Agenda and minutes

Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 26th October, 2022 10.30 am

Members of the public are welcome to attend our meetings to watch them in person at any of the venues across the County. Publicly accessible meetings held in County Hall will be webcast, which means they are available to be watched live or recorded on our website. Please see our webcasting notice here. The Committee may, in certain circumstances, resolve to hold part of the meeting in private. If this is the case, you will be required to leave the meeting.

Venue: Committee Room 'C' - The Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston. View directions

Contact: Hannah Race 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from County Councillor Scott Smith and Mr Daniel Ballard. 

2.

Disclosure of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Members are asked to consider any pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the agenda.

Minutes:

None were disclosed.

3.

Minutes of the Meeting Held on 13 September 2022 pdf icon PDF 300 KB

To be confirmed and signed by the Chair.

Minutes:

Resolved: That the minutes of the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee meeting held on 13 September 2022 be confirmed as an accurate record.

 

4.

SEND and Specialist Provision Update pdf icon PDF 288 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Jayne Rear, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Sally Richardson, Head of the Inclusion Service, and Julie Bell, Director of Education, Culture and Skills.

 

The report presented was concerned with the county council's provision for children and young people in Lancashire who have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and particularly those with education, health and care plans (EHCPs). A presentation was also delivered to the committee on SEND and Specialist provision. The presentation is attached to the minutes.

 

Comments and questions were as follows:

 

·  In terms of extra places for children and young people, it was noted that there had been an increase in SEN units in mainstream schools.  As there had also been an increase in the number of children with EHCPs, members felt that there should be more places made available in special schools and not just SEN units.

 

·  In response to a query about the distribution of special school places across the county, members were informed that Expressions of Interest had been sent out to schools keen to develop their SEND provision. 6 key areas had been identified across the county and they were evenly distributed.

 

·  There was concern about the increasing number of children with EHCPs being excluded. The number had almost doubled in the last year. The council was working with schools to reduce the number of exclusions and Children's Champions at the council worked with children who had been excluded.

 

·  Some schools and parents had complained about the quality of service they had received and the amount of time it took to be issued with an EHCP. The process to carry out an assessment and issue an EHCP took 20 weeks, as set out by the Government's Code of Practice and the Children and Families Act. The council was looking to other local authorities for best practice and to achieve improvements in timings.

 

·  There was concern about funding for schools who provided SEN support. Lancashire used the national funding guidance and formula which provided circa £6,000 per pupil, and a review of funding was currently being undertaken.

 

·  The committee enquired about a breakdown in age range of the number of children in Lancashire with EHCPs, and were informed that approximately 600 EHCPs were issued per year group. Most requests were received for reception-aged children. There was also a request for data on the county council's success rate in relation to assessments and provision of EHCPs within 20 weeks, to be shared with committee members after the meeting.

 

·  There was a further request for information on the process associated with EHCPs to be made available to all county councillors, either through a Bite Size Briefing or vodcast. Members were informed that a data dashboard already provided a lot of this information and a link would be circulated to members.

 

·  Members requested more information on what alternative provision was available for children who were not able to access school education as it was provided. There were 9  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report presented provided members of the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee with the committee's work programme for 2022/23.

 

Regarding schools' access to the Lancashire Community Food Grant Scheme, it was requested that officer contact details be shared with members after the meeting.

 

On the support provided by Lancashire County Council to the D/deaf Community, County Councillor Rupert Swarbrick highlighted that in his former role as Champion for Disabled People he had been involved with officers' work to improve the council's offer and would liaise with officers to provide some information for committee members.

 

Resolved: That:

 

i)  The Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee Work Programme 2022/23 be noted;

 

ii)  Officer contact details for the Lancashire Community Food Grant Scheme be shared with committee members after the meeting; and

 

iii)  Consideration be given to how information on the county council's work to support the D/deaf Community could be shared with committee members.

6.

Urgent Business

An item of urgent business may only be considered under this heading where, by reason of special circumstances to be recorded in the minutes, the chair of the meeting is of the opinion that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency. Wherever possible, the chief executive should be given advance warning of any member's intention to raise a matter under this heading.

Minutes:

There was no Urgent Business.

7.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee will be held on Wednesday 30 Novemberat 10.30 am in Committee Room C – The Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee was due to take place on Wednesday 30 November 2022 at 10:30am, Committee Room C – The Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston.