Agenda and minutes

Corporate Parenting Sub Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday, 11th January, 2016 1.30 pm

Venue: Bridges Room - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Rosalyn White - email: 

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Councillor S Craig, Cllr McNally and co-opted member Julie McCartney.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 209 KB

The Committee is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the last meeting held on 5 October 2015


The minutes of the meeting held on 5 October 2015 were approved as a correct record. 


It was requested that future minutes explicitly reference ‘Foster Carers’, rather than ‘Carers’, when referencing that particular group.


Education Annual Report pdf icon PDF 137 KB

Report of Strategic Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning


Additional documents:


The Committee received the annual report on the work of the Virtual School over the last year.  It was noted that the REALAC team contributed to the recent Ofsted inspection and also completed the data dashboard, which compiled the key data information around educational outcomes.  There has also been focus on the PEP process and in particular around the roll out of the new Key Stage 5 PEPs.


An Educational Psychologist was appointed from April 2015 for 0.2 of the week and is skilled in providing training.  In addition a new teacher has been appointed with effect from April 2015 to work on the team four days per week.  It was noted that the team is still missing a mentor to support young people in terms of behaviour and emotional problems.


A new governance committee has been set up for the Virtual School, with the first meeting being held in October.  This group is made up of local authority professionals who provide challenge to the Virtual School.  Work is ongoing around how to get the messages back to schools and increasing challenge and dialogue with schools.


There is tighter monitoring of the use of Pupil Premium, funding will only be released once evidence of PEPs has been received from the school.


Work continues to monitor pupil progress, this is through weekly meetings and Ofsted recognised there was robust tracking in place.  There is an increase in the number of LAC accessing work experience through the Pathways2work programme.  It was noted that this continues to be a high priority for the team because working with pupils from year 10 can help steer them, this has resulted in an increase in the number of LAC going on to college and university.


It was reported that Ofsted recognised the improved quality of PEPs, in particular the strategic way of evaluating Pupil Premium, and stated that is was evident the team was prepared to challenge schools. Challenge continues around ensuring planned progression routes for 16-21 (or 25) year olds to tackle the number of young people not in education, employment or training.


It was noted that the number of permanent exclusions for LAC continues to be low, however work is ongoing to tackle the number of fixed term exclusions.  For LAC, if there is a risk of permanent exclusion, there is the power to move that young person outside of the Fair Access procedures.  However, schools are also encouraged to refer cases to the Fair Access Panel so that other schools can challenge them before referring them to the Virtual School Head, this ensures a level of accountability.


It was reported that, at the end of reception year, only 42% of LAC made a good level of development. However, improvements begin to be seen in Key Stage 1, with 83% of the cohort in 2015 meeting the correct level at reading, 86% for reading.  Therefore it was acknowledged that there is currently a strong position for LAC at primary school.  In terms  ...  view the full minutes text for item CP18


Missing from Care Annual Report pdf icon PDF 424 KB

Report of Strategic Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning



The Committee received the annual update report on the missing from care episodes between April 2014 and November 2015.


It was reported that the risk assessment tool has changed over the last year and is based on the Phoenix model that was developed in Manchester.  Depending on the number of missing episodes this can trigger a referral to the Multi agency Sexual Exploitation Trafficking (MSET) meeting.  When a young person is missing their care plan and vulnerability factors will be assessed and categorised as high, medium or low risk.


There has been a decrease in the total number of missing episodes compared to the same period last year, however there has been an increase in the number of missing from care episodes.  It was noted that there has been three 17 year olds with a high number of missing episodes, one of whom is now in secure accommodation, and this has impacted on the figures.


Northumbria Police also previously did not record ‘unauthorised absences’ and instead all episodes were recorded as ‘missing’.  However from early 2016 an ‘absent’ category will be introduced which will now reflect those episodes where a person is ‘not at a place where they are expected or required to be’.


It was reported that between April and October there were 444 missing from care episodes, 139 of which were from Eden View.  This was significant because it was where the three 17 year olds were placed.


During the year there were 54 young people discussed at the MSET.  Each case was looked at in detail, including diversion plans and there was a focus on return interviews as well as the development of a monitoring framework.  In terms of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) 14 young people were assessed as at risk; three males and 11 females all aged over 14 years.


It was queried, in terms of the data breakdown, why there was a peak in missing episodes in November.  It was noted that this is a regular pattern, however the reasons for this are not known.


It was questioned whether there are any CSE hotspots in Gateshead.  It was noted that if there is anti social behaviour or inappropriate, illicit drinking hot spots these could pose risks, even if not within Gateshead they could still impact on Gateshead children and young people.


RESOLVED    -           That the Committee noted the information presented and

agreed to continue receiving an annual report on missing from care issues.   





Exclusion of the Press and Public

The Committee may wish to pass a resolution to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds indicated:


Item                             Paragraphs of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act



6                                  1

7                                  1


RESOLVED    -           That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during

consideration of the remaining business in accordance with the indicated paragraphs of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.


Case Study - Foster to Adopt

Report of Strategic Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning


The Committee received a case study on the Adoption Service, in relation to ‘fostering to adopt’ and in particular the personal experiences of adoptive families.


RESOLVED    -           That the Committee considered the case study and issues it



Inspections by OFSTED of Gateshead Children's Homes and Regulation 44 Visits

Report of Strategic Director, Care Wellbeing and Learning



The Committee received a report on the Ofsted inspection outcomes and regulation 44 independent visits carried out in the Council’s children’s homes.  The reports written as a result of the visits are circulated to the Service Director, Social Work, Care Wellbeing and Learning, Service Manager for Looked After Children and the Registered Manager of each Home.


RESOLVED    -           That the information be noted.