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To receive apologies for absence, including notifications of any changes to the membership of the Board.
It was reported that, in accordance with the wishes of the Independent Group, the membership of the Board had been amended to include Councillor Loxton instead of Councillor Mills. An apology for absence was also received from Mike Cook (non-voting co-opted Member, who was represented by Jo Morrell).
To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meetings of the Children and Young People’s Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 22 November 2021.
The Minutes of the meeting of the Board held on 22 November 2021 were confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Education and Learning PDF 1 MB
1. To review the arrangements in respect of Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) following the recent inspection and to receive a verbal update on the next steps.
2. To review the effectiveness of education on vulnerable learners, including the performance of the Virtual School for children in care and children missing education. This would also explore the impact on children whose parents have elected to home educate their children or who are excluded from school and the impact of Covid-19.
3. To receive the annual report from the Virtual School.
Jane Inett, Head of the Virtual School, outlined the submitted final Annual Report (2020-21) of the Virtual School Governing Body and responded to Members’ questions in relation to the following:
· What happens if a child was placed outside of Torbay and does not get a school place straight away.
· Torbay has a lot of academies, were there different arrangements for each school in terms of a designated teacher for cared for children.
· The merit of including data on local authority area for children placed out of Torbay and if such placements had a positive or negative impact on the child.
· There were a lot of Year 11s being permanently excluded, what was the strategy to help keep Year 11 pupils in school so that they can continue to attend school and take their exams.
· How the family were supported as a whole, when sometimes the parents may also have suffered from trauma such as domestic violence.
The Board thanked Jane Inett and the Virtual School team for their hard work to support our cared for children and young people.
Nancy Meehan, Director of Children’s Services and Rachael Williams, Divisional Director of Education, Learning and Skills, gave a presentation in response to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and Ofsted Joint Area SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) Inspection in Torbay. This was an inspection of all partners involved in the delivery of SEND which identified a number of areas for improvement as well as recognising some good work already being undertaken. Members noted that the formal response (known as the written statement was due within 70 working days from 13 January 2022 and had to be accepted by the CQC and Ofsted in order for it to be taken forward) would be led by the SEND Strategic Partnership to ensure a collective and codesigned approach across all agencies. Nancy and Rachael responded to questions in respect of the following:
· The report was disappointing and highlighted the lack of clear ownership of the service as it was not clear who had overall responsibility and a need to ensure clear governance structures.
· The report did reflect that some areas were working well but that this was not consistent across all areas.
· Where do schools fit in with the inspection, especially as many of Torbay’s schools were academies.
· The inspection had identified a weakness and lack of consistency of support across some of the schools in Torbay but this was not reflected in the Ofsted results of those schools, what was being done to address this and ensure a consist level of support.
· The challenges facing schools with increasing numbers of children with additional needs, some of whom have an Education and Health Care Plan (EHCP).
· What support was available to help parents prior to formal assessment for additional needs such as the SENDIAS service which was run through the Torbay Community Development Trust and how this could be expanded wider.
· How you enable a fair and consistent approach to change and working with ... view the full minutes text for item 35.
Children's Improvement Plan Quarterly Update PDF 354 KB
1. To receive an update on the Plan and the implementation of Liquid Logic software.
2. To receive an update on the implementation of the eight recommendations arising from the review of Children’s Services Leadership, Management and Governance.
Nancy Meehan, Director of Children’s Services and Matt Fairclough-Kay, Divisional Director for Corporate Services provided an update on the implementation of the LiquidLogic software and the impact that it had on the ability to present quality assured data in respect of Children’s Services and responded to questions in respect of the following:
· Why was the original configuration not correct and once the user acceptance testing failed, why was the roll out not stopped at that point.
· When would officers have confidence in the data and reporting from the software.
· What additional work was required to ensure that the data was accurate whilst the investigation work continued to be explored.
· What was the additional cost to the Council of the delay in the roll out and the consultants employed to find out where the errors in configuration were and what action was required to put it right.
· What was the training requirement for staff to ensure that there was good quality data and the software was used correctly.
Nancy Meehan provided an overview to the background of the Review of Leadership, Management and Governance and the Board noted the progress made as set out in the submitted update report and Nancy responded to the following questions:
· Was the Council still expecting the roll out of LiquidLogic to be completed by May 2022.
· How the audits worked and linked together.
· What sort of areas were being explored by the Sub-Groups, particularly around child exploitation.
· The CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) was the formal process what support was available, including through the voluntary sector, to help provide support before CAMHS was involved.
· Young people have identified the desire to have some after school sessions to talk about issues outside of school, how this could be explored further.
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