Agenda and minutes

Children and Young People's Scrutiny Panel
Monday, 9th November, 2020 6.30 pm

Venue: MS Teams

Contact: Rob Mack, Principal Scrutiny Officer 


No. Item



Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on. 


By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.


The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.

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The Chair referred Members present to item 1 on the agenda in respect of filming at the meeting and Members noted the information contained therein.


Apologies for absence

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Items of Urgent Business

The Chair will consider the admission of any late items of urgent business (late items will be considered under the agenda item where they appear. New items will be dealt with as noted below).

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Declarations of interest

A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:


(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and

(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.


A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.


Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

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To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, Paragraph 29 of the Council’s Constitution.

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Minutes pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting of 29 September 2020.

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That the minutes of the meeting of 29 September be approved.


Terms of Reference and Membership pdf icon PDF 529 KB

To note the terms of reference and membership for Overview and Scrutiny and its panels for 2020/21. 

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1.    That the terms of reference and Protocol for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and its Panels be noted; and


2.    That the policy areas/remits and membership for each Scrutiny Panel for 2020/21 be noted.



Cabinet Member Questions - Children and Families.

An opportunity to question the Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Councillor Kaushika Amin, on developments within her portfolio.

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The Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Councillor Kaushika Amin, outlined

key developments within the areas of her portfolio as follows:

·         Local authorities had been disappointed at the lack of government support for the provision of free school meals during the Autumn half term.   However, support had instead been provided locally by the Council and this had included provision for children from families with no recourse to public funds (NRPF).  Following the campaign that there had been on this issue, the government had now pledged to provide support during the Christmas holidays.  The detail of the arrangements for this was not yet known though;

·         School attendance was in line the national average but lower than before the pandemic.  Schools were isolating any pupils who became infected with Covid-19 and had worked closely with the Council to put necessary preventative measures in place.  Risk assessments had been done and support provided by the Council’s Public Health service.  Remote learning provided a means of enabling children to continue to receive education if they were unable to be in school and could provide a useful learning tool for the future.  Some schools had been particularly effective in providing remote learning that was engaging, including Mulberry Primary School.   However, access to the necessary IT equipment and broadband was not enjoyed by all.  Schools were doing their best to assist in such circumstances;

·         An increasing number of parents and carers were electing to home school their children.  In a number of cases, this was due to health concerns.  Some of those who were home schooled were vulnerable.  The Council was looking at how home schooled children and young people could be best supported;

·         Ofsted inspections had been temporarily suspended but interim ones would be taking place from the autumn onwards.  Preparations were continuing to be made in case there was an inspection in Haringey;

·         In respect of the social workers in schools scheme, there were now seven secondary schools that were included within the scheme. 


In answer to a question regarding digital access, she stated that this was a big challenge.  A range of actions were being taken.  In particular, schools were providing support and had been able to lend laptops to some children.  Funding had been made available from the Department for Education (DfE) for vulnerable children.  In addition, some families had been referred to charities.  A number of these were involved, including Children in Need.  Schools were providing written materials as well so that families did not have to rely completely on IT for learning.  It was noted that there were still gaps though and that the aspiration was for each child to have access to at least one device.  Schools were endeavouring to help when children and young people were required to self-isolate.  Eveleen Riordan, Assistant Director for Schools and Learning stated that work was being undertaken with schools to identify where there was specific need.   Camden Council had begun a crowd funding campaign to fund IT equipment for school children and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.


Haringey Local Safeguarding Children's Board; Annual Report (April 2018 to Sept 2019) pdf icon PDF 193 KB

To consider the Annual Report of Haringey Local Safeguarding Children’s Board.

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David Archibald, the Independent Chair of the Haringey Local Children’s Safeguarding Board (LSCB), introduced its Annual Report for 2018/19, which also included the period up to its dissolution on 29 September 2019.  The LSCB had been replaced by a new multi-agency body, which had been named Haringey Safeguarding Children’s Partnership.  The Partnership aimed to ensure continuity and consistency so a similar name had been chosen.  The new arrangements specified three strategic partners – the Council, Police and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) – who had joint and equal accountability.  Other partners nevertheless continued to be actively involved.  He felt that the new arrangements were working well and had responded well to the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, despite them still bedding in.  The strategic partners had worked especially well together.  The Annual Report was the last one required by the old legislation and the first report put together under the new arrangements was due in eight months’ time.


