Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies for absence were received from Mr Beschi and Ms Cooper.


Election of Vice Chair


The committee agreed that the council side would take the chair for 2015/16 and that Lesley Gouldbourne would be Vice Chair for the Teachers’ Panel.


Declarations of personal and prejudicial interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant financial or other interest in the items on this agenda.


Clarification was sought on the position on members of the committee involved in teaching having to declare personal or prejudicial interests.


Councillor Tatler declared an interest as a teacher at The Crest Academies.


Minutes of the previous meeting




that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 4 March 2014 be approved as an accurate record of the meeting.


Matters arising




Items raised by the Teachers' Panel

(i)         Health and Safety in free schools, and in particular, lessons to be learnt relating to Michaela Free School situation

(ii)        The Council's attitude and possible actions regarding new academies and free schools

(iii)       Michaela free school: allocation of pupil places for September 2015

(iv)       Pay progression in maintained schools

(v)        Asbestos policy and actions

(vi)       Strengthening the partnership criteria

(vii)      Human Resources review




Hank Roberts, on behalf of The Teachers’ Panel welcomed the opportunity to meet with members and exchange views. He also put the view that it was the role of councils to question central government policy when appropriate and not to take blame for issues for which the council was not at fault. The Teachers’ Panel raised the following concerns.


(i)         Health and Safety in Free Schools, and in particular, lessons to be learnt relating to Michaela Free School situation


Hank Roberts referred to Michaela Free School in Wembley Park which had been found to have Health and Safety issues and over which the council had usefully intervened. He questioned whether the council had any residual role regarding health and safety such as a legal responsibility and, if so, to what extent.


The Strategic Director, Children and Young People, Gail Tolley confirmed that the advice regionally and nationally was that responsibility lay with the school’s Trust and the Department for Education. The local authority did not have any statutory responsibility or obligation for school premises. The LA would raise concerns and seek to influence but not intervene. The Director reminded the Teachers’ Panel that funding for Free Schools had been passed from local authorities to the schools however the council would pass on concerns in the spirit of partnership.


The Teachers’ Panel felt that it would be helpful if the position could be clarified in writing.


(ii)        The council's attitude and possible actions regarding new academies and free schools


The Teachers’ Panel referred to the Kilburn Grange School due to be opened in 2015 and asked to receive information on the number of places that would be allocated for Brent students. They also heard that Gateway School was not proceeding and that while Gladstone School had submitted plans to the DFE and the council’s planning department, there was discussion of the number of forms of entry. The earliest it would open would be September 2016 possibly on a temporary site.


The Teachers’ Panel highlighted the action being taken around the country against the government policies on Free Schools and Academies and that parents were becoming increasingly aware that the justification for the introduction of the policies was not related to increasing parental choice. They called on the council to do the minimum required to comply with legislation but to join teachers’ unions in pointing out the shortcomings of the policy and make parents aware of the council’s position. The Chair asked it to be recorded that discussion on this was taking place within the Labour Group.


(iii)       Michaela Free School: allocation of pupil places for September 2015


The Teachers’ Panel made enquiries of the number of places at Michaela School in Wembley Park and heard that there had been 321 applications for 120 places of 4FE.


(iv)       Pay progression in maintained schools


The Teachers’ Panel raised the issue of pay progression in maintained schools, stating that pay increases were sometimes held back by performance management and the end of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Any Other Urgent Business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Democratic Services Manager or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 64.


Prevent Strategy


The Teachers’ Panel drew attention to the schools’ obligations under central government’s PREVENT legislation and questioned the advice being given to schools and how it would be delivered.


Gail Tolley reminded the committee that PREVENT duty guidance came into force on 1 July 2015. This had been discussed at the termly meeting with headteachers. The PREVENT officer had also led a workshop at the Governors’ Conference.[1] It had been clearly indicated to schools that PREVENT should be part of safeguarding policies and policies would need to be updated.


The Teachers’ Panel suggested that where possible, it would be preferable to issue joint guidance for schools in a similar manner as for DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service) guidance. The committee heard the view that in some cases the PREVENT training for teaching staff was being rushed and that a punitive approach was being adopted towards students. The Teachers’ Panel also questioned the extent to which HR advice available to Free Schools and Academies had been taken up.

[1] As amended at 18 November 2015 meeting


Date of Next Meeting

There are no scheduled meetings of the Teachers’ Joint Consultative Committee for 2015/2016.


The committee agreed that arrangements should be made for the next meeting to take place in November 2015.