Agenda and minutes

Children and Education Select Committee - Friday, 16 November 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions

Contact: Richard Plummer 

No. Item


Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

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    To report any apologies for absence and substitutions


    Apologies were received from Yvonna Lay, Time Evans and Victoria Young. Andrew Povey Substitued for Yvonna Lay.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting: 7 September 2018 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

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    To agree the minutes of the previous meeting as a true and accurate record of proceedings.


    The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true and accurate record of proceedings.


Declarations of Interest

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    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or

    as soon as possible thereafter:


    i.      any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or;


    ii.     other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting




    ·         Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest;


    ·         as well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner); and


    ·         Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.



    Chris Botten declared an interest as the Chairman of the Council of Governors of Hurst Green Infant and Nursery School


    Kay Hammond declared an interest as Chair of the Interim Executive Board of Chart Wood School.


Questions & Petitions

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    To receive any questions or petitions




    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (9 November 2018).


    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (8 November 2018).


    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.


    There were no questions or petitions received.


Response from the Cabinet to Issues Referred by the Select Committee

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    There have been no responses from Cabinet.


    There were no responses from Cabinet.


Children's Improvement Plan pdf icon PDF 71 KB

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    Purpose of the Report: Scrutiny of Children’s Services Performance Improvement

    Additional documents:


    Mark Barratt, Director of Quality Assurance

    Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Children

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. Officers explained that the report outlined performance in Children’s Services in Surrey. It was highlighted that there was now a robust usage of performance data, and that this was as a result of a modified system which enabled clear data entry and recollection. It was also noted that usage of this had changed and that it was used to challenge behaviour on both a strategic level to an operational level.

    2. Officers recognised that there had been significant challenges regarding data quality. It was stressed that the service was looking to address key areas of vulnerability and ensure that data is inputted in a single and streamlined way, explaining that systems were changing to make this possible.

      Robert Evans entered the meeting at 10.10am

    3. Members questioned what work was being undertaken to reduce indicators rated as high risk, highlighting those high risk indicators that were on a downwards trajectory, and questioned whether the service was taking priority action to address these. Officers stressed that there was a plan of activity to rectify indicators which were on a downwards trend, and noted that with an understanding of the data, there was an opportunity to understand the underlying root cause of key issues were.

    4. The Cabinet Member for Children stressed that there was rapid improvement work underway and that the implementation of the Transformation Business Cases that were approved by Council were critical to the improvement of the service. The Cabinet Member noted that the acceptance of the high risk indicators demonstrated that the service was aware of its deficiencies and need to improve. It was explained that improvement was underway, but that there was significant work needed to ensure that this improvement was embedded within the service.

    5. Officers noted that the remodel the management tier of services had provided organisational clarity and that this was improving accountability and ownership of performance within the service. It was noted that this was part of the change of culture in performance management within the service.

    6. Members noted that they appreciated the improved evidence of performance monitoring and noted that they would like to see evidence of continued and regular performance monitoring presented to the Committee and that any indicators that had a consistent downward trend should be highlighted to the Committee.

    7. Members questioned whether there would be any projected impact on reductions in spend in the service, particularly the proposals to reduce the number of Children’s Centres in the County, and how the service planned to mitigate this. The Cabinet Member stressed that this should be viewed as part of the wider transformation programme and there would be more resource put into early intervention, which should improve performance measures in the long term, due to the targeted nature of earlier intervention and concentration of resource. The Cabinet Member emphasised that it was not the intent to remove services that residents depended on, but that it would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Surrey Alternative Learning Provision pdf icon PDF 113 KB

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    Purpose of the Report: To outline the current Surrey Alternative Learning Provision (SALP) offer and how it is utilised by Surrey County Council and partners, with a particular focus on our work in reducing exclusions, to provide context of this vulnerable group and the range of services offered, including coverage of provision, length of time children utilise them for and whether the provision is being used to best improve children’s outcomes.


    Additional documents:



    Mary Burguieres, Continuous Improvement & Change Strategic Lead
    Anne Halliday, Assistant Head Teacher (Inclusion)
    Paul Jackson, Headteacher of North West Surrey Short Stay School
    Sarah Stokes, Head Teacher of Dormansland Primary School

    Mark Heath, Principle Lead for Inclusion

    Mary Lewis, Cabinet Member for All Age Learning

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. Officers explained that the service worked with some of the most vulnerable children in the County. It was also noted that issues facing schools regarding permanent exclusions were under intense scrutiny in national and local government and that this issue was timely and linked to reviews undertaken elsewhere. It was also noted that the Surrey High Sherriff had undertaken significant work on this issue and that this had helped analyse the effect that permanent exclusion had on the child.

    2. Members questioned the inspection and regulation of alternative education provision providers. The Headteacher noted that Short Stay Schools are inspected under the same regulatory framework and inspection rules as mainstream schools. It was stressed that there was a need to demonstrate progress with students, and that Ofsted did not only focus on results, as would be more the case in a mainstream school, and considered the progress of children to determine success.

