Issue - meetings

Attendance and Exclusions

Meeting: 26/09/2019 - Education and Youth Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 21)

21 School Attendance and Exclusions pdf icon PDF 111 KB

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(a)          That the report be noted; and


(b)       That the Committee note the contribution made by 3rd sector organisations to support those children at risk.



The Senior Manager (Inclusion and Progression) introduced a report on the portfolio’s performance in relation to school attendance and exclusions for 2017-18; an overview of the Education Social Work Team and a revised schedule for future reporting.  She advised that the revised format would ensure that Members had the opportunity to consider and question the data and this would support further monitoring of progress against the recent Estyn inspection recommendations relating to the areas of attendance and exclusion.


The Senior Manager explained that attendance across Flintshire schools was showing a general trend of reduction, with illness accounting for the majority of absences.  Levels of persistent absenteeism were comparatively high.  In line with national trends, levels of permanent and fixed-term exclusion were increasing, particularly in secondary schools.


Councillor Dave Mackie raised a number of points around consistency and the formatting of the data on attendance in the tables in Appendix 1 of the report.  He commented on the issue of exclusions and emphasised the need to engage with young people to keep them in education and the implications this would have for the remainder of a child’s life.  He spoke of the need for adequate funding to be provided to schools to support that provision. The Senior Manager agreed to amend the format of the data presented in the tables for future reports and responded to the points raised by Councillor Mackie.  She also referred to the purpose of exclusion and commented on the work undertaken by schools to be creative in the use of sanctions.  She said that funding was a major issue in terms of how schools could be as effective and supportive in dealing with inappropriate behaviour as they would wish to. 


The Senior Manager advised that the Authority would be submitting a bid for grant funding for mental health which could be used for training and individual packages to help and support young people.  She commented on the need to work closely with the Health Board to ensure that the systems and services provided by schools were as effective as possible. 


The Chief Officer commented that the individual schools report from Estyn advised that pupils’ behaviour in Flintshire schools was good.  However, there was a need to acknowledge the increasing exposure around young people concerning drug related issues and the impact that difficult childhood experiences had on children. In summary the Chief Officer commented on the need for specialist intervention and said “a child excluded was a child at risk”.  She said schools were expected to make the decision to exclude a pupil very carefully and consider whether there were any alternative options to deal with that incident at that time. 


Mr David Hytch commented on the issue of unauthorised absences during term time.  The Senior Manager acknowledged the points raised and advised that schools would be challenged around the level of absence that they authorise, which may result in an increased level of unauthorised absence across the county.  She also advised that the Welsh Government had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21