Agenda and minutes

Improving Lives Select Commission - Tuesday, 11th June, 2019 5.30 p.m.

Venue: Town Hall, Moorgate Street, ROTHERHAM. S60 2TH

Contact: Debbie Pons, Principal Democratic Services Officer  The webcast can be viewed at

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of interest from Members in respect of items listed on the agenda.


There were no declarations of interest.


Questions from Members of the Public and the Press

To receive questions relating to items of business on the agenda from members of the public or press who are present at the meeting.


There were no questions from members of the public and the press.


Minutes of the previous meeting held on 16 April 2019 pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To consider and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 16 April 2019 as a true and correct record of the proceedings.


Resolved:-That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission, held on 16th April 2019, be approved as a correct record for signature by the Chair.




To receive communications from the Chair in respect of matters within the Commission’s remit and work programme.


The Chair welcomed Members to the first meeting of the Committee and placed on record her thanks to Councillor Amy Brookes for her work as Vice-Chair in the previous municipal year.


Members were informed that a work planning had been organised on Tuesday, 18thJune, from 2.00-4.00pm. Members were invited to submit suggestions should they be unable to attend.


Corporate Parenting Panel (CPP)

The Chair reported that a Sub-Group had commenced a review of the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO) process which was nearing conclusion.  Feedback would be provided to a future meeting of the Corporate Parenting Panel.


Exclusion of the Press and Public

To consider whether the press and public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of any part of the agenda.


The Chair advised that there were no items of business on the agenda that would require the exclusion of the press or public from the meeting.


Regional Schools Commissioner (East Midlands and the Humber Region) - Mr. John Edwards

To discuss with the Regional Schools Commissioner the key challenges for Education in Rotherham


The Chair welcomed Mr. John Edwards, Regional Schools Commissioner (East Midlands and the Humber Region) to the meeting.


Mr. Edwards gave a brief introduction to his role and responsibilities. The Commissioner’s region covered 17 local authority areas. There were 8 Regional Schools Commissioners working to a National Commissioner, and were accountable to the relevant Ministers for delivery of Ministerial priorities.


As Senior Civil Servants, the Commissioners had certain delegated decision making powers on behalf of the Secretary of State in relation to academies. These included identifying sponsors for inadequate maintained schools; making changes to academies and the formation of Multi-Academy Trusts; working with Local Authorities, Diocese and other related partners; making decisions on Free Schools and overseeing the ‘school improvement offer’ for those trusts who met the criteria.


Academies were educational charities, funded directly by Government to deliver education and regulated by Ofsted. The Commissioners work with academies to ensure that they were underpinned by sound governance and finance to deliver good educational outcomes. Within the region, the Commissioner outlined that there were 1,285 Academies; with more than 170 Multi-Academy Trusts (MATs) and a similar number of single academy trusts. His teams worked with the academies to support and challenge improvements.


Through academies, a school-led system of improvement was developing, supporting those schools where progress was needed to be made and sustaining good outcomes for schools which were successful. As part of a Trust, schools could access specific support improvement support, including specialist assistance with Maths and English and school leadership. Examples were given of specialist hubs and teaching schools based in Rotherham.


Focusing on Rotherham, the Commissioner highlighted that 65% of all Primary Schools were academies, working in single or MATs. All but one of Rotherham Secondary Schools were academies. Most of the large Trusts were based within the area and whilst this brought benefits of building capacity within the Borough, there was a challenge to ensure that good practice from elsewhere was shared to support improvements.


It was noted that Rotherham outcomes had not kept pace with improvements that had taken place nationally. The Commissioner gave a commitment to work with Trusts and individual schools within the Borough to drive improvement and leadership.


In response to a question about the rising numbers of children who were being Elective Home Educated (“home schooled”) and comparisons with the national picture, the Commissioner outlined that the Government had recently commissioned the “Timpson Review” which had looked at a range of issues, including exclusions, Elective Home Education and children missing from education and would consult on proposals in due course. The Assistant Director for Education clarified that data was available and work was underway to analyse trends and good practice which would be submitted to a future meeting of the Commission. Responsibility for the safeguarding of children who were home education remained with the local authority.


Clarification was sought on the work underway regionally and nationally to support schools which had larger numbers of newly-arrived pupils, particularly those who joined the school  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Rotherham Education Strategic Partnership (RESP) Update pdf icon PDF 69 KB


To provide an overview and update of progress in respect of the key areas for action identified within the RESP strategic plan.

Additional documents:


The Assistant Director for Education gave an update of the key priorities identified by RESP and progress in meeting these.


The Rotherham Education Strategic Partnership (RESP) was established in 2018 following the Enabling School Improvement consultation. The first meeting was held on 24th October 2018 and the Board had been meeting half termly since.


RESP has brought together key partners from across Rotherham’s education system enabling the work of key partners to be brought together into a coherent and effective strategic plan communicated through the Partnership. It aimed to maximise outcomes and improve life chances for children and young people, promote inclusion and reduce inequalities, to ensure that no school and no child or young person was left behind.


