Agenda and minutes

Education and Children’s Services Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 7 February 2011 7:00 pm

Venue: Salon - York House. View directions

Contact: Gary Lelliott; 020 8891 7275; Email: gary.lelliott@richmond.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

24.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Mrs Esther Mirrielees.

25.

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.

Minutes:

VALIDATED KEY STAGE 2 AND GCSE RESULTS

 

The following committee members declared personal interests in this item by virtue of being a governor at a borough school:

 

Councillor Evans - Collis Primary School and Hampton Wick infant and Nursery School

Councillor Nicholson - Hampton Junior School

Councillor Chappell - St Mary's CE Primary School

Councillor Eady - St. Mary's and St. Peter's CE Primary School

Councillor Martin - SHeen Mount Primary School

Councillor Montague - Marshgate Primary School

Mr Lait – Nelson Primary School

 

Mr Lait also declared a personal interest in this item because he was an employee of the Join Council for Qualifications.

26.

MINUTES

To consider and approve the minutes of the last meeting on 01 December 2010.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 1 December 2010 be received and approved and the Chairman be authorised to sign them, subject to the following amendment:

 

Include details of co-opted members’ and church representatives’ attendance.

27.

HOMESTART - PRESENTATION

To receive a short presentation from Homestart about their work supporting families with young children in the Borough.

Minutes:

Felicity Clarkson (Chair of Trustees) and Martina Philips (Scheme Manager) of Homestart Richmond gave a presentation to the committee.

 

[The presentation has been appended to these minutes.]

 

Following questions from members of the committee, the meeting was advised that:

 

  • 80% of their funding came from the local authority
  • Homestart worked closely with children’s centres in order to co-ordinate efforts and eliminate duplication
  • A lot of the budget was spent on co-ordinators’ salaries
  • Co-ordinators were responsible for managing the volunteers, but also providing some services themselves
  • Long-term support for families was key to the scheme’s success
  • Resources were concentrated on the borough’s areas of relative deprivation
  • Homestart was currently tendering to offer some of the council’s services
  • Recent trends being experienced by Homestart included large numbers of multiple births and more families encountering debt issues

 

The committee thanked Felicity Clarkson and Martina Philips for attending, and Councillor Nicholson for arranging their attendance.

 

28.

EDUCATION AND CHILDREN'S SERVICES DIRECTORATE REVENUE BUDGET 2011-12 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

To receive, note and comment as appropriate on the revenue budget proposals for the forthcoming financial year.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance, Building Development & PFI introduced the report and invited questions from members of the committee.  In response to questions, the meeting was advised that:

 

  • All schools had been consulted about the grant settlement and a consultation meeting was held with 65 attendees.  It was noted that this attendance was higher than it had been in previous years
  • No school should, on a like-for-like basis, receive a reduction of greater than 1.5% of their budget share compared to last year
  • The Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) was projected to be around £103m
  • School budgets were set on this projection
  • Any over or under funding could result in difficult decisions for schools
  • The council was being cautious with its predictions and spending money carefully  Any additional funding to that expected, would be directed to Council priorities such as primary school places
  • Changes to the method of grant funding, including the new Early Intervention Grant were responsible for some figures changing.  This was received in a similar way to the ‘block grant’, meaning it was only displayed as expenditure
  • Other grants were being directly transferred to schools which, in some cases,  meant they were now in a better position to choose what services they bought back from the Council
  • There was a mid-year adjustment to this year’s Area Based Grant (ABG), which meant the Directorate had to find in-year savings of £0.5m
  • The Council was aiming to maintain early intervention
  • The presentation of the Early Years budget had changed because of alterations to the grant system
  • The new Early Intervention Grant had been reduced by 6% compared to 2010/11 baseline funding
  • Various options for the Hampton area were being looked at
  • It was anticipated that savings could be made by reducing the number of out of borough placements through additional in-borough provision
  • If more children on out of borough placements could be accommodated at Strathmore School and other in-borough settings, major savings could be made  each year in SEN transport alone
  • The rebuild of Strathmore School had been estimated to be around £15m
  • Savings in Specialist Children’s Services had been achieved by reduced growth and  restructures within the services The Single Point of Access (SPA) service is a successful example
  • A budget was being maintained to enable appropriate school intervention
  • Schools were working to encourage take up of free school meals, as this now had a more significant effect on the funding they received and was the method by which the new Pupil Premium funding would be distributed
  • Service children, who had a parent in the armed forces, would also attract a Pupil Premium payment as they often moved school several times and this would help provide additional support
  • Much of the reduction in the Integrated Youth Service budget was a result of the reduction in Government grant funding
  • There had also been a reduction in the grant to reduce teenage pregnancies
  • There was work taking place to look at integrating some of Richmond’s services with Kingston’s
  • There had been a reduction in the substance misuse team
  • Free school meals were available to families on income support
  • Take up of free school meals increased when improvements were made to the menu on offer
  • There was no additional funding for Irish Travellers and Roma

 

Concerns were raised by some councillors that it was misleading to present budget information on a one year basis only, citing that it should be more similar to information that had been presented to the Finance and Performance Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

 

Resolved that the report be noted.

29.

EDUCATION AND CHILDREN'S SERVICES DIRECTORATE CAPITAL BUDGET 2011-12 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

To receive, note and comment as appropriate on the corporate budget proposals for the forthcoming financial year.

 

Minutes:

The Head of Finance, Building Development & PFI introduced the report and invited questions from members of the committee.  In response to questions, the meeting was advised that:

 

  • The new 2011/12 budgets quoted in the report were capital grants and not supported by borrowing
  • There was uncertainty over some funding streams as there had not yet been announcements from central government
  • It was assumed any capital funding for the borough’s academies would come from central government
  • The ‘unit cost’ for post 16 education was falling
  • The primary school expansion programme was costing around £36m
  • There was uncertainty over future levels of central government funding for this programme, so the Council would have to revisit the capital programme as necessary in light of future funding announcements
  • Projects around school maintenance would be more difficult for schools to commission in future due to the reduction in Devolved Formula Capital (DFC)
  • The work carried out in schools that had already been expanded was done so in the knowledge that further expansion may be necessary in the future

 

Concerns were raised by some councillors that it was misleading to present budget information on a one year basis only, citing that it should be more similar to information that had been presented to the Finance and Performance Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

 

Resolved that the report be noted.

30.

REVIEW OF FEES AND CHARGES 2011-12 pdf icon PDF 66 KB

To receive, note and comment as appropriate on the revised fees and charges for education and children’s services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Culture introduced the report and invited questions from members of the committee.  In response to questions, the meeting was advised that:

 

  • Some academies were buying back many services from the Council, although some had purchased a minimal number
  • The cost of a chaperone licence had not been decreased as there was no change in processing a CRB check
  • The Council charged parents for the cost of care for their children, although the amount that could be levied against parents was set by statute and means tested.  This meant many parents did not pay anything
  • There were some statutory services the Council had to provide, although there was more flexibility being afforded to schools, so they could choose what services they commissioned
  • There were occasional examples where services were being provided at below cost, as it was difficult to estimate the full cost
  • Two schools from Surrey were currently buying services from the Council
  • The Council currently funded the family support team

 

Resolved that the report be noted.

 

31.

VALIDATED KEY STAGE 2 AND GCSE RESULTS pdf icon PDF 80 KB

To receive the confirmed exam results and examine, and make comment on any trends that emerge. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of School Effectiveness introduced the report and invited questions from members of the committee.  In response to questions, the meeting was advised that:

 

  • The recent downward trend in Key Stage 2 (KS) science results could be attributable to the recent change to teacher assessments rather than exam results
  • Next year’s KS2 results would be closely monitored to see whether they were declining further
  • A school with a specialism should be expected to do better in the area it has its specialism in
  • Girls in KS2 and KS4 did particularly well in Richmond upon Thames
  • The requirement to study a modern foreign language was dropped in 2003 because of a shortage in modern foreign languages teachers
  • There is a long-standing national issue with the take-up of language land studies
  • The reasons for low attendance in Richmond upon Thames were still being looked at, although much of it could be attributed to out of borough issues
  • Richmond upon Thames’ attendance figures also appeared to be worse when compared to Kingston upon Thames because Kingston had grammar schools, which typically had high attendance
  • Richmond upon Thames achieved above the national average for boys and girls. Although boys’ writing was a particular focus going forward
  • Girls’ schools often performed particularly well, whereas schools with a higher number of boys did not achieve as highly
  • The borough’s schools had a lower than average number of ethnic minority children, although there was additional resource for these children
  • Research suggested that, in the Early Years Foundation Stage, boys adapted better to writing lessons in an outside environment
  • The local authority would be working closely with schools to close the SEN achievement gap
  • SEN children in Richmond upon Thames achieved 9% higher than the national average for similar groups and 1% lower than other children in Richmond upon Thames
  • Work was taking place to support some schools in identifying children with SEN

 

Resolved that the report be noted.

32.

QUARTER 2 CORPORATE PERFORMANCE REPORT pdf icon PDF 131 KB

To receive information on any areas of performance in Education and Children’s Services that the committee may wish to investigate further.

Minutes:

It was noted that officers did not foresee a reduction for youth offenders targets.  This was because it was a very small cohort of children affected.

 

The single point of contact project and children’s centres indicators would be green by the time the next performance report was compiled.

33.

WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 54 KB

To receive details of the proposed work programme for the remainder of the municipal year 2010/11 (attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Proposed items for the next meeting were agreed as:

 

  1. Secondary School Places (including provision of a Catholic secondary school.
  2. Post 16 Education
  3. Annual Review of the Children and Young People’s Plan

 

Two task groups were suggested:

 

  1. To look at the demand for a local Catholic Secondary School, above that of another ‘inclusive’ secondary school
  2. Too look at services available to children with autism

 

The following items were suggested as future topics for the committee:

 

  1. How the local authority’s role in children’s services was changing
  2. SEN transport
  3. Primary mental health workers (report on work currently being undertaken and was due to report back in March 2012)

 

It was noted that the work programme, and items for the next meeting, would be finalised at an agenda planning meeting by the Chairman and Vice-Chairman.

Homestart Presentation pdf icon PDF 226 KB

 

Updated: 27 March 2014