Agenda and minutes

Children's, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee - Tuesday, 22nd September, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Online

Contact: Emma West  03000 412421


No. Item


Apologies and Substitutes

Additional documents:


Apologies for absence had been received from Mr D Brunning.



Declarations of Interest by Members in items on the Agenda

Additional documents:


Dr Sullivan made a declaration of interest as her husband worked as an Early Help Worker for Kent County Council. Dr L Sullivan also declared that her husband was a Board Member of ‘The Gr@nd Youth Hub’ in Gravesend.



Minutes of the meeting held on 30 July 2020 pdf icon PDF 372 KB

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee held on 30 July 2020 are correctly recorded and that they be signed by the Chairman.



Verbal Update by Cabinet Members and Corporate Director pdf icon PDF 108 KB

Additional documents:


Mr S Collins (Director of Integrated Children's Services (West Kent and Early Help and Preventative Services Lead)) and Mr D Adams (Director of Education) were in attendance for this item


(1)        Mr Long (Cabinet Member for Education and Skills) gave a verbal update on the following issues:


a)    GCSE and A-Level Results

Mr Long expressed his sympathy to the students and parents of Kent and thanked them for their patience and perseverance during the pandemic and the initial A-Level and GCSE situation where many students did not see the grades anticipated and faced losing their university places. Whilst the government had made the decision to revert to centre-assessed grades, Kent County Council had prepared to gather the necessary data from secondary schools and to make strong evidenced-based representations to government that the policy should change. Mr Long added that guidance which related to the appeals process had recently been published and Kent County Council’s Skills and Employability service continued to provide support and advice where required. Pupils who did not feel that their calculated grade reflected their ability would have the opportunity to sit an exam in the Autumn term.


b)   The school return and issues relating to school transport

Whilst general guidance for the return to schools had been issued before the beginning of the summer holiday, detailed government guidance on key subjects such as transport and the administration of tests and examinations did not reach local authorities until late in August, after much planning had already been undertaken based on best assumptions. Fortunately, much of the government guidance aligned with Kent County Council’s planning to the credit of officers. All schools were asked by the DfE to provide data on attendance through daily online submission which Kent County Council’s officers within the Children, Young People and Education (CYPE) directorate had access to, meaning that officers would be able to track attendance at the schools that had replied to the DfE as requested. Kent County Council’s transport team had assisted in ensuring a smooth return to school and the return to school by most children had been achieved. Although government guidance on appropriate transport was not released until 11th August, careful preparation meant that all identified on-time applications for transport were in place for 7th September. A record number of late applications for free transport had been received this year (1,100+), exceeding historic totals, this meant that transport teams remained incredibly busy, but were working as quickly as possible to clear the backlog. Mr Long reminded Members of the Committee that residents within their divisions should contact the relevant transport team in relation to transport applications as cases were mainly being managed in date order.


c)    Kent Test

Mr Long referred to the key decision which had been taken in July (decision number: 20/00060) to delay the Kent Test to October and stated that guidance had been sent to schools to which there were to be detailed contingencies in the event of local-level isolations, this included advice  ...  view the full minutes text for item 198.


20/00076 - London Borough of Bexley, Kent County Council & Medway Council Regional Adoption Agency pdf icon PDF 264 KB

To follow.

Additional documents:


Ms S Skinner (Head of Kent Adoption Service) was in attendance for this item


(1)        Ms Skinner introduced the report which set out how the recommendations endorsed by the Cabinet Committee in January 2020 had been discharged and provided an update on the progress made to develop a Regional Adoption Agency (RAA) in line with Government’s expectations for Adoption Services nationally. The report outlined the plans for Kent County Council’s involvement in the establishment of a RAA with the London Borough of Bexley and Medway Council, which would be known as Adoption Partnership south east and would ‘go live’ on 1 November 2020.


Ms Skinner then responded to a number of comments and questions from Members, including the following: -


a)    Ms Skinner referred to one of the schedules within the partnership agreement and explained the panel process in further detail.


b)    Ms Skinner confirmed that independent panel Members had been asked if they wished to continue to remain sitting on a panel and the closing date for their expressions of interest was on 18th September 2020.


c)    Ms Skinner stated that the decision as to whether or not a care plan is the correct care plan for a child remained with the responsible local authority.


d)    Ms Skinner said that the Head of the RAA was responsible for the adopter approvals.


e)    Ms Skinner referred to the business case which had been presented to the Committee in January 2020 which outlined in detail the government’s view in terms of the benefits of RAAs which were to improve the timeliness for children so that children could move to their permanent family as quickly as possible and to improve post-adoption services for families.


f)     Ms Skinner said that if Kent wished to change any component of the partnership agreement, there would be a partnership board in which Kent’s Director of integrated children’s services would be a part of to represent Kent along with the other counterparts in Medway and Bexley and other officers. She added that Kent would need to liaise with the DfE in terms of withdrawing completely from an adoption agency.


g)    Ms Skinner talked about the calculation of future budgets and referred to the business case and the expectation of a future demand-led model.


(2)        RESOLVED that the decision proposed to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services to:


a)    agree to Kent County Council’s involvement in the establishment of Adoption Partnership south east in accordance with the Department of Education’s regional adoption programme; and


b)    approve the accompanying Partnership Agreement subject to there being no significant changes and grant delegated authority to the Director of Integrated Children’s Services (East) in consultation with General Counsel to approve any changes,


be endorsed.



Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing Services Update pdf icon PDF 275 KB

Additional documents:



(1)        Mr Collins briefly introduced the report which set out information relating to the progress that had been made on the key decision taken in November 2019 (decision number: 19/00076).


Mr Collins then responded to a number of comments and questions from Members, including the following: -


a)    Mr Collins referred to the new Positive Behavioural Support (PBS) service which was an evidence-based programme in place to replace the early help element which was delivered by NELFT. The PBS was supported by one of the Canterbury academic institutions to develop strategies to support emotional health and wellbeing at tier 2.


b)    Mr Collins referred to the information that had been relayed at the Cabinet Committee meeting in November 2019 in relation to moving £400,000 out of the £1.2m contract that was for emotional health and wellbeing services because the delay that was being caused in the service globally was mostly because of the neurodevelopmental work. As a result of the Written Statement of Action (WSoA) that had been developed since the Ofsted CQC, a great amount of co-design and co-production work had been undertaken with Kent Parents and Carers Together (PACT) to develop a strong evidence base for working with children and young people who were on that neurodevelopmental pathway. He added that whilst a reasonable amount of progression had been made, the Covid-19 pandemic had had an impact on the co-design and co-production work.


c)    Mr Collins referred to parenting more globally and said that there was a suite of both evidence-based and accredited parenting programmes in place and being further developed which contributed to the continuum of support for parents.


d)    In terms of the future developments of the wider emotional health and wellbeing contract, Mr Collins stated that work would soon commence to develop and deliver in line with any procurement issues.


e)    Mr Collins referred to section 9.4 of the report and stated that the Covid-19 pandemic had had a different impact on young people in different circumstances. He added that Kent County Council would continue to work with the welfare return to education and the monitor the evidence that came out of that as well as the evidence from the surveys conducted by HeadStart which had been undertaken with young people and families.


f)     Mr Collins confirmed that there was one children’s centre open in every district in Kent and the universal virtual offer continued during the Covid-19 pandemic.


g)    Mr Collins referred to section 3.1 within the report and confirmed that there had been three tragic deaths amongst young people following the Covid-19 lockdown in March 2020.


h)    Mr Collins referred to section 3.7 within the report and said that he would ensure that a colleague within Public Health would send further information to all Cabinet Committee Members in relation to the Kent and Medway Suicide Prevention Strategy.


i)  Mr Collins referred to project timescales and confirmed that he could submit a report to a future meeting of the Committee to highlight  ...  view the full minutes text for item 200.


School Alterations/Expansions

The Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee is asked to endorse or make recommendations to the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills on the following proposed decision (8a) and note the decision that had been taken out of the Committee cycle (8b):

Additional documents:


The Chairman introduced the two decisions within the School Alterations/Expansions item (20/00047 and 20/00087) and reminded Committee Members that decision number 20/00087 was an out of committee cycle decision and had already been taken by the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills.



20/00047 - Proposal to establish a 16 place Specialist Resourced Provision (SRP) for Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at Holy Trinity and St John's CE Primary school in Thanet pdf icon PDF 268 KB

Additional documents:


Ms M White (Area Education Officer) was in attendance for this item


(1)        In response to a question, Ms White referred to specialist resource provisions (SRP) and stated that the provisions met the need across Kent, as set out in The Kent Commissioning Plan for Education Provision in Kent 2020-24. She said that whilst there were a number of mainstream schools in Thanet that supported children with ASD and Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCPs), CYPE officers continued to work closely with schools to ensure that those children could be placed in independent provision where they would be better suited to whilst accessing mainstream education. She referred to the speech, language and communication gaps and potential overlap between ASD and speech, language, and communication. She added that the other area which was being explored with the special schools was the possibility of satellites provision.


