Agenda and minutes

Children, Families and Education Select Committee - Thursday, 18th April, 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 5 - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Ryan Dell  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies were received from Councillor Peter Smallwood with Councillor Philip Corthorne substituting.



Declarations of interest in matters coming before this meeting


Councillor Judge declared an interest in item 6 in that she worked for Ealing Council, dealing with school finance, and there was an element of Ealing Music Service which she oversaw. Councillor Judge remained in the room for this item.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 262 KB


Labour Members proposed three amendments to the minutes, these being:

·         Page three, paragraph four. Labour Members requested that this should refer to ‘one Member’, not ‘Members’.

·         Page five, paragraph five. Labour Members requested the reference to Key Stage Four be removed from this paragraph.

·         Page six, paragraph five. Labour Members requested that this should refer to ‘one Member’, not ‘Members’.


The Chair noted that the minutes of the meeting were there to provide a summary of the meeting with key action points noted, and stated that the minutes would remain unchanged.


Labour Members noted that they could not approve the minutes in this case. Therefore, approval of the minutes was put to a vote.


The Committee voted, by four votes to three, with one abstention, to agree the minutes as written in the agenda.


RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meeting be agreed.



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


School Admissions update pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Additional documents:


Officers provided an update on School Admissions.


The team had recently moved into the Access to Education area, under the Assistant Director for Education and Vulnerable Children. This was within the Education and SEND service area. This allowed a better alignment of services, while promoting closer collaboration on key aspects of education.


A verbal update was given regarding Hewens College, where the number of vacancies in Year 7 was 22, not 55. These vacancies were accurate as of 24 March of the current year.


Officers worked closely with secondary schools to ensure offers were being made. If a child met the Fair Access Protocol, they were presented at monthly meetings and a school was named for them.


Since National Offer Day for Year 7, officers had been chasing parents who had not yet responded to an offer and reminding schools of children who had yet to apply. There are approximately 48 children who still had not applied for a secondary school place.


Two rounds of late offers had taken place so far. The first round had 187 offers and the second round had 58 offers. Offers were made on a fortnightly basis until the summer holidays.


There were over 260 vacancies within the system, equating to 7.1%. 60 places had been added through bulge classes across a small number of schools. Based on projections, this will be the last year that bulge classes will be required for secondary allocations.


Moving on to Reception, National Offer Day was two days prior to the current meeting. Hillingdon had achieved the best in London on first preferences, and best in West London on first to third preferences.


There were a number of schools that had one or more empty classrooms following National Offer Day for September. Officers were in communication with these schools to discuss possibly reducing their PANs formally or repurposing their empty classes.


Officers were praised by the Committee for their hard work.


It was highlighted that Haydon and Harefield schools continually had a high number of unfilled places.


Officers would continue to work closely with secondary schools to ensure offers were being made and children were placed in schools; continue to chase parents who had not responded to an offer and remind schools of children who had yet to apply; continue to make late offers on a fortnightly basis until the summer holidays; communicate with schools that had one or more empty classrooms following National Offer Day for September; and review the situation of Haydon and Harefield schools having many unfilled places.


It was noted that there was a bus that could take children living in Uxbridge to Harefield to school. However, Haydon was identified as a trickier school to get to for children in the south of the borough.


There was an issue of parents listing over-subscribed schools as their first and second preferences, leading to difficulties in securing a place. Officers encouraged parents to be realistic in choosing their preferences and provided information to assist with this.


Clarification  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82.


Hillingdon Music Hub Annual Report pdf icon PDF 372 KB


Officers presented an annual report into the Hillingdon Music Hub.


The national plan for music education was a strategic framework set by the UK Government to enhance music education for all children and young people in England. It aimed to enable children and young people to learn to sing, play an instrument, and create music together, and to provide opportunities for them to progress their musical interests and talents, including professional pathways.


Hillingdon had embraced this vision and aimed to provide a cohesive music education that was accessible and inclusive, enriching the lives of all children and young people.


There were five strategic functions:

·         Partnership: collaborating with various stakeholders to create a holistic music education experience.

·         Schools: engaging with schools to integrate music into their curriculum.

·         Progression and Musical Development: supporting students’ musical growth and talent development.

·         Inclusion: ensuring that music education was accessible to all, regardless of background or ability.

·         Sustainability: fostering long-term viability and impact.


Hillingdon Music Hub had recently transitioned into Children’s Services. Officers outlined the organisational structure. The Music Service Manager sat under the Head of Education and Lifelong Learning. Under the Music Service Manager there were:

·         Progression and Ensembles Co-Ordinator

o   Activities and Events Officer

·         Singing and Popular Music Co-Ordinator

·         First Access & Curriculum Music Co-ordinator (and maternity leave cover for this)

·         Inventory Officer

·         Admissions & Learning Progression Officer

·         Technical Support Officer

There were also approximately 60 sessional contract teachers.


