Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Christine Rothwell  Senior Governance Officer

No. Item


Apologies for absence


To consider the extent, if any, to which the public and press are to be excluded from the meeting.


There were no items where the public and press were to be excluded from the meeting.


Declarations of Interest, if any.


There were no declarations of interest made at the meeting.


Minutes of the Children and Young People Overview and Scrutiny meeting held on 31st October 2023 pdf icon PDF 106 KB


RESOLVED:-  that the minutes of the meeting dated 31st October 2023, be agreed as a correct record and signed by the chair subject to the safeguarding and protection of children in schools paragraph being amended to read as follows:


“Concerns were raised by a Youth Councillor with regard to accessing drinking water in schools and agreed this would be investigated.  It was explained to the Panel that with regard to any reported issues or findings relating to schools, they would be investigated and addressed by the Local Authority.”


Public Statements

(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 in attendance at the meeting and no public statements.


Education Achievement Outcomes for all Key Stages 2023 pdf icon PDF 320 KB


Achievement across all phases compared with 2019 – a Panel Member referred to paragraph 9 of the report where data showed achievement had either been sustained or surpassed and highlighted this was a testament to the hard work of the children and young people who achieved these results.  Members continued by questioning if there were any notable surprises in setting/school results and if yes, why?


In response it was explained that this cohort was the most impacted by Covid due to there being no mitigation with assessment.  Some schools had sustained achievement and there had been a slight decline in others whilst some sustained the same level.  The Panel was assured that the Local Authority was supporting schools where education had been lost in populations that were impacted by the pandemic.  It was noted that some Doncaster schools had sustained and showed significant improvement with educational outcomes that were serving areas with high levels of deprivation and disadvantage, flipping trends.


Progress 8 and being in line with the national average – It was explained to the Panel that Progress 8 scores being in line with average outlined that pupils made typical levels of progress through secondary school given their outcomes at Key Stage 2.  Members noted it related to starting points, if they were below average at KS2, typical progress meant that pupils remained below average at the end of KS4.


Outcomes for pupils with EHCPs / SEND – a Member questioned why pupils with SEN support were not in line with national average when those with EHCPs were.  It was explained that this was an historical issue and the position was not as positive as had been wished, however, some progress had been made.  The Panel was informed that this issue linked to the next report on the agenda, where historically the primary priority was to drive intervention to ensure support was available, however, intervention was required at a very early stage with schools identifying need at the earliest opportunity.  To achieve early intervention, through the Strategy, a new infrastructure was being developed to provide a strong mechanism within schools, with professional development being provided, a consistent approach being sort and ensuring resources were available for pupils.


Validated results from KS5 – It was noted that there had been a great uptake of more technical qualifications.  The Panel acknowledged Doncaster’s validated results in the report but requested that once the figures from other Local Authorities were available that they be forwarded to Members. 


Phonics results – the Panel was pleased to note that Doncaster was 1% above the national average and that the English Hub support had made an impact.  In response to a query relating to all schools participating with the hub, it was explained that there were a variety of approaches being applied with schools as part of the Reading, Writing and Maths Strategy.  It was noted that RWM Doncaster linked with two of the English Hubs with some schools receiving more intensive support whilst others had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Equitable and Inclusive Access to Education for All pdf icon PDF 470 KB


Monitoring and supporting the proposed pathway changesto support the elements detailed within the proposed model, assessments needed to be undertaken therefore work was being carried out within educational settings.  This ensured children’s needs were being met, by working in tandem with schools to make sure clear pathways were in place, and if required accessing and pooling intelligence and resources.   It was stressed that partners were committed, united with a strong wish to make the collaboration work.  It was noted that the project funding was being provided by the Department for Education.


With regard to costs associated with out of authority placements, it was acknowledged that provision and costs would be more controllable where provision was available in local authority settings and was an area being addressed within the school sector, to provide and offer high quality placements for children.  Unit costs for placements in comparison to out of authority placements were significantly lower. 


It was stressed that if needs were met at the right time it would provide a significant measure and hopefully avoid future out of authority placements.  The panel noted that out of authority placements were a challenge for everyone and the positive news that the different approaches would benefit both children but also costs associated with current and future provision, was accepted.


Social, Emotional Mental health hub places – it was explained that one hub had opened and a further 3 were due to open in spring.  The Panel accepted that with any project there could be delays and noted, that due to recent weather, additional flood risk surveys had to be undertaken.


The Local Authority was working with families and schools to ensure the right provision was in place, making an impact and enriching opportunities for young people.


With regard to concern that capacity could outreach demand, it was noted that need was being managed and the pressure for placements would remain.


In response to a query relating to whether the hubs were available for children being home educated, it was explained that the child needed to be detailed on a school roll or it would be classed as an unregistered provision.  Advice and guidance would be provided by the Attendance Team if this was the case.


Stakeholders and partners delivering the SEND Strategy – It was explained that the following groups developed and deliver on the Strategy:


Local Area SEND Board (including representatives from each key stakeholder group including children, young people, parents, health leads, schools and trusts from all sectors);

SEND Engine Room (council, parents and health);

Parents ‘Making the Difference’ sessions (6 weekly);

Children and Young People’s SEND Board;

Head Teacher’s SEND Strategy Group;

Head Teachers Briefings;

SENCO Steering Group;

Schools Forum;

Head Teachers SEND Funding group;  and

SENCO Needs Descriptors Group;


The local authority also consulted widely on the development of the strategy, working with the Department for Education and have shared key documents with OFSTED.  A parental survey was currently being undertaken prior to an update of the strategy.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan and Council's Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 281 KB

Additional documents:


The Senior Governance Officer presented the Overview and Scrutiny Work Plan and Council’s Forward Plan of Key Decisions for the Panel’s information.


The Vice-Chair proposed that the Panel request an update from an earlier Panel recommendation relating to training being made compulsory in the future for drivers on school transport routes for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).


RESOLVED:-  That a request be made for an update to be provided to the Panel, on an earlier Panel recommendation relating to training being made compulsory in the future for drivers on school transport routes for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND).