Report of Strategic Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning
It was reported that there are 32 strategic indicators for children and families which fall under all five Thrive Pledges.
Two strategic indicators fall under the ‘putting people and families at the heart of everything we do’ pledge, both of which have been achieved. These are around the number of eligible two year olds accessing their free learning place and the number of families engaging in the Troubled Families Programme.
In terms of the pledge to ‘tackle inequality so people have a fair chance’ there are 18 strategic indicators which fall under this pledge. For 8 of these indicators there has been improvement in performance, 8 have declined, one is a new indicator and for one there has been no update as of yet. It was noted that there is no data currently for the Progress 8 scores for children receiving free school meals as this data has not been collated. Also, data has started to be collected for free school meals at primary level which will be a new indicator. It was reported that Gateshead remains top of the region in terms of GCSE results.
Four strategic indicators fall under the ‘work together and fight for a better future for Gateshead’ pledge, one has improved, two declined and one is showing no change. Performance declined in relation to the number of first time entrants to the Youth Justice system, however improvements have been made in the number of hospital admissions for self harm and also the proportion of mothers smoking at the time of delivery.
In relation to the pledge to ‘invest in our economy’, four strategic indicators have been identified, three of which have seen improvement and one cannot be compared as there has not previously been six month data collected. Under the ‘supporting our communities’ pledge four indicators have been identified, three of which have declined, including excess weight in 4-5 year olds and 10-11 year olds and also the proportion of children in low income families.
The issue of permanent exclusions was raised. It was noted that there was previously an increase in exclusions and a conference was held to look at why. Work is ongoing to broaden provision so that there are more fitting routes for all young people. The rate of exclusions is dropping and officers continue to challenge secondary schools. Multi-disciplinary panels are held to look at the needs of individual young people and alternative provision, this has been found to be more successful than referring to the PRU as it does not offer a lot of alternative provision. It was questioned as to the relationship between Multi Academy Trusts (MAT) and the local authority in terms of exclusions. It was confirmed that the relationships are very positive at present.
It was questioned whether lost days at school is used as an indicator. It was confirmed that this information is available but was not contained within the report. It was also noted that approval has been received for that appointment of an officer to work with school phobic children and young people. The question of home education was also raised and it was noted that a multi-agency group is in place for electively home educated children. A number of families have been identified that a school order would be enforced against if there is no evidence of school educating taking place. There are robust processes to track and monitor these young people and children’s services inspections look at electively home educated children.
It was suggested that seasonal differences be looked at in terms of school attendance. It was also questioned as to the plans for a new facility in Gateshead for young people on the edge of homelessness, it was agreed that further information would be brought back to Committee on this point.
It was noted that action plans are in place behind each area for improvement identified by the inspection.
RESOLVED - (i) That Committee was satisfied the activities undertaken
during April to September 2019 are supporting delivery of the Thrive agenda.
(ii) That Cabinet will consider a composite performance
report at its meeting on 21st January 2020.