Agenda and minutes

Informal Meeting, Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 25 January 2022 7:00 pm

Venue: Meeting to be held virtually

Contact: Claudia Wakefield, Senior Governance Officer 

No. Item


Declaration of Members' Interests

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, Members are asked to declare any interest they may have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.


There were no declarations of interest.


How are we incorporating Race & Social Justice work into our schools' education programmes?


The Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement introduced a presentation on how the Council and its partners were incorporating race and social justice into its school’s education programmes, thanking the Headteacher of Northbury Primary School (HNPS), the CEO of the Barking and Dagenham School Improvement Partnership (BDSIP) and the Education Strategy Commissioning and Intelligence Lead (ESCIL) for their time and expertise in addressing this matter. She highlighted the passionate work of schools in relation to race and ethnicity, noting the positive steps that had been taken to help partners to achieve more in this area.

The ESCIL, CEO of BDSIP and HNPS delivered the presentation, noting that the Council had commissioned BDSIP to facilitate this work in schools across the Borough. This work had in turn been facilitated by a Leadership Group composed of headteachers, representatives from BDSIP and the Council, with the Leadership Group chaired by the HNPS. The presentation highlighted:

·  The origins of the initiative and the need for positive and long-term culture change;

·  How the programme was shaped by the Leadership Group and its four defining workstreams;

·  The formal launch event with schools in September 2021 and the positive feedback that this had received;

·  The Race and Social Justice Charter which schools had signed up to; and

·  The self-evaluation tool that schools could use to assess their own starting points.


The HNPS emphasised the importance of the work being school-led, the importance of each school being able to appoint a school facilitator and join the initiative at any point, as well as each school having a governor responsible for race and social justice. She highlighted the success of the School Facilitator Network meeting in November 2021 and the concerns and hopes raised through this. She noted the next steps for the project, and the experiences of Northbury Primary School in addressing the topic of race and social justice.

The ESCIL presented some of the work that the Borough’s schools had undertaken in partnership with the Cultural Education Partnership (CEP), such as visual art and culture webinars for teachers with INIVA (Institute of International Visual Art), to give teachers an insight into innovative thinking and practices for artists, and how they could adopt approaches for pupils, students and families from diverse backgrounds. She also highlighted a race and social justice magazine produced by Eastbury Primary School, which the CEP had helped to promote and gain national publication.

In response to questions from Members, the CEO of BDSIP stated that:

  • The diversity within staffing was variable across the Borough, as well as at different levels of seniority within the Borough’s institutions and settings.
  • The founder of ARISE, Mpula Lawton, who had worked to address racism in schools and who had worked with local authorities nationally and across London, had been working with Barking and Dagenham. She had been particularly impressed by the diversity in staffing at Northbury Primary School.
  • The Facilitators’ Network was benefitting from being a ‘bottom-up’ network, that was able to share learning in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.


Quality of schools' recovery post Covid-19, and how are we working to address schools' performance in traditionally underperforming groups?


The Cabinet Member for Educational Attainment and School Improvement introduced a report on the quality of schools’ recovery post Covid-19, and how the Council and its partners were working to address schools’ performance in traditionally underperforming groups. She thanked schools for their hard work during the pandemic, in spite of all of the challenges, and noted that 95% of schools in the Borough were now ranked as ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’, which was better than both London and national averages.

The Education Strategy Commissioning and Intelligence Lead (ESCIL) delivered the presentation, which highlighted some of the positive outcomes of the pandemic, such as strong partnership working, the proportion of Year 11s and 12s with an appropriate Education, Employment and Training offer for September 2021 being at its strongest (at 97.5%), and the Borough’s Looked-After Children (LAC) pupils progressing to a number of exciting Year 12 destinations. The Commissioning Director Education (CDE) also provided some information as to current Covid-19 case rates in schools and the impact of this, such as staff isolation and impacted pupil attendance rates.

The ESCIL detailed some of the education recovery plans for the Borough’s children and young people, as well as highlighted groups which had traditionally underperformed in some areas through available pre-pandemic data, and the reasonable expectation that these groups may have lost more, academically and in terms of their wellbeing, from the pandemic. She also detailed some of the support already provided to help pupils to catch up with their learning, such as YouTube videos and ‘bite size’ training produced by the Council’s Early Years Team, and the opening of seven new Additional Resource Provisions (ARPs) in schools, creating 95 additional places to help meet levels of demand. The ESCIL detailed the variety of approaches being taken to support pupils’ wellbeing, such as the delivery of virtual Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Hot Clinics and bereavement clinics for school staff, as well as to support vulnerable pupils, such as through Vulnerable Pupils’ Hot Clinics, allowing professionals to refer cases of children or young people to multi-disciplinary teams. There were also updates as to Elective Home Education (EHE) and Ofsted School Inspections.

In response to a question from a Member, the CDE stated that in addition to schools’ own arrangements to help pupils recover lost learning, the government had provided three funded routes of support. These were for tuition partners, academic mentors and school-led tutoring; however, there were practical implications attached to using some of these, such as around how staff needed to be deployed, training requirements or schools needing to provide match funding. It was for each school to decide the best type of support required for its school, with some schools also deciding to provide the necessary support for its pupils, within its own current resources and staff.

The Committee highly praised the work of schools and its partners during the pandemic, and thanked officers for the presentation.


Work Programme


The Work Programme was noted.