Agenda and minutes

Children Young People and Families Policy and Performance Board
Monday, 31st October, 2016 6.30 p.m.

Venue: Civic Suite, Town Hall, Runcorn. View directions

Contact: Ann Jones on 0151 511 8276 or e-mail 

No. Item




The Minutes of the meeting held on 12 September were taken as read and signed as a correct record.




It was confirmed that no public questions had been received.



Additional documents:


The minutes relating to the Children, Young People and Families Portfolio which have been considered by the Executive Board since the last meeting of this Board were attached at Appendix 1 for information.


RESOLVED:  That the minutes be noted.


Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing pdf icon PDF 392 KB


The Head of Children and Families Mental Health Commissioning, NHS Halton CCG, had submitted a report on Children and Young People’s Emotional Health and Wellbeing.


Unfortunately, it was not possible for a representative to attend to present the report or to deal with Members’ queries. Therefore, the Chair asked that any questions which Members may have should be sent to him by email, and he would ensure that a response was provided.


RESOLVED: That Members’ questions should be submitted to the Chair for a response in due course.


Annual Report - Comments, Compliments & Complaints relating to Children's Social Care Services - 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 pdf icon PDF 430 KB


The Board received the Annual Report for Comments, Complaints and Compliments relating to Children’s Social Care Services from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016.  


The report provided detailed data such as information on the numbers of complaints; who the complaints were made by; how complaints were made; the types of statutory complaints made; the recurring themes of complaints and outcomes at various stages.


The report also provided Members with details of compliments received, positive feedback and actual comments made by service users.


Members made the following observations:


Was there any evidence to suggest any commonality in complaints received?


No; there were robust procedures in place to investigate complaints and to try to resolve them at Stage 1.


How do you ‘recruit’ Independent Persons for Stage 3 Review Panels?


These are people who work on a commissioned basis and who may work for a number of neighbouring authorities in a similar capacity.


Is there any in-house training provided for agency Social Workers?


The number of agency Social Workers has reduced significantly, following a recruitment drive. At May 2016, there were only five agency workers across the teams. Children’s Social Care Service do provide in-house training for staff.




1)    The report be acknowledged as evidence as to how feedback from service users is used to improve service delivery; and


2)    The mechanism by which the Local Authority is kept informed about the operation of its complaints procedure for Children’s Social Care be noted.




Compliments (Service user feedback) relating to People Directorate, Children's Services - 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2016 pdf icon PDF 532 KB


The Board received a report from the Customer Care Manager, which provided feedback on compliments made by clients and positive feedback from workers and professionals relating to Children’s Services in the People Directorate.


The information was presented as an overall figure for the whole Directorate, then given as a breakdown by Operational Directorates; Children and Families; Education, Inclusion and Provision; and Economy, Enterprise and Property.  Areas within these Directorates were then broken down, to include detailed commentary of compliments received and comparisons made to previous year’s data.


Members made the following observations:


How were examples of good practice shared with other teams/service providers?


Examples of good practice, and those which were observed through compliments received, were identified by managers and passed through to the Customer Care Manager for dissemination.


The Chair wished to place on record his thanks to all staff for their hard work in providing the many services within the Directorate.


RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.



Summary of 2016 Provisional Unvalidated Attainment and Progress Outcomes pdf icon PDF 550 KB


The Board received a summary of changes to this year’s school assessment process on the provisional outcomes for Halton’s Children and Young People and their performance in comparison to unvalidated National data and North West Regional data.   


A verbal update was provided on data relating to:-


·       Early Years Foundation Stage;

·       Year One Phonics Testing;

·       Key Stage One results;

·       Key Stage Two;

·       Attainment Floor Standards;

·       Coasting Schools;

·       Data by Gender and results for those described as ‘Disadvantaged’;

·       Progress between Key Stages One and Two; and

·       A level, BTEC and Vocational Qualifications.


Members made the following observations:


What does Phonics de-coding involve? How does Halton compare nationally?


Phonics screening was introduced in 2012; Halton had seen an increase in the number of children reaching the expected standard, (76% in Halton) against a national average of 81%. De-coding testing was carried out on a one to one basis by teachers known to the pupil who were asked to read a list of 40 real and pseudo-words.


