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Agenda and minutes

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Items
No. Item

260.

Apologies for Absence

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Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Ozdemir, Councillor Woodbyrne and Claire Ballak.

261.

Declaration of Substitute Members

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Minutes:

None.

262.

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.

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Minutes:

None.

263.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 88 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 22 June 2021 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

264.

Chair's Report

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Minutes:

The Chair expressed her condolences at the passing of Carmel Littleton. She reported that she had been copied into a letter from Vicky Ford MP, Minister for Children and Families sending her condolences. The committee were grateful for the work of Carmel Littleton, particularly in relation to the most vulnerable. Work would continue to follow Carmel’s legacy.

 

The Chair reported that on 7 July 2021, she had attended a meeting with Headteachers exploring the work of the local authority and how schools and the local authority could work together on a shared vision. She had also attended a Corporate Parenting Board away day looking at terms of reference and how best to hear the voices of children and young people.

 

Two members of the committee had attended a meeting on school place planning and had briefed the other committee members.

 

The chair reported that she was aware from the news, that one quarter of pupils were not in school in the previous week and most of the absence was due to self-isolation.

265.

Items for Call In (if any)

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Minutes:

None.

266.

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.

 

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Minutes:

None.

267.

SEND scrutiny review - Scrutiny Initiation Document and Introductory Presentation pdf icon PDF 360 KB

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Minutes:

Candy Holder, Head of Pupil Services gave an introductory presentation on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

 

In the presentation and discussion the following points were made:

      The SEND Code of Practice provided statutory guidance on duties, policies and procedures relating to the Children and Families Act 2014.

      The Code applied to all children and young people with SEND age 0-25.

      Where the text used the word ‘must’ it referred to a statutory requirement under primary legislation, regulations or case law.

      All relevant bodies (including local authorities, governing bodies and all schools and settings) must fulfill their statutory duties towards children and young people with SEND in light of the guidance set out in the Code.

      When considering an appeal from a parent or young person, the First-tier Tribunal (Special Educational Needs and Disability) (‘the Tribunal’) must have regard to the Code of Practice. The Tribunal expected Local Authorities and schools to be able to explain any departure from the Code.

      The key principles of the Code were: 1)Full participation of parents, children and young people in assessment, planning and review, 2) Collaboration between Education, Health and Care Services, 3) A focus on inclusive practice and 4) Supporting successful transition to adulthood.

      The Children and Families Act 2014 secured the general presumption in law of mainstream education in relation to decisions about where children and young people with SEND should be educated, and the Equality Act 2010 provided protection from discrimination for disabled people.

      Where a child or young person had SEND but did not have an Education, Health and Care (EHC) plan they mustbe educated in a mainstream setting.

      The School Admissions Code of Practice required children and young people with SEN to be treated fairly. Admissions authorities: 1) must consider applications from parents of children with SEN but not an EHC plan on the basis of the school’s published admissions criteria as part of normal admissions procedures; 2) must not refuse to admit a child with SEN but without an EHC plan because they did not feel able to cater for those needs; 3) must not refuse to admit a child on the grounds that they did not have an EHC plan.

      Where a child had an EHC plan, the child’s parent (or the young person if over 16) had the right to request a particular school, college or other institution to be named in their EHC plan and the local authority mustcomply with that preference and name the school or college in the EHC plan unless to do so would be:

      unsuitable for the age, ability, aptitude or SEND of the child or young person, or

      incompatible with the efficient education of others, or the efficient use of resources.  

      In mainstream schools, school-based provision was called SEND Support. Schools were expected to follow a ‘graduated approach’ to SEND Support intervention that took the form of cycles of ‘assess,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 267.

268.

Executive Member Annual Report

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Minutes:

Cllr Michelline Ngongo, Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families presented the report which covered the period October 2020-July 2021 and gave a presentation entitled “Their Ambitions, Our Future: Children and young people at the centre”.

Councillor Ngongo thanked Councillor Comer-Schwartz for her work prior to Councillor Ngongo taking over as Executive Member for Children, Young People and Families in January 2021.

