Venue: County Hall
Contact: Deborah Miller, Tel: 07920 084239 Email: email@example.com
Election of Chairman for the 2019/20 Council Year
Councillor Mrs Anda Fitzgerald O’Connor moved and Councillor Ted Fenton seconded that Councillor Michael Waine be elected Chairman of the Education Scrutiny Committee for the 2019/20 Council Year.
There being no further nominations or dissent, Councillor Waine was duly elected Chairman of the Education Scrutiny Committee for the 2019/20 Council Year.
Election of Deputy Chairman for the 2019/20 Council Year
Councillor Gill Sanders moved and Councillor Jeannette Matelot seconded that Councillor John Howson be elected Deputy Chairman of the Education Scrutiny Committee for the 2019/20 Council Year.
There being no further nominations or dissent, Councillor Howson was duly elected Deputy Chairman of the Education Scrutiny Committee for the 2019/20 Council Year.
The Minutes of the Meeting held on 25 March 2019 were approved and signed as an accurate record of the Meeting subject to substituting ‘right’ to ‘write’ in Minute 131/19.
Minute 132/19 – The Chairman indicated that he would be arranging to meet with Deborah Bell for an initial discussion on this issue and then discuss it further under the forward plan item at the next meeting in September.
Minute 133/19 – The Committee asked officers to provide the update in relation to St. Andrews School Chinnor (recommendation b) as soon as possible.
Regional Schools Commissioner
The Committee is pleased to welcome Dame Kate Dethridge, Interim Regional Schools Commissioner for North London and the South East region, for a Q and A session at the start of the meeting. The session is to give Dame Dethridge an opportunity to set out the RSC role, its relationship with other statutory bodies and how the post-holder approaches support to academies in areas such as attainment and finance. The Committee also wishes to understand what is in place to ensure transparency and accountability of Multi Academy Trusts.
The Committee welcomed the Interim Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) for North London and the South-East Region, Dame Kate Dethridge and the Regional Lead, Mr Tom Gregory to the Meeting for a question and answer session regarding the role of the RSC, its relationship with other statutory bodies and how the RSC approached support to academies in areas such as attainment and finance.
By way of introduction the Interim Director gave a brief overview of the work carried out by her office. The Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) covered North West London and South Central which covered 27 local authority areas from North London to Northampton. The RSC supported schools in difficulty in finding supporting sponsors; supported Multi Academy Trust development, school improvement and school grants. In terms of powers, there main focus was on the schools which were judged inadequate, at the point the RSC became involved to find that school a suitable Trust. The RSC established, developed and maintained relationships and believed in working in collaboration to achieve a best solution for schools and children. In relation to Oxfordshire’s current challenges remained around Recruitment and retention. The Secretary of State was committed support it and a number of different strategies encouraging schools to look at how they got staff into the school and then to retain and advance them, including a new free website for schools to use.
During questions and discussion, the following points were made:
One of the continuing areas of interest to us is you see your relationship with Ofsted and other bodies evolving with your office, is it one of partnership or is it one of operating in different areas?
The relationship we have with the EFSA and Ofsted is very much collaboration and partnership and we work very hard to achieve it. We work very closely with the EFSA, who have responsibility around funding and to some degree safeguarding. We work together sharing information, best practice and guidance, working together to support our trusts and stand alones.
Ofsted are an independent group and have to be, so we ensure there is ‘clear blue water’ between what we do and Ofsted do, our involvement comes after Ofsted have been in to schools and we make sure there is no confusion around that. We do hold many conversations with Ofsted, particularly around the roles which may be coming out of the new expected framework.
There seems to be a lot of ‘mist and fog’ about the expectation on local authorities from Government, and it does seem to be that when there is blame to be laid it is on local authorities and when there is accolade to be given it tends to be others, we seem to pick up more difficult areas when it is politic to do so, do you think there is a need nationally to give greater definitions to expectations and responsibilities?
I can only talk about my relationships with Oxfordshire, and I hope that my colleagues would confirm that we have a very ... view the full minutes text for item 140/19
The report (ESC8) sets out the up to date position of the capital building programme for new schools in Oxfordshire to 2023 as requested at the last meeting.
The Committee is asked to consider the programme.
At its last Meeting, the Committee had requested an update on the new schools building programme in the County. The Committee had before it a report (ESC8) which set out the up to date position of the capital building programme for new schools in Oxfordshire to 2023.
Mrs Milward reported that plans were advanced for all the September 2020 Schools and that the delivery of the other schools would be subject to occupation of houses in the new developments. The Council did not control the delivery of ESFA led projects but worked with its partners to secure and meet this demand.
In relation to the swan school, members expressed concern that the transport action plan for the site to ensure that there were no issues in terms of vehicle movements had not been produced, although it had been required at planning application stage and should have been submitted prior to any work starting.
The Committee noted that the late opening of the Swan school had meant that many families had not known where their children were attending school until the last minute and that there was lessons to be learnt around communication with parents in the future.
