Agendas, Meetings and Minutes - Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: County Hall, Worcester

Contact: Alyson Grice/Samantha Morris  Overview & Scrutiny Officers

No. Item


Apologies and Welcome


Apologies were received from Mr R W Banks and Ms T L Onslow.


Members were informed that Ms S A Webb was no longer a Member of the Panel.  Her place would be taken by Mr T Baker-Price.



Declaration of Interest and of any Party Whip





Public Participation

Members of the public wishing to take part should notify the Head of Legal and Democratic Services in writing or by e-mail indicating the nature and content of their proposed participation no later than 9.00am on the working day before the meeting (in this case 6 February 2018).  Enquiries can be made through the telephone number/e-mail address below.






Educational Outcomes 2017 Including Ofsted Update pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Additional documents:


The Panel received an update report which included a summary of the educational outcomes for children and young people educated in Worcestershire schools for 2017.  As well as an overview of county-wide performance, Members were provided with information on end of Key Stage 2 and end of Key Stage 4 attainment for individual schools.  Members were asked to note that on the Key Stage 2 sheet, the columns showing figures for 2016 and 2017 had been transposed and in fact should be the other way around.


In the course of the discussion, the following main points were made:


·       Concern was expressed about KS2 attainment and in particular the attainment of middle schools in the county.  It was confirmed that performance at KS2 was in the bottom quartile.  In response, a programme of focussed work had improved performance in some schools but it was acknowledged that performance in middle schools was not as good as performance in primary schools.  Babcock Prime was now undertaking further intensive work with middle schools.  Although there was no room for complacency, there were early signs of improvement.  Work had included specialist maths training and a focus on transition and working together with first schools to ensure a one key stage approach.

·       In response to a question about how many middle schools were academies, Members were reminded that when a school became an academy, the County Council retained the responsibility to take an overview of performance and include school data in the Local Authority's area performance.  Where there was a cause for concern about an academy, escalation could be taken forward firstly via the school head and governors and then through the office of the Regional Schools Commissioner.  Babcock Prime worked closely with academies and aimed to foster partnership working across school pyramids.

·       It was confirmed that school improvement work was, on the whole, targeted rather than universal, with support targeted in inverse proportion to a school's success.  When unvalidated data was available in the summer, a triage system led to visits to schools where data showed cause for concern.  It was a school-led system where each governing body would be conscious of these concerns.  At KS2, half of all maintained schools in the County had required some intervention which was a higher proportion than might be expected.  Support packages were tailored to the needs of individual schools.

·       From the information available to the Panel there appeared to sometimes be a discrepancy between Ofsted judgements and actual performance outcomes.  It was not clear how a school could be rated as good but at the same time less than 50% of children had reached the expected standard at KS2.  It was suggested that parents were more likely to look at Ofsted reports rather than the detailed statistics on actual performance.  Members were reminded that the inspection schedule was refreshed at regular intervals.  Each school was on a cycle of inspections with times between inspections differing according to inspection results.  Ofsted inspections focused on progress rather than attainment  ...  view the full minutes text for item 311.


Update On Optimising the Use of Children's Centre Buildings pdf icon PDF 303 KB


The Cabinet Member with Responsibility for Children and Families, the Director of Children, Families and Communities and the Assistant Director for Early Help and Partnerships had been invited to the meeting to update the Panel on optimising the use of children's centres buildings.


The Panel received a presentation from the Assistant Director for Early Help and Partnerships.  In the ensuing discussion the following main points were made:


·       Having experienced Children's Centres in other authorities, the Assistant Director was heartened to see the range of services provided in Worcestershire.

·       A Member asked about the impact of the Alternative Delivery Model on Children's Centres.  The Director of Children, Families and Communities reminded the Panel that the business case for the ADM was not yet completed.  However, as a general principle, the strong intention was not to transfer any property to the ADM.  The work of the Children's Centres was not in the scope of the Directive from the DfE but was part of the Early Help Offer.  Working on the leases of the buildings was complicated, challenging work.  The Chairman of the Panel confirmed that the Panel would want to be involved when further decisions were being made in 2019.  It would be important for the Council's Early Help Offer to be fair and equitable across the County.

·       In response to a question about the number of families now using the Children's Centres when compared to a year ago, the Panel was told that these figures were not currently available.  An assessment of the use of each building was being undertaken in 2018 to inform decisions in 2019.  The Chairman of the Panel confirmed that she would like the Panel to receive figures comparing use of the Children's Centres now with use before the changes in 2016.  The Director of Children, Families and Communities informed Members that she would come to a future Panel meeting with a further detailed report giving footfall at each centre, together with the number of people receiving early help services.  She reminded Members that services were targeted, but there was an ongoing discussion about whether they were being targeted at the most vulnerable families.

·       It was confirmed that current contracts would run until April 2019 and would be renewed after a full procurement process.

·       It was suggested that a sound position statement in relation to centre usage would be available for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Panel by Summer 2018.