasets were mandatory and which were not. In response, it was advised that the census was statutory and officers encouraged schools to complete it thoroughly. Cllr Caluori acknowledged that the government had revised the census to include questions on pupils’ nationality. It was the responsibility of schools to communicate information about the census to parents. 

 

 

177.

Review of Work Programme pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Minutes:

The Committee considered if further evidence was required to support the review of Post-16 Education, Employment and Training. The Committee requested to receive further evidence from local schools, in order to gain a more rounded view of the range of careers education being provided. Members also queried which Islington schools the young people NEET had attended.

 

It was noted that members had already requested that an annual report from the Corporate Parenting Board be added to the Committee’s work programme.