Agenda item

Overview of Education and Children's Services

Briefing note and presentation


John Gregg, Rachael Sugars, Jeanette Essex and Adrian Coles introduced the presentation that had been circulated with the agenda. The combined presentation reflected the close working arrangements and focussed on shared outcomes between the two services areas.


Members asked questions and were given responses in the following areas:


·  How the Council had supported schools to prepare for the heatwave, using DfE guidance and learning from the pandemic

·  Members heard that most schools remained open recognising that vulnerable children were safer in school. Decisions were made based on health and safety assessments.

·  How schools manage staff shortages and that each school is responsible for staffing, the Council would offer support wherever possible.

·  The work being done locally as part of discussion about academisation of schools, to ensure a meaningful and informed dialogue about the implications of the Schools White Paper. Local MATs and the Regional Schools Commissioner will be part of that conversation but there will be more momentum in September

·  Schools, children and young people are part of the engagement process for the One Coventry Plan, which includes climate change. This had already been identified as a key issue for children and young people. Climate changes was also considered as part of the capital programme as well as at a curriculum level.

·  Identification of ethnic minority families with drug and/or alcohol issues will come from the children’s workforce through referral. Officers were confident that once a referral comes in, the response is appropriate. The Family Drug and Alcohol Court would only get involved once the threshold for removal of children had been reached.

·  The register of children electively home educated would come into force in September, the local authority’s approach is supportive. Unregistered schools can be reported to Ofsted by anyone. The DfE was looking to identify a more prescriptive definition of an unregistered school. However, there was no recent memory of this having happened in Coventry.

·  SEND was a terms which had been in general use since 1981. Currently there is a social threshold rather than a medical diagnosis. Coventry had responded to the government consultation to review barriers to learning as opposed to labelling children.

·  The increased costs of the external market for placements and that until the market is reformed these costs will continue to rise.

·  Services were focussed on children most in need – those children who are at the sharp end of an unequal society. The Schools White Paper would enable targeted work and Coventry would be in an Education Investment area.

·  The challenges of school readiness and the work being done with early years settings to improve quality would warrant the board looking at the area in more detail at a future meeting

·  The importance of outdoor education in the curriculum and what Coventry offered beyond Plas Dol-y-moch.


The Board also requested information on the impact of Early Help in prevention families needing a higher level of intervention at a later date.


RESOLVED that the Scrutiny Board:

Add the following to the work programme:

·  School readiness and steps taken by the Early Years team to support settings

·  Outdoor education service


The Board also requested information on the impact of Early Help in prevention families needing a higher level of intervention at a later date.



Supporting documents: