Issue - meetings
Educational Attainment of Looked After Children
Meeting: 02/05/2014 - Joint Lifelong Learning and Social & Health Care OSC - Expired 07/05/15 (Item 13)
- Enc. 1 for Educational Attainment of Looked After Children, item 13 PDF 27 KB
- Enc. 2 for Educational Attainment of Looked After Children, item 13 PDF 23 KB
(a) That the work of the looked after children steering group made up of Education and Children’s Services staff is acted upon to increase the levels of attainment of looked after children, by developing strategies and spending plans for the School Effectiveness Grant and the looked after children Pupil Deprivation Grant which has doubled to £918 for the financial year 2014/15;
(b) That the literacy and numeracy strategy be used to further identify and up-skill those children and young people who may not be achieving their potential;
(c) That those children who have Additional Learning Needs continue to access specialist support to help them reach their potential;
(d) The Directorates of Social Services and Lifelong Learning continue to work collaboratively to further enhance and embed consistent approaches with regard to looked after children;
(e) That there is a continuation of support for looked after children from the School Effectiveness Grant from the Welsh Government;
(f) That work to develop a database on a regional basis to reflect the needs and support provision required for all looked after children continues;
(g) The positive collaboration across local authorities should continue to be encouraged so that cross-border working and information sharing improves;
(h) To record the Committe’s gratitude to the foster carers in Flintshire for their work; and
(i) That a Governor Champion be appointed for looked after children / safeguarding.
The Director of Lifelong Learning introduced the report on the educational attainment of looked after children in Flintshire during the academic year 2012-13. Information was provided on the work of the Task Group set up to develop a series of recommendations to ensure that all children achieved their potential. As part of this, it was important that Personal Education Plans were reviewed and monitored, with training provided to those in support such as carers, social workers and education professionals. Reference was made to the significant challenges in terms of data, due to the importance of reporting outcomes for all looked after children in the county. An increase in funding to £918 per pupil, through the Pupil Deprivation Grant would provide coaching and mentoring to make a difference in outcomes of looked after children, however this was currently only available for one year.
Following a question raised by Councillor Ian Dunbar on education outcomes for Year 11 pupils, the Advisor for Social Inclusion & Wellbeing referred to the differences in data reporting methods by Councils and that Flintshire’s approach to include all looked after children and young people, including those opting out of education, employment or training, was vital in order to provide meaningful data. He added that the creation of the Task Group provided an interface between Children’s Services, Education and Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and had proved beneficial in helping individuals to reach their potential. The focus of the Task Group was on aspirations and achievements.
The Director spoke of changes in the demography of the cohort arising from an increase in younger children entering the care system which meant that basic support mechanisms needed to be co-ordinated to ensure that appropriate interventions could be put in place at an earlier stage.
In response to comments from Councillor Paul Shotton, it was explained that the Literacy and Numeracy Strategy would help to identify shortfalls in learning to all pupils, however looked after children were considered a priority.
Councillor Amanda Bragg referred to agreement for each school to have a looked after children co-ordinator and asked about the potential for this role to be carried out by a school governor with information on pupils remaining confidential. This would be followed up by the Director.
The Head of Children’s Services asked if training on looked after children could be extended to school governors to promote understanding of why individuals were placed within the care system. The Director agreed that this would be useful, however in Wales, mandatory training for voluntary governors was limited.
Whilst Councillor Stella Jones acknowledged the need to report data, it was important to remember that the experiences of the children and young people to whom the figures related were of greater significance and to ensure that they were safe and given the best opportunities.
In response to a query from Councillor Nigel Steele-Mortimer, the Director advised that all schools tracked and monitored progress of pupils in a range of curriculum areas to identify any interventions ... view the full minutes text for item 13