Agenda and minutes

Children's Select Committee - Wednesday 6 July 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Kennet Room - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Matt Hitch Email:  Democratic Services Officer


No. Item



To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.


Apologies for absence were received from the following committee members:


• Cllr Jo Trigg (who attended the hybrid meeting virtually)

• Cllr Caroline Corbin


Apologies were also received from:


• Cllr Peter Hutton


Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on 8 June 2022.

Supporting documents:




To approve the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 8 June 2022, as a true and correct record.


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.



There were no declarations of interest.


Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chairman.


The chairman reminded the committee that BaNES, Swindon and Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group was replaced by the new Integrated Care System on 1 July.


He also noted that he had raised objections with officers about holding the meeting in the Kennet Room and hoped to find an alternative venue for future meetings.


The Portfolio Holder for SEND and Inclusion was pleased to report that the Specialist Advisory Teaching Service had been working with 18 schools across Wiltshire to achieve the British Dyslexia Quality Mark. She reported that one school had already achieved the quality mark and that more were expected to follow. Only 15 schools in the country outside Wiltshire had achieved the quality mark, so the Portfolio Holder was delighted that Wiltshire was taking a leading role.


Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public.



If you would like to make a statement at this meeting on any item on this agenda, please register to do so at least 10 minutes prior to the meeting. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.



To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.


Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on Wednesday 29 June in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on Friday 1 July. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.


Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.


There was no public participation.


Regular updates

Updates on information valuable for the committee, but unlikely to require a decision. 


Members of the committee are therefore invited to indicate in advance of the meeting if they would like further information or have questions on these regular updates, so that relevant officers can be invited to attend the meeting.


No questions on the regular updates had been received from members in advance of the meeting.


Update from Wiltshire Youth Voice Representative

An update including a summary of recent activities of the Wiltshire Youth Union (WYU) and Children in Care Council (CiCC).

Supporting documents:


Members were reassured by the recent report on the Young Person’s Fostering Consultation Panel and the feedback from potential fosterers. The detail in the report about the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) interviews was also praised. 


School Ofsted Judgements

An update including information regarding the most recent Ofsted Inspection reports, presenting an ongoing view of the effectiveness of schools as seen by Ofsted Inspection.

Supporting documents:


The chairman thanked officers for the detail about the relative performance of maintained schools and academies included in the report.


In order to allow the committee to assess the impact of the school effectiveness, the chairman asked whether the council recorded the schools that it engaged with on their journey towards a good Ofsted judgement. In response, the Interim Head of School Effectiveness explained that they assisted all maintained schools and would be able to provide details of the services that were traded with academies.


DfE Changes - Update from Department for Education

An update on developments relating to children’s services arising from the Department for Education.

Supporting documents:


The chairman welcomed the update on mental health support and encouraged members to make schools aware of the support available in their divisions.


Working together to improve school attendance - update

The DfE published new non-statutory guidance in May 2022 to help schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authorities maintain high levels of school attendance. The guidance applies from September 2022.


This regular update is an opportunity for the committee to be aware of the latest requirements for schools, trusts, governing boards and local authorities in maintaining high levels of school attendance, as set out in the guidance.

Supporting documents:


The chairman reminded the committee that the Department for Education (DfE) had published non-statutory guidance in May 2022 to help schools, trusts, governing bodies, and local authorities maintain high levels of school attendance.


The Virtual School Extended Duties Project Lead explained that the new guidance would take effect from September and would become statutory around a year later. There would be a focus on multiple agencies working together to ensure that support was in place. As such, Wiltshire Council’s School Attendance Support Team would shift their approach towards a greater level of partnership working, with less emphasis on individual case work. The team would provide free advice to both maintained and non-maintained schools, including targeted support meetings each term. However, it was possible that there would continue to be an element of traded service with schools in addition to the statutory service. Officers stated that they would provide further information once the proposals had been fully developed.


In response to a question about how many staff would be in the School Attendance Support Team, the officer explained that they were in the process of building the team. There were currently around 11 full time equivalent Education Welfare Officers (EWOs), but it was possible that the team could draw on a range of professionals such as Early Support Advisors. Schools were able to refer children that they had concerns about to the Education Welfare Service and there was a committee looking at children missing out on education. The council had also recently obtained access to live attendance data for all children in Wiltshire allowing them to put support in place for those with an attendance below 90 percent.


New ways of working - Directors update

To receive a verbal update from Directors highlighting any key issues (current or emerging), successes or milestones in their respective areas since the last meeting of the committee.


The Director of Families and Children’s Services was pleased to announce that the Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC) had started running the previous week. The director gave background information about its implementation, explaining that drugs and alcohol featured in around two thirds of care proceedings. Under the new system parents would meet with the judge on a fortnightly basis outside of the hearings, in a non-adversarial setting, to establish the best way to support the family. A specialist multi-disciplinary FDAC team in Wiltshire Council would also provide expert advice. The director noted that FDAC was a national initiative and had produced improved outcomes, allowing a higher proportion of children to remain with their families.


In response to a question about the rise in elected home education since the start of the pandemic, the Interim Head of School Effectiveness noted that the council had been working closely with families and schools to encourage a route back into school.


The chairman asked if thanks could be sent to all of Wiltshire’s schools for their work in preparing children for their exams.


School Health and Wellbeing survey

The committee is invited to consider the attached report presenting an overview of key findings from pupil responses to the Wiltshire Children and Young People’s School Health and Wellbeing Survey 2021 (May to July).

