Agenda and minutes

Venue: Boardrooms 3-5 - Brent Civic Centre, Engineers Way, Wembley, HA9 0FJ. View directions

Contact: Nikolay Manov, Governance Officer  Tel: 020 8937 1348; Email:  nikolay.manov@brent.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

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.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillors Shahzad and Conneely and from appointed observer, Mrs Jean Roberts, who was represented at the meeting by Mr John Roach.  

2.

Declarations of interests

Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary or personal interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.

Minutes:

The following personal interests were declared with respect to the three substantive items of business to be discussed at the meeting:

 

i)     Councillor Ketan 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 Knight as a governor of Wykeham Primary

 

iii)   Councillor Colwill as a governor of St Gregory’s Catholic Science College.

 

iv)   Mr Frederick as Chair of the All Saints Trust of St Mary’s, Chair of Governors at St Gregory’s Catholic Science College and as a member of the Strategic School Effectiveness Partnership Board (SSEPB).

3.

Deputations (if any)

To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 67.

Minutes:

There were no deputations received.

 

4.

Minutes of previous meetings pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Ø  To approve the minutes of the special meeting, held on 13 December 2018, as a correct record.

 

Ø  To approve the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 30 January 2019, as a correct record.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 30 January 2019 be approved as an accurate record of the meeting.

5.

Matters arising (if any)

Minutes:

There were no matters arising.

 

6.

School Standards and Achievement Report 2017-18 pdf icon PDF 422 KB

The Annual School Standards and Achievement Report 2016/17 was reviewed by committee in March 2018. As part of the committee’s work programme meeting it was resolved that school standards and achievement would be reviewed again in 2018/2019.  School standards and achievement are of concern to a large number of the borough’s residents, and address a corporate priority. This report covers the items requested for inclusion by the Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

Councillor Agha (Lead Member for Schools, Employment and Skills) introduced the School Standards and Achievement Report 2017-18, advising that there had been improving performance across the different educational phases. Highlighting the importance of the strong partnership work between the council and Brent’s schools, Councillor Agha expressed his gratitude for the attendance at the meeting of Martine Clark (Executive Headteacher, Byron Court Primary School and Brent Teaching School Alliance), Georgina Nutton (Headteacher, Preston Park Primary School) and Rose Ashton (Headteacher, Chalkhill Primary School and Interim Executive Headteacher, Leopold Primary School). Also in attendance to address members’ queries were Gail Tolley (Strategic Director, Children and Young People), Brian Grady (Operational Director, Safeguarding Performance and Strategy) and John Galligan (Head of Setting and School Effectiveness).

 

Outlining the headlines of the report, John Galligan explained that the quality of education provision had continued to improve, with progress rates rising again for the 2017-18 year. For Key Stage 2 (KS2) Brent was above the national averages for the progress measure for reading, writing and mathematics. However, whilst attainment had risen at Key Stage 2, it had not increased as fast as the national and London averages and as a consequence was below both the averages for reading and writing. Brent performed very well against the national and London averages for all of the secondary headline attainment and progress measures. For the headline Progress 8 measure, Brent was the second highest out of 151 local authorities in England for the second year running.

 

The Chair thanked the Lead Member and officers for the report and extended particular welcome to the school partnership colleagues, inviting them to briefly outline their roles. Martine Clark advised that in September 2018 she had taken on the role of Sub-Regional Lead for North West London. This was one of five Sub-Regional leads responsible for the Teaching School Alliances (TSAs) in West London.  A key element of this role was promoting partnership and collaboration between the teaching schools, which was essential to achieving improvement. Georgina Nutton advised that in addition to her role as Headteacher of Preston Park Primary School, she was an Associate Member of the Brent Teaching Schools Alliance and had worked closely with the council’s School Effectiveness Team. Rose Ashton advised that in addition to her role at Chalkhill she had taken on the role of Interim Headteacher at Leopold Primary School and had received support from the School Effectiveness Team and the Brent Teaching School Alliance.

 

The Chair invited questions from the committee. Members subsequently questioned why some Brent schools were underperforming, what factors contributed to underperformance, and what the role of the local authority was in addressing these. The committee sought details of the particular challenges experienced by primary schools in Brent, the actions put in place to address these and how progress against these were measured. Specific comment was sought on what was being done to support improvement in attainment for reading and writing at primary schools and it was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Improving educational achievement of Black Caribbean boys pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Members of the scrutiny committee discussed the underachievement of certain groups among Brent’s pupils, including boys of Black Caribbean heritage, when it discussed the annual School Standards and Achievement report in March 2018. As part of the committee’s discussions to agree its new work programme for 2018/19, members agreed they wanted a dedicated report on the underachievement of boys of Black Caribbean heritage in Brent. This report covers the items requested for inclusion by the Chair of the Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee.

Minutes:

At the invitation of the Chair, Councillor Agha (Lead Member for Schools, Employment and Skills) introduced the report on improving educational achievement of Black Caribbean Boys, noting that there was a commitment to raise the attainment of particular groups among Brent’s pupils, including that of boys of Black Caribbean heritage, to narrow the gap with their peers. The committee was advised that school partnership colleagues Martine Clark (Executive Headteacher, Byron Court Primary School and Brent Teaching School Alliance), Georgina Nutton (Headteacher, Preston Park Primary School) and Rose Ashton (Headteacher, Chalkhill Primary School and Interim Executive Headteacher, Leopold Primary School) were in attendance to discuss the report, alongside officers Gail Tolley (Strategic Director, Children and Young People), Brian Grady (Operational Director, Safeguarding, Partnerships and Strategy) and John Galligan (Head of Setting and School Effectiveness).

 

Setting out the key highlights of the report, John Galligan informed the committee a Schools Project Raising the Achievement of Black Caribbean Boys Strategic Group had been established by the Brent Schools Partnership (BSP), chaired by Rose Ashton as the Headteacher for the BSP Specialist Centre for Black Caribbean Achievement (Chalkhill Primary School). The strategy group had developed a strategic framework setting out actions to be taken by a range of stakeholders to strengthen capacity and expertise in schools and to support parents to contribute to their children’s learning and personal, social and emotional development. To deliver this, in March 2018, the Strategic School Effectiveness Partnership Board (SSEPB) agreed to develop a proposal from the Director of Children’s Services to Schools Forum. The proposal was agreed by the SSEPB in May 2018 and presented to Schools Forum in June, at which time the initiative was approved and funding of £561,750 over two years agreed. The initiative included the following strands: a supported rigorous and robust analysis of the performance of pupils of Black Caribbean heritage and the effectiveness of key aspects of schools’ practice; the designation of a Black Caribbean Achievement Champion in every school in Brent for a period of two years, with a programme of half termly training; the development of online resources for parents on strengthening their role and contribution to improving their children’s learning and progress, and reducing the likelihood of their children being excluded from schools; and, leadership and management of the overall schools based Black Caribbean Strategy. In concluding the overview of the report, John Galligan emphasised that approximately 40 per cent of boys of Black Caribbean heritage in Brent were achieving in line with national averages.

 

The Chair thanked the Lead Member and Officer for the introduction to the report.

 

The committee subsequently questioned whether attainment for this group had improved over the past year and how current figures compared with other London boroughs. Members questioned the value of exclusions, highlighting the risk of further alienating pupils and their families and sought clarity on the numbers of exclusions for boys of Black Caribbean heritage. Further queries were raised regarding the support put  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Contextual Safeguarding Overview Task Group Report pdf icon PDF 76 KB

The report from the overview and scrutiny task group on contextual safeguarding is attached for members’ consideration and comment.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair invited Councillor Hylton (Chair of the Contextual Safeguarding Overview Task Group) to introduce the task group report.

 

Councillor Hylton advised that the task group had been appointed to review the development of a contextual safeguarding approach in Brent. It was explained that the focus of children’s safeguarding had traditionally been on risks to children which existed within a family; however, it was increasingly recognised by safeguarding practitioners that risks to an adolescent child could emerge outside their family homes. In recent years, this awareness had crystallised into a new approach called contextual safeguarding, which asked practitioners to address the risks present in ‘contexts’ outside the home such as peer groups, schools and neighbourhoods in which an adolescent child lives. It was emphasised that whilst this was a new approach for Brent, many of the principles of contextual safeguarding were already embedded in practice. In concluding her introduction, Councillor Hylton drew the committee’s attention to the five recommendations set out in the report of the task group and invited the committee to endorse the recommendations to Cabinet.

 

Members raised a number of questions in the subsequent discussion of the report. It was noted that the success of a number of recommendations relied upon good engagement with stakeholders and Brent’s communities, and the committee queried how this would be achieved without additional funding. It was further queried whether opportunities for partnership working and community engagement could be accessed via Brent’s status as Borough of Culture. Members then questioned what work was being done around supporting the period immediately after school where there was a greater safeguarding risk for children. 

 

In response, Gail Tolley (Strategic Director, Children and Young People) confirmed that existing resources would be used to take forward this agenda, noting by way of example that the Chair of the Local Safeguarding Children Board would use resources allocated to the Board to lead on the first recommendation regarding transport. Further examples of utilising existing resources included using the Time to Talk events run by the Strategy and Partnerships Team to promote Contextual Safeguarding and more generally, asking all council colleagues to look at the work of the council through the lens of Contextual Safeguarding. Contextual Safeguarding had recently been the focus of a Senior Management Group meeting and the response to this had been really positive.

 

Brian Grady (Operational Director, Safeguarding, Partnerships and Strategy) confirmed that the London Borough of Culture fed into the task group and one of the key aspects of work that was being considered out of this was supporting young people to feel safe in public spaces. Pascoe Sawyers (Head of Strategy and Partnerships) advised that following the Outcome Based Review on gangs, it had been decided to establish a youth fund, which was shortly due to be launched, to provide resources for local communities to run activities highlighting the issues at hand and celebrating the successes of young people.

 

Addressing the committee’s comments regarding the risk for children and young people in the period  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Community and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2018/19 Update pdf icon PDF 100 KB

The report updates Members on the Committee’s Work Programme for 2018/19 and captures scrutiny activity which has taken place outside of its formal meetings.

Minutes:

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

 

10.

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.

Minutes:

None.