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Agenda item

Annual Report Back on the Equalities in Educational Outcomes Scrutiny

Minutes:

·         A member referred to Recommendation 13 and asked which cultural groups were included. The officer advised that schools were being asked to look at the curriculum through a multi-coloured lens.

·         In response to a member’s question about how Trailblazer sites would work, the officer stated that the Health and Wellbeing Team worked to ensure there was dedicated mental health support in schools with a focus on individuals and ensuring mental health was at the forefront.

·         A member asked to what extent digital resources were integrated. The officer advised that home learning had been useful in the inclusive curriculum. Parents had felt supported and had valued the resources provided. Some of the resources had already been refreshed i.e. Year 5 work so pupils could prepare for Year 6.

·         A co-optee stated that she had attended the Governors Equalities and Unconscious Bias training referred to in Recommendation 1 and these had been useful. She asked about the Parent Voice Forum and was advised that this was a new group which met at least every half term. Work was taking place to increase the diversity of the group. The forum brought groups together and the local authority could hear about parents’ views on successes and potential improvements and provide support to parents.

·         A member stated that schools could opt in or out of curriculum suggestions and asked how the council could encourage them. An officer replied that schools could choose their curriculum and how to teach it and although this was not in the local authority’s control, the local authority engaged in discussions with schools. It was important for the council and schools to have an engaging relationship and work in partnership to find solutions.

·         In response to a member’s question about the “scaffolding up” approach, the officer advised that this had replaced the “differentiating down” approach that had been in place previously. There were clear steps in removing adult support and modelling so a child could reach steps independently. “Whole class reading” had been introduced as part of this.

·         In response to a member’s question about schools mapping their local communities, the officer stated that the Fairer Together Partnership was engaging with schools and was planning to share data with schools so they were clearer about their communities and changing demographics.

·         In response to a member’s question about who was receiving the tutoring that was funded by the Department for Education, the officer advised that when the Department for Education had issued funding, the local authority provided advice to schools and schools had submitted their plans. This was on track in Autumn 2020, however the last lockdown slowed progress. Demand for tutors was greater than supply and therefore many schools struggled to get an external tutor and instead had used in-house resources.

·         A member asked about work to improve diversity on school governing bodies and was advised that a survey had been undertaken and was being analysed. Once ready it would be shared with the People Directorate and governors. It was the responsibility of governing bodies to reflect community diversity. A member commented that she was on a governing body which had struggled to recruit and increase diversity. An officer stated that the council could consider a campaign to encourage people to become governors and make governing bodies more representative of school communities.

·         In response to a member’s question and concern in relation to the setting of pupils outlined in Recommendation 6 about whether work was taking place to improve confidence and whether Covid had impacted upon this, the officer stated that the setting of pupils was undertaken by teachers who knew pupils well. Pupils could feel they belonged in a set and would therefore feel confident. The Health and Wellbeing Team provided a comprehensive curriculum which included working on confidence.

 

RESOLVED:

That the report be noted.

Supporting documents: