Venue: Zoom Meeting - Virtual (meeting joining details can be found on the agenda frontsheet or agenda reports p
Contact: Teresa Buckley
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 Liberal Democrat Group, the membership of the Board had been amended to include Councillor Atiya-Alla in place of Councillor Doggett.
(i) To consider how successful the September return to school has been.
(ii) To establish what impact Covid-19 has had and whether we are making progress in terms of improving performance in Children’s Services.
(The Assistant Director Education, Learning and Skills, Principal and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of South Devon College, Ken Kies, CEO Coast Academies (Eden Park Primary, Preston Primary, Cockington Primary), Stewart Biddles, CEO Riviera Education Trust and Stephen Kings, CEO Bay Education Trust, Director of Children’s Services and Cabinet Member for Children’s Services have been invited to attend the meeting for this item.)
The Board received an update in respect of the impact of Covid-19 on children and young people in Torbay. The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and the Assistant Director Education, Learning and Skills gave a presentation on the key issues in connection with education and Members also heard representations from the Principal and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of South Devon College, the CEO of Coast Academies (Eden Park Primary, Preston Primary, Cockington Primary), the CEO of Riviera Education Trust and the CEO of Bay Education Trust in respect of the successful return of pupils to schools and colleges in September 2020 and the impact of Covid-19 and responded to questions in relation to:
(i) the personal impact on children, such as isolation, being away from their friends, increase in financial difficulties for low income families, impact of parents and carers being Furloughed, e-learning, exposure to reports of high levels of death and numbers of people catching the virus;
(ii) how the local authority, education providers, the community and voluntary sector had worked together successfully to support the children and young people and their families in Torbay;
(iii) the systems in place to manage the 19 confirmed Covid-19 cases impacting education in Torbay, which had resulted in 739 children and 52 staff members having to isolate, whilst enabling as many children and young people to remain in attendance;
(iv) attendance levels compared to previous years and the reasons for non-attendance and action being taken to try to secure a return to school of non-attenders;
(v) the impact on teachers and head teachers and the support available to ensure their wellbeing as well as the wellbeing of the children and young people;
(vi) the financial impact on educational establishments and the support available from the Government;
(vii) access to free school meals, especially for those children who needed to isolate and during lockdown;
(viii) the impact on educational attainment;
(ix) PPE, wearing of face coverings, social distancing and making facilities Covid Secure; and
(x) opportunities for reskilling, retraining and apprenticeships.
The Board also heard from the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services and Director of Children’s Services in respect of the impact of Covid-19 on children’s social care. Members noted that there had initially been a decrease of 70% of referrals through the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) but that this had increased by 40% in July. These referrals resulted in some form of intervention from the team but did not necessarily translate into children being taken into care. There had not been an increase in high level domestic abuse cases during lockdown which had been predicted, but it was felt that affected children needed time to re-settle back into their schools and feel safe before they would start to open up, therefore it was likely that new cases would be known over the next few months. Members noted that £150k had been allocated by the Government across the whole of Devon to help address domestic abuse and that the Directors of Children’s ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
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