Councillors' Attendance Statistics
Agenda and minutes
Children's Services and Culture Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 24 November 2009 7:00 pm
Venue: York House, Richmond Road, Twickenham, TW1 3AA
Contact: Gary Lelliott; 020 8891 7275; Email: email@example.com
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Khosa, Esther Mirrielees, Anne-Marie True. Charles Hoseason and Paul Leonard.
To consider and approve the minutes of the meeting held on 30 September 2009 – attached.
The minutes of the meeting held on 7 July 2009 be received and approved and the Chair be authorised to sign them.
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.
There were no declarations of interest.
REPRESENTATIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
There were no representations from members of the public.
EXECUTIVE DECISIONS CALLED-IN (IF ANY)
There were no executive decisions called-in.
To outline for scrutiny Committee members the achievements of schools in Richmond upon Thames and to identify areas where further development is required.
Report of the Head of School Effectiveness attached.
There was targeted support for early years education via Windham Nursery, who were supporting the 5 lowest achieving schools in the borough. There was also targeted support for ethnic minority groups with analysis taking place within the Quindrats.
Targets were set in discussion with the DCSF. They were intended to be challenging, but also achievable. The School Improvement Partners (SIPs) were also offering external challenge to schools.
There was no data for the numbers of children receiving free school meals as this information was not collected nationally, which meant no benchmarking could take place.
Officers were not concerned about the narrowing gap between Richmond’s high levels of achievement in primary schools and the national average. If a school was not performing as well as it should, they would get additional support from their SIP, which included analysing why this was.
All schools in categories B, C and CSI received a suitable level of support and intervention. If there were issues with a school’s leadership, this was picked up via the Local Authority’s knowledge of that particular school.
The categories were:
There was now additional support being made available to prevent the gap between the achievement of white boys receiving free school meals and the average growing particularly as they progressed through the key stages.
Richmond upon Thames was comparable to the rest of the country with regard to the achievement of children receiving free school meals.
The drop in levels of children achieving 5 A*-C at Teddington and Hampton Community College was expected because of the cohort for that year. When HCC carried out an analysis of the results data, they had found that it was mainly issues with the maths results.
Academies would be considered as secondary schools in terms of GCSE results and it was the intention that they should raise results in the borough.
Richmond lost 62% of its high achievers because they opted for a religious education. Richmond had no Catholic secondary schools, so these children went to schools outside the borough.
The target for 5 A*-C grades including English and Maths was 61%.
It was reported that there are a low number of children who retake GCSEs after they have taken early papers in year 10. Some paper remarks did bring results up slightly this year.
There was a good level of provision for reading including a current drive to encourage more children to read.
Residents of the borough now appeared to be seeing its secondary schools as more preferable choices. This was demonstrated by the fact that admissions at both HCC and Grey Court were up on previous years and many other schools were heavily oversubscribed.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.
This report updates the Committee on progress made regarding the proposals for provision to be made in secondary schools, on the review of governance of Strathmore and Clarendon Schools, which was referred to in the 7th July report, and the possible transfer of responsibility for Richmond House and Whitton Gateway to Clarendon School as a result of the proposed switch to academy status of Hampton Community College and Whitton School in September 2010. Consideration is also given to the management arrangements for the Pupil Referral Service.
Report of the Director of Children’s Services attached.
The Director thanked Geraldine Herage and Colin Herrick for their work.
The Director stated that when he came into post, he wanted to review the level of SEN provision in the borough. There was not enough quality of choice, which meant that a lot of children were being provided with expensive out-of-borough places. In this work, the Director foresaw an enhanced role being played by Richmond’s special schools.
There was an aim to rebuild Strathmore School, but this would require a lot of ‘pushing’ in order to achieve it. The strategy proposed some extra investment, which in turn would save money on some expensive out-of-borough placements. It was also hoped that Richmond would have a ‘centre of excellence’.
There would be partnership working with the PCT as they were responsible for providing some care provision as well.
All eight secondary schools were being asked to take on children with varying degrees of need. Most secondary schools were keen, but there needed to be more talk around which schools would provide for which needs. The Schools Forum had released some of the funding necessary in order to achieve some savings. It was also hoped that more ASD places would be provided.
