Agenda and minutes

Children, Families and Education Select Committee - Thursday, 2nd February, 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 6 - Civic Centre, High Street, Uxbridge UB8 1UW. View directions

Contact: Ryan Del  01895 250692 or Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


No apologies were received.


Declarations of interest in matters coming before this meeting


No interests were declared.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 402 KB


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meeting be agreed subject to:

     i.        an amendment to the sentence “It was acknowledged that this was a good news budget in incredibly tough times and circumstances”, to now read “A Member of the Committee acknowledged that this was a good news budget in incredibly tough times and circumstances”;


    ii.        to include “Members questioned whether the proposed 30% increase in fees for Early Years Centres would have any bearing on the centres remaining open. Officers clarified that the proposed withdrawal of the subsidy for Early Years Centres did not pre-judge the decisions around the future of the centres”; and


 iii.        an amendment to the wording of the attendees so that the Co-Opted Member is listed correctly.


To confirm that the items of business marked as Part I will be considered in Public and that the items marked as Part II will be considered in Private


It was confirmed that all items would be heard in Part I.


London Borough of Hillingdon (LBH) response to National Safeguarding Review pdf icon PDF 148 KB

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It was noted that the Chairman had requested that this item, previously presented to the Corporate Parenting Panel, be brought to the Committee.


Officers outlined the report into Hillingdon’s response to the National Safeguarding review. In October 2022, the Child Safeguarding Practice Panel published Phase 1 of its review into the safeguarding of children with disabilities and complex health needs in residential special schools which are also residential homes. It looked specifically at the experiences of 108 children and young adults from 55 local authorities at three specialist residential settings between 01 January 2018 and 21 March 2021. The settings were located in Doncaster and run by the Hesley Group. As the report uncovered serious findings, the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel asked Directors of Children’s Services to initiate urgent assurance actions about children placed in similar types of provisions. Directors of Children’s Services were asked to report the findings of their review to the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board and the Corporate Parenting Panel. It was noted that this report was brought to the Corporate Parenting Panel on 24 January 2023 and was also presented at the Safeguarding Children’s Board on 11 January 2023.


The first part of the review was an assessment of the care provided within the residential special schools. It was noted the independent review was conducted by the Independent Reviewing Officers (IROs) and Hillingdon had three children within similar types of residential settings, and that there were no concerns over the care received.


The second part of the review was to identify if any such residential settings were based in Hillingdon and, if so, conduct a review over any allegations that had been made in relation to the care provided to the Local Authority Designated Officer (LADO). As none of the residentials were based in Hillingdon, no review was required.


The third part of the review was to report these findings to the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board and to the Corporate Parenting Panel. These actions were completed as described above.


Members commended the report, and highlighted the table in paragraph 2.1, on page 10 of the report, where one provider had an Ofsted care rating of ‘requires improvement’ and questioned what was being done to improve this. Officers clarified that they were already aware of the standard prior to the visit and were working with the provider on this. Members also noted the ‘good’ Ofsted rating of the other listed schools and asked about ways in which good providers can strive to be excellent. Officers referenced Regulation 44 visits as a critical part of management monitoring.


Members referenced paragraph 2.2, on page 10 of the agenda, which stated “A’s placement Requires Improvement for Care”, while the Table stated a ‘Good’ care rating. Officers clarified that the sentence should have read “A placement Requires Improvement for Care”, as it was referring to Initial C in the table. Additionally, Members questioned, and officers clarified that the last sentence of paragraph 2.4 should read “C is described…”, not “A  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.


Learn Hillingdon Adult Community Education Self-Assessment Report, 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 53 KB

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Officers introduced the Self-Assessment Report from Learn Hillingdon. Officers noted that this was not a legislative requirement but was expected by the Council and by Ofsted. The report gave a flavour of how well the service was performing and was measured against the Ofsted framework.