In the presentation and discussion the following main points were made:

·       During lockdown council services supported children and young people in the following ways:

o   The children of critical workers, vulnerable children with a social worker and those with an EHCP were supported to attend school;

o   Free Wi-Fi was given to care leavers;

o   Devices were organised and allocated to support children with their learning;

o   Food parcel deliveries were given to vulnerable families in partnership with voluntary sector partners;

o   There was investment in supporting the increasing need for social, emotional and mental health support;

o   Key services for children and young people including early years and childcare settings, adventure playgrounds, youth centres and hubs and libraries were open to those who needed them;

o   Face to face contact with children during the pandemic was based on a dynamic risk assessment of the need for multi-agency support;

o   Face to face contact with children, young people and their parents/carers for other services was resumed gradually;

o   Programmes of work aimed to ensure that groups such as Black Caribbean pupils made good progress and attained as well as their peers;

o   Actions were taken forward from the joint study with the Youth Justice Board to address the disproportionality of Black, Asian and other minority ethnic young people in the youth justice system;

o   Community safety issues for young people were addressed.

·       Councillor Ngongo had set five priorities as follows:

1) To have a Parent Voice Forum to guide parents to find support, to provide training and help parents to learn from each other. The group met once a month and chose the topic for each meeting.

2) To have a Young People’s Forum led by young people. Subjects included GCSES and help with CVs. Someone from the Job Centre had recently attended along with a member of the Youth Employment Team to give advice.

3) Book boxes. 100 books had been distributed to the Mother Tongue Supplementary Schools.

4) Youth procurement and provision. Meetings between local councillors, parents, young people, schools and the community could help improve services.

5) No Need to Exclude involved looking at what could be done differently to look at the root cause of a child behaving badly and how the child could be helped.

·       Work was taking place to “Imagine, Ignite and Inspire” a Fair Islington for children and young people ensuring they were safe, cared for, could succeed in learning and thrive post-Covid.

·       It was important to build relationships and work in full collaboration with children and young people at the centre as well as rebuilt back better  ...  view the full minutes text for item 268.

269.

Corporate Parenting Report pdf icon PDF 308 KB

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Minutes:

Laura Eden presented the Annual Report which was an overview of achievements, progress and challenges in meeting the needs of Islington’s children looked after and care experienced young people from 1 April 2019 to 31 March 2020.

 

In the discussion the following main points were made:

·         In March 2020 there were 366 care leavers. The figure was now 426.

·         In response to a member’s question about the numbers of care leavers in Education, Employment or Training (EET), the officer reported that the EET figures had improved despite Covid. The Youth Employability and Skills Team had been successful in improving the figures and this work would continue.

·         In response to a question about the role of the Children’s Active Involvement Service, the officer stated that there was a chair and vice-chair, the young people conducted surveys to obtain views and improve services and ran activities and training. Prior to Covid, the young people had run sessions to enhance the understanding of young people’s experience as residents at semi-independence units with staff there. This had led to some of them becoming young commissioners undertaking contact monitoring of semi-independent provisions. They also had a role on the Corporate Parenting Board influencing service delivery and being the voice of children in care and care leavers. Whilst every council was required to have an In Care Council with a chair and vice-chair, it was less usual for CAIS (Islington’s name for its In Care Council) to have such a vital role on Corporate Parenting Boards.

·         A member reported that prior to Covid, some looked after children had given a presentation to councillors and this had been useful in reminding councillors of their role as corporate parents. An officer stated that some local authorities held a corporate parents’ evening but care had to be taken as some young people had had difficult life experiences they did not always want to share.  A co-optee raised concern about asking young people to present to councillors when they had often had to talk to lots of people about their experiences over the course of their lives. An officer suggested that any councillor was welcome to go to CAIS, the In Care Council where there would be young people willing to speak to them.

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted.

270.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 137 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the work programme be noted.

271.

SEND Scrutiny Review - SID and Introductory Presentation - Appendix

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the appendix be noted.