Agenda item

Work programme

Report by the Assistant Chief Executive


38.1     The Chair introduced the report which outlined the Committee’s latest work programme.

38.2     The Director of Children’s Services was asked to comment on the recent Government budget announcement around provision of childcare. The Committee heard that the department awaited more detail on this but anticipated providing additional support to the Early Years sector in order to deliver the national commitments over the coming years.

38.3     The Committee asked about what communication was in place between schools and extra-curricular activity providers, including after school clubs, to ensure concerns and achievements are highlighted. The Committee heard that if an after-school club had a safeguarding concern, there was clear guidance on how to proceed. It would be at the discretion of the provider and the school to share other updates and information, however there were many examples where achievements were celebrated in school.

Prevention in Children’s Services

38.4     The committee noted that the Review Board for Prevention in Children’s Services had recommended that, as work on key projects and programmes was clearly under development and progressing at pace, the issue would be better considered by the committee through a Reference Group which could provide regular and timely scrutiny input.

38.5     The Director of Children’s Services presented a Quality Demand Reduction Diagram outlining the link between cost and quality issues, and the department’s ambitions to become both financially resilient and to improve outcomes for children needing the most intensive levels of care. The department’s approach was to prioritise reunifying children with their family where possible and increased focus on supporting birth families, so they are able to parent in the future, enabling children to avoid becoming looked after.

38.6     Councillor Geary, referring to her role on the East Sussex Fostering Panel, highlighted the need for more foster carers within the county. The Director of Children’s Services responded to say that the department could provide information for the Committee to disseminate to support the ongoing work to recruit foster carers.

38.7     The Committee RESOLVED to convert the Prevention in Children’s Services Scrutiny Review to a Reference Group.

School Exclusions

38.8     The Chair asked the committee to review the proposed Terms of Reference for the Scrutiny Review of School Exclusions.

38.9     The Committee discussed the following:

·         Exclusions and elective home education – The Committee asked for clarification about the distinction between exclusions and elective home education, citing that some parents view there to be an overlap between the two. The Committee heard that no parent should experience any pressure to make the decision to educate their child at home and there was no current evidence of this happening. The department was piloting attending some meetings with schools and parents around decisions to home educate. Work was also ongoing to support schools with issues around attendance and absence, including part-time timetables. The Lead Member for Education and ISEND informed the Committee that he had received a reply to his letter to Government regarding home education and that he would circulate this to the Committee.

·         Review Witnesses – The Committee asked if was possible for the Board to hear from children who had been excluded, to share their understanding and experiences of the issues as part of the review. The Director of Children’s Services suggested that the department could support with participation work to give young people a voice in this review.

38.10   The Committee RESOLVED to agree the Terms of Reference for the Scrutiny Review of School Exclusions and to appoint Councillor Adeniji as Chair, and Councillors Field, Howell, Maples and Nicola Boulter and John Hayling, Parent Governor Representatives, to the Review Board.

Educational Attainment and Performance Reference Group

38.11   The Committee RESOLVED that an update on this work would be received by circulating the minutes of the last meeting.

Forward plan

38.12   The Committee reviewed the Council’s Forward Plan of executive decisions.

Work Programme

38.13   The Committee RESOLVED to agree the updated work programme.

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