This may highlight areas the committee would like to receive further information on at future meetings, or information session, or for further scrutiny (task group or rapid scrutiny).

Supporting documents:


A Public Health Strategist explained that children between the ages of 8 and 18 had taken part in a survey, which had been undertaken to inform planning, commissioning, and service improvement. The findings were generally positive suggesting that most children had good health and wellbeing. However, there was variation, with children identifying with vulnerable groups tending to have less favourable outcomes.  She noted that the survey went out in March 2020 but had to be cut short due to the pandemic and was then repeated in May-July 2021. The report before the committee was based mainly on the 2021 survey, but comparisons had been made with the 2020 report, and an earlier one in 2017, where there was significant variation. She then went on to outline the methodology and key findings, including:


• 65 schools had taken part in the 2021 survey including 4 independent schools. There had been a total of 7,499 responses with 55.8 percent of those coming from primary age children.

• 53 percent of those who took part identified with at least one of the vulnerable groups identified in the report.

• In order to establish how representative the survey had been, schools were ranked by the percentage of children eligible for free school meals. The primary schools with both the highest and lowest proportion of eligible children were represented. However, none of the nine secondary schools with the highest proportion of eligible children took part in the survey.

• All participating schools were given feedback about their results, as well as a comparison with the Wiltshire average, so that they could complete a self-evaluation.

• Six thematic reports would be published to look at specific areas e.g., healthy lifestyle.

• Secondary age pupils thought it was less easy to access mental health support than primary school children.

• A particular area of concern was a five percent increase, between the 2017 and 2021 surveys, in the percentage of Year 8 pupils saying that they had ever self-harmed.

• The findings of the 2021 survey would be presented to the Youth Council.

• The findings would also be discussed at strategic groups with different agencies, so they could establish the tangible actions that needed to take place.


The Public Health Strategist emphasised that social norms had a greater impact on young people than adults. She explained that the pre-frontal cortex, a part of the brain with an important role in planning and decision making, did not fully mature until a person was in their mid-20s. For this reason, young people had an increased demand for reward, making them more susceptible to influences from their peers. She was optimistic that the results of the survey could help to challenge young people’s perceptions about their own behaviour and be fed back to them in a constructive way.


During the discussion the following points were made:


• Members thanked the Public Health Strategist for the update.

• The Public Health Strategist explained that trauma training had shown that bullying  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.


Disadvantaged Learners task group - Executive response

To receive the Executive Response to the final report of the Disadvantaged Learners task group.

Supporting documents:


Cllr Trigg, the lead member of the task group, welcomed that seven of the eight recommendations had been accepted and the eighth accepted with amendments. The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Skills thanked the task group for their work and said that the actions would be followed up.





For the council’s plan to increase the number of pupil premium partner schools to ensure further reach for the Disadvantaged Learners team, and the principles it is helping to promote, to be added to the forward work programme.


Overview and Scrutiny Activities Updates

The committee will receive updates from active Task Groups, Rapid Scrutiny exercises and the committee’s board representatives.


A report by the Senior Scrutiny Officers providing an update on Task Group activity since the last meeting is attached.

Supporting documents:


The chairman reported that the vice-chairman and he had met with a senior scrutiny officer to review the progress made towards the forward work programme (FWP).


Cllr Tony Jackson raised the issue of the of the FUEL Programme, a holiday activity programme for young people in receipt of benefit related free school meals, and how it was targeted.


The Cabinet Member for Children’s Services Education and Skills noted that a full report would be circulated and that 2,130 visits had been received over the Easter break with 3,720 meals provided. There were 10 centres offering the service in Wiltshire and work was ongoing to make the programme more easily accessible to children across the whole county. The Head of Traded Services confirmed that students were nominated by schools and that parents and guardians were able to access a portal to sign up. A full report would be produced by the council’s leisure team containing the qualitative feedback from participants as well as a breakdown of those who signed up (attached).




Forward Work Programme

The Committee is asked to note the attached documents showing the relevant items from the overview and scrutiny forward work programme and the latest version of the strategy list for the Children, Education and Skills directorate.

Supporting documents:


The chairman invited members to make suggestions about items that they felt should be included on the FWP and noted that meetings would be held with the executive later in the year to discuss the programme. He then provided an update to the committee including the following points:


• The Fostering Excellence Task Group had requested an extension to their original timeframe, with a view to presenting its final report to the committee at the meeting after their next meeting.

• The Standing Task Group was also due to meet in September to identify key performance indicators for Getting to Outstanding. There was currently a vacancy, so members were invited to contact the senior scrutiny officer if they would like to join the group.

• It was planned to advertise the Children and Young People’s Mental Health Task Group and the Youth Provision – Gap Analysis Task Group shortly.

• The Access to Post-16 Education Task Group had already received interest.

• Plans were being drawn up for a rapid scrutiny exercise into Wiltshire Council’s intention to establish a multi academy trust.




To note the forward work programme.


Date of Next Meeting

To note that the next scheduled meeting is due to be held on Tuesday 13 September 2022 at County Hall, Trowbridge, starting at 10.30am.


The date of the next meeting was reported as Tuesday 13 September 2022. [Note – this has now been amended to Tuesday 20 September at 10:30am]


Urgent Items

Any other items of business which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.


There were no urgent items.