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Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008 (including whipping declarations)
To receive for approval the minutes of the meeting of 04 07 22
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of a meeting of the Subject Overview and Scrutiny Committee 1 dated 4 July 2022 be approved as a true and accurate record.
Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell – Cabinet Member Education
Councillor Jane Gebbie - Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help
Lindsay Harvey - Corporate Director – Education and Family Support
Nicola Echanis - Head of Education and Family Support
Claire Marchant - Corporate Director Social Services & Wellbeing
Iain McMillan – Deputy Head of Children’s Social Care
Michelle Hatcher - Group Manager Inclusion and School Improvement
Mark Lewis - Group Manager - Family Support
David Wright – Group Manager Vulnerable Groups Support
Raeanna Grainger – Group Manager, IAA & Safeguarding
Robin Davies – Group Manager, Business Support
Andrew Williams – Assistant Director for Partnerships and Improvement – Central South Consortium
Andy Rothwell – Principal Improvement Partner – Central South Consortium
John Welch – Strategic Lead for Equity and Well-being
Richard Bailey – Headteacher, Bryncethin Primary School
Ryan Davies – Headteacher, Brynteg School
The Group Managers for Vulnerable Group Support, Inclusion and School Improvement and Family Support presented the report and advised that the purpose of the report was to provide the Committee with details of how the Education and Family Support Directorate was responding to and addressing issues related to pupil attendance, exclusions, health and safeguarding.
The Chair invited the Cabinet Members and Corporate Directors to make any remarks before receiving Members’ questions.
The Deputy Leader referred to continued increases in demand upon both the Early Help and Children’s Social Care service areas which, as statutory provisions, had to be provided. She referred to concern regarding the data benchmarking arrangements and reassured Members that this was being addressed. She queried whether there was a call for all education practitioners to be trauma informed considering the number of exclusions for violent and aggressive behaviour and suggested that they looked at how Education Services were being delivered, how timely referrals were being dealt with and the length of the waiting lists.
The Cabinet Member for Education advised that this was a UK wide issue and when looking at how the world had changed since the pandemic it was sometimes forgotten how much children had gone through at a very early age. They needed to be mindful that the decisions they made had impacts on children’s lives and mental health and he assured that they were working with schools to give every child the best chance when leaving education at eighteen.
The Corporate Director for Education and Family Support advised there were huge pressures on the system and the budget was going to be challenging going forward. He explained there was an extensive professional development process in place and they worked very closely with teams to make sure any additional training beneficial for schools was included.
With regard to the education safeguarding arrangements within Bridgend County Borough Council the Corporate Director for Social Services and Wellbeing advised that they had a Corporate Safeguarding Group and school auditing which was a good baseline of tracking, monitoring and improving safeguarding arrangements within schools. She believed that an integrated approach was needed in Bridgend regarding how they worked together at the front door and right the way through the children’s journey.
Members were concerned regarding the impact of the cost-of-living crisis upon hindering children’s public health and wellbeing. There were concerns regarding the condition of some of the educational facilities, children walking two or three miles to school if parents were unable to afford to run cars which could impact on attendance levels getting worse, the wording on some of the policies being difficult to understand, and the implementation of the Universal Primary Free School Meals (UPFSM) initiative given the lack of resources. Reference was also made to instances of teaching on weekends in order for pupils to achieve grades. The Members asked that these concerns be taken into consideration and whether Officers could help them understand and provide assurances to alleviate the concerns.
Officers advised that a ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
The Scrutiny Officer presented the Committee with the Forward Work Programme (FWP) in Appendix A for discussion and consideration, requested any specific information the Committee identified to be included in the items for the next two meetings, including invitees they wished to attend, requested the Committee to identify any further items for consideration on the FWP having regard to the selection criteria in paragraph 4.3 and asked the Committee to note that the FWP for the Committee would be reported to the next meeting of Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
A member queried when two topics listed on the FWP as ‘to be scheduled’ were likely to be programmed. The Senior Democratic Services Officer - Scrutiny advised that there had been a number of changes to the scheduling of reports due in part to a meeting of the Committee in September being cancelled during the national period of mourning and the Local Government Settlement being delayed until December delaying consideration of the Medium Term Financial Strategy. She advised that the scheduling of the reports would be included for discussion in the work planning meeting with the Scrutiny Chair and Corporate Director.
There were no further items identified for consideration on the Forward Work Programme having regard to the selection criteria in paragraph 4.3, and this could be revisited at the next meeting.
There were no requests to include specific information in the item for the next meeting.
RESOLVED: That the Committee approved the Forward Work
Programme in Appendix A, noted that the Forward Work
Programme and any updates from the Committee would
be reported to the next meeting of Corporate Overview
and Scrutiny Committee and noted the
Recommendations Monitoring Action Sheet in
To consider any item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in
accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.