(2)        In response to a question which related to transport, Ms White said that the proposal sought to address the cost, inconvenience and stress that transport-related issues presented for families and address need more locally, reducing the need for transport.


(3)        In response to a question, Ms White said that it was not the intention to move children out of the provisions that they were currently in into the new provisions if they were already happy and settled.


(4)        RESOLVED that the decision proposed to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills to:


a)    issue a public notice to establish a 16 place Specialist Resourced Provision for Autistic Spectrum Disorder at Holy Trinity and St John’s CE Primary School from June 2021 (term 6), and, subject to no objections being received to the public notice; and


b)    establish a 16 place Specialist Resourced Provision for Autistic Spectrum Disorder at Holy Trinity and St John’s CE Primary School, Thanet,


be endorsed.



20/00087 - Expansion and relocation of Platt Church of England Voluntary Aided Primary School under the Priority School Building Programme Round 2, on behalf of the Department for Education pdf icon PDF 156 KB

For noting only, decision will be taken outside of the Cabinet Committee cycle.

Additional documents:


(1)        Mr Cooke stated that he fully supported the Cabinet Member decision.


(2)        In response to a question, Mr Adams said that whilst it was possible that the existing site would be redeveloped for housing, there was no significant pressure within the locality at present, therefore the expansion of the school would support any future development within the locality. He added that if housing developments took place after the school had been built and filled, then anybody moving into the locality would only receive a school place if there were places available.


(3)        RESOLVED that the report be noted.



Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 332 KB

Additional documents:


Ms K Atkinson (Assistant Director - Management Information & Intelligence) was in attendance for this item.


(1)        Ms Atkinson provided a brief summary of the key indicators set out within the Performance Scorecard, which included indicators impacted by Covid-19.


Officers then responded to comments and questions from Members, including the following: -


a)    Ms Atkinson referred to general absence and attendance data and said that it was often difficult to obtain the data because unlike the exclusions information, it did not come through on a regular basis, it was collected through the school census on a termly basis. She added that CYPE officers were working closely with schools to implement some new live software that would collate data every week and allow key officers and staff to access a live view of attendance to produce persistent absence information. She reassured the Committee that there would be no additional burden on schools.


b)    Ms Atkinson referred to EHCPs and said as part of the WSoA, a range of targets were set with the DfE which rose every few months as a more realistic way of having upward trajectory rather than just having a target from the start which matched the national average. In terms of the quality of EHCPs, the map of the plan had been redesigned and rewritten to make it much clearer and easier for parents to see information and that had been co-produced with parents. The Special Educational Needs (SEN) service had received training on EHCPs to ensure that there was more consistency and quality of plans across the board.


c)    Ms Atkinson referred to the ‘Not in Education, Employment or Training’ (NEET) indicator and stated that it was an annual indicator because the NEET data was subject to seasonal fluctuation. She added that she could produce a detailed monthly NEET and ‘not known’ monitoring report in future. Ms Atkinson said that she would liaise with officers in The Education People (TEP) with regards to the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic had had on young people and the education, employment and training opportunities to cease being NEET.


d)    Ms Atkinson referred to achievement gaps and Free School Meal (FSM) gaps which were within the annual indicators section of the Performance Scorecard and said that the Free School Meal gap in particular was concerning as there had been a significant rise in children becoming eligible for FSM during the Covid-19 pandemic, therefore those children would remain on the Pupil Premium list for the next few years and would inevitably impact the FSM achievement gap.


e)    Ms Atkinson said that she would explore laptop provision during the Covid-19 pandemic in more detail outside of the meeting.


f)     Mrs Dean requested that further information be provided within the scorecard graphics page in relation to timeframes/timescales.


g)    Mrs Chandler (Cabinet Member for Integrated Children’s Services) emphasised the importance of NEETs and flagged some of the impacts that the Covid-19 pandemic had had on NEETs. She reassured Members of the Committee that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 203.


Cabinet Member decisions report pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Additional documents:



Work Programme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 110 KB

Additional documents:


(1)        During this item, Dr Sullivan stated that she did not wish to note the report for Item 10 (Cabinet Member decisions report), see minute 204.


(2)        RESOLVED that the Work Programme for 2020/21 be noted, subject to the inclusion of the following:


·         Update from The Education People (Requested by Dr Sullivan)