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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

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Ngongo and Cllr Clarke-Perry.



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.

(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.


Cllr Williamson declared a personal interest in Item B1, Equalities in Educational Outcomes – Witness Evidence, as a governor at St Marks Primary School.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 83 KB




That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 9 July 2019 be approved as a correct record and the Chair be authorised to sign them.


Chair's Report


The Chair referenced the committee’s review of exclusion from school and that the Executive response to the recommendations was due in the autumn. It was noted that the Secretary of State had announced details of forthcoming education reforms which included a renewed focus on behaviour and supported the use of exclusion. The Committee expressed concern that these reforms would not support vulnerable young people at risk of exclusion from school. 



Items for Call In (if any)




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.





Equalities in Educational Outcomes - Witness Evidence pdf icon PDF 55 KB

·         Data update from council officers

·         A panel of Headteachers from Early Years, Primary and Secondary
(details enclosed)

Additional documents:


a)    Data Update


Harry Donnison, QPMU Service Manager, presented an update on the performance and progress of Black Caribbean pupils and White UK pupils eligible for free school meals, taking into account the 2019 provisional exam results.  


The following main points were noted in the discussion:


·         The number of Black Caribbean pupils in each school year was under 100, therefore there could be a significant statistical fluctuation in attainment and progress from year to year.

·         The number of Black Caribbean pupils achieving the Good Level of Development at Early Years Foundation Stage had increased in recent years and the gap between Black Caribbean pupils and the Islington average was closing; however, White British pupils eligible for free school meals still experienced an attainment gap in Early Years.

·         In response to a question, it was suggested that separating data by gender would not provide results with statistical significance, as the number of Black Caribbean pupils in each school year was under 100. It was indicated that a breakdown by gender and Free School Meals eligibility could be provided by analysing a four year rolling average of results.

·         In 2019 there had been a decrease in Attainment 8 scores for all demographic groups and it was commented that this may be a national trend.

·         The 2019 Key Stage 4 exam results indicated that the attainment gap had persisted and appeared to be widening over time.

·         Officers noted that some measures were subject to a considerable statistical variance and the data had to be interpreted in that context.

·         The Committee indicated that they wished to talk to a range of groups about their experiences and what they thought were the factors that contributed to the attainment gap.



b)   Panel of Headteachers


The Committee received evidence from a panel of local Headteachers, including Martha Braithwaite (St Marks CE Primary School), Juliet Benis (Ambler Primary School), Damian Parrott (Drayton Park & Montem Primary Schools), Sarah Beagley (Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Secondary School), Mita Pandya (Archway and Willow Children’s Centres) and Jane Heffernan (St Aloysius Secondary School).


The following main points were noted in the discussion:


·         Headteachers commented that comparing the academic attainment of different demographic groups had to be handled in a sensitive way. Schools focused on pupils as individuals, and targeted interventions to their particular needs, rather than seeing them as part of a wider demographic trend. For example, some schools had fewer than five Black Caribbean pupils across all age groups. It was therefore not always possible, or appropriate, to target school-level interventions at particular groups.

·         It was emphasised that the attainment gap was a national issue and, while actions could be taken to reduce the gap locally, the issue may require a national solution.

·         Headteachers suggested that passing on pupil and demographic data to parents could be useful in addressing the attainment gap. It was suggested that schools should raise the aspirations of all pupils and tackle underachievement in an honest and straightforward way.

·         Some schools made use of mentors to work closely with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 119.


Child Protection Annual Report pdf icon PDF 194 KB


Laura Eden, Director of Youth and Communities, introduced the report which summarised the child protection activity in Islington over the past year.


The following main points were noted in the discussion:

·         External inspections had previously identified many areas of strength in Islington’s child protection services.

·         The motivational practice model developed in Islington with grant funding from the Department for Education was being implemented successfully. There had been reductions in the number of looked after children and children subject to a child protection plan since the model was implemented.

·         Trauma Informed Practice was one element of the motivational model and was being embedded in services for children across the borough. Trauma Informed Practice was championed by the Islington Child Safeguarding Board and training was provided to local authority staff and partner organisations, including schools. Officers considered that this was having a significant impact on staff and the way in which local services are delivered.

·         Following a query, it was stated that councillors could attend a Trauma Informed Practice training session, however, this would also be covered in a forthcoming member development session on safeguarding matters.

·         A member noted that Ofsted was due to carry out an inspection over the coming year and this would be carried out in accordance with the new inspection framework. The Committee asked about the changes to the inspection framework and how the council was preparing for these. In response, it was advised that the Youth Offending Service and services for children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities were due a full inspection soon and officers summarised the areas that inspectors would review. It was noted that local authorities generally had performed well under the new inspection framework and that governance matters, including member-level leadership, were an important aspect of the new framework. The Committee noted the role of scrutiny in holding the Executive and senior officers to account on such issues.

·         A member of the public enquired if there was a legal limit to the distance from Islington that a looked after child could be placed outside the borough. In response, it was advised that there was no legal limit to the distance and sometimes it was necessary to place children outside  London due to safety and welfare issues. In addition, when siblings were placed in care, there was rarely accommodation in Islington large enough to take all of them together and therefore they may have to be placed elsewhere.

·         A member queried why there had been a delay in holding some child protection conferences. In response, it was advised that this could be for a number of reasons, including parental mental health issues. However, the reason for delay had not always been clearly recorded and this was being addressed.




That the report be noted.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 34 KB