Agenda and minutes

Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee - Wednesday, 10th May, 2023 10.30 am

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

Contact: Misbah Mahmood 


No. Item




Apologies were received from County Councillor John Potter and Aby Hardy, Head of Education Improvement.



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.


County Councillors Samara Barnes, Anne Cheetham, Loraine Cox, Jennifer Mein and John Withington all declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 4, Governor Services – Recruitment and Training as they were serving school governors.



Minutes of the Meeting Held on 5 April 2023 pdf icon PDF 297 KB

To be confirmed and signed by the Chair.


Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on the 5April 2023 be confirmed as an accurate record.



Governor Services - Recruitment and Training pdf icon PDF 258 KB

Additional documents:


The Chair welcomed County Councillor Jayne Rear, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, Jaquie Old, Executive Director Education and Children's Services, Julie Bell, Interim Director of Education, Skills and Culture, Elaine Cluet, SI Secondary Lead, Head of Governor Services and Joshua Mangas, School Based Issue Officer to the meeting.


The report provided an update on the work the council was doing to support the recruitment of school governors, including increasing numbers and improving diversity in governing boards.


A presentation was provided to the committee, a copy of which is attached to the minutes.


Comments and queries were raised by the committee as follows:


  • In response to what support and training was available to new school governors, a Chair of Governing Mentoring Service was available across Lancashire for any governor to sign up to. This linked new school governors to experienced mentors.  In-house training was also a costed option that provided onsite, venue-based courses for schools.


  • Officers highlighted that support from school governors could be provided through personal attendance at scheduled events and on programmes designed for school governors, such as the Chairs Forum and participation on the School Governor Mentoring Programme. The website was currently being developed and the team welcomed any short videos, case studies or messages that could be used to further support new governors in their role.


  • The level of delegated responsibilities given to school governors within academies was varied depending on the academy's structure. Officers were looking into providing the same level of support to trustees within academy trusts, as they had the same level of influence and responsibility as school governing bodies.


  • The committee was informed that Equality, Diversity and Inclusion data (EDI) was not collected, however, national data could be looked at, subject to GDP regulations. The Governor Hub may be able to assist in collecting data like this in the future.


  • In terms of progress on the work on the 2020 Scrutiny Task Group recommendations, it was noted that priorities had been impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic. There had also been changes in recent leadership within the team.  However, officers reaffirmed their commitment to moving forward with the recommendations of the 2020 Scrutiny Task Group, which concluded in December 2020.


  • There were ongoing discussions taking place with internal Communications to create a representative recruitment advert to encourage more people to apply for school governor places, in particular from diverse and minority backgrounds. Potential barriers to the recruitment of parents onto school governing boards was also being evaluated and an update would be provided to the committee at a future meeting.


  • It was noted that the appointment of 'governor champions' within local educational settings that represented minority groups would provide a role model for more diverse recruitment from minority backgrounds to school governor positions.


  • It was noted that there was an error on page 13 of Appendix 1 of the Governor Services report. Attendance for training delivered by Lancashire County Council officers should have read 100% better, instead of 50%, based on the information  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Spring Term Update Education Strategy 2023 pdf icon PDF 285 KB


The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Jayne Rear, Cabinet Member for Education and Skills and Julie Bell, Interim Director of Education, Skills and Culture.


The committee was presented a report on the Education Strategy, which provided an update of the work undertaken during the Spring Term on the five key priorities of the strategy.


Comments and queries raised by the committee were as follows:


·  It was requested that the map of alternative provision be shared with the committee, along with collated results for the survey on the use of alternative provision expected in the Summer Term. Officers highlighted that the alternative provision strategy update was being developed which was a three-year work programme. Officers were at the beginning of a consultation due to be finalised in the Autumn of 2023, which would take two years to implement. An update on the consultation could be brought to the committee at a future meeting.


·  Additional information on how the strategy was addressing the rising numbers of Elective Home Education (EHE) was requested by the committee during the next update.  It was confirmed that data on the number of young people in EHE would be presented to the committee through an annual report on the Education Strategy, this was due to be brought to the committee in the Autumn.


  • The committee asked if children who were victims of sexual abuse were being considered under improving outcomes for vulnerable children. It was suggested that the committee may wish to consider this a separate topic as there was a significant amount of work that was being done to try and prevent exploitation of young vulnerable people and managing the risks involved. 


  • The commercialisation of attendance referred to new statutory functions on attendance that the local authority now had do. This meant the team needed to realign their priorities and capacity to meet these functions. Services that were not statutory would still be provided to schools, most likely under a traded offer.


  • It was noted that guidance for children with severe illness that were unable to attend education was available from the Department of Education and that local authority officers handled cases on an individual basis related to each child's specific needs.


  • A request was made for statistics to be provided on the various attendance projects so the committee could consider whether the projects were having a positive impact on attendance.




Resolved: That the following recommendations be shared with the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills:


  1. That the map of alternative provision, under the further reduce exclusions priority of the strategy, be shared with the committee.


  1. Details on how the strategy is addressing the key priority of rising numbers of Elective Home Education be presented to a future meeting of the committee.


  1. When possible, figures on the attendance projects and the impact they have had on improving attendance within schools be shared with the committee. 




Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 262 KB

Additional documents:


The committee considered a report which provided members of the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee with the committee's work programme for 2022/23. This included progress related to the committee's previous recommendations.




i.  That the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2022/23 be noted.




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.


An issue was highlighted regarding The Hollins School in Accrington. The capacity at the school was for 500 pupils, however, it was believed it was currently running at 800 pupils and because of this, the toilet facilities were not adequate. It was noted that the school was also considering academy status. 




  i.  An update on the situation at The Hollins School was requested by the committee.



Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee will be held on Wednesday 5 July 2023 at 10.30 am in Committee Room C – The Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston.


The next meeting of the Children, Families and Skills Scrutiny Committee would be held on Wednesday 5 July 2023 in Committee Room C – The Duke of Lancaster Room, County Hall, Preston.