Venue: Committee Room 4, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions
Contact: Jonathan Moore 0207 527 3308
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Bell-Bradford and Spall.
Declaration of Substitute Members
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.
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This applies to all members present at the meeting.
It was agreed to delete the words ‘who considered exclusion to be a ‘badge of honour’’ at Minute 20(b).
It was requested that the local labour market analysis referenced in Minute 21 be circulated to members of the Committee.
It was agreed to insert an additional point at Minute 21, as follows:
A member noted that the scope of the
Committee’s review of Post-16 Education, Employment and
Training did not include evidence from school sixth forms and
colleges - the main providers of post-16 education – in
respect of their role in developing pathways for young people and
supporting them into employment. It was suggested that this may be
an area suitable for further scrutiny in future. Following the
meeting, it was advised that officers were due to commission a
Local Skills Strategy that would assess the role of sixth forms and
colleges and may be a useful reference for future work, should the
Committee decide to revisit the topic.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 16 July 2018 be agreed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them, subject to the following amendments:
(i) To delete the words ‘who considered exclusion to be a ‘badge of honour’’ at Minute 20(b); and
(ii) To insert the words ‘A member noted that the scope of the Committee’s review of Post-16 Education, Employment and Training did not include evidence from school sixth forms and colleges - the main providers of post-16 education – in respect of their role in developing pathways for young people and supporting them into employment. It was suggested that this may be an area suitable for further scrutiny in future. Following the meeting, it was advised that officers were due to commission a Local Skills Strategy that would assess the role of sixth forms and colleges and may be a useful reference for future work, should the Committee decide to revisit the topic.’ at Minute 21.
The Chair advised that Osama Al-Jayousi, the Primary Parent Governor Representative, had stepped down from the Committee.
The Chair noted that members of the Committee had been invited to attend a workshop on scrutinising school performance data.
It was noted that a glossary of key terms had been circulated to members of the Committee. It was agreed that this would be a live document and updated as required.
Items for Call In (if any)
For members of the public to ask questions relating to any subject on the meeting agenda under Procedure Rule 70.5. Alternatively, the Chair may opt to accept questions from the public during the discussion on each agenda item.
(a) Gill Sassienie – Principal Educational Psychologist
(b) Abi Onaboye – Head of Strategy, Policy and Commissioning
(c) Representative of CAMHS (TBC)
(d) Briefing Note: Government review of pupil exclusion, and a statement on alternative provision
The Scrutiny Initiation Document is provided for reference.
a) Gill Sassienie – Principal Educational Psychologist
The Committee received a presentation from Gill Sassienie, Principal Educational Psychologist.
The following main points were noted in the discussion:
· The educational psychology service took a ‘whole school approach; working with school leadership, teachers, families, children, and on school systems and processes.
· The service was comprised of 11.7 FTE staff. This was occasionally supplemented by trainees from local universities.
· The service provided a core service funded by the local authority and an additional traded service which schools could choose to purchase. Statutory work included assessments of children at risk of exclusion, those with complex needs, and children who were vulnerable (i.e. looked after children, or young people engaging with the Youth Offending Service). Traded services included consultations and assessments for students with SEND, workforce development, policy development, and direct interventions with pupils.
· One of the service’s biggest challenges was funding; as the demand for statutory services was increasing, the service was not able to offer as much early intervention and discretionary work as officers would like.
· Only 5 of the 32 permanently excluded pupils in 2017-18 had been in contact with the educational psychology service; two of those had not been involved recently and a further two had only accessed the service after their exclusion. Although this limited involvement could suggest that the service was effective at preventing pupils from being excluded, officers thought that they should be involved in more cases, and considered that some schools did not refer pupils at risk of exclusion for educational psychology often enough, or at an early enough stage.
· Officers commented that some schools bought a lot of discretionary services from the Educational Psychology Service, whereas others either did not have the available funding, or did not consider educational psychology to be a priority for its pupils.
· Referrals to the service had increased recently, and officers hoped that this would help to prevent exclusions.
· Officers emphasised the importance of early intervention. The Educational Psychology Service considered that pupils engaging with its services were less likely to be excluded, and if they had to move placement it would be managed more carefully.
· The service offered both support and challenge to schools. Sometimes it was necessary to challenge schools on their processes and decisions, however as a traded service purchased by schools, the service had to be constructive in its criticism.
· The service met with school leaders on a termly basis. This meeting would consider a range of matters, including the latest exclusions data.
· Educational psychology assessed young people holistically, evaluating their strengths and weaknesses, to determine why young people exhibited certain behaviours. Psychologists then created a hypothesis and made recommendations for schools and young people to implement strategies to help them cope in school. For pupils, this sometimes resulted in practical changes, for example not sitting in assembly for so long, or working in a different way.
· Officers acknowledged that implementing different strategies for pupils could be difficult for teachers, and explained that the educational psychology service ... view the full minutes text for item 31.
Candy Holder, Head of Pupil Services, presented to the Committee on the support available for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).
The following main points were noted in the discussion:
· Officers emphasised the importance distinguishing between low levels of achievement and SEND. Similarly, children with English as a second language could not be considered to have a learning difficultly solely because of their language skills.
· Children with SEND could be broadly categorised as having four distinct areas of need: communication and interaction; cognition and learning; social, emotional and mental health; and physical and sensory needs. Islington’s local offer was focused around meeting those needs.
· Officers explained that the borough’s special schools were focused on supporting children with different areas of need; and officers considered that Islington provided a good local offer for a small borough.
· The Children and Families Act 2014 introduced reforms which changed the way in which children with SEND are supported. Young people with SEND were assessed to allow an Education Heath and Care Plan (EHCP) to be developed. This was an outcome focused, personalised plan which detailed how a young person should be supported.
· Around 3.9% of Islington’s young people were eligible for an EHCP. This was above the London and England average of 2.1%. More boys than girls were eligible for an EHCP, compared to the national profile.
· A new Ofsted and Care Quality Commission inspection regime had been introduced in recent years. Islington had not yet been inspected, however an inspection was anticipated in the near future.
· The Committee considered the profile of Islington’s young people with SEND, and the outcomes of local young people with SEND in comparison to other local authorities. Although pupils with and EHCP and accessing SEND support achieved a good level of development in Early Years provision and tended to achieve a good level of attainment at Key Stage 2, further work was needed to improve the attainment of pupils with an EHCP at Key Stage 4.
· Islington pupils with an EHCP had achieved good levels of attainment at Key Stage 4 in recent years and officers expressed their disappointment at the most recent statistics which placed Islington 139th out of 152 local authorities against this indicator. It was noted that the previous year Islington was ranked 17th.
· Officers commented on the importance of co-producing SEND services with parents and young people. Six parents had worked with officers to co-produce the SEND Charter. The council had also established a ‘Parent Parliament’ of 70 parents to consult with.
· The council’s priority was preparing young people with SEND for adulthood.
· Officers acknowledged that further work was needed to improve the support available to young people and their families. Officers commented on the need to embed multi-agency work, to ensure that young people with SEND received consistent support across services. However, it was considered that Islington offered high-quality provision which was developed in partnership with parents and young people.
· The Committee queried if the fact that fewer ... view the full minutes text for item 32.