Venue: Council Chamber
Contact: Christine Rothwell Senior Governance Officer
Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Susan Durant, Antoinette Drinkhill and Bernadette Nesbit.
To consider the extent, if any, to which the public and press are to be excluded from the meeting.
Declarations of Interest, if any.
There were no declarations of interest made.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meetings held on the 13th October 2022 be agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
(A period not exceeding 20 minutes for statements from up to 5 members of the public on matters within the Panel’s remit, proposing action(s) which may be considered or contribute towards the future development of the Panel’s work programme).
There were no public statements made.
It was reported that the Local Authority had a duty to carry out robust tracking and monitoring of the 16-18 cohort (up to age 25 for those with an Education and Health Care Plan). It was continued that the authority also offers targeted support (impartial information, advice and guidance) to all young people who were Not in Employment, Education or Training (NEET).
It was noted that monthly outcomes have continued to Doncaster as performing better than regional and national averages.
It was commented that local NEET data was often higher in the autumn than in the spring. It was explained that this was due to decisions being changed once data became validated. Members were informed that once the data has been validated, it could be shared with the Panel.
The Panel held a discussion and the following areas were highlighted;
Care Leavers (NEET) – Clarification was sought on the different age ranges referenced in Table 15 (for ages 17-24 Care Leavers) and Table 18 DFE Caseload in Table 18 (for ages 17-21 DFE Caseloads). Members were informed that historically, the DFE requested Care Leaver data from 17 to 21 years old. It was explained that there were young people at 22 and 23 years old, with cases that remained open for various reasons. It was continued that the DFE had agreed that as of April 2023, this age range would be broadened from 17-21 to 17-24 years old
Concern was raised that the NEET percentage for care leavers in Doncaster was high at 30%, although the national figure was higher at around 41%. It was stated that this figure did not relate directly to housing issues and more towards mental health or substance misuse.
Elective Home Education (EHE) (NEET) - It was questioned whether there was data for those who were electively home schooled and considered at risk of becoming NEET. Members were informed that data for that particular cohort was not collected as it was not required, although it was felt that this could be considered in the future. It was added that there was a cohort of EHE young people in Year 11 that were known about.
Careers Advice – In terms of available careers advice, Members heard that this now sat within the Skills Portfolio (which had recently joined the Education Portfolio) and that it was each secondary school or college’s responsibility to strategically plan and allocate careers leadership for the delivery of impartial advice and guidance to their students. Members heard that schools could offer opportunities brought on site or accessed off site. It was explained that this took place with the support of the Enterprise Co-ordinators and businesses linking with the schools. Members were informed that there was a framework known as Gatsby Benchmarks that schools worked towards and was recognised as part of the Ofsted Inspection framework. It was added that young people also had access to the START in Doncaster website (www.startindoncaster.com) live events and open evenings.
Members were informed of the role ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
The report provided a summary of the action taken, changes made to learning improvement and an update in relation to the data, achievement and improvement across the following education phases:
· Early Years Foundation Stage
· Key Stage 1
· Key Stage 2
· Key Stage 4 (GCSE)
· Key Stage 5 (A Level, T Levels and Applied General)
The Panel held a discussion and the following areas were highlighted;
Attainment for Children and Young People with Early Health Care Plans (ECHP) – It was acknowledged that the outlook for this area was not positive and that further work was needed. Members heard how Special Educational Needs (SEN) across mainstream schools had a raft of options available to focus on ensuring that those needs were met, and that there were a number of plans and strategy in place for outcomes.
It was recognised that there were some clear patterns that needed to be addressed through focusing more on attainment. Special Needs Co-ordinators measured delivery through Headteachers and SENCO groups. Regarding the planning of Educational Health and Care Plans (EHCP), it was felt that this needed to be refined, in order to achieve better outcomes.
Table (Page 24, Para. 30) indicative comparators and improvement in relative gaps to national as below for all entries, against disadvantage groups and by gender. - Members sought detailed information on the breakdown of male and female around educational needs. It was explained that ‘up to A-level’ female data had performed very well compared to national performance.
Actions/Implementation Strategy - The report provided a summary of action taken and changes made to learning improvement. Members were informed that alongside the Skills and Education Strategy, there was a Schools Improvement Strategy that looked at all the data and information provided to identify priorities and support across schools in order to improve the teaching of reading, writing, maths and accelerated learning. It was noted that the school was responsible for the pupil’s achievements and outcomes although the authority was in a position to effectively monitor and track this area.
Members were informed that the Implementation Strategy would be available by the end of 2022.
A Member of the Panel commented on the number of strategies across the Council and commented that it would be useful to see how those strategies worked together.
ACTION: For Panel Members to receive a visual diagram of how the strategies align with each other.
Phonics – Members considered it positive that the drop in phonics outcomes was lower than national performance. In terms of the targets for 2023, it was clarified that there had been a target of 79% in 2023, which overall had been less than what was previously set at 85% prior to the pandemic. It was felt that this was moving in the right direction with a long-term aspiration to reach 95%. It was explained that schools set their own targets and that the Local Authority would monitor schools for concern.
Members heard how a number of schools (that the Council had data for), ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
The Senior Governance Officer introduced the Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan and Council’s Forward Plan of key decisions to the attention of the Panel.
RESOLVED: That the information, be noted.