Members questioned how areas were prioritised as areas for development. Officers clarified that this was done through the impact on learners. Officers further noted that learning outcomes were often measured on courses without formal qualifications, which had previously led to some inconsistencies. However, applying more scrutiny had since led to fewer discrepancies, although the achievement rate had dropped as a result of this. It was noted that the drop in achievement rates were not a major concern as having more scrutiny meant that standards were maintained.


Members asked how the data was looking for the current financial year and officers noted that it was roughly on par, if slightly under, but that this was a national pattern – there were fewer enrolments in adult education nationally. It was noted that some potential learners did not have the time or capacity to enrol; that some learners finished a Level 2 course and went straight to work without enrolling in a Level 3 course; and that officers were not unhappy with the current performance. There were also lingering concerns over COVID.


Members noted that learning was for life, not just in early years, and questioned the gender breakdown noted in the report. The high proportion of female learners was noted, and that classes were often timetabled around school day times to encourage enrolment. It was further noted that a large number of female learners were studying English for speakers of other languages (ESOL). Officers further noted that it had historically been more difficult to enrol male learners, and that this was partly due to a perceived vulnerability in asking for help. A former programme working with football clubs for numeracy help was noted, but this only attracted very small numbers. Male learners had enrolled for mental health reasons. 


In terms of marketing and sustainability for the Council, the service used brochures to advertise their courses, however it was noted that as the availability of courses and the type of courses running updated regularly, brochures soon became out of date. The costs required in regularly printing new brochures was noted and officers stated the going forward, printed brochures would not be used.


Officers noted that there were barriers in terms of access and signposting, although the service was very good at supporting next steps. The service played a key role in encouraging people into learning where they otherwise would not enrol. Learners often had a range of needs to support, and the service was good at identifying these. An issue with capturing progression was noted – when people left the service it was not easy to know where they went on to.


Members thanked officers for the report and noted a previous major review into the service. Officers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 63.


Scoping Report For Proposed Review 'The Stronger Families Hub: Our Engagement With Key Stakeholders - Exploring Participation And Feedback To Improve Service And Satisfaction' pdf icon PDF 147 KB

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It was noted that there were two upcoming witness sessions, witness session four: the voice of providers, and witness session five: partnership working. Regarding witness session five, it was noted that work to invite representatives from schools was ongoing. Members raised having witness sessions in the evening and it was noted that the witness sessions with young people and parents (witness sessions two and three) needed to take place outside of the recorded Committee meeting for reasons of safeguarding. However, it was noted It was noted that witness session four was open to all Members, and that witness session five would take place during the next Committee meeting on 14 March.


RESOLVED: That the Committee commented on and noted the updated scoping report.


Children, Families and Education Select Committee Member visit to the Uxbridge Family Hub (Verbal Update)


A verbal update was given by the Chairman in relation to a previous invitation in July 2022 from the Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education for Committee Members to visit the Uxbridge Family Hub. It was noted that the Democratic Services Officer would arrange this.


RESOLVED: That the verbal update be noted.


Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 237 KB

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Members noted that the ‘Standards and Quality of Education in Hillingdon during 2021/22’ report was due to come to Cabinet on 20 April, it was clarified that this report would come to Committee in March to allow comments to be submitted to Cabinet. It was clarified that the Quarterly Performance Monitoring report was deferred from March, new date to be confirmed.


RESOLVED: That the Forward Plan be noted.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 141 KB

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It was noted that the ‘Ukrainian Children – How Funding from Central Government Has Been Delivered to Schools’ report had been deferred to the March Committee meeting – this was to allow a more comprehensive report to come to Committee.


Members highlighted that they had raised questions of this report and requested clarification on when answers would be received.


The Youth Services Update report was referenced, and it was suggested that an item be added to the work programme for later in the calendar year to receive further updates on this.


Reference was made to schools in Hillingdon enrolling asylum-seeking children who were not attending school. It was noted that further information could be shred outside of the meeting. 


RESOLVED: That the work programme and updates be noted.