Minutes

Children and Families Cabinet Member - Wednesday 27th January 2021

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Education Appeals Panel Members

Minutes:

10    APPOINTMENT OF EDUCATION APPEALS PANEL MEMBERS - The Director: Governance and Partnerships submitted a report seeking approval to appoint independent members who could be called upon to sit on either the Education Admission Appeals Panel or Independent Review Panel to hear appeals in respect of school admissions and exclusions.

 

The council was the admissions authority for community and voluntary controlled schools and was responsible for ensuring compliance with the Department for Education (DfE) Schools Admissions Code. The Code covered the arrangements for appeals made against refusal of a place at a school. Appeals were heard by an Independent Appeals Panel, which consisted of three or five members, including at least one "education expert” and at least one "lay member”.

 

The council was also required, in line with the DfE Exclusions from Maintained Schools, Academies and Pupil Referral Units in England statutory guidance, to arrange an independent review panel hearing in response to a parent request following a permanent exclusion of their child from school.

 

The council made arrangements for Education Admission Appeals Panel and Independent Review Panel hearings on behalf of maintained schools and provided this service to Academy schools under a Service Level Agreement.

 

The existing pool of panel members was very experienced and was relatively small in the context of recent demand for appeal hearings. 

 

The pool comprised 16 panel members.  However, as a result of all appeals being held virtually in accordance with the updated regulations School Admissions (England) (Coronavirus) (Appeals Arrangements) (Amendment) Regulations 2020 (the 2020 regulations), the council was currently only able to draw upon the services of 11 panel members, as some members did not feel confident or comfortable with the software that was required to take part in remote appeals sessions.

 

Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, it looked very likely that appeals would be held remotely for some time, which would mean having fewer panel members available for appeals going forward.  As such the council was always open to applications from potential new members, which would possibly help to enlarge the available pool.

 

Two applications to join the panel had recently been received.

 

Resolved – That the proposal to appoint the two applicants, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, with a view to new members receiving training and being gradually introduced onto panels during 2021, be approved.

2.

Reconstitution of the Humber Estuary Federation

Minutes:

11     RECONSTITUTION OF THE HUMBER ESTUARY FEDERATION – The Director: Learning, Skills and Culture submitted a report seeking approval of the instrument of government to allow the governing body of The Humber Estuary Federation to be reconstituted to be effective from 1 February 2021.

 

At the full governing body meeting of The Humber Estuary Federation held on 30 November 2020, the governors voted to reconstitute the governing body in line with the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 and the School Governance (Constitution) (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

 

The above regulations set out the options available to schools in terms of the overall number of governors, the categories of governor and the guiding principles for the constitution.  The regulations gave the governing body more flexibility with their constitution and stated that they should be no bigger than they needed to be to carry out their statutory duties.  The regulations stipulated the categories and number of governors for maintained schools as follows:

 

·        2 parent governors

·        1 Local Authority governor

·        1 staff governor

·        1 Headteacher

·        As many co-opted governors as necessary to fulfil the skills requirements. Up to a maximum of one third of governors can be staff members.

 

The constitution of each governing body was laid down in a document known as the instrument of government.  A governing body may at any time request changes to their constitution, in accordance with the regulations, by varying their instrument of government.

 

Where changes are proposed, a maintained school’s governing body must prepare a draft instrument of government and submit it to the local authority for approval.

 

Resolved – That the new instrument of government for The Humber Estuary Federation be approved.

3.

Reconstitution of the Westcliffe and Priory Lane Federation

Minutes:

12    RECONSTITUTION OF THE WESTCLIFFE AND PRIORY LANE FEDERATION – The Director: Learning, Skills and Culture submitted a report seeking approval of the instrument of government to allow the governing body of The Westcliffe and Priory Lane Federation to be reconstituted to be effective from 1 February 2021.

 

At the full governing body meeting of The Westcliffe and Priory Lane Federation held on 19 November 2020, the governors voted to reconstitute the governing body in line with the School Governance (Constitution) (England) Regulations 2012 and the School Governance (Constitution) (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

 

The above regulations set out the options available to schools in terms of the overall number of governors, the categories of governor and the guiding principles for the constitution.  The regulations gave the governing body more flexibility with their constitution and stated that they should be no bigger than they needed to be to carry out their statutory duties.  The regulations stipulated the categories and number of governors for maintained schools as follows:

 

·       2 parent governors

·       1 Local Authority governor

·       1 staff governor

·       1 Headteacher

·       As many co-opted governors as necessary to fulfil the skills requirements. Up to a maximum of one third of governors can be staff members.

