Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, Priory House, Chicksands, Shefford
Contact: Leslie Manning 0300 300 5132
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel held on 2 February 2015 (copy attached).
The minutes of the meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel held on 2 February 2015 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
To receive from Members any declarations of interest.
No interests were declared.
Chairman's Announcements and Communications
To receive any announcements from the Chairman and any matters of communication.
The Chairman informed the Panel that Councillor A Shadbolt, a long serving member of the Council, had died the evening before. The Panel’s thoughts were with Councillor Shadbolt’s family and friends on this sad occasion.
To consider the Children in Care Council’s Annual Report for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015.
The Panel considered the Children in Care Council’s (CiCC’s) Annual Report for the period 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015. The aim of the report was to summarise and evaluate the work undertaken by the CiCC and the Participation Officer during this period.
The Panel also received a presentation from the CiCC which complemented the Annual Report
A slide pack for the presentation was circulated and a copy is attached at Appendix A to these minutes.
The CiCC representatives worked through the presentation, each taking turns to introduce sections. At the conclusion the Assistant Director Children’s Services Operations suggested that the Panel recognise the efforts of the CiCC representatives and thank them accordingly. The Chairman, on behalf of the Panel, concurred with this suggestion.
A Member referred to the use of acronyms within both the report and presentation and requested that officers provide a full explanation of an acronym's meaning in future documents. In response the Assistant Director Children’s Services Operations apologised for this occurrence and undertook to ensure that this situation was not repeated.
The Vice-Chairman sought the CiCC representatives’ views on their level of involvement in the development of the Passport to Independence. A CiCC representative stated that she had actively participated and had attended a meeting with Housing officers. The Team Manager 13+ Transition and Leaving Care added that support from the Housing team had been excellent and officers had encouraged participation.
The Director of Social Care, Health and Housing then asked the CiCC representatives what single matter had made the biggest difference to them over the past year. In response one of the representatives explained how she was able to draw on her own experience to prepare a booklet which could be used by other Looked After Children going through a similar experience. Another representative referred to work undertaken on the Passport for Independence.
The Assistant Director Children’s Services Operations referred to the Young Voices group and how he and the Chief Executive of the Council had played Jenga with some of the young people as a means to overcome boundaries and encourage them to talk about aspects of their lives. A foster carer representative said she was unaware of the group and sought information on how younger people found out about it. In response a CiCC representative explained that notification was made by letter and recruitment days arranged. Another CiCC representative stated that this information would also be available on the website when it became available. Discussion followed during which the Head of Corporate Parenting undertook to establish why the foster carer had not received information on the Young Voices group. With regard to the website, the Assistant Director Children’s Services Operations acknowledged that there had been a substantial delay in its implementation but he felt that any problems had been overcome and the website would soon be available.
The Chairman expressed his thanks and stated that the Panel fully recognised the commitment of the CiCC representatives. The presentation had illustrated the CiCC’s achievements ... view the full minutes text for item 45.
To consider a report on the role of the Virtual School for Looked After Children, the educational outcomes for Looked After Children in the academic year 2013/14 and the measures taken in the current academic year 2014/15, in partnership with other agencies, to raise the achievement and progress of all Looked After Children.
The Panel considered a report from the Director of Children’s Services which explained the role of the Central Bedfordshire Virtual School, the confirmed educational outcomes for Looked After Children in the academic year 2013/14 and the measures taken in the current academic year 2014/15, in partnership with other agencies, to raise the achievement and progress of all Looked After Children.
The Assistant Director School Improvement introduced the report which, she explained, contained results which had now been validated. She then worked through the report, which covered the following matters, highlighting issues she felt to be of particular interest:
· Pupil’s Achievement
· Priority Actions for 2014/15
The Assistant Director School Improvement then updated the Panel on recent developments regarding targeted support including additional support for foster carers, the extension of the Pupil Premium into early years and moving the Virtual School predominantly online. She also referred to the appointment of a Personal Advisor in the Virtual School to work three days a week tracking the progress of Looked After Children and to the Virtual School Head’s invitation to speak to Education Inspectors on the role of the Virtual School.
A Member then raised a number of queries. In response the Assistant Director School Improvement confirmed that the Pupil Premium needed to be spent by the end of the financial year or would be returned to the department for Education. She added that the monies were almost fully spent. With regard it the Premium’s use to support group learning the Assistant Director School Improvement stated that it had funded individual pupils too date. She emphasised that every child was regarded as an individual and the Virtual School had adopted this approach in its service provision. It was recognised that pupils’ needs varied on a year by year basis and so the focus needed to be individuals.
The Panel’s attention was drawn to the absence of a comparative 2013 percentage figure from paragraph 26 of the report which dealt with Looked After Children achieving the expected level in reading, writing and mathematics for the year ending 31 March 2014. In response the Assistant Director School Improvement undertook to supply this information.
Further discussion took place regarding pupils’ achievement under the Key Stage 4 Results for 2014. The Assistant Director School Improvement explained that one area which required examination related to those children who came late into care and hadn’t developed academically due to the adverse background impacting on their emotional health and wellbeing.
A foster carer commented that the Virtual School was the most pro-active that she had been in contact with and expressed her thanks for this.
The Assistant Director Children’s Services Operations commented on the improved content and greater detail of the reports on the Virtual School over the last two years and paid tribute to the Assistant Director School Improvement and the Virtual School Head for their leadership and control in this area.
Following further discussion and comment the Chairman, on behalf of the Panel, asked ... view the full minutes text for item 46.
Presentation of Unit Award Statements
To present AQA Unit Award Statements to members of the Children in Care Council in recognition of their assistance in the training of social workers.
(Note: At the beginning of this item three of the Children in Care Council representatives returned to the meeting).
On behalf of the Panel, the Chairman presented Assessment and Qualifications Alliance (AQA) Unit Award Statements to Charlotte Chapman, Emily Smith and Rebeka Hillyard of the Children in Care Council in recognition of their work in helping to train some of Central Bedfordshire Council’s social workers during the latter’s Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE).