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Agenda and draft minutes

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

Contact: Zoe Lewis  0207 527 3486

Items
No. Item

293.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Convery and Zaleera Wallace.

294.

Declaration of Substitute Members

Minutes:

There were no declarations of substitute members.

295.

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:

There were no declarations of interest.

296.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 266 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2021 be confirmed as an accurate record of proceedings and the Chair be authorised to sign them.

297.

Chair's Report

Minutes:

The Chair updated the Committee as follows:

Local Area SEND Inspection

In early November 2021, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) conducted a joint inspection of the local area of Islington to judge the effectiveness of the area in implementing the special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) reforms as set out in the Children and Families Act 2014.

Officers were thanked for facilitating the inspection and the committee would look forward to the report being made public in the next few weeks.

Evidence Gathering Sessions

Since the last meeting members had visited the Bridge, had held a number of virtual meetings including with SENCOs and Headteachers, link governors for SEND, the council’s SEND Coordinator, Head Educational Psychologist and the Chair of the Parent Carers Forum. Members had also joined a meeting of Family Carers organised by Centre 404.

A visit to St Mary Magdalene Academy would take place on 7 December and on 13 December, a virtual meeting with the Headteacher of the Virtual School, Service Manager, Independent Futures and Head of Service, Children Looked After would take place.

 

Surveys had been sent out to parents and carers and Headteachers, SENCOs, SEND governors and SEND professionals. Committee members and officers were asked to encourage people to complete the surveys.

News

(i) SEND Review

The government had named 23 members of a steering group set up to complete its delayed SEND review. It was noted that only one of the 23 members worked in a school and most were civil servants along with people working in the third sector. The review was initially due to be published in September 2019 and Covid had “intensified” issues. The report was now due to be published in the first quarter of 2022.

(ii) Lords Public Services Committee Report

A cross-party House of Lords inquiry had found that more than a millionvulnerable children in England were growing up emotionally damaged and with reduced life chances as a result of billions of pounds of austerity cuts to family support and youth services.

The Lords Public Services Committee said the pandemic had accelerated a pre-existing “crisis of child vulnerability” in which increasing number of youngsters and parents were unable to access help before their problems spun out of control.

 

(iii)     Increase in Elective Home Education

The number of children withdrawn from school for elective home education soared by 34 per cent last year, with Covid the reason most frequently cited by parents. Analysis by the Association of Directors of Children’s Services estimated that 115,542pupils were electively home educated at some point during the 2020-21 academic year, up from 86,335 in 2019-20. Consideration could be given as to whether the committee should ask for data on how many children in the borough were being electively home educated how their education was being quality controlled and what their outcomes were.

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted.

298.

Items for Call In (if any)

Minutes:

None.

299.

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.

300.

SEND Scrutiny Review - Witness Evidence

Minutes:

Candy Holder, Head of Pupil Services, gave a presentation on SEND Transitions.

 

In the presentation the following main points were made:

SEND Inspection

The recent SEND Inspection had been long awaited. The new inspection regime had been introduced in 2015 to see how well the 2014 reforms had been embedded and this was the first Islington inspection under the regime.  The introduction of EHCPs was one of the 2014 reforms. The inspection was ungraded which meant the result was either pass or fail. Where a local authority failed, a written statement was provided and there would be a further unannounced inspection. More than 50% of local authorities received a written statement and 91% of the inspections since June 2021 had received a written statement.

 

The inspection was a rigorous process. There were five inspectors for four days. Their work included meetings with focus groups, interviews with parents and they also undertook a parent survey. They also visited seven schools which were randomly selected by Ofsted. There was a focus on self-evaluation and whether this was accurate. The results of the inspection were confidential until the report was published.

 

Supported Internships

-      One of the areas for development that had been identified locally with parents and young people was that options for post-16 for pupils with the most complex needs were limited in variety. Although individual schools and training providers found future pathways, a more systemic and co-ordinated approach was needed. 

-      Supported Internships were one way of extending options. Supported Internships involved a structured study programme being delivered by a Further Education provider (such as Mencap or CandI). They were unpaid, lasted a minimum of six months and were based primarily at an employer.Alongside their time with the employer, young people completed a personalised study programme which included the chance to study for relevant substantial qualifications, if appropriate, and English and maths.

-      Supported Internships enabled young people aged 16-24 with an Education, Health and Care plan (EHCP) to achieve sustainable paid employment by equipping them with the skills they required for work, through learning in the workplace. 

-      Supported Internships involved the young person and their family, the business, a training provider, a job coach and the young person’s school/college working in partnership.

-      The first local internships were in 2017 and there were five interns. This had grown to 32 interns by 2020.

-      The Local Offer now included competitive access to a range of supported internships including Mencap, Leisure@National Star College and hospital based programmes (Moorfields, Whittington, Great Ormond Street Hospital).

-      Jobs included: Childcare, Hotels, Retail, Catering, Leisure (e.g. Tottenham Football Club).

-      On average, 71% moved into employment by 2020, but this dipped during the COVID period, and there were currently interns repeating study programmes.

-      Through the development of Internship programmes, some important themes had been identified:

-      For those with EHCPs, the inclusion of Progression to Adulthood outcomes from the earliest stage, rather than just from year 9  ...  view the full minutes text for item 300.

301.

Children's Services Quarter 2 2021/22 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 777 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

In the discussion the following main points were made:

 

·         A member asked for clarification on Corporate Indicator targets remaining the same or lower. An officer stated that 2019/20 was a marked year for the Youth Offending Service. There were seven custodial sentences when in 2018/19 there had been 19 and previous to that the number of custodial sentences had been in the mid-20s. The service was pleased with there being only seven custodial sentences but did not predict a plateau and therefore did not reduce the target. As work to wrap around young people and divert them had been successful, it now meant that consideration could be given to reducing the target number. However it was also important that the target was realistic as one incident could lead to four or five custodial sentences.

·         A member asked whether as triage had been successful, there were any plans to scale this up. An officer replied that the criteria was set by legislation. However those who were subject to an out of court disposal were also offered triage. Officers would report back on the numbers.

·         Consideration would be given to the Domestic violence indicators. The percentage of repeat domestic violence could be more useful than the number of offences as it was hard to see whether an increase or decrease was positive.  The rise in the number could show increased reporting which was positive. It was suggested that consideration should also be given as to whether this indicator should be reported to Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee or another committee. A member suggested that it should continue to be reported to the committee as children witnessed violence and were involved in county lines.

·         In response to a member’s question about whether peer on peer abuse was captured in the domestic violence figures, an officer advised that Social Care collected peer on peer abuse data.

·         A member asked about contact with those being electively home educated. An officer advised that they were visited once a year, unless through a risk assessment it was deemed there was a risk. Where this was the case, there was contact with families more than once a year, although this was dependent on the co-operation of families. If they did not co-operate this meant there was additional risk. The council continued to lobby that vulnerable children should not be permitted to be home educated.

·         Children who were the most at risk were those who had never been to school. There was no legislation requiring families to notify the local authority. There were other mechanisms to find out about these children e.g. through GP records but if they moved into the borough finding out about them was more difficult. Also, there was no requirement for families to register with a GP. The council did get data of live births and contacted parents when their children were at statutory school age but some parents did not engage. If families claimed benefits, the council would know of the existence of their children.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 301.

302.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 140 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

That the work programme be noted.