Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members

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


Apologies were received from Councillor Colwill and appointed observer Lesley Gouldbourne.


Declarations of interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, any relevant disclosable pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests in the items on this agenda.


The following personal interests were declared with respect to agenda item 6 ‘Annual School Standards and Achievement report 2016-2017’:


i)     Councillor Sheth as a governor of the federation of St Joseph’s Infant School and St Joseph’s Junior School and as a member of the Board of Harrow College.


ii)    Councillor Conneely as an employee of a local charity which undertook outreach work in some Brent schools, including with children of Irish Traveller herritage;


iii)   Mr Frederick as Chair of the All Saints Trust, Chair of Governors at St Gregory’s Catholic Science College and as a National Leader of Governors.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record.





that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 28 February 2018  be approved as an accurate record of the meeting, subject to the following amendment: Minute item 8, resolution vi) be amended to include the committee’s request to have a greater level of detail provided including information about resources and outcomes.




Matters arising (if any)


There were no matters arising.


Annual School Standards and Achievement 2016-2017 pdf icon PDF 197 KB

This is the annual report on school standard and achievement. The paper  meets Brent Council’s strategic priorities and policies, and affects the wellbeing of the Borough’s communities and residents because school standards are a corporate priority for Brent Council as set out in the Brent Borough Plan 2015-19.

Additional documents:


Gail Tolley (Strategic Director, Children and Young People) introduced the Annual School Standards and Achievement 2016-2017 report and advised that colleagues Rose Ashton (Head teacher – Chalkhill Primary School) and Danny Coyle (Head teacher – Newman Catholic College) were present to help address the committee’s  queries, along with John Galligan (Head of Setting and School Effectiveness), and Councillor M Patel (Lead Member, Children and Young People). 


John Galligan outlined the key headlines from the report, advising that the quality of education provision in Brent had continued to improve, with overall effectiveness at the highest ever recorded for Brent (96 per cent of schools judged good or outstanding at the end of the last academic year). The committee heard that progress of pupils at primary and secondary was well above the national average, with Brent achieving the second highest measure of progress in England. Commenting on the 2017 to 2020 improvement priorities set out in the report, John Galligan advised that these had been agreed by the Strategic School Effectiveness Partnership Board (SSEPB), following consultation with partners and the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee’s examination of the Annual School Standards and Achievement Report 2015-2016. The priorities included building leadership capacity across the borough, including headteacher succession planning;  ensuring that school governance met national quality expectations, and governing boards were equipped to challenge school leaders to address the underperformance of groups in their schools; raising the standards and progress of pupils at the lowest performing schools; and, raising the attainment of priority groups.


John Galligan detailed the actions taken and improvements made in relation to the priorities, highlighting amongst others: the value of school-to-school support; the launch of the council’s “Developing strong governance across all Brent Schools” programme; the designation in 2017 of Chalkhill Primary School as the Brent Schools Partnership’s (BSP’s) specialist centre for the achievement of Black Caribbean pupils and the associated work being undertaken to raise attainment; and, the BSP’s conference “Success for All” held in February 2018. In concluding his presentation, John Galligan emphasised that there had been significant improvements made but there was still work to be done to support improved attainment for all groups and the council and its partners continued to work hard to achieve the improvement priorities.


The Chair thanked the officers for the introduction to the report and invited questions and comments from members of the committee.


Members subsequently sought comment on the target to have 100 per cent of Brent’s schools as rated good or outstanding by Ofsted and sought confirmation of a timeline for achieving this goal. The committee requested an overview of the framework for the education sector including the role of the Regional School Commissioner and the council’s interaction with academy and free schools. Concern was expressed that the improvement in attainment for priority groups had not been achieved to the degree hoped, despite the actions and plans identified in the report for 2015/16. The committee questioned whether these actions were insufficient and whether officers were confident that all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Signs of Safety pdf icon PDF 235 KB

This report provides the Committee with the first annual update on the implementation of Signs of Safety in Brent, including progress on Scrutiny recommendations made in the Task and Finish Group Report presented in February 2017.


Gail Tolley (Strategic Director, Children and Young People) noted that the committee had previously considered a Task Group report on Signs of Safety at its meeting in February 2017. Signs of Safety was a practice framework for working with children and families and child protection. The committee had endorsed the Task Group’s four recommendations, including the recommendation that the committee receive annual updates from the Lead Member for Children and Young People on the implementation of Signs of Safety in Brent. The report before the committee was the first such update to be presented.


Gail Tolley explained that the Council, having previously participated in Phase 1 of the England Innovations Project for Signs of Safety, had been successful in bidding to participate in Phase 2 (EIP2). This project provided the council with 2 years of resource to further embed Signs of Safety in Brent and would enable the council to continue to work with project leads, Professor Eileen Munro, Andrew Turnell and Terry Murphy (child protection consultants, MTM consultancy).


Brian Grady (Operational Director, Safeguarding, Partnerships and Strategy) introduced the update report to the committee, outlining both the progress that had been made in implementing Signs of Safety in 2017/18, and the impact of this progress. It was highlighted that leadership of practice change was key to ensuring Signs of Safety was embedded and sustained and all senior leaders were modelling Signs of Safety with practitioners. Quality assurance processes had also been improved, helping to evidence the increased up take and more consistent use of Signs of Safety in the council. 


Brian Grady highlighted the use of Signs for Safety in Child Protection Conferences as an indicator of success, with rates of children subject to a Child Protection Plan for a second or subsequent time at 12 per cent in 2016/17, lower than statistical neighbours and predicted to fall further in 2017/18. Child Protection Conferences were also a key forum for using Signs of Safety with parents and carers and feedback from parents and carers on the conferences had been very positive.  Brian Grady concluded his introduction by noting that Brent Council had demonstrated its commitment to continue embedding Signs of Safety by developing the Brent Practice Framework, launched in March 2018, and by realigning social work services in January 2018 to mirror best practice.


In the subsequent discussion, the committee questioned the degree of progress made in fully embedding Signs of Safety in the council and, whilst welcoming the EIP2 funding, queried how Signs of Safety would be sustained after it ceased. Members sought details of how Signs of Safety had been received by social workers, what barriers hindered further progress, and how these barriers could be overcome. Questions were raised regarding agency staff including how to encourage movement from agency to permanent staff and whether the council recorded the issue on its corporate risk register. A member questioned how Signs of Safety improved life chances for children and comment was sought on the quality of multi-agency working and whether  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Update on the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 82 KB

The report updates Members on the Committee’s Work Programme for 2017/18 and captures scrutiny activity which has taken place outside of its formal meetings. This is the final report for the 2017/18 Municipal Year and provides an overview of activity

Additional documents:


RESOLVED that the contents of the Update on the Committee’s Work Programme 2017-18 report, be noted.



Any other urgent business

Notice of items to be raised under this heading must be given in writing to the Head of Executive and Member Services or his representative before the meeting in accordance with Standing Order 60.


The Chair thanked the members of the committee for their dedication to the work of committee over the past year and thanked council officers and other colleagues for their support and contribution.