Agenda and draft minutes

Children's, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee - Wednesday, 12th October, 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Emily Kennedy  03000 419625

Note: This meeting replaces the one planned for 13 September 2022. 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies and Substitutes

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Canon Dr Q Roper, Mrs S Hamilton for whom Mrs P Cole and Mr G Cooke for whom Mr Weatherhead was present.

2.

Declarations of Interest

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Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

3.

Minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2022 pdf icon PDF 262 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee held on 19 July 2022 were correctly recorded and that they be signed by the Chair, subject to it be noted:

 

Dr Sullivan said she was not satisfied with the accuracy of the parts of minute item 22 relating to communication from union representatives and Mr Brady said that he was not satisfied with the completeness of points in minute item 30, relating to Kent Wheels 2 Work.

 

 

4.

Performance Monitoring pdf icon PDF 935 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Katherine Atkinson, Assistant Director of Management Information and Intelligence; Stuart Collins, Director – Integrated Children’s Services- Early Help Lead; Kevin Kasaven, Director – Integrated Children’s Services (East) and Sarah Hammond, Corporate Director of CYPE were in attendance for this item

 

1) Ms Atkinson introduced the report and updated Members on areas of change since the report had been produced. The caseloads for Children’s Social Work Teams (CSWT) in the data produced for August 2022 had reduced and there had been improvement in the summer term take up of the 3 Free for 2 nursery funding.

 

2) Further to comments and questions from Members, it was noted:

 

·       There was variation in the numbers of permanent Qualified Social Workers holding caseloads across districts in the county due to circumstances within teams such as staff leaving, recruitment of agency staff, any long-term sickness, etc.

·       There were 63 Newly Qualified Social Workers and their caseloads would be less. Overall, there had been a reduction in social work caseloads and there were strategies in place to further reduce caseloads.

·       There were two issues that affected the issuing of EHCP within 20 weeks. The first was the availability of Educational Psychologist advice within 6 weeks and the second was that the availability of placements for children which could delay the issuing of the EHCPs. The backlog had been significantly reduced in the last year.

·       There were 3 schools in the Swale area with higher numbers of permanent exclusions. ‘Wraparound’ support was going into these school settings.

·       There had been a request that the number of first entrants into the Youth Justice system be included in the report. This was included on the Activity page at the front of the report.

·       A scoping exercise to research was being scoped out to better understand the root causes of school non-attendance post-Covid.

·       The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) shared information with Department of Education about families that were eligible for 3 Free for 2 nursery funding but information was only able to be kept by local authorities for 6 weeks. Work was being done to look at families who registered in the system but did not take up the entitlement.

 

3) RESOLVED to note the report.

 

5.

Ofsted Update pdf icon PDF 872 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Katherine Atkinson, Assistant Director of Management Information and Intelligence was in attendance for this item

 

1) Ms Atkinson introduced the report.

 

2) RESOLVED to note the report

 

6.

22/00078 - Special Educational Needs - Commissioning External Tuition Services pdf icon PDF 296 KB

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Minutes:

Christy Holden, Head of Strategic Commissioning (Children and Young People’s Services, Alison Farmer, Job title and Jamie Brooks were present for this item.

 

1) Ms Holden outlined the report. Slippage in the schedule meant that work was being undertaken for the framework to commence in April 2023 and not in January or February as stated in the report. The cost of procurement of the framework was just under £49,000.

 

2) Further to questions and comments from Members, it was noted:

 

·       There was an internal model housed by The Rosewood School. KCC was looking at the levels of eligibility, what they were able to deliver and what would need to be delivered private sector. The Service Level Agreement had been established in September 2021 but this would not be at full capacity until 2023. In the longer term, work was to be done to look at tuition with SEN and whether it could be delivered fully in house. It was felt that the proposed decision would stabilise the market, introduce ‘due diligence’ and would help KCC to establish whether the services could be delivered in house in the future.

·       A Member requested that the recommendations in the report be expanded to include greater detail at part A)

·        This matter could come back to Cabinet Committee and there was provision for early termination of contract.

·       Tuition for a child was decided on the basis of what was in Section F of their EHCP, which contained special educational provision.

 

3) RESOLVED to endorse the recommendations as outlined in the report subject to further detail being added at A).