Mrs Milward indicated that officers were aware of the situation and were in discussions with the EFSA to try to rectify the situation.
RESOLVED: The Committee noted that at present no delay was expected on the delivery of any of the projects.
The report (ESC9) identifies and analyses trends in the Academies Programme during 2018, and indicates changes from those noted in 2017, under the following headings.
1.National and Local Statistics
2.Conversion Numerical Data
3.Trends in Conversions
5.Cost of Conversions
7.Regional Schools Commissioner
The Committee is RECOMMENED to consider the findings of the report.
The Committee had before it a report (ESC9) which identified and analysed trends in the Academies Programme during 2018, and indicated changes from those noted in 2017. Mrs Milward introduced the report and drew the Committee’s attention to the following highlights from the data:
Following the dramatic rise in conversion in 2017 (23 academy conversions), 2018 saw an average number of conversions over the last ten years, with 11 completed during the year. 82% (9) of the conversions in 2018 were primary schools, 18% (2) of the conversions were secondary schools.
There were 144 academies including new Free Schools and Studio Schools in Oxfordshire at 31 December 2018. 13 more than in 2017 (11 conversions and two new schools).
As of December 2018, there were 155 maintained schools, including seven LA Maintained Nursery Schools and nine special schools. 85 had a religious designation (either Church of England, Archdiocese of Birmingham (RC) or Diocese of Portsmouth (RC). The average size of LA Maintained schools was 210, with 44 schools (28%) having less than 100 pupils on roll.
Approximately 62% of the total Oxfordshire pupil population were now educated in academies, with 97% of secondary pupils attending an academy.
There remained marked differences in volume of academy conversions between locality areas.
Conversions to academy status were at average rate of approximately 1 per month in 2018 down from 2 per month in 2017.
There were no new MATS established in 2018 in Oxfordshire, all schools converting in 2018 joined an established MAT.
Multi-Academy Trusts were maturing and, in some cases, merging with others to become more sustainable units in terms of both school improvement and financial security.
Church of England schools have a number of options for joining a MAT in the county. Catholic schools in Oxfordshire may still only convert to academy status with other catholic schools.
In 2018 four primary schools, judged by Ofsted to have serious standards issues, were issued Directed Academy Orders. Three converted to sponsored academy status with an established Oxfordshire based MAT, and one from Reading.
The pool of sponsors available to support under performing schools in
Oxfordshire remained the same in 2018. The need to identify more sponsors was a challenge nationally. However, the supply of sponsors in Oxfordshire remained good and officers have intimated to the RSC that there is potential from within trusts operating in the county to meet the need to support schools with standards issues.
A managed system continued to ensure schools convert with all business issues relating to the Council set out in transfer documentation. The cost per conversion to the Council remained approximately £12,000.
As part of the programme to meet savings required across Council services, a one-off contribution to the costs of the Council per conversion has been levied on converting schools since 1 April 2016. This was set at £6,000 per school and was met from the DfE grant to them to meet costs of the conversion process.
Following discussion with Schools Forum and all schools and ... view the full minutes text for item 142/19
The report (ESC10) covers three main areas:
• 16-18 attainment – for schools and colleges (A level, Applied General and Tech Level qualifications) – 2017/18;
• Achievement rates for Further Education settings (2017/18):
• Education and training
• Destinations of students following key stage 5 (2016/17).
The Committee is RECOMMENED to note the report.
At a previous meeting, the Committee had identified a concern around post 16 Education, particularly around Studio Schools and UTC’s and pupils appearing “to go missing” in Year 13. The Committee had before it a report (ESC10) which gave an overview of 16-18 attainment in Oxfordshire, together with destinations of pupils following Key Stage 5.
During debate, the Committee made the following observations:
The Committee welcomed the fact that the 16-18 Apprentice rate and Pupils in Education, Employment and Training was above the national average.
The number of pupils taking modern languages was very low, although in line with national average. The Committee noted that the Ofsted focus on the wider curriculum may improve the numbers.
The Committee noted that there would be greater scrutiny from Ofsted of A ‘Level and apprentice pupils going forward.
The Committee noted the importance of Oxfordshire encouraging all entry criteria after GCSE.
The Committee noted that the percentage of pupils claiming pupil premium remained a concern with only 8% claiming in Early Years.
RESOLVED: The Committee thanked the Head of Learning and School improvement for the update and requested the data on sustained education and employment for disadvantaged pupils for the last 3 years.
Update on Northfield School Post-Ofsted Inspection Work and Progress
The Committee will receive a verbal update from Kim James, Head of Learning and School Improvementon Northfield School post-Ofsted inspection and progress on actions.
The Committee received a brief verbal update on Northfield School. Kim James, Head of Learning and Improvement reported that following the inadequate outcome of the inspection by Ofsted in November which found the Local Authority plan fit for purpose, but the school plan not fit for purpose, the Authority were now expecting Ofsted to inspect in September. Officers were also awaiting decision from the Headteachers’ Trust as to which Multi Academy Trust Northfield would join.