An advisory group comprised partners, parents and other stakeholders to provide oversight and guidance.


External partners included:

·         Examination Boards: collaborating to enhance music education.

·         Collective 31: working in special schools.

·         Software Providers (e.g., Charanga): supporting music education in primary schools.

·         PSB (World Music Specialists): enhancing music diversity.

·         Brunel University: developing a strong relationship and exploring career routes in music.

·         ACS: funding key initiatives, including the Sing! Festival and emerging talent events.

·         Voices Foundation: collaborating with teachers to cover various genres.

·         Global Academy: hosting Saturday and Thursday music schools.

·         Sound Connections: supporting youth voice and facilitating workshops.

·         Bollywood Brass: enriching musical experiences.

·         Schools Orchestra Symphony Orchestra: providing opportunities outside of the Council.

·         National Youth Orchestra Auditions: guiding talented students.

·         Royal Academy of Music: offering student-led programs. Royal Academy of Music recently provided students to run a workshop for young people.


Hillingdon’s commitment to music education aligned with the national plan’s vision. By fostering partnerships, inclusivity, and sustainability, Hillingdon was enriching the lives of children and young people through music.


Hillingdon Music Hub went beyond traditional music lessons and offered a range of programmes and activities. These included:

·         One-to-One Lessons: these were conducted at centres including Manor Farm House and the Global Academy.

·         Paired Lessons and Small Group Lessons: these occurred both at the centres and within schools.

·         Whole Class Instrumental Lessons: schools could opt for recorder or ukulele lessons for entire classes.


The Hub also ran a number of ensembles and events, including:

  • Ensemble Sessions: held on Saturdays and Thursdays.
  • Ukulele Group and Steel Band: recent additions to their ensemble offerings.
  • Theory Instruction: provided alongside practical lessons.
  • Events:  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83.


Persistent Absenteeism review: Witness Session 2 pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered a range of documents outlining how other Local Authorities were tackling the issue of persistent absenteeism.


Buckinghamshire County Council and the London Borough of Camden were undertaking similar reviews on this topic. It would be good to see the progress of their reviews and to make comparisons to the current review.


Some other local authorities were considering the geographical context. It would be good to incorporate this into the current review. It would also be important to consider cultural aspects, for example if absences occurred at specific times of the year.


The Camden Chatty Newsletter was praised.


Having an internal officer present at the Committee may have been useful to help steer through what Hillingdon was already doing in comparison to other local authorities.


It was noted that Buckinghamshire County Council had asked central government for additional resources.


Harrow Council’s School Attendance Intervention Model’s (AIM) approach to ‘Demonstrating a strong attendance ethos’, and the graph of ‘guidance for schools on when a child is absent from school’ were commended. The Intervention Model was commended as a helpful document that applied borough-wide so that schools did not have to do their own thing.


Schools were crucial to tackling absenteeism, and engaging with them would be an important part of this review.


It would be useful to break down absenteeism into those young people who want to attend school but cannot, due to health or religious reasons for example, and those who did not want to attend.


It was suggested that information on the Hillingdon website could be presented in a more accessible way for families who were multi-lingual. Suggestions for further signposting were noted.


Reference was made to the Attendance mentors programme, and it was suggested that this could be rolled out in Hillingdon.


Reference was also made to the Hillingdon LEAP website, which had lots of information for schools and parents. 


It was suggested that the Committee could hold a witness session with officers from the Participation Team.


A suggestion was made about implementing a Council slogan around promoting attendance and the importance of attendance.


It was highlighted that attendance was not a single number, but a result of a multitude of difference causes. It was highlighted that those needing the largest levels of intervention would require the most resources, and questions had to be raised of where these resources would come from.


A focus on prevention was needed within the review in addition to looking at the causes of absenteeism. Therefore, schools had a big part to play as they were more likely to know the causes of absenteeism.


A suggestion was made to get the Youth Council involved in the review, whether as participants in a witness session, or as observers at a session. It was noted that the Youth Council was currently being re-elected, and so engagement in the review would need to wait until after new members had been inducted.


Further on engagement with young people, it was noted that those that the Committee  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84.


Corporate Parenting Panel Terms of Reference Update pdf icon PDF 291 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered the report.


RESOLVED: That the Children, Families and Education Select Committee:


1.    Noted the contents of the report; and


2.    Approved the updates to the Corporate Parenting Panel’s Terms of Reference



Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 238 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered the Forward Plan.


RESOLVED: That the Children, Families and Education Select Committee noted the Cabinet Forward Plan.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 141 KB

Additional documents:


Members considered the Work Programme.


There were a few items listed as TBC. Dates for these items would be confirmed.


It was suggested that a school admissions update similar to that presented today be added towards the end of the admissions process on a more regular basis, separately from the School Organisation Plan (as opposed to a one-off item). This could give specific reference to Reception and Year 7 and unfilled places.


RESOLVED: That the Children, Families and Education Select Committee considered the report and agrees any amendments.