Council meetings

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room

Contact: Emma Aye-Kumi 

No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 19 April 2017 pdf icon PDF 307 KB


That the minutes of the meeting on the 19 April be agreed as an accurate record of the proceedings.



Declarations of interest pdf icon PDF 202 KB


There were none from Members of Public Accounts Select Committee nor from the Children and Young People Select Committee for the joint section of the meeting (Item 4). For declarations for the remainder of the Public Accounts Select Committee, please refer to the record of that meeting.


Cllr Jacq Paschoud declared a non-pecuinary interest in respect of Item 6 as a Trustee of the Ravensbourne Trust as well as Brent Knoll and Watergate Schools.


Kevin Mantle declared an interest in the same item as Trustee of Signal, which provides support for families with autistic members in Lewisham.


Cllr John Paschoud declared a non-pecuniary interest due to his wife, Cllr Jacq Paschoud, holding office as detailed above.



Responses to Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet pdf icon PDF 108 KB

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3.1       The Committee heard that:


·         the Transition Working Party would meet again in November to consider feedback and the result of Self-Evaluation Forms from schools to assess how successful the new transition arrangements had been and where improvements could be made.

·         Conisborough College and Deptford Green would open their IT Suites to parents completing secondary applications.

3.2       RESOLVED:


That the responses be received.



School Budgets pdf icon PDF 553 KB

Report to be considered jointly with Public Accounts Select Committee

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4.1      The order of the agenda was amended to accommodate the joint session. This item was considered first.


4.2      Councillor Hilton opened the meeting and nominated Councillor Sorba as the Chair of the joint session.


4.3      Dave Richards (Group Finance Manager, Children and Young People) introduced the report. The following key points were noted:


·           The main thing that would affect school funding in the coming few years was the proposed introduction of the national fair funding formula by central government.

·           The formula was due to be introduced in April 2018.

·           When proposals for the new formula were introduced, it was anticipated that Lewisham schools would lose a significant amount of funding.

·           The government had previously committed to protecting the worst affected schools by ensuring that no school would lose more than 3% of its annual budget.

·           Under the original proposals every one of Lewisham schools was at the 3% funding floor.

·           Since the policy was announced, the general election had taken place and in their manifestos all parties had committed to providing more funding for schools.

·           The day before the meeting, government ministers had recommitted to introducing the national funding formula in parliament. However, they also said that no school would lose out under the formula.

·           There were currently no additional details about how this amendment to the original funding formula would work in practice, nonetheless, Lewisham schools would likely be in a better position in the next few years than had been anticipated.

·           Schools were also facing significant cost pressures. These pressures had been mounting over the past two years and had risen to nearly 5% of schools’ budgets. Schools’ funding settlements had also been frozen, meaning that schools had faced a real terms loss due to inflationary pressure.

·           Cost pressures, salary and non-pay inflation in the next two to three years would amount to approximately 8% of schools’ budgets.

·           There remained a great deal of uncertainty about the future of school funding. Clarity was not expected on the next steps for the national funding formula until the end of 2017.


4.4      Dave Richards, Sara Williams (Executive Director for Children and Young People) and Kate Bond (Head of Standards and Inclusion) responded to questions from the committees. The following key points were noted:


·           Further detail was awaited on the new proposals for the schools funding formula. It was expected that the majority of any new money would be paid to schools that would have benefitted from the original proposals but that this would be achieved without taking funds from schools that would have lost out.

·           The new system meant there would be much less discretion for local authorities. The original intention for the new formula was that the funding would be provided directly from the Department for Education to Schools.

·           There was a possibility that the figure of the 8% cost pressure could increase if there were changes in government policy. For example, there had recently been discussions about ending the public sector pay freeze.

·           Additional work had been  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Recruitment and Retention - First Evidence Session pdf icon PDF 513 KB

James Kerr, NUT, will give a short presentation.

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5.1       The Scrutiny Manager introduced the report and welcomed James Kerr, NUT committee member and teacher at Sydenham School.


5.2       James Kerr, representing the NUT, circulated a copy of Coventry’s Fair Workload Charter, and presented his views as follows:


·         Recruitment problems were more acute in London than in the rest of the country due to the high cost of living.

·         NUT members cited workload as the biggest issue, ahead of cost of living.

·         According to a DfE survey in March 2016, some 82% of responses said that workload was unmanageable.

·         Impossible workloads had a human cost to physical and mental health and to relationships both inside and outside of school.

·         Teachers staying up late to mark were unlikely to perform to their best ability in the classroom.

·         Teachers who were able to cope with their workload and have time and energy benefitted the children.

·         Workloads were being driven up by:

§  Accountability measures and pressure to meet targets
performance related pay

§  Class size

§  Funding cuts

§  False economies – cuts led to pressure on staff which led to higher absence which led to spending on cover

§  Employment of consultants and PFI.

·         While the local authority was not involved in the day to day running of schools, Mr Kerr felt that it could learn from other authorities.

·         Coventry and Nottingham City Council had devised Fair Workload Charters (FWC) which served as a kite mark.

·         A FWC in Lewisham would show that the local authority took recruitment and retention of school staff seriously.