    3. Officers noted that children in alternative provision were monitored by both the school that commissioned the alternative provision and by the local authority to ensure that their outcomes were monitored.

    4. Officers noted that frameworks were in place to determine how network funding could be utilised to commission alternative education provision. It was noted, however, that this framework was designed in 2011 and was in need of refreshing.

    5. Members questioned how Short Stay Schools measured the progress of children. The Head of the Short Stay School noted that exam results were a difficult quantative analysis to utilise for children in alternative provision, due to the different levels of qualification and behavioural models of children in this environment. It was explained that progress was measured in terms of behavioural improvements and other non-attainment based measures. The Head of the Mainstream School noted that there was a need to monitor a child’s outcome and work closely with the Short Stay School to ensure improvement.

    6. Members noted that, as a result of increases in numbers of children with behaviour issues, there was a potential for more exclusions from mainstream school. Members questioned whether there was enough provision available to help support these children, capacity to take the demand, and if anything was being undertaken to reduce demand. Officers noted that the plans for SEND Transformation included the option to increase capacity of specialist places by approximately 350. It was stressed however, that there was a risk in increasing numbers of Short Stay School places, noting that increased numbers could potentially encourage greater utilisation of these places.

    7. Officers stressed that they would be working with schools and Special Educational Needs Co-Ordinators (SENCOs) in schools to help improve the capability of schools to be inclusive as possible.

    8. The Head of the Mainstream School  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Internal Audit Report Initial Health Assessments 17/18 pdf icon PDF 57 KB

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    Purpose of report: To review the summary of audit findings and Management Action Plan produced as a result of an internal audit review of Initial Health Assessments 17/18.


    Additional documents:


    David John, Audit Manager
    Richard Abigail, Senior Auditor
    Carol Douch, Head of Countywide Services

    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. Internal Audit Officers explained that they had been invited by the service to review  their performance in delivering Initial Health Assessments (IHA) within statutory timescales  in order to help in their performance improvement process. It was explained that this work had been undertaken during Spring 2018.

    2. Internal Audit Officers noted that statutory timescales had not been met with regard to Initial Health Assessments and that audit could only provide Minimal Assurance. It was noted that four key stages were observed:
      1. Collection of form of consent and referral to provider
      2. Date provider offers an  appointment
      3. Date of the appointment
      4. Return of report to Children’s Services.

    Officers noted that there were delays to all of these stages.

    1. It was noted that a follow up audit was scheduled for next year to monitor implementation of  the agreed Management Action Plan.

    2. Officers noted that the Children, Families and Learning Directorate accepted the audit assessment of Minimal Assurance.

    3. Members questioned datasets and noted that there had been a reduction of assessments not completed on time and queried how the service had undertaken this. Officers noted that there had been significantly more senior officer oversight of this process in order to drive practice improvement which had led to changes in Surrey County Council’s improvement. It was also noted that senior leaders were in regular weekly contact with the provider to ensure that practice improvement is holistic, which had also led to improvements since this audit was initially conducted.

    4. The Cabinet Member for Children noted that there had been longstanding evidence of poor performance in delivery of Initial Health Assessments within statutory timescales. It was explained that this issue was part of the systemic problems within the service that the improvement and transformation of the service was looking to improve upon.

    5. Officers noted that there had been work undertaken to look at alternative models of delivering this service and best practice across other local authorities. It was stressed that alternative contract models were being looked at to ensure that the service delivered in the best way.

    6. Internal Audit Officers noted that, in the case of a high priority agreed action , audit would monitor progress to ensure that it has been successfully delivered. Audit noted that it would be expecting to conduct its follow up in quarter one of 2019/20 and that the results of this would be circulated to the Committee upon its conclusion.

    7. Internal Audit Officers noted that they had good working relations with Children, Families and Learning and that the new Directors were receptive to change and that audit was undertaking reviews of other areas of change within the service.


    Members noted that they were encouraged by evidence of improvement. It was recommended that:

    1. The Committee receive an update from internal audit on the completion of the follow-up audit in 2019 to assure itself that progress has been made on the Management  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Children and Education Select Committee (2017-2018) SEND Task and Finish Group Conclusion Report pdf icon PDF 67 KB


Recommendations Tracker and Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 59 KB

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    The Select Committee is asked to review and approve the Forward Work Programme and Recommendations Tracker and provide comment as required.

    Additional documents:




    Key points raised in the discussion:

    1. Members noted that they would welcome the opportunity to undertake visits to alternative education provision as part of the Member Practice Conversations that were agreed at the last meeting.

    2. It was noted that Members had an interest in looking at the impact of the changes to the schools led system and when that could be scheduled and developed.


    1. None



Date of the Next Meeting

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    The next meeting of the Select Committee will be held 6 March 2019 in the Ashcombe Suite at County Hall.