Agenda and minutes
Education and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 8 February 2012 7:00 pm
Venue: Salon - York House. View directions
Contact: Sam Walker; 020 8891 7156; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Esther Mirrielees and Councillor Montague who sent Councillor Palmer as a substitute.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
In accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct, Members are requested to declare any interests orally at the start of the meeting and again immediately before consideration of the matter. Members are reminded to specify the agenda item number to which it refers and whether the interest is of a personal or prejudicial nature.
Members are also reminded of the requirements of Section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992 that they should declare and not vote on specified matters if they are two months or more in arrears with their Council Tax payments.
Nicolas Lait declared a personal interest in the School Exam Results item by virture of his membership to the Joint Council for Qualifications.
To approve the minutes of the last meeting on 21 November 2011 – attached.
The minutes from the 21 November 2011 were agreed and the Chairman authorised to sign them.
ACHIEVEMENT FOR THE BOROUGH' S TRANSFORMATIONAL ACADEMIES
To receive an verbal update from the three transformational academies within the borough from: Nick Jones – Principal of Twickenham Academy, Lesley Kirby Head teacher of Richmond Park Academy and Sue Demont Principal of Hampton Academy.
The Committee welcomed Nick Jones - Principal of Twickenham Academy, Lesley Kirby - Head Teacher of Richmond Park Academy and Sue Demont - Principal of Hampton Academy to the meeting.
Lesley Kirby gave a verbal update on the progress made by Richmond Park Academy as an Academies Enterprise Trust:
Richmond Park Academy had improved teaching and exam results. Academy status had helped increase access to grants and local buy-in. The year 7 local buy-in had seen a significant improvement within a 2 mile radius, from 28% in 2008 to 71% in 2011.
There had been a marked improvement in the number of pupils obtaining 5 A* to C grades, including English and Maths, at GCSE from 40 to 44 pupils between 2010/2011. The overall GCSE results for pupils gaining 5 A* to C, had improved from 57 to 80 pupils between 2010/2011.
The number of pupils who selected the Academy as their first preference secondary school had increased from 44 pupils in 2010-2011, to 75 pupils in 2011-2012.
Ms Kirby explained that academy funding had been declining annually. To safeguard services the Academy had made investments starting with the modernisation of “The Acorn”, year seven base, which was now a modern and spacious facility. They also invested £1.5m in ICT and would be building a new communal hall, canteen, entrance and refurbishing the science facilities.
Initially the Academy had employed a PR agent to increase the schools profile. Other useful marketing events included Community Board Q&A sessions and Quindrat activity days.
Cognitive Abilities Tests (CATs) had been used by the academy to identify individual areas for development in pupils.
A 6th form would be added in 2014, which would specialise in A-levels in Sciences, Languages, Psychology and Sociology.
Mr Jones gave a verbal update on the progress made by Twickenham Academy:
The Academy had implemented the Kunskapsskolan school model. A complete restructure had taken place within 18 months, including new teachers and new IT facilities.
A rigorous stepped curriculum allowed children to be assessed and placed on a step to match their ability. Years 8 and 10 were already using the stepped curriculum and it would be introduced to all years by the end of 2012.
In response to questions from the Committee, Mr Jones explained the Academy had received £1m to invest in a Learning Portal. This had resulted in an online progress tracking facility called EDS, which allowed parents to monitor their child’s progress. EDS was a very popular resource for parents.
Ms Demont gave a verbal update on the progress made by Hampton Academy:
Hampton was a Learning School Trust Academy and had opened in September 2010. Since becoming an academy, new staff had been employed and the school had made a significant improvement.
Modern languages, Humanities and English had been very successful. As a priority, the Academy would be investing its resources in Maths. The Academy promoted arts and sports as extra curricular activities. This helped distinguish them from other local schools.
94% of their pupils now lived within a two mile radius and a lot of those were from Hounslow Borough. They had been working closely with local primary schools including Hampton Hill, Hampton Junior and Buckingham Junior, to maximise the number of local pupils making Hampton Academy their first preference secondary school.
The Committee thanked Nick Jones, Lesley Kirby and Sue Demont for their presentations.
Revenue Budget: This report sets out the detailed revenue budgets for the Education, Children’s and Cultural Services Directorate for the financial year 2012/13, highlighting significant changes from the previous year.
Capital Budget: This report sets out the capital budgets for the Education, Children’s and Cultural Services (ECCS) Directorate for the financial year 2012/13.
The Strategic Member for Education, Youth and Children’s Services; the Cabinet Member for Schools; the Director of Education, Children’s and Cultural Services and the Head of Finance & Resources were present for this item.
Revenue Budget Report:
The Head of Finance & Resources introduced the report. He informed the Committee that the budget report reflected a more stable position following on from the major changes of 2011/12. He asked the Committee to consider the report in line with previous year’s efficiencies.
There had been some growth within the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) as a result of increasing school intake.
The following points were made in response to questions from the Committee:
The Committee were advised that decreased income with regard to Integrated Youth Support resulted from changes to Government funding and provision of Information, Advice and Guidance services (the old Connexions Service).
The overall level of the Early Intervention Grant (EIG) has increased.
The Directorate was on track to deliver 2011/12 efficiency savings.
Asylum - Leaving Care was one of the high risk budgets for the Directorate. In the last financial year demand had fallen, which had lead to a saving. However, the volatile nature of the service meant that demand was unpredictable and was likely to continue to fluctuate.
It was expected that sixth form funding would be provided through the Education Funding Agency (EFA). Options were currently being considered.
The Borough’s libraries would not be negatively affected by the reduction in staff.
The Directorate was rationalising the way it accounted for care leavers between Service Headings. There had been no reductions.
The contract for Special Educational Needs (SEN) Transport was being tendered for September 2012. The SEN Task Group Scrutiny Report would include a reference to SEN Transport.
Capital Budget Report:
The Director said that Basic Need Funding could be used at any publically funded schools. It was likely there would be some bulge classes for September 2012 that would require additional funding.
The Council was expecting £12m in grants over the next four years, to cover the cost of the Council’s education priorities. So far the Council had received just over half (£6.7526m) of that figure for 2012/2013.
It was RESOLVED: That the Committee note the report.
This report gives headlines of teacher assessments, tests and examination results for 2011. The report also includes a detailed appendix of data and trends, with an accompanying text analysis provided by Children’s Services Policy, Performance & Communications Team.
The Cabinet Member for Schools; the Director for Education, Children's Services and Culture and the Head of School Effectiveness were present for this item.
The Head of School Effectiveness introduced the report. There had been a marked improvement in Key Stage 4 across the Borough.
The Borough’s Early Years Foundation Stage results were ranked third nationally.
The gap between the bottom 20% in Early Year Foundation Stage (EYFS) and their peers had seen a dip from third nationally to ninth between 2010/2011. The Director assured the Committee that Richmond’s gap of 26.7% was much narrower than the national average of 31.4%.The Council would continue to monitor the EYFS, but the figures depended upon the cohort intake. If there was a rise in this figure over a 3 year period it would indicate a trend and generate a genuine reason for concern.
Girls continued to outperform boys in EYFS by 15% across the borough, which was below the national average of 18%.
The exam results for pupils from ethnic backgrounds, at Key Stage 1, in 2011, were inline with figures from 2010, which was an acceptable level. The Committee noted the below average achievement of pupils from all black backgrounds at Key Stage 4 compared to the national average. 52 of 77 ethnic background pupils, at Key Stage 4, came from outside the borough, which made it difficult to assess the reasons for underachievement.
The Committee noted that a ‘Value Added’ measure had replaced ‘Contextual Value Added’ measure. This will produce mixed results for the Borough’s schools.
The Director agreed it would be beneficial to assess how many low achieving pupils were allocated places at each school. This would allow a more accurate assessment of Ofsted and Value Added Results.
The Committee commended the Borough’s English Baccalaureate (EBacc) results for 2011: Five out of eight Richmond secondary schools, including academies, improved on their previous years results for the percentage of pupils attaining the EBacc. Richmond ranked 9th out of all local authorities in their EBacc results with an overall improvement of 2% across all secondary schools.
It was RESOLVED: That the Committee note the report.
This report gives details of the proposed work programme for the municipal year 2012, as discussed with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Committee.
Report of the Head of Democratic Services attached.
The Committee asked that an update be provided on:
· How schools were spending the student premiums, in September and;
· The recruitment of foster carers and adopting parents, in March.
It was RESOLVED: that the Committee note the Work Programme