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Contact: Kate Morris Email: Kate.Morris2@nottinghamcity.gov.uk
Apologies for absence
Councillor Neghat Khan – Other Council Business
Declarations of interests
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 3 October 2018
The minutes of the meeting held on 3 October 2018 were agreed as an accurate record and signed by the Chair.
Verbal update from Support Assistant, Children and Adults Directorate
Emily Humphreys, Support Assistant Children and Adults Directorate, provided an update on changes in membership of the Children’s Partnership Board.
RESOLVED to note that
(1) Nicky Bridges has replaced Kate Clifford as the Primary School Representative;
(2) Nichola Bramhall has replaced Sally Seely as the Clinical Commissioning Group Representative;
(3) Tracy Tyrell has replaced Phyllis Brackenbury as the Nottingham CityCare Partnership Representative; and
(4) Karla Capstick has joined the Board as a representative of Small Steps Big Changes.
Report of Director of Education Services
Nick Lee, Director of Education Services, introduced the report providing an update on the Children and Young People’s Plan Priority: Supporting Achievement and Academic Attainment. He gave a presentation focused on the latest attainment data, elective home education and secondary school place planning. He highlighted the following information:
(a) At the Early Years Foundation Stage there has been a rise in attainment levels narrowing the gap to the national average. This indicates an improvement in school readiness.
(b) There has been a focus on phonics at Key Stage 1 in the City and Nottingham has moved up the league tables with children eligible for free school meals now outperforming their peers nationally.
(c) At Key Stage 2 there has been an improvement against the expected standard in reading; and reading, writing and maths. Attainment in maths is good but below the expected standard. There has also been an increase in progress scores at primary years.
(d) At secondary school level, school attendance is now better than the national rate and school attendance at primary school level is slightly below the national rate.
Elective home education
(e) Parents do not have to register their children as being electively home educated and this is a concern. The local authority has a responsibility to monitor, and requests them to work with the local authority on education but there is no legal requirement for them to do so. Local concerns about this are reflected nationally and there is a national lobby to try and change legislation.
(f) In Nottingham there are two home education co-ordinators, who are part of the Education Welfare Team. When they become aware of a child who has previously been at school but has been removed from the school roll, they request a meeting between the local authority, school and parent or carer to understand the reasons for this. If the local authority has concerns then the local authority will write a letter of concern, including notifying the appropriate professionals.
(g) Most home educators are doing it because it accords with their beliefs and/ or meets their particular needs of their child(ren), and work with the local authority on education issues. However if they don’t engage then a home visit is arranged.
(h) There is concern about the potential for schools to encourage families to remove their children from formal education. Schools and the Regional Schools Commissioner have been challenged about this.
(i) Perceived Special Education Needs (SEN) is a common reason why children are home educated and school place provision can also be a factor.
(j) Electively home educated children are not a static group and there is a lot of movement in and out of the cohort.
School place planning
(k) The local authority has a duty to provide sufficient school places, but has limited powers and resources to deliver this.
(l) There has been investment in creating primary school places but there is now pressure on secondary school places. A further 7-9 forms ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
Partner Update: Secondary Education
Verbal update from the Secondary School Representative
Derek Hobbs, Secondary School Representative, gave a presentation on secondary education highlighting the following information:
(a) There has been some improvement in Grade 5 Maths and English attainment, and this is important for a pupil’s future.
(b) Progress 8 is a key factor in accountability and there has been some improvement. Small changes in performance on Progress 8 can make a difference to national rankings and the City has moved out of the bottom 10% of local authorities. There has been greater progress in some subjects than others e.g. physics, biology, history and French.
(c) There have been improvements in school attendance and low levels of young people not in education, employment or training which is positive given the pressures on the high needs budget. There are challenges in if/ how this can continue to be supported.
(d) Challenges for the year ahead including focusing on Progress 8, dealing with budget pressures, developing relationships with new head teachers in the city, transitions between primary and secondary school, Alternative Provision and the new Ofsted inspection framework.
During discussion the following comments and additional information was provided:
(e) The direction of travel for secondary schools is good and they should be congratulated for this.
(f) Recruitment and retention of teachers and managing teacher workload is a big challenge, especially in cities. The use of agency staff has a significant financial impact and also impacts on the quality of education. Consistency in teachers is important so schools work hard to retain teachers but this has to balanced against the need to ensure that all teachers are high quality and delivering the best for pupils.
(g) It is positive that Ofsted is taking a broader perspective away from just looking at outcomes and focusing more on the quality of education because there is a lot of positive work taking place in the city schools.
(h) The significant number of changes in headteachers and leadership at secondary schools could have an impact on progress.