What difficulties had teachers experienced in the introduction of the new National Curriculum at Key Stage 2? How have these changes affected performance?


The new National Curriculum was introduced in 2014, so pupils have only had two years to study a new four year programme.  It is also a new assessment process so cannot be compared with previous year’s results. However, when analysed at a North West level, Halton pupils had declined in percentage terms in achieving the expected standard in Reading, Writing and Maths, as was also evident in other North West Local Authorities and nationally. Halton LA was working with school improvement colleagues in neighbouring authorities to share best practice and learn from other region’s best practice, whilst reviewing assessment processes under this new system.



It is possible that standards have not altered, but the way in which they are measured has?


Data comparisons were difficult in the immediate period following changes to curriculum, until sufficient time had elapsed for meaningful, reliable data to be produced. It is also a new more challenging curriculum with a different method of assessment so cannot be compared with previous results. (as also noted by the DFE).


RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.



The Annual Head Teacher Report on the Educational Outcomes of Children in Care 2015/2016 pdf icon PDF 358 KB


The Board received a report which updated them on the educational outcomes for Halton’s Children in Care for 2015-16.


It was reported that Halton had a small number of children in care within each key stage cohort.  Members noted therefore that comparisons with the general population and year on year performance were very difficult, as each child in care had a high statistical significance; making both the gap and trend analysis volatile. 


Officers advised that changes to the assessment process were made in 2015-16, and as a result summer assessment results could not be compared with previous years’ results.  It was noted that this year’s results would be reported against a new ‘Attainment 8 and Progress 8’ measure.


The report provided comparisons on the performance of Halton children who had been in care for 12 months or more, to that of their non-care peers, within each key stage.


Arising from discussion, Members made the following comments:


Do we provide / offer one to one support whenever possible?


          Yes, through a variety of means, such as use of pupil premium plus funding to offer additional tuition/mentors, as well as support at home and outside of the school environment.


          How were those Designated Teachers trained in meeting the demands of those children with attachment difficulties?


          Halton Virtual School had delivered a range of training sessions for Designated Teachers in this regard. In addition, a specialist consultant had been commissioned to support individual schools which had experienced a high level of pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties, due to their attachment issues.


          Are there any examples where Pupil Premium Plus was not accessed and why?


Sometimes Schools could ‘absorb’ the impact of costs and didn’t need to apply for such funding. However, if there was evidence that standards weren’t being achieved or maintained, this would be looked at and if it was felt appropriate, then such funding would be applied for.


A lot of progress has been made in this area. How do we monitor the knowledge acquired by the Designated Teachers?


Designated Teachers have a statutory responsibility to produce an annual report which the school’s Governing Body should receive.


RESOLVED:  That the report be noted.



Update on the Proposal to Close Westfield Primary School Resource Base for Pupils with Hearing Impairment & specific Learning Difficulties pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Additional documents:


The Board received a report from the Divisional Manger, Inclusion, that outlined the consultation process undertaken and the issues raised on the proposal to close Westfield Primary School Resource Provision Base, for pupils with hearing impairment and specific learning difficulties.


It was noted that the first phase of the consultation commenced on 22 June 2016 and closed on 20 July 2016; the key issues raised during this consultation were listed in the report and the responses were included in Appendix A of the report. 


Following this, the responses were considered at Executive Board, who gave approval for a four week statutory consultation to be undertaken.  Details of the consultation, which commenced on 21 September 2016 until 19 October 2016, were attached at Appendix B to the report. 


It was noted that following the closure of the statutory consultation, a further report would be prepared and submitted to Executive Board on 17 November 2016 for a decision on the proposal.


Members made the following observations:


What plans would be put in place for the children at the school to complete their education? 


Funding for teaching staff would continue at the school to support the three children attending after the proposed closure in December 2016. No ‘new’ children would be admitted after this time.


Would schools need to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for those children with complex needs, whilst attending mainstream schools?


The majority of families would prefer their child to be educated in a mainstream setting. By reinvesting the resources saved from the closure of the Base at Westfield School, we could support those children at an appropriate level in a mainstream setting.


RESOLVED: That the response received from the first phase of the statutory consultation be noted.