In answer to a question on the lack of reference to school governing bodies within the report, he commented that this was a valid point.  There had been some debate when the government was developing proposals for the new arrangements on whether to include schools as the fourth strategic partner.   However, it was felt that including all schools would not work well.  It was nevertheless recognised that schools had an extremely important role to play.  There was good involvement from Headteachers in Haringey, who were part of the Leadership Group. He would be happy to talk to school governing body Chairs on how they could best be involved in the new arrangements.  Ann Graham, the Director of Children’s Services, agreed to refer the issue of how best to involve school governing bodies to the next meeting of the Executive of the Safeguarding Partnership. 


In answer to another question regarding to decrease in the number of children subject to a child protection plan, Ms Graham reported that numbers had been steadily climbing two years ago and action had therefore been taken to reduce them.  The same levels of protection were still being provided though through the effective use of the signs of safety policy and the early help that was offered as part of the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub.  Help and support was now being provided instead of a formal intervention. 


In response to a question regarding the disproportionate funding of safeguarding partnerships by local authorities, Mr Archibald stated that there had been requests at a national level for clarification regarding budget arrangements.  It had been suggested that each statutory partner should contribute one third but this had not been built into the guidelines.  The three statutory partners were required to make their own decisions locally but the issue was currently under active review.  The matter continued to be discussed within Haringey.  Specific government guidance on contributions from agencies other than the three statutory partners would be welcome.


In answer to a question, he stated that it was important to compare performance with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.


Education Update pdf icon PDF 358 KB

To receive an update on education issues, including the impact of the Covid pandemic on tests and examinations, lost learning and action to address digital poverty.


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Ms Riordan provided an update on education issues as follows:

·         89 pupils and 81 staff had so far been confirmed as having contacted Covid-19.  Measures had nevertheless been put in place in schools ahead of their reopening to minimise the risk of infection;

·          There had been no standard assessment tests (SATs) for year 6 children this year and no predicted score was given.  Instead, primary schools had used existing data to inform schools ahead of secondary transfer;

·         There had also been no GCSE or A Level exams in England in summer 2020.  An algorithm process had instead been used to predict A level results initially.  This had resulted in many young people being awarded grades that were significantly below that which had been predicted.   Some had missed out on their chosen university after issues had been rectified due to places already being allocated.  Many young people had deferred university until 2021, which was likely to put additional pressure on places next year;

·         Although grades had been awarded, they had not been published and there were no school league tables.  GCSEs and A Levels would be going ahead in 2021 but had been moved back to give young people more time to prepare.  SATs were expected to go ahead;

·         All children and young people had needed to rely on remote learning for at least time in recent months.  A joint report had been published with five other London boroughs that looked at what had worked well in order to share good practice.  Haringey Education Partnership (HEP) was working with schools in order to assist them and it was also being taken up as part of continuing professional development for teachers.  Action had been undertaken to ensure that it was possible to switch to remote learning smoothly should the need arise.  Hard copies of learning materials had been provided where necessary.  Measures had also been taken by schools to share IT equipment with families who did not have easy access.  Some assistance had also been provided by the government to assist vulnerable children in accessing IT; and

·         In respect of free school meals, the government had now pledged to provide further assistance during the Christmas school holidays.  The detail of this was still awaited.


In answer to a question, she stated that children were isolated if they began to exhibit Covi-19 symptoms whilst at school and parent or carers were contacted and asked to pick them up.  If they tested positive, they were required to self-isolate for 10 days.  Schools would look at who they had come into contact with.  There was little evidence so far of in-school transmission.  All pupils for Year 7 upwards were required to wear masks when moving around within schools.


In answer to another question, she stated the quality of teaching was the most important factor in motivating pupils to work remotely.   It had been steep learning curve for all schools.  A range of tactics had been used to work effectively with the most difficult children to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.


Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 289 KB

To consider the work plan for the Panel for the remainder of 2020/21.

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It was noted that the next evidence sessions of the Panel’s review on Schools would be taking place on 10 November, when evidence would be received from the Catholic and Church of England Diocesan authorities.   The next regular meeting of the Panel would be focussing on the proposals for the Medium Term Financial Strategy for 2021-24.  In addition, there would be an update on the implementation of the recommendations of the Panel’s review on SEND and Cabinet Member Questions, with the Cabinet Member for Communities.




That the Panel’s work programme for 2020/21 be noted.