Members requested an update following the revision of Oxfordshire's In Year Fair Access Protocol which is attached at (ESC12). The purpose of the protocol is to ensure that vulnerable children not on roll at school, are admitted on a school roll in a fair, equal and transparent manner.
The Committee is asked to consider the protocol and related Fair Access issues.
At its last Meeting, the Committee had requested an update following the revision of Oxfordshire’s In Year Fair Access Protocol. The Committee had before them a report (ESC12) which set out the revised protocol, together with plans for the development of an Alternative Provision Commissioning Strategy.
Deborah Bell, Head of Learner Engagement reported that the purpose of Fair Access Protocols was to ensure that - outside the normal admissions round - unplaced children, especially the most vulnerable, were found and offered a school place quickly, so that the amount of time any child was out of school was kept to the minimum. Oxfordshire County Council policy stated that all children must be placed on school rolls within 15 days. This was why Oxfordshire and every local authority was required to have in place a Fair Access Protocol, developed in partnership with local schools.
Following the Members deep dive into exclusions in 2018, the In Year Fair Access Protocol was reviewed by OCC officers and secondary school Headteachers and inclusion leaders from across the county in a task and finish group convened for this purpose. Working with the Oxfordshire Secondary Headteachers Association, Headteachers were consulted about changes during the review process. This raised awareness of the reasons for placing children in a timely fashion and schools’ responsibilities in this. The reviewed document was put out to consultation for all schools (including primary schools) and published for implementation from 1April 2019.
School leaders and LA officers needed to work together to ensure places were offered in a fair manner in accordance to the Admissions Code 2014. The Code gave local authorities and schools, including Academies, the freedom to develop and agree Protocols which best serve the needs of children in their area. It was for participating schools to ensure that the local Protocol worked for them and was reviewed as required with the LA. Participation was mandatory for all state funded mainstream schools.
Reducing exclusion of children from school remained a focus for all stakeholders in the area. This included the number of children needing school places following permanent exclusion through In Year Fair Access processes.
Inclusion processes had also been reviewed with key stakeholders alongside the In Year Fair Access Protocol. This has resulted in new terms of reference for the meetings, new processes that support schools to work together across the county to cultivate inclusive practices and challenge exclusive practices involving key partners from Policy, Health and Social Care.
Since Easter 6 Children had been place in the Fair Access Protocol. All six had been placed.
The Committee welcomed the content of the protocol and made the following points during discussion:
In relation to Fair Access Panels, the Committee questioned whether there was any opportunity for a split between North and West Oxfordshire as West Oxfordshire seemed to participate to a much greater extent.
The Committee questioned what work was being carried out to address more localised provision.
In response, officers reported that a large piece of work was ... view the full minutes text for item 145/19
The attached SEND Strategy (ESC13) is currently in draft format and has been shared with colleagues from schools and settings across the county. The request was for colleagues was to consider if the priorities outlined in the strategy were appropriate for the actions under each priority to be formulated and agreed (some draft actions have been added for colleagues to consider)
The Strategy has been shared with school colleagues at the Heads & Chairs briefings which were held before the Easter break. It has also been shared with colleagues attending the SEND Performance board, including the Parent Carer Forum and OASSH (Oxfordshire Association of Special School Heads).
Further work will be undertaken to develop the strategy on the 21June 2019, where a provider network event is being held with parents and health colleagues to expand on the strategy further.
The SEND Strategy will become part of the wider Education Strategy which will be shared with colleagues across education which will include Education Scrutiny, and which will require Cabinet sign off.
The Committee is RECOMMENDED to consider the priorities identified in the document attached and advise whether any changes need to be made.
The Committee had before them a report (ESC13) which set out the draft SEND Strategy. The Strategy had been shared with school colleagues at the Heads & Chairs briefings which were held before the Easter break and the SEND Performance Board, including the Parent Carer Forum and the Oxfordshire Association of Special School Heads.
Further work would be undertaken to develop the strategy on the 21June 2019, where a provider network event was being held with parents and health colleagues to expand on the strategy further.
The SEND Strategy would become part of the wider Education Strategy which would be shared with colleagues across education, to include Education Scrutiny.
The following points were raised during discussion:
The Committee wished ‘at the right time’ to be added to the SEND vision statement.
The Committee noted the new post by the Clinical Commissioning Group to improve early intervention, working closely with Health Visitors to enable issues to be picked up before the end of year six and requested that the person who took the new post attend a future meeting of the Scrutiny Committee.
The Committee further noted that problems often arose after the two-year check and that G. P’s were a very important part of the process.
The Committee noted that a review of Special Needs Support Services was being undertaken to look at what support was being offered at this time in this area, and requested that it be notified of the outcome of that review.
The Committee is RECOMMENDED to consider the priorities identified in the document attached and advise whether any changes need to be made.
An opportunity to discuss and prioritise future topics for the Committee, potential approaches to its work and to discuss the schedule for future meetings.
Members considered the forward Programme of items and agreed items for the September and November Meetings as shown below (Changes shown in bold italics).