Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Services Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 14th April, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Virtual meeting with restricted public access

Contact: Natalie Jones-Punch on 033 022 25098  Email:  natalie.jones-punch@westsussex.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interests

Members and officers must declare any pecuniary or personalinterest in any business on the agenda. They should also make declarations at any stage such an interest becomes apparent during the meeting. Consideration should be given to leaving the meeting if the nature of the interest warrants it.  If in doubt please contact Democratic Services before the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

1.1     No interests were declared.

2.

Minutes of the last meeting of the Committee pdf icon PDF 158 KB

The Committee is asked to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 4 March 2020 (cream paper).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

2.1     Resolved – that the minutes of the meeting held on 4 March 2020 be approved as a correct record and that they be signed by the Chairman.

3.

Small Schools Proposals pdf icon PDF 144 KB

Report by the Director of Education and Skills.

 

Following a consultation on options for five rural and small schools in November 2019, a Task and Finish Group met to consider the outcome and the proposals for each of the five schools. This was then considered by the Children and Young People’s Scrutiny Committee on 9 January 2020, prior to Cabinet taking a decision to undertake a statutory consultation on specific proposals for the five schools.

 

The statutory consultation completed on 16 March 2020 and the attached draft decision report outlines the output of the consultation and the proposed recommendations for those schools.

 

The Committee is asked to comment on the attached draft Cabinet decision report and supporting appendices, and provide comment to the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills,prior to the formal decision being taken by Cabinet. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

3.1     The Committee considered a report by the Director of Education and Skills. The report was introduced by Councillor Nigel Jupp, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills and Paul Wagstaff, Director of Education and Skills who highlighted the following points:

 

·       The process began 18 months ago with the revised School Effectiveness Strategy 2018-22, which was approved by full council and endorsed by the Committee.

·       The Education and Skills directorate commenced consultations with schools, staff, parents, governors and supporters of the five schools concerned. Discussion had also taken place with MPs, local members and the CYPSSC Task and Finish Group (TFG).

·       The proposals for each school varied based upon their circumstances and were as follows:

Ø  Progress the federation plan for Stedham Primary school with Harting C of E Primary School

Ø  Progress proposals to secure a federation of Compton and Up Marden CE Primary school with one or more schools

Ø  Warninglid Primary School to relocate to Pease Pottage, Crawley by 2021

Ø  Issue closure notices for Clapham and Patching C of E Primary school

Ø  Issue closure notices for Rumboldswhyke C of E Primary school.

·       A consultation period for the above proposals ceased on 16 March 2020. 711 responses were received, with additional input from traffic surveys, community risk assessments and a peer review.

·       Whilst there had been calls to delay the closure decisions for Rumboldswhyke and Clapham and Patching schools in view of the current Covid-19 situation, this would serve to extend anxiety, see declining enrolment and reductions in staff.

·       The Education and Skills directorate and Cabinet Member recognised the difficulties faced by these prospective changes, particularly in respect of proposed closure and would work hard to ensure a smooth transition. The service would work carefully with parents to identify alternative schools for children and ensure that any choices were made in a measured way.

·       For schools facing possible closure, there was a possibility of keeping school buildings open for children with complex needs to both minimize disruption and ease the process of transition to a new school.

·       Interest had been shown towards Rumboldswhyke and Clapham and Patching schools by trusts to academise. The County Council had the statutory responsibility for school place planning, ensuring adequate pupil places, avoiding surplus provision and negative impacts on existing schools.

·       The offer for Rumboldswhyke was to academise with Bishop Luffa school creating a new Primary school. This however would create surplus places at Key Stage 2 (KS2) which were not required.

  • For Clapham and Patching, an offer had been made to academise the school by the South Downs Education Trust, however the Regional Schools Commissioner (RSC) would not accept a proposal to academise or issue an academy order until WSCC had completed its review of whether the school was viable or not.
  • Schools causing concern guidance identified that Clapham and Patching CE Primary was unable to fill from the local community owing to few primary school age children in the area and costly house prices.   

 

3.2     The Committee considered a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Forward Plan of Key Decisions pdf icon PDF 346 KB

Extract fromthe ForwardPlan dated 1 April 2020 – attached.

 

Anextract fromanyForwardPlan publishedbetween the date of despatchof the agenda and the date of the meetingwill be tabled at the meeting.

 

The Committee is asked to consider whetheritwishes to enquireinto any of the forthcoming decisions withinits portfolio.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.1     The Committee considered an extract of the Forward Plan dated 1 April.

 

4.2     Resolved that the Committee notes the Forward Plan.

5.

Possible Items for Future Scrutiny

Members to mention any items which they believe to be of relevance to the business of the Scrutiny Committee, and suitable for scrutiny, e.g. raised with them by constituents arising from central government initiatives etc.

 

If any member puts forward such an item, the Committee’s role at this meeting is just to assess, briefly, whether to refer the matter to its Business Planning Group (BPG) to consider in detail.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

5.1     The following issues were put forward by the Committee for consideration for the Business Planning Group:

 

·       The establishment of a Children’s Trust.

·       The support for care leavers in the context of Covid-19

·       Care Leavers Strategy

·       Help for school governors.

 

5.2     Jacquie Russell, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People advised the Committee the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding in respect of the Children’s Trust would be brought to the Committee at the appropriate time. The Cabinet Member for Children and Young People also advised the service were working on a revised Children Looked After Strategy and this would include the introduction of a care leavers covenant. She added that the Local Resilience Forum (LRF) were dealing with the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to children’s homes and other settings, and the executive team and Cabinet colleagues were lobbying for additional supplies of PPE.

 

5.3     Resolved that the items identified above be scheduled where necessary for consideration by the Committee’s Business Planning Group.

6.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Committee will be held on 4 June 2020 at 10.30 am.

 

Any member wishing to place an item on the agenda for the meeting must notify the Director of Law and Assurance by 25 May 2020.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.1     The next meeting of the Committee would be held on 4 June 2020.