5.3       A discussion followed in which the following points were noted:

·           Excessive data collection was a contributing factor to increasing workloads. As many as 6-8 data sets per pupil per subject per year were being gathered. Too much focus on statistics meant that creative, interesting one-off staff were not being pushed out.

·           Performance Related Pay and performance management targets within schools focused on staff outputs and not on the children, and added to workload.

·           Increasing pupil numbers was also a factor, with some A-Level classes having close to 30 pupils.

·           Mr Kerr did not believe the European Working Time Directive was being adhered to and warned that the council as the employer would be liable if a claim was made.

·           The DfE data regarding working hours was across term time only. Hours would be much reduced in holidays, but there would still be some work required in the holidays.

·           Mr Kerr highlighted two tasks which, in his opinion, were not a productive use of time, namely photographing children participating in activities and preparing end of year reports. It was Mr Kerr’s view that if an activity did not benefit the child then stopping it could be an easy workload win.

·           However, there was support among parents and school governors for both photographs and reports.

·           It was highlighted that in England teachers work 20% longer than in other OECD countries, but spend the same amount of time in class.

·           Some staff ‘churn’ was good as it meant  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


SEND provision, including ASD, transport, short breaks pdf icon PDF 491 KB

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6.1       Warwick Tomsett and Ann Wallace presented the report. The committee heard that since the report had been written, officers had been working with Drumbeat to find alternative options to delivering the  extended services provision. Current provision will continue into the autumn term until a decision is reached. The report to Mayor and Cabinet that had been scheduled for consideration in July will be postponed.


6.2       The Chair invited Nigel Kersey, a parent of a child at Drumbeat, to address the committee. Mr Kersey presented parental impact statements to the committee. He explained that the impact statements, while harrowing, were typical of the experiences of the parents using the extended services provision. . Mr Kersey stressed the need for the council to offer alternative specialist after school and full-day holiday provision to enable parents to work.


6.3       A discussion followed and the following was noted:

·         The importance  of the provision on families is fully understood.

·         Many families known to the council will still get provision through the short breaks service.

·         Those not currently known to the council could be assessed upon request.

·         Other special schools in the borough do not have after school and holiday clubs available to them despite working with children with the same or higher level of need, and parity of access was a consideration for the council.

·         The hourly running cost of Drumbeat was almost double that of Rockbourne of Ravensbourne, both of which work with children with similar needs. This needs to be considered when exploring alternative models of service.

·         Between April 2016 and June 2017 the number of children receiving school transport reduced by 60. A very small number of appeals had been successful.

·         The council is not looking at whether the reduced transport was placing additional pressure on after school provision.

·         Some parents felt that the Lewisham guidance on travel assistance for special educational needs was ambiguous when read in conjunction with the statutory guidance, particularly as regards distance criteria. Officers noted this but are clear that the Lewisham policy incorporates the statutory guidance and does not conflict with it.

·         KS4 was not currently provided for at New Woodlands School (SEMH). There were plans to move the primary PRU so a new site to enable the provision of KS1-4 at New Woodlands. The site of the new primary PRU was yet to be decided.

·         More work needed to be done to understand employment and higher education outcomes for young people with Special Educational Needs (SEN)

·         There were concerns that Cyberzone demand may be artificially low due to its low profile.

6.4       RESOLVED:


That the report be noted.



Attendance and Exclusions Annual Report pdf icon PDF 937 KB


7.1       Ruth Griffiths presented the report. Officers were pleased to advise that exclusions had reduced by 30-40% from June 2016. The following was noted in discussion:

·         Persistent absence was higher than the national average.

·         Officers were working with families where attendance dropped below the 15% target.

·         Absence from school was often a symptom of neglect and parental addiction and therefore acting early to get a Team Around the Child (TAC) was necessary.

·         Attendance rates for Looked After Children (LAC) were better than ever thanks to attendance monitoring through Welfare Call.

·         The ethnicity of the excluded pupils was proportionate to the overall pupil population.

·         Permanent exclusion was not used in cases of persistent absence. Instead a range of interventions was employed to support children in that situation.

·         13 out of the 46 permanent exclusions were either entitled to Free School Meals (FSM) or their entitlement to FSM was ‘not known’.

·         The aspiration was to reduce exclusions but no defined target existed.

·         Managed moves had worked extremely effectively to avoid exclusion and give pupils a fresh start.

7.2       RESOLVED:


            That the contents of the report be noted.



Work Programme report pdf icon PDF 188 KB

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8.1       The Scrutiny Manager introduced the work programme. The Committee heard that:

·         Visits to Haberdasher Aske’s Hatcham College and to Nottingham had been arranged for the purposes of gathering evidence for the in-depth review of recruitment and retention of school staff. Members were invited to attend.

·         Due to the timing of the visits, evidence for the in-depth review would not be available in time for the second evidence session in July.

·         Officers had requested that an additional item – Lewisham Learning Partnership – be added to the work programme for consideration at the July meeting.

8.2       RESOLVED: that


1.    The work programme report be noted.

2.    The second evidence session for the in depth review of recruitment and retention be postponed until September and the final report until November.

3.    An additional item “Lewisham Led Partnership” be added to the work programme for consideration at the July meeting.



Referrals to Mayor and Cabinet


No referrals were made.