Greenwich Council

Agenda and minutes.

Venue: Committee Room 4 - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

Contact: Nassir Ali  Email: tel: 0208 921 6160

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Panel.



Apologies for absence was received for Councillor Morris.


Urgent Business

The Chair to announce any items of urgent business circulated separately from the main agenda.


There was no urgent business.


Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 34 KB

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Additional documents:


Resolved –


That the list of Councillors’ memberships as Council appointed representatives on outside bodies, joint committees and school governing bodies be noted.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 26 July 2017.


No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.


Resolved -


That the minutes of the meeting of the Children and Young Peoples Scrutiny Panel held on ### be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.


Cabinet Member’s Priorities pdf icon PDF 112 KB


 To note the update from the Cabinet Member on action and progress against priorities.


Councillor Kirby the interim Cabinet Member for Children & Young People introduced the report, thanking the Substantive Cabinet Member and the Directorate of Children and Young People for the bulk of the work and progress made.


With regards to the Fairness Commission recommendations and their incorporation into the Cabinet Member priorities the Director of Children’s Services confirmed that the directorate were preparing responses to the action plan and understood its priority. It was agreed that this would be included in future reports to the Panel.

Action: DCS


In response to questions on the Mockingbird initiative the Director confirmed that phase 1 was progressing with the existing hub providing an experienced support network to Greenwich foster carers and the children they look after. She added that delays on the new hub carers network, which will work outside of Greenwich, is due to a combination of; changes in the Department for Education’s appointment of evaluators and arranging the relevant funding.


In response to questions on the budget pressures arising from transport for children with SEND the Director confirmed that the cost had been driven by an increase in the contract and the volume of children requiring transport. She added the Assistant Director for Commissioning and Resources was currently leading on finding ways of bringing down the costs of travel including reviewing the evaluation process and providing more independent travel training where better suited.


The Assistant Director confirmed that the current contract with GS Plus is also being looked at to ensure that the council is receiving value for money. The report highlighted the budget projection of £2.5m in relation to overall spend on the transport for children with SEND.


Members sought clarification on the overall spend of £7m.

Action: DCS



Panel Members asked that the equalities in terms of the protected groups be covered in more detail in future reports.

Action: DCS


In response to questions on the SafeCORE project and young people with unhealthy relationships the Director confirmed that the project would transform help for children and families experiencing domestic abuse. She stated that the funding was received from the Department for Education innovation programme and is specific about a whole family approach however issues of young people within these families would be addressed as part of the project. She added that tackling unhealthily relationships will also be a focus in the coming years as identified in priority 3 of the Children and Young People plan.


The Director added that the Education Services Grant covering a wide range of central services including, attendance and inclusion, school based planning, behaviour support and school improvement work had been reduced from £3.2m to £685,000, and had been amalgamated into a central fund as part of the Dedicated School Grant.


Resolved –

The Panel noted the updates and progress against the Cabinet Member Priorities.



School Place Planning and Capital Programme 2017/18- 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 542 KB


 To note the demand for places at Royal Greenwich schools and post 16 provision and the action being taken by the Council.

Additional documents:


The Panel was addressed by the Assistant Director (Commissioning and Resources), who summarised the contents of the report and confirmed that it had been taken to the June 2017 Cabinet which agreed the Capital Programme as a result of the projections and the recommended priorities.


In Response to Panel Member questions on the expansion of places in existing schools and the percentage of new places being provided in good and outstanding schools the Assistant Director confirmed that Corelli College had been reverted to its existing published admissions number and currently had 39 vacancies. She added that there had been no expansions in schools that were not good or outstanding.


In response to Panel Member questions on the Forms of Entry at the Eltham Church of England Primary School the Assistant Director stated she had recently met with the Head Teacher who confirmed that the 0.5FE increase was working better in terms of class numbers.


With regards to the Vincent Road provision the Panel was advised by the Assistant Director that it was an expansion of Plumcroft Primary School with an additional 2 Forms of Entry. she confirmed that there had been delays and extra costs incurred during the demolition process and that additional funding was provided for the IT infrastructure from the Basic Needs Funding allocations. she added that there was no adverse impact on the provision of places as existing schools were able to meet the projections.


In response to a question, the Assistant Director stated that projections of schools places were within 2 percent for the last couple of years and in terms of Primary School places the projected to actual figures were 3760 & 3767 respectively.


In terms of teacher recruitment, the Director advised the Panel of the problems faced nationally. She continued that the aim locally was to work closely with schools to increase the retention of good teachers as well as attracting them to the Borough.


Members felt the issue in respect of teacher recruitment needed addressing and requested a verbal update at the next meeting.

Action: DCS

The Assistant Director informed the Panel that the total number of pupils on roll at Royal Greenwich primary Schools had increased by 21% over the last 5 years as a result of a previous surge in birth rate and children moving into the Borough. She added there are programme contingency’s in place, which include liaising with neighbouring boroughs who have vacancies, to meet any future requirement of schools places.


In response to a questions, the Assistant Director confirmed the current vacancies in secondary schools across the Borough highlighting that some schools had taken control of their admission numbers. She stated that Plumstead Manor was traditionally a low recruiting school and faced more competition with the disproportionate number of all girl’s schools within the Borough. She added that the school was moving to a co-educational offer from next year and the Director of Children Services was working closely with the Headteacher.


Members recognised that school place planning was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Children and Young People Plan Quarter 4 2016/17 and Quarter 1 2017/18 Performance Monitor pdf icon PDF 258 KB


 To note the position as at the end of Q4, 2016/17 and how this informed the Children and Young People Plan 2017-2020.

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director introduced the report to the Panel, outlining the position at the end of the 2014-2017 Children & Young People Plan. She also provided an overview of the 2017-20 Plan and highlighted the performance from the first quarter of its delivery.


The Panel noted the report.


In response to questions raised, the Assistant Director confirmed there is a strategy in development with Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services, to support schools and other educational practitioners, to reduce fixed term exclusions of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. She added that this will consider the children’s behaviour in a holistic manor and offered examples of other boroughs providing best practice.


The Panel requested information on Off-Rolling to be brought to a future meeting as this had been an issue raised in the Fairness Commission. It was agreed this will be included within the education achievement report which is coming to a Panel in February 2018.

Action: DCS


With regards to Educational health and Care Plans, the Director confirmed that a Designated Medical Officer had been appointed and that workers were committed to engaging with parents to provide a quality service in a timely manner. She added the there was a mini restructure in the Special Educational Needs & Disability team.

The Panel noted that this was an area of concern and requested an update of performance to be brought to a future meeting of the Panel. It was agreed that an item would be programmed into 2018/19 work programme.

Action: DCE


 The Panel raised concerns over the increased obesity rates in year 6 and asked how the Fairness Commission findings on childhood obesity will be used to address issues for disadvantaged children and families. The Director confirmed that updates will be brought to future meetings.

Action: DCS


The Assistant Director added that there is unlikely to be a quick turnaround in the figures as it had taken decades to reach the current point and that obesity is a concern for the Borough population as whole. She continued that the Obesity Action Plan sits under the Health & Well-Being strategy and will address issues such as family, lifestyles and diet.


In relation to youth justice, Members raised concerns over the first time entrants figures and the high rates compared to the London average. The Director confirmed that many of these young people had not been on the authority’s radar and there is work underway around identification and early intervention which includes; working with the Early Help & Safeguarding teams to cross reference the data on exclusions and concerning behaviour towards others.


In response to a question, the Assistant Director confirmed that the CCG leads on perinatal mental health and that Childrens Centres and Public health nursing provide additional support and identify mothers who are at risk i.e. Maternal Mood Assessment. She added that Mums Aid is provided funding and commissioned in a number of our Children’s Centres.


With regards to respiratory and asthma conditions, Members asked if mapping highlighting hotspots of asthma and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Commissioning Future Reports pdf icon PDF 42 KB



To note the work items that are scheduled to be presented to the meeting of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Panel on 19 October 2017 as outlined in the body of the report.


Additional documents:


The Chair informed the Panel that the youth service report had been moved to the November meeting.


The Panel discussed the design of new council flats in terms of their cooking and eating areas and identified the need to cross reference healthy living with the regeneration of the borough.


Resolved –

Panel members agreed the work programme schedule.