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The Minutes of the meeting held on 11 September 2017 were taken as read and signed as a correct record.
The Board was advised that no public questions had been received.
The minutes of the Halton Children’s Trust meeting held on 21 September 2017 were submitted to the Board for information.
Minute No 1 – THRIVE – Emotional Health and Wellbeing. The Board was advised that this was the new name for emotional and health and wellbeing services in Halton for young people. It was a new way of working with the aim of de-stigmatising mental health issues in young people.
RESOLVED: That the minutes are noted.
The Board received a presentation on the key data and information from the 14-19 Strategic Analysis and Work Priorities (SAWP) document.
It was reported that in April 2010, Halton Borough Council took over responsibility for the planning and commissioning of training and education for 16-19 year olds and for those with a learning difficulty up to the age of 25 from the Learning and Skills Council. The funding element of commissioning however moved to the Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA), which had now been joined with another agency and was called the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
Since this, Halton Borough Council had published a Strategic Commissioning Statement which later became the 14-19 Strategic Commissioning Statement. Without the funding or responsibility for contracting that would allow the commissioning of provision Post 16, the content of the document was developed to focus on what the Local Authority and partnerships in the Borough were doing and needed to do to meet certain statutory duties related to young people. There were four statutory duties and these were described in the report and presentation. Members were provided with extracts of information from the Strategic Analysis and Work Priorities document relating to: cohorts; attainment at Key Stage 5; vocational training; apprenticeships and traineeships; attainment of Levels 2 and 3 by age 19; raising the participation age; and young people who are NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training).
Members welcomed the presentation and the following responses were provided to questions:
Are the numbers of pupils attending Riverside College less from Runcorn?
Yes there is a tradition of young people from Runcorn accessing provision outside the Borough instead of travelling to Widnes. However the College does promote and facilitate transport from Runcorn for young people.
Was there any data available on students moving on from higher education into employment?
28% of Halton’s young people moved onto higher education in 2015-16. In addition Key Stage 5 (KS5) Destination Measures data showed 57% of Halton KS5 6th Form and College leavers progressed into Higher Education in 2014-15.
Were there any retention figures?
Yes retention rates for Halton institutions had grown from 87.1% in 2012-13 to 93.1% in 2015-16. Young people between the ages of 16 and 18 years old who were not in education or training would be supported by the 14-19 Team and encouraged to participate. Other than the Key Stage 5 Destination Measures published by the Department for Education, young people’s progression Post 19 years old was not tracked by the 14-19 Team unless they had an Education Health and Care Plan.
Members requested an update on the Scrutiny Topic ‘Further developing links between Halton’s Businesses and Schools’ which was agreed at the January 2017 PPB meeting
The Group was chaired by Councillor Logan and three lines of enquiry were agreed: employer engagement; careers education information; and business needs.
Three meetings of the Topic Group had taken place; each meeting reviewed one line of enquiry. Further actions and areas for ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
The Board received a presentation which provided an overview of the Early Years Strategy, Action Plan and the Guide to Parents.
As reported previously the number and percentage of pupils achieving a Good Level of Development (GLD) in Halton remained significantly lower than statistical neighbours and other North West Authorities, and national child development remained a key priority for the Borough.
In order to address the challenges Halton faced, an independent Early Years Review was commissioned and undertaken by Early Education and a multi-agency working group was established. Members were advised that an Early Years Strategy and Action Plan had now been produced along with a Guide to Parents, which would be formally launched in November 2017. Members were presented with the following printed guides, The Early Years – Newborn to 5 Years; and Early Years in Halton – working together to give every child the best start.
The presentation outlined the vision of the Early Years Strategy; its priorities; what had been done to date; and what was planned for the future.
Members raised the following queries:
More information on the early years teaching school was requested
A bid would be put in led by the two federated nursey schools and the aim would be for the teaching school to provide support and training across the Borough and wider for early years providers. It was hoped that two primary teaching schools could be established.
Early Years was consistently an area of weakness for Halton – are we seeking best practice from other local authorities?
Halton had chosen Early Years as a subject for Peer Review and had presented its approach to other North West Directors of Children’s Services. There were links with other local authorities who had benefitted from Lottery Funding such as Nottinghamshire and Officers continued to look both within the Borough and to others outside the Borough to improve performance.
Could parents be invited to become involved in classroom activities with their children in Early Years?
Yes and in some schools this was being done. However, it was purely voluntary and schools were struggling to get parents to participate.
The Chair requested that an update on this item returns to the Board at a future meeting. In the meantime Members were requested to contact Ann McIntyre with any comments they might have with regards to the Action Plan.
It was noted that the booklets mentioned above would be distributed within the community and sent to parents, schools, health visitors, the Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) sector for early years, Children’s Centres and childminders etc. It was important that the information was relayed to parents regarding what the expectations of their child were before entering schooling. It was also suggested that this information be sent to Schools’ Governors.
RESOLVED: That the Board
1) notes the presentation; and
2) a further update report on the implementation of the Action Plan be submitted to the next PPB meeting.
The Board received a presentation which informed Members of the requirements of the new inspection framework for children’s social care services, which was due to be implemented in January 2018.
It was reported that an inspection would:
· examine the role of Members and the corporate role and contribution in ensuring that social care services delivered outstanding outcomes for children;
· look at all aspects of children’s lives when they came into contact with the children’s social care service including children at risk of harm, children in care and care leavers, and how they were supported in their education, training and employment;
· examine how effective the Council was at undertaking its statutory duties and how it performed as a corporate parent; and
· examine how the Council met the health needs of children in care and care leavers; both their physical health and their emotional health and wellbeing.
The presentation outlined the inspection system and the activities to be carried out outside of inspections with self-evaluation and annual engagement meetings. It also discussed the focussed visits scope and standard and short inspections.
RESOLVED: That the presentation be noted.
The Board received the annual update on the educational outcomes for Halton’s Children in Care (CIC) for 2016-17.
It was reported that Halton had a small number of children in care within each key stage cohort. This made comparison with the general population and year on year performance very difficult as each child in care had a high statistical significance, making both the gap and trend analysis volatile.
The Board was advised that 2016-17 saw changes to the way English and Maths GCSE results were awarded, from a letter grade to a point scale of 9-1. All other GCSE’s remained as letters for this year but would also move to the same point scale from next year.
The Board was advised that the Halton Virtual School provided educational support and activities over and above those delivered through schools and used Pupil Premium Plus. This support was available and offered to all Halton children in care, regardless of whether they lived or were educated in Halton or out of Borough. A copy of this year’s activity programmes was attached at Appendix 1.
It was noted that the data provided within the report compared the performance of Halton children who had been in care for 12 months or more, to that of their non-care peers within each key stage. The report provided the outcomes for: Early Years Foundation; Y1 Phonics; Key Stage 1; Key Stage 2; Key Stage 4; and exclusions.
Members raised the following queries:
Was there more access to Pupil Premium Plus this year?
Yes – there was an increase in Personal Education Plan’s (PEPs) where PP+ was awarded.
Are adopted children included in the CIC data?
Yes and there is guidance and advice available to adopting parents to ensure that they are supported after adopting a child from the care system. There was also a statutory duty on schools to promote the education and welfare of CIC and those adopted.
What was the exclusion rate of CIC?
CIC were more likely to be excluded from school. There was one primary exclusion and 14 secondary so far this year. Schools were encouraged to interact with the Virtual Head as soon as problems began to occur, so that intervention could be arranged.
What is a good outcome?
This was discussed and suggested that it should be an outcome according to the ability of the individual (so what was good for them), not matching them according to a national figure.
Key Stage 3 – it was noted that this was no longer measured.
Was there a correlation between deprivation and exclusions?
Schools were advising the Authority that this was the case as families were experiencing stress and breakdowns due to financial pressures which then caused behavioural issues in children.
The Chair conveyed thanks on behalf of the Board and requested a follow up report at a future PPB, containing information on examples of post 16 CIC successes or otherwise.
RESOLVED: That the Board note the information provided. ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
The Board received the Annual Report for Comments, Complaints and Compliments relating to Children’s Social Care Services, from the Strategic Director – People.
It was noted that the complaints were processed under the Children Act 1989 Representations Procedure; available to Children and Young People to have their concerns resolved swiftly and wherever possible by the people who provided the service locally. The report outlined details of the 4 categories to the representation process: Statutory Complaints; Representations; Customer Care Issues; and Compliments.
The presentation and report provided information such as numbers of complaints received; how they were made; types of statutory complaints and outcomes. It also provided information and data on compliments and positive feedback in the Children’s and Families Service.
Overall it was noted that there had been a 36% decrease in the number of complaints made the previous year and was the lowest since 2010/11. Officers advised that this could be attributable to a more settled workforce in place which had resulted in a better service for clients.
In response to a Member’s query, it was noted that Children in Care were allocated their own Independent Review Manager, who met with them one to one and explains to a child their right to complain and how to complain. The aim was to reassure young people in care that they had the same rights as others despite their age.
RESOLVED: That the Board notes the contents of the report.
The Board received an update on feedback and compliments made by clients and positive feedback from workers / professionals relating to Children’s Services in the People Directorate.
Data was provided on the number of compliments by year, showing comparisons, as well as compliments received by the Operational Directorates: Education, Inclusion and Provision; and the Children and Families Service, and the departments within these.
Members welcomed the report and enjoyed reading the comments and feedback provided by service users and other agencies. On behalf of the Board the Chair passed on his congratulations to all staff involved in Children’s Services and commended the good work that they do which clearly makes a difference to people’s lives.
RESOLVED: That the Board notes the contents of the report.