Agenda and minutes

Children and Education Policy and Accountability Committee - Monday, 3rd September, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Courtyard Room - Hammersmith Town Hall. View directions

Contact: David Abbott  Email:

No. Item


Appointment of Co-opted Members

To appoint the following co-opted members for the 2018-19 Municipal Year:

·         Eleanor Allen, London Diocesan Board for Schools

·         Nandini Ganesh, Parentsactive Representative

·         Nadia Taylor, Parent Governor Representative

·         Vic Daniels, Parent Governor Representative

·         Matt Jenkins, Teacher Representative


The Committee agreed the appointment of Eleanor Allen, Nandini Ganesh, Nadia Taylor, Vic Daniels, and Matt Jenkins as co-optees for the 2018-19 municipal year.


The Chair expressed his appreciated for all their outstanding contributions to the work of the Committee.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 253 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on the 4th of July 2018.




The minutes of the meeting of the Children and Education Policy and Accountability Committee held on 4th July 2018 be confirmed and signed as an accurate record of the proceedings subject to the following amendments


Page 2 – Education Overview


Delete 1st line and replace with - The director, on behalf of Jan Parnell, the Assistant Directors for Education, reported on the borough’s schools and education challenges.


Page 4 Committee questions and discussion


Nandini Ganesh, Parentsactive representative, noted the issue of growing demand on SEND services and asked if the increase was felt across all schools, including Academies.  She felt many Academies didn’t offer the right level of support for SEND students.



Apologies for Absence


There were no apologies for absence.


Declarations of Interest

If a Councillor has a disclosable pecuniary interest in a particular item, whether or not it is entered in the Authority’s register of interests, or any other significant interest which they consider should be declared in the public interest, they should declare the existence and, unless it is a sensitive interest as defined in the Member Code of Conduct, the nature of the interest at the commencement of the consideration of that item or as soon as it becomes apparent.


At meetings where members of the public are allowed to be in attendance and speak, any Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest or other significant interest may also make representations, give evidence or answer questions about the matter.  The Councillor must then withdraw immediately from the meeting before the matter is discussed and any vote taken.


Where Members of the public are not allowed to be in attendance and speak, then the Councillor with a disclosable pecuniary interest should withdraw from the meeting whilst the matter is under consideration. Councillors who have declared other significant interests should also withdraw from the meeting if they consider their continued participation in the matter would not be reasonable in the circumstances and may give rise to a perception of a conflict of interest.


Councillors are not obliged to withdraw from the meeting where a dispensation to that effect has been obtained from the Audit, Pensions and Standards Committee. 



There were no declarations of interest.


The Family Support Service pdf icon PDF 2 MB

This report provides information about the new Family Support service. Founded on?1 April 2018 as an independent Local Authority Trading Company,?Family Support was created to support all Hammersmith & Fulham families so?they can access the right help and support faster.


Peter Watt, Managing Director - Family Support Services Limited gave a presentation on the vision, underpinning beliefs, values and activities of Family Support. The service was launched on 1st April 2018 with over 80 staff transferred over from the Council. On the 1st of April 2019 another 60 staff would transfer over from the NHS.


Family Support provides services to all children and young people aged 0-19, and to age 25 for those with Special Education Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND), and their families living in the Borough.   The key aims are to deliver a less fragmented service as experienced by families; to allow staff to innovate and be creative and to save money by flattening management, sharing back-office and removing duplications.


He stressed that it is vital that in doing this that the service is underpinned by evidence of what works.  So at the heart of all that they do is understanding the impact of brain development on the outcomes for children.  The Committee watched an educational video made by the internationally renowned Alberta Family Wellness Initiative about the impact of social context in how children’s brains development.  It noted the impact of toxic stress on children’s brain development and the key role that adults have in mitigating this. The meeting was informed of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) study which showed a direct correlation between the number of ACES experienced by a child and their later physical and mental health and economic success. 


Committee questions and discussion


Councillor Richardson commended the use of brain awareness in the development of children. She asked whether Family Support was aware of local pockets of knowledge within the borough. Peter Watt stated that they were, for instance, Flora Gardens has a local nurse who already uses this. Family Support will explore and work with existing local sources of excellence.


Councillor Loveday believed the presentation did not provide the committee with any background, structure of the service nor was it a business plan. Peter agreed as this was not the intention of the presentation.  Peter explained that Family Support provides early help provision, early years and children’s centres but not SEND.  83 staff were TUPEd over on the 1st April 2018.  50 - 60 NHS staff would TUPE over on 1st April 2019.  Family Support is 100% owned by the Council.  An initial contract for 1 year has been awarded to allow the company to establish itself with the option of a further two one year extensions before being awarded a five year contract.  Family Support is currently establishing baseline data across the services to understand what more services need prioritising to do.


Peter said that the aim of the presentation was to raise awareness of the Family Supports vision and the council’s ambition in establishing it.   A detailed business plan containing the governance arrangements will be considered by the Family Support Board in mid September. Once the business plan has been agreed, it would be presented to the council.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.


Elective Home Education and Unregistered Schools pdf icon PDF 312 KB

This report discusses the Council’s role and responsibilities, policies, and procedures with regards to Elective Home Education and Unregistered Schools.

Additional documents:


Elizabeth Spearman, Head of ACE and Admissions presented a report on Elective Home Education and Unregistered Schools.


Elective Home Education


The meeting was informed that any parent or carer could elect to home educate their children.  The role of the local authority is to ensure that all children who are of statutory school age are in receipt of a 'suitable education'.  As a result, the local authority must engage with the family to understand how they are educating their child.  As most families cooperate with us, there has been no need in LBHF to commence legal proceedings to enforce engagement.  The number of home schooled children has increased nationally.  In response to a question from the Chair to understand the reasons for home schooling, it was reported that parents/carers home school their children due to: -


·                Life style choices – They did not want to be part of the system.

·                A reaction to an event – They did not receive their 1st choice school or an issue happened at their school which they were unhappy with.

·                High level of social care – They do not want agencies to be in contact with their children.


It was noted that if the local authority had any concerns about a parent/carer’s ideology/behaviour they would be referred to PREVENT and other agencies.


Councillor Sanderson inquired about the DfE funding for work with unregistered schools to improve the home schooling register.  Officers noted that there was currently no legal requirement to keep a register or for parents to inform us that they are home schooling their children.  However, locally we do maintain a register and currently have 88 children known to the LA as being home schooled.  Other than those withdrawn from school, we mainly rely on local intelligence to determine the numbers.  Any funding received will assist with contacting unregistered schools which may have children who are being electively home educated on roll.


Vic Daniels and Matt Jenkins asked about the impact of permanent exclusions on home schooling.  It was reported that some home schooling arises because of exclusions.  Schools have the responsibility to inform the local authority within 24 hours of a permanent exclusion.  The local authority is obliged to offer an alternative place within 6 days.  If the child is within the system, we can track them.  The difficulty arises when they are not.


In response to a question from Vic Daniels about measuring the child’s attainment, it was noted that home schooled children do not follow the national curriculum, sit SATS nor take GCSEs.  They cannot be tested nor examined by LA officers.  The home education adviser therefore uses other methods to assess progress and work with parents to ensure that suitable education is provided.


Nadia Taylor asked how do we determine the quality of education provided, officers responded that the law defines that a child should receive a suitable education, although there is currently no definition in law of suitable.  The home education adviser works with the parents to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.


Director's Update Report pdf icon PDF 425 KB

This information item provides an overview of recent developments in Children’s Services.


Steve Miley (Director for Children’s Services) presented the update report.


The following points were raised:


·         Transition Team


Councillor Sanderson asked officer to provide comparator figures for London


·         London After Children


The meeting noted the continuing trend of a year on year increase in Looked After Children from 185 in 2015 to 240 in 2018.  It was explained that complex care need cases had increased over the years.  In house foster carers were 1st used to address the need were possible, then the independent foster carer agency was used.  Where the agency could not provide support, residential care provision would be required.  The In-house team will train up families to deal with complex needs in the future.


·         New entries to Care


The 48-new entries to care cases since 2018 where noted.


·         EHC transfers


Councillor Sanderson asked how do officers manage 930 EHC cases.   Officers responded that the department is committed to reviewing in detail all EHC plans through the engagement of addition staffing resources.



Work Programme

The Committee is asked to give consideration to its work programme for the current municipal year.


The work programme was noted.