Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 7 June 2023 7:00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Barking

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.


Minutes - To confirm as correct the minutes of the meeting held on 10 May 2023 pdf icon PDF 87 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 10 May 2023 were confirmed as correct.


Update: How are we incorporating Race & Social Justice work into our schools' education programmes? pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:


The Education Strategy Commissioning and Intelligence Lead and the Chief Executive of Barking and Dagenham School Improvement Partnership (BDSIP) presented an update on how the Council, BDSIP and schools in the Borough were incorporating Race and Social Justice work into their education programmes. The Culture and Wellbeing Lead also detailed the Borough’s Cultural Education Partnership (CEP) initiative known as ‘Inspiring Futures’, which worked to nurture links between cultural organisations and the Borough’s schools, embedding cultural leadership and strengthening pathways for training and employment for the Borough’s young people, into the cultural creative industries. Overall, the presentation outlined:


·  The context behind the Race and Social Justice programme, and its three key themes of student experience and inclusion; staff experience, including recruitment and progression; and curriculum;

·  The key features of the programme, such as the Race and Social Justice Charter, which set out the tangible commitments made by schools, and the programme leadership;

·  Programme highlights; such as a Facilitators’ Network which shared best practice amongst schools, provided external training and identified challenges and priorities;

·  The Inspiring Futures Conference, which had taken place in November 2022;

·  Case studies from schools, who had shared their practice through the Facilitators’ Network;

·  The context behind the Cultural Education Partnership, its priorities and how these would be achieved; and

·  Some of the work and initiatives achieved through the Cultural Education Partnership, such as the INIVA workshops, the Young Creators Makerspace, and close partnership working with Film Barking and Dagenham, to encourage young people to consider careers in film, and to diversify the industry at point of entry.


In response to questions from the Committee’s co-opted Members, officers stated that:


·  45 out of the Borough’s 60 schools were actively engaged in the Race and Social Justice programme. All schools had been approached to join, with the programme also having been promoted through events such as the Annual Headteachers’ Conference, the Annual CEP Conference and the Governors’ Conference; however, schools needed to want to participate of their own volition and could not be forced to take part. The 45 participating schools had also created a very close and collaborative network; it was suggested that forcing other schools to join this when they did not wish to, could potentially jeopardize some of this already close partnership working.

·  Officers were grateful for current funding received, which could help to enhance the programme such as through enabling guest speakers to attend workshops; however, the most important aspect was that schools gave their time and energy to the programme, and were passionate about the project.

·  The Facilitator Networks enabled schools to share case studies of their work; sometimes, this would revolve around the curriculum and other times this would detail broader issues, such as around staff survey feedback in relation to race and social justice issues, and actions to address this. Training was also provided around the curriculum, such as around diversifying learning opportunities.

·  Officers had deliberately avoided setting monitoring and success criteria, as they were keen to ensure that as many schools  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.


Update: Quality of Schools' Recovery Post Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 69 KB

Additional documents:


The Interim Head of School Performance and Partnerships (HSPP) delivered an update presentation on the quality of schools’ recovery post-Covid-19. This detailed:


·  The current cohorts of children and young people, and the great impact of the pandemic on their learning;

·  Statistics from the Prince’s Trust around young people’s thoughts as to their futures, with an overwhelmingly negative outlook due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis in particular, as to their future work prospects, job security and life aspirations;

·  The fact that whilst exam grades were now being graded as those prior to the pandemic and were “going back to normal”, that normal still felt a very long way to go in schools;

·  The general consensus that whilst all children and young people had been impacted by the pandemic, those youngest had been particularly affected;

·  2022 outcomes for primary, GCSE and post-16, with both positive and negative results;

·  Information as to pupil attendance, Not in Education Employment or Training (NEET), suspensions and exclusions;

·  Stresses on the system, such as increased numbers of children and young people suffering from mental health and anxiety problems, and a doubling of requests for Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) assessments, which were now standing at 500 per annum;

·  Staffing issues as a result of the pandemic, such as higher absence rates and lower resilience, and severe recruitment issues for more specialised support;

·  Positive OFSTED inspections of the Borough’s primary and secondary schools, which spoke very positively as to their resilience and increased support for children and young people’s wellbeing. 95% of the Borough’s schools were rated as “good” or “outstanding”, which was above the London average;

·  The positive OFSTED thematic review of alternative provision in the Borough, which had taken place in March 2023; and

·  Further positive approaches to supporting pupil wellbeing and learning, such as the introduction of the ‘Best Chance Strategy’.


The Church Representative (Church of England) Co-optee praised the Borough’s excellent alternative provision and its schools’ OFSTED outcomes, having worked as a Headteacher in the Borough previously and noting the hard work and passion needed to achieve these.


In response to questions from the Committee’s co-opted Members, the HSPP stated that:


·  Whilst schools’ data did not always look positive, despite their achievements, the OFSTED framework itself no longer put a huge value on data. When OFSTED went into schools in the Borough, it saw that the schools were performing very well in the context in which they were operating. This included looking at wellbeing, what happened both inside and outside of the classroom, extracurricular activity and what happened to support young people when they were not doing so well. Whilst schools needed to continue to be ambitious for their young people, ensuring that their results were as close to or beyond the London and national averages, OFSTED recognised that education was holistic, and that schools brought multiple strengths.

·  A report published by the Government on 7 June 2023 noted that the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged young people had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Readiness for the SEND Area Inspection pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Additional documents:


This item was deferred to the Committee’s 12 July 2023 meeting, to enable it to receive the necessary time and attention from the Committee.


Draft Work Programme 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 74 KB


The Draft Work Programme for 2023/24 was agreed.