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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 1, Town Hall, Upper Street, N1 2UD. View directions

Contact: Jonathan Moore  0207 527 3308

Items
No. Item

34.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Woodbyrne.

 

Councillor Ismail submitted apologies for lateness.

35.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

None.

 

36.

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.

 

37.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 112 KB

Minutes:

It was agreed to delete the words ‘if they did not receive appropriate support’ at Minute 31(a).

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2018 be agreed as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them, subject to an amendment to delete the words ‘if they did not receive appropriate support’ at Minute 31(a).

38.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair commented that the focus group with parents of excluded pupils had been very informative and the points raised by parents would inform the review of permanent and fixed period exclusion from school.

39.

Items for Call In (if any)

Minutes:

None.

40.

Public Questions

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.

Minutes:

None.

41.

Permanent and Fixed-Period Exclusion from School - Witness Evidence pdf icon PDF 71 KB

(a)  Peter Gray, Independent Expert and Government Adviser

 

(b)  Gabriella Di-Sciullio, Head of Admissions and Children Out of School  

 

(c)   For information: Update on national exclusions data (to follow)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)  Peter Gray, Independent Expert and Government Adviser

 

The Committee received a presentation from Peter Gray, Independent Expert and Government Adviser, on the national context of the exclusions review.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         Nationwide, a total of 7,700 pupils were permanently excluded in 2016/17. This was an increase of 1,000 over the previous year.

·         Nationwide, 382,000 pupils had received a fixed term exclusion in 2016/17, an increase of 40,000 on the previous year.

·         The number of exclusions had reduced since 2006/07, however had steadily increased since 2010/11. The government had commissioned the Timpson Review to review school exclusion practices. This was expected to conclude in late 2018. 

·         The Committee considered the reasons for the initial decrease in exclusions over the previous decade. It was advised that between 2006 and 2010 schools had greater capacity and resources to support children inside of school. There was also a broader range of subject choices at Key Stage 4 which appealed to children with non-academic interests. There was an increase in the supply of alternative provision which could be accessed without exclusion. The government also encouraged the creation of ‘behaviour and attendance partnerships’ in which schools took collective responsibility for coordinating and commissioning services for young people at risk of exclusion. These had since been disbanded or had been incorporated into other forums.

·         Although the needs of young people had increased in recent years, the rise in exclusions could not be attributed solely to an increase in need. Cuts to school budgets had resulted in reduced staffing levels and increased workloads.

·         It was advised that some schools and academies, and in particular some large multi-academy trusts, had introduced ‘zero tolerance’ behaviour policies and these schools and academies tended to have higher rates of exclusion than other schools.

·         Although Islington had retained a School Improvement function, other local authorities had not, and it was thought that this, coupled with an increase in the number of academies, had reduced partnership working between schools in some areas. Officers advised that they had developed close relationships with academies in Islington and, in general, it was thought that they were supportive of the council’s priorities for young people.

·         Local authorities received ‘High Needs Funding’ which could be spent on support services for vulnerable and challenging pupils, however this was allocated based on population as opposed to need. This meant that any increase in need had to be met from within existing resources.

·         It was suggested that the limited funding available to schools may provide a perverse incentive for schools to exclude pupils. Supporting a disengaged child to remain in mainstream education was resource intensive, whereas there was no cost to exclude a pupil.

·         It was commented that, due to the limited funding available to schools, support services must be effective and have a measurable high impact.

·         Many schools did not prioritise Personal and Social Education. It was thought that PSE provided an opportunity for young people to focus on their behaviour and develop their  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Quarterly Review of Children's Services Performance (Q1 2018/19) pdf icon PDF 182 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report was presented by Carmel Littleton, Corporate Director of Children, Employment and Skills; Finola Culbert, Director of Safeguarding and Family Support; Mark Taylor, Director of Learning and Schools; Anthony Doudle, Head of School Improvement (Primary); and Penny Kenway, Head of Early Years and Childcare.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         The number of repeat young offenders had increased. This was attributed to a small but persistent cohort of young offenders. However, it was reported that the number of first time entrants to the youth justice system had decreased.

·         The number of children missing from care and missing from home had increased, however the previous figures were unusually low.

·         The percentage of children who had become the subject of a Child Protection Plan for a second or subsequent time had increased by 5%, however this figure had been affected by families who had multiple children that were subject to a Child Protection Plan.

·         The Committee was pleased that re-referrals to Children’s Social Care had decreased. Officers commented that the council’s model of motivational social work was having a positive impact.

·         The percentage of children who were seen in accordance with a Children in Need Plan had decreased. There was no statutory requirement for how often children were seen. Although the council set a target of every four weeks, Ofsted recommended every six weeks. Officers commented that there was pressure on the Children in Need team due to an increase in the number of children with disabilities.

·         The Committee welcomed the progress made in Early Years provision.

·         Work on educational equalities was progressing. Officers had met with Head Teachers and had raised issues around the attainment and progress of Black Caribbean pupils at governor briefings. Officers were working to raise the profile of equalities issues and were encouraging schools to address this disparity. 

·         There was a concern that families from some demographic groups were not regularly accessing Children’s Centre provision. The service was working on improving their data to allow promotional messages to be better targeted.

·         A member highlighted that she had visited the Packington Hub and was advised that they were fully subscribed for two year olds but were losing pupils aged three and four. Officers advised that they were not aware of this particular issue, however commented three and four year olds were previously eligible for full-time funded places but this could no longer be offered due to reductions in the Dedicated Schools Grant.

·         Following a question, it was advised that schools were responsible for how pupil premium funding was spent, however the council did challenge schools when necessary.

·         A member noted that pupils eligible for pupil premium were not always the lowest achieving group and commented that it was important to closely monitor the progress of all pupils.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Children’s Services performance indicators for Quarter 1 2018/19 be noted.

 

43.

SACRE Annual Report pdf icon PDF 189 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Anthony Doudle, Head of School Improvement (Primary), introduced the report which summarised the annual report of the Standing Advisory Council on Religious Education.

 

The following main points were noted in the discussion:

 

·         The Committee noted SACRE’s work in supporting religious education in the borough.

·         SACRE had worked to develop a new RE syllabus which focused on the six major faiths and humanism. Additional information could be added if a particular school had pupils of another faith which was not represented in the syllabus. The syllabus reflected the latest government guidance and officers considered that it provided a rich and diverse religious education. 

·         All Islington schools had a scheme of work that provided lesson plans for every aspect of the syllabus. This would help teachers in delivering the new syllabus in a safe, respectful and dignified way.

·         Faith schools were not required to follow the syllabus, but all schools had access to the syllabus and the associated resources and were encouraged to make use of them.

·         Collective Worship could be challenging for non-faith schools. The new syllabus allowed for schools to take part in ‘collective reflection’ on a Christian value instead.

 

The Committee noted the Annual Report and thanked Anthony Doudle for his attendance.

 

44.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 47 KB

Minutes:

It was agreed that representatives of low-excluding schools would be invited to the next meeting to provide evidence on best practice.