 

7.

SEND Update pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Alison Farmer, Assistant Director/Principal Educational Psychologist

Special Educational Needs, and Christine McInnes were in attendance for this item

 

1) Ms Farmer and Ms McInnes outlined the presentation (slides attached).

 

2) Further to comments and questions from Members, it was noted:

 

·       Members expressed disappointment that the SEND transport report was not an item on the agenda.  Members were advised that the report which had been brought to Scrutiny Committee was to be considered by Governance and Audit Committee.

·       The Kent Commissioning Plan was due to come to Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee and there was to be a more substantial section in the plan on place planning for children with SEND. A lot of work had been done on pupil projections, looking at more strategic decision making to ensure a spread of provision across the county and clear, consistent pathways.

·       It was recognised that parents were increasingly anxious in the current climate and KCC wanted to give parents the confidence that the best was being done for their children.

·       EHCP were reviewed annually and the child’s needs were considered in the review.  Special schools were to be used primarily for the children with the most complex needs. There was partnership working to forward the message that there was suitable education in mainstream schools. Transition points were being looked at with KCC’s partners to ensure the development of a more balanced approach.

 

3) Mrs Dean asked for it to be noted that she wished to propose and Mr Brady wished to second a motion.

 

Advice was given through the Chair that the SEND update was for noting only and that therefore, the motion should be withdrawn.

 

4) RESOLVED to note the update.

8.

22/00091 - Alterations to the Academic School Year 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 280 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Christine McInnes, Director of Education was in attendance for this item

 

1) Ms McInnes introduced the report.

 

2) RESOLVED to note the report.

 

9.

Verbal Update by Cabinet Members

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Minutes:

1) Mrs Chandler said that Ofsted carried out a revisit of Kent's SEND services from 27 to 29 September, looking at how the county had progressed since the last inspection in 2019. It was not possible to share the outcomes of the visit to all Members at the meeting due to the Lead Inspector stipulating that the feedback received during the final meeting was to be kept confidential until the publication of the Ofsted judgement. A full update was therefore to be provided at the next meeting on 29 November.

 

In 2015 the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) was established to try and alleviate some of this pressure on Kent and other local authorities at the forefront of receiving Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children. At that time the protocol was that no authority should have more than 0.07% of its total child population as UASC.  The scheme operated on a voluntary basis until December 2021 when it became mandatory.

 

The then Minister for Safe and Legal Migration, Kevin Foster, announced on 24 August 2022 that the percentage threshold under this scheme was to rise from 0.07% to 0.1%. This was the first change in the threshold since its introduction. The change took KCC's quota from 242 to 346 children. KCC was already over capacity at the 0.07% level and was actively making preparations to accept the additional children into our children in care service. The Safe Care and Reception Service was still being operated from which children and young people are allocated to other local authorities through the National Transfer Scheme, for an additional 120 young people.

 

It was noted that not all local authorities have reached even the 0.07% level yet, so KCC was urging the government to ensure the allocations are spread more evenly.

 

The government also announced that the ten-day deadline for transfers of UASC not currently in local authority care had been reduced from ten to five working days. For transfers between local authorities, this was to remain at ten working days. This had been designed to reduce the need for using hotels, however, due to increasing numbers, a new hotel specifically for receiving minors had been opened in Coventry to help alleviate any additional pressure.

 

As of 7 October, there had been 1090 UASC referrals in 2022, which was already more than the previous record set in 2015 which saw 927 for the entire year. The largest proportion of arrivals was from Albania (around 80%), but because some are not claiming asylum status, they were not counted in the UASC statistics, but KCC retained responsibility for their welfare. Furthermore, KCC retained a safeguarding responsibility while waiting for UASC to be relocated by the Home Office from hotels. This created additional workloads in the event a child goes missing for example. When this occurred, KCC worked closely with the police to minimise the risk of these children becoming victims of exploitation.

 

It should be noted that Ukrainian children placed into local authority care were not to be included  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Decisions taken outside of the Cabinet Committee meeting cycle pdf icon PDF 210 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1) Further to comments from Members, it was noted:

 

·       A forward plan of contracts was being produced and was to be maintained.

·        

2) RESOLVED to note the report.

 

 

11.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1) Members noted the work programme.