Agenda and minutes

Children, Young People & Education Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday, 3rd February, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting/ Remote - Please use links on the Agenda Front Sheet to join the virtual meeting

Contact: Susan O'Connell - email:  susan.o' 

No. Item




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies had been received from Councillors Hockney, Lappage and Jewell.



Members of the Committee are invited to identify any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relevent to the items on the agenda.


There were no declarations of interest.



Cllr Ergin Erbil, Associate Cabinet Member Non-Geographical covering young people to provide an update on his new role and a briefing note provided by Cllr Erbil.


Councillor Ergin Erbil highlighted the following from his report.



1.    The priority is to protect and safeguard children and young people at all times.

2.    A number of young people have become involved in offending due to adverse childhood experiences, trauma, discrimination, socio economic deprivation and exploitation. It is essential that whilst simultaneously protecting the public and victims that these young people are supported to reduce youth violence.

3.    A holistic approach is needed tackling this as a public health crisis working alongside children, their parents or carers and the wider community. Research shows that some cohorts of young people are more vulnerable to exploitation or becoming involved in and affected by youth violence than others. The work detailed in the report aims to prevent this.


Comments, queries and questions:

·         Following a query on who Cllr Erbil has met with, he confirmed that the pandemic has meant that unfortunately it has not been possible to hold physical meetings. All meetings have been online including meeting with; Young Mayors; a number of BAME groups and a number of other people and organisations relevant to this issue.

·         Clarification was requested on Associate Cabinet Member role. Cllr Erbil advised that his role is to support the Cabinet Members in their work, Cllr Erbil’s role supports both the Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Cohesion and the Cabinet Member for Children’s Services.

·         A member of the Youth Parliament was asked to highlight his general thoughts. He felt that there was a lack of opportunities for young people in the east. He could not see the agenda report and was interested in the approaches that will be taken. It was recognised that Young people are facing issues never faced in the past such as mental health, lack of opportunity, Covid related issues such as self-isolation. It was agreed for the document to be shared with the Youth Parliament and Cllr Erbil was happy to meet virtually with the Youth Parliament after this meeting to discuss further.

·         Following a query on why the report focused on youth violence and the work undertaken in Islington and what were the tangible plans coming from the report. Cllr Erbil is also the ward councillor for Edmonton Green which suffers from the highest rates of knife crime youth violence in London. Youth violence is a very important issue and the long-term aim of the document is to prevent youth violence. Islington is felt to be a very good model in terms of youth violence. The Associate Cabinet Member role is a supportive role therefore any questions on tangible plans are for the Cabinet Member to answer.

·         The Youth Parliament member was asked what would be helpful to young people moving forward. He felt that more opportunities for youth engagement and involvement would be welcome. Shadow opportunities for the Youth Parliament had previously been discussed and this should be revisited. Post meeting note a meeting had been held with the Youth Parliament to discuss Shadow opportunities officers will follow  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.



To receive a report from Peter Nathan, Director of Education.


Suzy Francis, Principal Educational Psychologist/ Strategic Lead for Social Emotional Mental Health introduced the report



1.    The Background of the document provides the national context of mental health. The paper from youth parliament echoes what is covered in the report.

2.    From the first lockdown in March last year Enfield Thrives Together was set up. This started with six people across voluntary sector, parents, schools, NHS and the local authority. From this there has been regular fortnightly meetings to continue to listen to what was going on and to pivot services as they adapted in lockdown. Enfield Thrives Together now has a membership of over 70 partners.

3.    The document reflects the actions during the pandemic from looking at what parents are experiencing through to school staff wellbeing.

4.    Schools are undertaking a lot of work to support each other.

5.    The Professional Learning programme was set up in the summer promoting resilience and recovery.

6.    In Autumn term the wellbeing for education return grant was received enabling the local authority to provide a network of presentations and training to the schools. This included Royal Free eating disorders clinic, CAMHS, EPS, the PSHE lead, voluntary sector, social prescribing and PE Team providing a wide scope of how childrens wellbeing could be supported. This included expert knowledge and information about local services. This programme will carry on until the 1 April. Providing parent care and telephone support lines opening up accessibility to Educational Psychology services. Schools and staff will continue to be provided with emotional wellbeing support. There will also be online workshops for young people led by Children and Wellbeing practitioners and Educational Psychologists

7.    An example was provide of an online workshop for parents where in excess of 150 parents had logged in.

8.    Officers are hoping to work with Youth Parliament members on a film to be developed with young people for young people. It is hoped that this will be ready to launch in May around World Mental Health Day.


Comments, queries and questions:

·         The following was highlighted by the Youth Parliament member from their discussions on this issue:

o   Young people feel very uncertain about their future and this causes worry.

o   Concerns raised on not enough face to face support or enough information about the future going forward, particularly at years 11,12 and 13.

o   Lots of worries caused on exams marking last year.

o   Not every student speaks up and ask for support.

o   Awareness that schools try hard to tackle. More information needed to help cope with uncertainty.

o   Stress of the large amounts of online schoolwork than can cause burnout, difficulties in focusing and depression affecting students of all abilities

o   Uncertainty for this year’s exams is adding to stress and anxiety.

·         Claire Docherty on behalf of the unions highlighted the following issues:

o   Echoed that if the wellbeing of the school staff is looked after then this helps support the wellbeing of students

o   A survey was undertaken with NEU  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



To receive a report from Peter Nathan, Director of Education


Peter Nathan, Director of Education introduced the report.



1.  These are very challenging times for school leaders.

2.  The report highlights the main ways the local authority is supporting schools. There are fortnightly briefings with headteachers updating them with relevant information.

3.  Risk Assessments have helped schools look at every aspect of school life in relation to the pandemic to ensure that school staff are safe, the pupils are safe, and the right decisions are taken.

4.  The attendance at the virtual meetings has been very good with virtually all schools represented. There are regular meetings with trade unions to feed in any concerns through to headteachers, and meeting with headteachers representatives weekly to talk through issues that have been raised.

5.  Covid has meant that key colleagues are available 24/7 to support schools. Headteachers are often working weekends to deal with issues.


Comments, queries and questions:

·         How far in the future can the local authority plan for or is it just planning for the here and now? It was confirmed that both must be planned for. The guidance must be followed from the government and from public health. An example was highlighted of the delay on decisions on exams causing difficulties for schools.   Preliminary work has started with schools on planning for the return on the 8 March, such as discussing testing on secondary schools

·         What latitude do schools have to do things differently? Many schools work together, online learning will remain, there are now good systems in place. There will be a return to face to face learning, however it is expected that there will be more use of zoom technology and goggle classroom. It is expected that many things may change going forward.

·         What is the situation with regards to young people having access to good online learning facilities? It was confirmed that maintained schools have received approximately 3,400 devices from the DfE including academies this is over 5,000. It is estimated that this is around 60-70% of the need. Whilst some schools have sufficient supplies others do not and this has been raised with the DfE. Other issues include access to broadband and houses with multiple children being able to create space and quiet to do schoolwork. It is expected that the disadvantaged gap will widen.

·         Claire Docherty said that a mapping of the disadvantaged gap would be helpful and expressed concern on how this can be addressed. There are plans such as 2 years of the National Tutoring College and catch up funding. The levelling up will be a challenge. There is an Enfield Learning Excellence Partnership Board, with one of the key targets to improve achievement over the next 4 to 5 years.

·         It was acknowledged that this is a very fluid situation.


Officers were thanked for their report




To receive a report and a presentation.

Additional documents:


Barbara Thurogood, Head of Special Educational Needs Education Services introduced the report.



1.     Enfield has seen a year on year increase on referrals for Education, Health & Care Needs assessments, there is not dissimilar to any other London borough.

2.     The Special Educational Needs 2 survey undertaken by DfE shows that there has been a 10% increase nationally is children with SEND. The DfE have been looking at reviewing SEND reforms to see how the increasing demand can be managed.

3.   The threshold for assessment is low which means there is an increase in referrals. It is expected that post Covid there will be a higher demand.

4. Following analysis, the needs that have been identified are: speech, language and communication, autism and complex autism.

3.     Some examples of work were provided: currently looking at an Inclusion Charter, so that all schools will start to be more inclusive for children with SEN identifying needs as early as possible; a Speech and Language Communication hub is being developed, this is at the project initiation stage. This will be to support schools to identify children who may not need EHCP but may require additional support. More support for autism and changes to nurture groups, so they will be part time and increase numbers from 10 to 28.

4.     Increases in travel costs is because there has not been enough growth of provisions in borough. This is being reviewed and developing different options with school place planning so provision can be increased locally.


Comments, queries and questions:

  • What has been the impact of Personal Travel budgets and how have they been received? How has Covid effected personal travel budgets? Officers advised that some colleges were supporting young people with independent travel training and they are not able to do this due to Covid restrictions. However, those young people who are still able to attend schools and colleges are still accessing personal travel budgets. The local authority is reviewed how the SEN service works with the travel assistance team, to ensure that there is fairness and equity within the offer and to manage the provision more effectively. The legislation states you identify the nearest school in the first instance, and this is the school that is offered if there is places available. If parental choice not to go there, then under the Education Act it is not an effective use of public funding to pay for travel assistance as well.
  • What other boroughs have introduced this and how has it worked? In Waltham Forest this has not been effective. However, in Barking & Dagenham this is working well with pick up points making it easier to manage the length of time a young person is on a bus.
  • Rising demand is showing projections of 8-10% for EHCP’s what has this been in previous years? In Enfield this has been around 6-8% but this has increased nationally.
  • Is there a concern that there will potentially be an increase due to the Pandemic and if so, what  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



To note the Panel’s agreed work programme for 2020/21.


The work programme was noted.



To note that the next meeting is scheduled to take place on:


Tuesday 9 March 2021, 6:00pm


The date of the next meeting was noted.