Previously there was an absence of a strategic body which held an overview of all educational partners and priorities. This had been brought together under RESP which aimed to ensure that the life of every child and young person was enhanced to the full by the provision of first class education.


The priority areas were as follows: Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND); Gypsy, Roma and Traveller (GRT), Early Years, Primary, Secondary, Post 16 and Social, Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH). Actions and progress against these areas were detailed in the report.


The Assistant Director observed that whilst a relatively a new Partnership, progress had been made, with good levels of collaboration and co-construction of policy between the Local Authority and educational provision in Rotherham.


Clarification was sought on the support available to children with special needs or disabilities or other vulnerabilities and how more able pupils were supported. The Assistant Director stated that it was the vision of the authority to ensure that no child was disadvantaged. The focus on SEND was to address the lack of sufficiency in provision.


Reference was made in the report of concerns about the traded offer; details were asked to establish what has been done to address these. The Local Authority had a number of traded services which schools could buy into. However, there was a lack of clarity about what was a statutory obligation or traded. A key priority for next year would be to differentiate between what the Local Authority had to do and what schools wanted it to do which would be traded.


Further explanation was asked about dual funding and the responsibility of host schools to give a child a sense of belonging to their community. It was outlined that some students attended alternative provision which may be outside their local community. The host school had responsibility for funding this provision to ensure that the links between the pupil and host school were maintained. Whilst ever students were in alternative provision, Aspire, the Pupil Referral Unit, worked therapeutically to address students’ needs and maintain and build links.


In response to a question about home visiting in relation to disadvantaged 2 year olds, the Assistant Director outlined that a successful bid in conjunction with South Yorkshire Futures and neighbouring authorities,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.


Children & Young People's Services (CYPS) 2018/2019 Year End Performance pdf icon PDF 215 KB

To provide a summary of performance under key themes for Children’s and Young Peoples Service at the end of the 2018/19 reporting year.

Additional documents:


The Acting Assistant Director for Childrens Safeguarding provided a summary of performance under key themes for Childrens and Young People’s Service at the end of the 2018/19 reporting year. The report detailed performance in relation to: Early Help and Family Engagement; Children’s Social Care; Education and Inclusion.


The Acting Assistant Director gave a brief presentation to the report which outlined areas which were working well; areas of concerns and actions to address these.


What’s Working Well

·           Timeliness of engagement with families in Early Help improved from 59.7% to 72.6%

·           97.2% people who completed the Early Help exit survey during the year rated the Service as good or excellent

·           Timeliness of Early Help Assessments had improved from 47% to 62.9%

·           The number of re-referrals into Social Care had further decreased during the year (23.1%  to 21.3%)

·           The number of referrals going onto assessment was 98.2% reflecting the quality of the processes in MASH

·           The overall Children in Need (CIN) population reduced by 295 from 1,678 to 1,383 and those with an up-to-date plan increased from 82.8% to 90.5%.

·           95.5% of LAC visits were undertaken in statutory timescales, some months 98%.

·           The Ofsted focussed visit recognised the significant improvements in permanency planning for Looked After Children.

·           EYFS, KS2 (for writing) were both above national average

·           Significant progress had been made during the year in developing a performance management framework for Inclusion Services which includes a version of “Insight”


What are we worried about

·           85.5% of Early Help contacts were triaged within 5 working days (against a target of 100%) but still improved performance on the previous year

·           46% of the families the Service were working with in the Families for Change Programme achieved outcomes that led to a Payment By Results (PBR) claim (871)

·           The rate of Section 47 investigations continued to be high, however, they were still appropriate and the correct decision for the child

·           Partners undertook 24.9% of Early Help Assessments (397), however, only 11 of those were undertaken by Health (0.68% of the total number)

·           The number of children in a commissioned placement (either Independent Fostering Agency or Residential) increased slightly by 1.8% from the previous year which meant that children were living further away from Rotherham

·           The overall number of Initial Health Assessments completed within the 20 day timescale decreased from 55.7% to 52% since the previous year

·           There had been a gradual decline of review health assessments during the year from a high of 92% to 83.7% at the end of March 2019

·           KS1 and KS2 Reading needed to improve to close the gap to national average


What do we need to do next

·           Continue to ensure that the right service at the right time was in place including work across CYPS and partners at all stages of the process particularly around thresholds

·           Continue to embed key strategies (sufficiency, demand and market management) to ensure that families were supported

·           Continue to work with families to achieve improved and sustained outcomes to achieve the Families for Change targets  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


Urgent Business

To consider any item which the Chair is of the opinion should be considered as a matter of urgency.


The Chair advised that there was no business that should be considered as a matter of urgency.


Date and time of the next meeting

The next meeting of the Improving Lives Select Commission will take place on Tuesday 9 July 2019 commencing at 5.30 p.m. in Rotherham Town Hall.


Resolved:-  That a further meeting be held on Tuesday, 9th July, 2019, commencing at 5.30 p.m.