 

The constitution of each governing body was laid down in a document known as the instrument of government.  A governing body may at any time request changes to their constitution, in accordance with the regulations, by varying their instrument of government.

 

Where changes are proposed, a maintained school’s governing body must prepare a draft instrument of government and submit it to the local authority for approval.

 

Resolved – That the new instrument of government for The Westcliffe and Priory Lane Federation be approved.

4.

School Admission Arrangements for 2022/23 Community and Voluntary Controlled Schools

Minutes:

13    SCHOOL ADMISSION ARRANGEMENTS FOR 2022/23 COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTARY CONTROLLED SCHOOLS – The Director: Learning, Skills and Culture submitted a report informing the Cabinet Member of the outcome of the consultation with schools in respect of admission arrangements for 2022/23 and seeking approval to implement the proposed admission arrangements for that academic year.

The council was required to determine by 28 February 2021 its admission arrangements for the academic year 2022/23, including admission numbers, for each community and voluntary controlled school.

 

Admission arrangements were to describe how school places were allocated, especially with reference to the oversubscription criteria. This confirmed how applications were prioritised when the number of applications exceeded the number of places available.

 

The admission number referred to the number of school places that the admission authority must offer in the relevant age group of the school.

 

The School Admissions Code 2014 required that oversubscription criteria must be reasonable, clear, objective, procedurally fair, and comply with all relevant legislation, including equalities legislation.

 

Changes were made to the arrangements for 2019/20 after a full public consultation. No changes had been suggested for 2022/23.

 

Having consulted publicly for the 2019/20 arrangements, the council was not required to consult again for seven years (i.e. until the 2026/27 arrangements) unless it made changes to its arrangements such as changing the oversubscription criteria or seeking to reduce a school’s admission number.

 

Without exception, governing boards supported both the admission arrangements and the proposed admission number for their school.

 

Resolved – That the proposed admissions arrangements for the 2022/23 academic year, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report, be approved.

5.

Department for Education Local Authority Sector Led Improvement Programme

Minutes:

14    DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION LOCAL AUTHORITY SECTOR LED IMPROVEMENT PROGRAMME – The Director: Children and Community Resilience submitted a report informing the Cabinet Member of the Department for Education (DfE) Local Authority Sector Led Improvement Programme, and seeking support for the submission of an application to become a Sector Led Improvement partner to provide a joint package of support across children’s social care and Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND).

 

The DfE published guidance on how to apply to become a Local Authority Sector Led Improvement (SLI) partner on 16 December 2020. 

 

The SLI programme was designed to help councils support each other to improve their children’s services by working collaboratively, sharing good practice and providing constructive challenge.  The programme was designed to encourage collective responsibility for the performance of the sector.

 

Previous examples of SLI support across children’s social care had covered a vast range of practice areas and support had been provided through diagnostic services, case audits, mentoring, training and disseminating learning through conferences and events. 

 

To date, there had not been a SLI approach to SEND and the DfE were also seeking councils who could also offer SEND improvement support including support for strategic planning and leadership, effective financial management, workforce development, joint working and commissioning, needs assessment and coproduction with parent carers, children and young people. 

 

Councils were invited to submit an application to work with the DfE as a SLI partner to support children’s social care improvement, or combined improvement for children’s social care and SEND.  As part of the application process, it was necessary to secure evidence of elected members and chief executive support prior to submission.

 

Resolved - That the submission of an application for the Sector Led Improvement Programme be supported.

 

6.

Statement of Purpose for Kingfisher Lodge - 2020/2021

Minutes:

The corresponding report of the following item (Minute 15 refers) contains exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 1 and 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 

15    STATEMENT OF PURPOSE FOR KINGFISHER LODGE – 2020/2021 – The Director: Children and Community Resilience submitted a report seeking approval for the annual review and update of the Statement of Purpose for Kingfisher Lodge 2020/2021.

 

The Children’s Homes Regulations 2015 stated that “the registered person must keep the Statement of Purpose under review and, where appropriate revise it, and notify the HMCI of any revisions and send HMCI a copy of the revised statement of purpose within 28 days of the revision (regulation16(3))”.

 

The registered manager of Home A had undertaken the annual review of the statement of purpose and made changes where required. 

 

The Statement of Purpose continued to include service adaptations introduced due to the coronavirus pandemic. The changes were due to guidance requirements and recommendations but wherever possible the managers at Home A had maintained business as usual and changes had been kept to a minimum in order to provide consistency and stability.

 

The report set out the key changes to the document.

 

Resolved – That the revised Statement of Purpose for Kingfisher Lodge 2020/2021 be noted, and the changes approved.