Agenda and minutes

Children’s Services, Education & Skills Scrutiny Board
Thursday 12th September 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Civic Suite

No. Item



To receive any apologies.


Apologies were received from Mrs Hildreth.



Declarations of Pecuniary or Conflicting Interests from Members

To receive declarations of interest from Members in accordance with the Code of Conduct (Members are directed to the guidance attached.)


None received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 4 June 2019.


The minutes of the meeting held on 4 June 2019 were presented.



That the minutes of the meeting held on 4 June 2019 were approved.




Questions and Deputations

To deal with any questions or deputations received.


None received.


Update: off-rolling; Elective Home Education; part-time timetables and exclusions, including those with SEN. pdf icon PDF 173 KB

The purpose of the report is to:

Ø  Update Members of the Children's Services, Education and Skills Scrutiny Board (CSESSB) following a report for Scrutiny Board in November 2018;


Ø  Provide updates relating to changes in the national and local context, particularly in the area of exclusions; and


Ø  Provide available data over time that compares Solihull data with national figures.


The Board had requested a report updating them on a number of issues:


Ø  Off-Rolling;

Ø  Elective Home Education (EHE);

Ø  Part-time timetables; and

Ø  Exclusions, including those with SEN.


The Head of Alternative Provision reminded Members that the Board had considered a similar report in November 2018, and the aim of the current report was to provide Members with an update.


The report before Members covered a number of issues which in summary included:


Ø  Reference to the Timpson Review which was set to explore the drivers of exclusion rates and in particular the factors that drove the disproportionate exclusion rates of some groups of pupils. The final report was published in May 2019;


Ø  The Review had made 30 recommendations, which the DfE had agreed in principal, and a number of changes had been promised, which included:


·  Updated Exclusion Guidance;

·  Schools would be accountable for the outcomes of permanently excluded pupils;

·  Pupil movements, by exclusion or otherwise to be tracked and data collected;

·  The Government would work with Ofsted “to define and tackle” off-rolling;

·  The Government would increase support for alternative provision.


Ø  The report detailed the Solihull exclusions rates based on the 2016-17 academic year and the 2017/18 national exclusion data;


Ø  The data showed that permanent exclusions rates in Solihull remained higher than the national average;


Ø  The rate of permanent exclusion rates  in Solihull Primary schools had doubled in 2017/2018 compared to previous years;


Ø  Three secondary schools in the North of the Borough had consistently remained the highest excluding schools in the Borough;


Ø  In the 2018-19 academic year there were 62 permanent exclusions;


Ø  The report also referenced the number of pupils who had been permanently excluded who had additional needs that had been undiagnosed and unmet at the time of permanent exclusion;


Ø  The report detailed the strategies which had been put in place to reduce exclusions and as part of this, the Members received a presentation from the Head of Solihull Academy Mr Stephen Steinhaus;


Ø  With regard to off-rolling “children were removed from school register without a formal exclusion, which can lead to children being pushed out of education and exposed to safeguarding issues”. The report provided the national picture as well as a local context;


Ø  With regard to Solihull, Officers confirmed that they could find no evidence that off-rolling was being used in Solihull schools, but Officers assured Members they remained vigilant on this point;


Ø  Members were provided with information relating to elective home education (EHE), which had increased in Solihull. Numbers had quadrupled since 2012/13. The current position (8/7/19) was that there were 233 electively home educated children of statutory school age. Overall, there were 260 children in Solihull;


Ø  The report set out the reasons behind the use of part time tables and how Solihull managed this, but it was noted that not all schools were complaint in notifying the LA and submitting the relevant paperwork. As of June 2019 the Council had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Developments in SEND 0-25 Service pdf icon PDF 136 KB

Provide an update to the Scrutiny Board on the progress in the SEND 0-25 Service following report in January 2019 and the investment in the service following the approval of the Medium Term Financial Strategy in March 2019.

Additional documents:


The Board was provided with an update on the progress in the SEND 0-25 Service following report in January 2019 and the investment in the service following the approval of the Medium Term Financial Strategy in March 2019.

The Assistant Director (Learning and Achievement) reminded Members that through a management of change process in 2016 a number of services were brought together under SEND 0-25 service namely, Specialist Inclusion and Support Service (SISS) Educational Psychology (EP) Early Years (EYSAT) Statutory Assessment and Review Team (StART) the Children’s Disability Social Care Team (CDT) and Social Care Transition.


The report detailed the general progress made, the developments and the additional investment made to progress each specialist area.


Members were also advised of the development of the Solihull Inclusion Code, the aim of which was to underpin the new 2020- 2025 SEND Strategy and form part of a wider education, health and social care ‘Inclusion Strategy’. 


The aim of the Inclusion Strategy was enable all children and young people in Solihull to be happy, healthy, safe and prosperous and to access settings and services to meet their needs. The document had been co-produced by all key stakeholders. The Assistant Director drew specific attention to the 15 principles set out in the Code.


Ø  On receiving the report Members questioned how Officers ensured adequate progress was being made within the service. Officers assured that hard data was collected and monitored monthly by the Director, and Parent Groups were regularly invited to provide their views;

Ø  The Director also confirmed that she reviewed a number of EHCP’s to check quality and an important factor she  was looking for was to get a sense of the young person from reading the EHCP;


Ø  Members sought clarification as to the level of risk relating to this area of work and the Director confirmed that the RAG rating was currently sitting at 9 a red risk for the Council. The reasons for this were around the issues of timeliness and the financial risk. The Director was hoping the risk could be deescalated as the strategies put in place took effect;


Ø  Members were still concerned regarding the timeliness’s of the health sector input in completing EHCP’s, and the Director confirmed talks with the CCG were ongoing to try and improve the whole system;

Ø  With respect to the Inclusion Code Members welcomed this and suggested some amendments to the 15 principles. It was suggested that point 3 should include reference to diversity, point 5 should reference mitigation and point 8 should include “value” and promote emotional wellbeing . It was also suggested that somewhere within the principles reference to monitoring and change impact should be made and  a linkage made to the Diversity Strategy which was being developed;

Ø  Members asked a number of questions around the new special free school, to which Officers responded. Officers confirmed that the decision regarding who the trust provider would be rested with the DfE, not the Council. With  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.