Academies were keen to be part of this work.
It was recognised that the borough couldn’t provide for every child and some would still need to receive very specialised services from elsewhere, such as via the reciprocal arrangements currently in place with neighbouring boroughs. The process of obtaining a statement of special needs for a child was also an expensive process.
[Councillor Wilson arrived.]
There were talks taking place with Strathmore and Clarendon Schools, with the proposal of forming a federation. The Local Authority was currently asking for permission to consult with all necessary people. There had been some concerns raised by the governing body of each school including questions over how much benefit it would bring and whether it would mean more bureaucracy.
(The Chair had received communications from Strathmore and Clarendon Schools stating their concerns about the federation proposals and the need for new building(s). These had been shared with members of the Committee before the meeting.)
The Director stated that there was not the money to build anything unless there was some level of reform. He also felt that this was the most sensible way forward as without it, there would not be the resources for new facilities for vulnerable children.
The Local Authority would not consult until various issues had been looked at. There may be ways in which Strathmore could be helped without reform because there was a business case to do so, however, it would not help the issue of under-population of the site.
As part of this work, the Local Authority would be engaging with parents. It was recognised that this takes some time to do, but it could be done.
The absolute earliest point that a new federation could be set up was September 2010. For this date to be met, there would be a lot of work required, but this could only be done at a pace that was workable for each governing body.
RESOLVED that the Committee note the:
The borough’s new Children and Young People’s Plan 2009-13, Tackling inequality, creating opportunity, sets outs plans to develop quindrat level commissioning arrangements in order that services can be developed to respond to local need. This paper sets out progress towards these new arrangements and seeks support from the Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny and Committee on a number of steps to ensure the arrangements are up and running over coming months.
Report of the Head of Commissioning, Delivery and Service Improvement attached.
It was noted that partnership boards were currently not spending their money effectively. The boards also varied in size. The Director felt that five Quindrats was an appropriate number to have and it would be important to encourage good levels of working between them.
Officers stated that Quindrats would only carry out a small part of the overall level of commissioning and that most of it would be carried out by the Children’s Trust Board. Quindrats would be responsible for commissioning more specific services. Each Quindrat would need to propose how it wanted to spend its money and this expenditure would then need approval from the Children’s Trust Board.
The amount of money spent by schools was increasing as they would be gaining further devolved powers, which could in time, be extended further.
Further discussion needed to take place with headteachers on how funding would be distributed between Quindrats although core provision would be provided by each one. There would also be the potential for Quindrats to work together in order to obtain better value for their money.
Although there were currently no plans for there to be a Councillor on each local Quindrat board, officers agreed that this could be looked into. It was also noted that the lead member for education would have a level of influence on the Children’s Trust Board.
The Quindrat arrangement could also encourage a degree of competition amongst the various areas, which it was hoped would have a positive impact on results.
It was also hoped that some health services could be provided through the Quindrats.
RESOLVED that the report be noted with the following additional comments:
The draft work programme has been drawn up, in consultation with the Chair and Vice-Chair, from items in the forward plan and from actions arising from previous meetings of the Committee.
The Committee is requested to consider the items within the proposed work programme, set out at Appendix 1 to this report, and suggest any amendments or additional topics to be included in the future.
Consideration should be given to possible items for future meetings including their priorities.
Information items are included in a Briefing information/General Information Pack, which has been sent to Members of the Committee separately to this agenda. The pack can be accessed via the following link:
Items included in the pack will not be discussed at the meeting. If members of the public wish to discuss any issue arising from the reports included in the pack please contact the Committee Manager, whose details are given on the front sheet of the agenda. Members of the Council may wish to raise their concerns directly with the Chair of the Committee, the Cabinet Member or appropriate officer.
Report of the Senior Democratic Services Officer attached.
The Chair announced that there would be a special meeting of the committee held on 10 December in order to discuss the affordability aspects of the proposed academies at Hampton Community College and Whitton School.
It was also noted that there would be another additional special meeting in the New Year, which would discuss the proposed Shene Academy.