RESOLVED to note the update on secondary education
Update from Corporate Director for Children and Adults
Verbal update from Corporate Director of Children and Adults
Alison Michalska, Corporate Director for Children and Adults, provided an update to the Board highlighting the following information:
(a) The report from the Ofsted Inspection of Children’s Social Care Services hasn’t been published yet but the headlines so far are that Ofsted were impressed by the multi-agency ‘front door’ to children’s integrated services; early help services; improvements to children in care and care leavers services; and the dedicated and hardworking staff. However they remained concerned about workforce capacity. An improvement plan will be developed in response to the inspection, but this will reflect the Council’s financial situation.
(b) Key issues for the Council’s budget are the costs of children on remand, children in secure accommodation and units for children with complex needs. Work to keep the numbers of children in care stable has been effective but further recruitment of foster carers will take place in January and there is an ambition to reduce the average cost of a child in care.
(c) The report of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is due to be published in summer 2019. It is anticipated that it will be one report covering all three inquiries involving local authorities so it is likely that the recommendations will be directed to local authorities in general rather than Nottingham City Council specifically. The findings will be disseminated widely so that lessons can be learnt. A key area of learning is how to engage with the, now adult, survivors. Several survivors are working closely with the Council, for example on training for foster carers. It is important to use this knowledge and experience effectively and consideration is being given to making films that could be used in future years. There is also potential for the Inquiry to change how people make civil claims on local authorities, so that the process is less adversarial, shorter and easier to navigate.
During discussion Board members made the following points:
(d) The Ofsted inspection provided assurance that the threshold for intervention is right and that assessments are consistently good.
(e) The Ofsted framework just focuses on Children’s Services and it would be helpful for it to engage with the wider safeguarding partnership.
Report of the Strategic Lead Safeguarding Partnerships
Chris Cook, Independent Chair of the Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Board, introduced the Annual Report and Business Plan of the Nottingham City Safeguarding Children Board. He highlighted the following information:
(a) The landscape for safeguarding is changing. It is not just about the home environment, but increasingly about the wider community and online issues and partners need to be able to respond to this.
(b) The Safeguarding Children Board plays a key role in co-ordinating activity and partnership work in the City is strong. It also publishes policies and procedures and has a scrutiny and audit role.
(c) Safeguarding reviews are now carried out more rapidly and there is a requirement to report to the National Panel in 15 days to identify whether there is a need for a Serious Case Review to be completed. So far the National Panel has agreed with everything that the Board has sent so far.
(d) Reviews are about learning and not apportioning blame. Learning from reviews is disseminated through training programmes.
(e) It is important for all colleagues to be appropriately trained and for relevant information to be shared.
(f) The Board encourages professional curiosity about why some children are not present at appointments e.g. medical appointments and that missed appointments matter because they could indicate a wider safeguarding issue. Films have been developed to promote this mindset. The first had a professional focus and the second has a citizen focus.
(g) The Quality Assurance Sub Group carries out audits to provide feedback to agencies in the City.
(h) An emerging theme is knife crime in the City Centre.
(i) Designated Safeguarding Leads from schools meet three times a year to discuss safeguarding issues and share safeguarding information.
(j) The Wood Review reviewed safeguarding arrangements nationally. New requirements were set out in the Children and Social Work Act 2017. However, local safeguarding arrangements in the City are successful so it is not proposed to make significant changes. The Act states that there should be three key partners involved (local authority, Police and Clinical Commissioning Group) but recognises the role of others.
(k) The new framework includes a Board that will oversee performance and risk; a Business Management Group; and Sub Groups, some of which will be undertaken jointly with Nottinghamshire. There will also be a cross-authority partnership development session held twice a year.
RESOLVED to note the Nottingham City Safeguarding Board Annual Report and Business Plan
Report of Director of Children’s Integrated Services
Sara-Jane Brighouse, Project Manager Children’s Integrated Services, introduced the report about the refresh of the Family Support Pathway. She highlighted the following information:
(a) The Family Support Pathway is the threshold document for safeguarding and support.
(b) The Pathway was originally launched in 2011 and this is the third refresh of that document.
(c) The Pathway document was co-produced with a range of agencies and approved by the Safeguarding Children’s Board in December 2018.
(d) Key changes agreed as part of the refresh include highlighting key changes since the previous iteration of the Pathway; improving the language used in some sections; adding information about early help assessment; refreshing indicators for early help assessment and immediate help to reflect changes in access to services; and providing more information on levels of support to help practitioners.
During discussion, Board members discussed the need to acknowledge the work of the voluntary and community sector and how the new arrangements provide an opportunity to consider this.
RESOLVED to ask Board members to cascade and disseminate the Family Support Pathway to their workforce.
Board to note upcoming items
RESOLVED to add the action plan arising from the Ofsted inspection of Children’s Social Care Services to the agenda for the meeting scheduled for 20 March 2019.