It was asked what the Board’s definition of a child ‘off roll’ was, officers responded that this was a child/children not in school for a number of reasons. The most vulnerable were those that had come off the school roll, stopped attending for various reasons and were not in another setting with the LA unable to track their whereabouts.
A Member highlighted concerns for children at risk of exclusions and suggested that a case be made for schools to be more accessible for children after 4pm through various therapeutic services. Officers said that issues of mental health were a strong theme highlighted by the review. Evidence did show that some schools handled exclusions every well and put in support over and beyond what was statutorily required.
It was further commented that training for exclusion boards was inconsistent with some very good and others not so. Officers said that it was important that the quality of the exclusions board be consistent. The Vulnerable Adolescence review drew a compelling correlation between children that had been excluded and those that went on to receive a criminal record.
The Chair asked for suggestions on topics that the sub-committee should be looking into and was not. Officers replied that they were unsure how clear the sub-committee was on exploitation and county lines and that this may be an area for the sub-committee to delve into further.
A Member asked what advice could be given to the sub-committee in order to fulfil its role to hold the partnership to account. Officers responded that the executive group was fundamental to the success of the partnership and they would meet every month. In its questioning, Members should be checking what the partnerships had done individually but also collectively. Members should ask the partnership to evidence that their meetings are solutions focused and impact positively on safeguarding. Additionally what they were doing to address long standing issues such as quality and quantity of health assessments of looked after children.
It was commented that the voice of the child examples were powerful in the report and going forward all reports should follow the same approach.
The Sub-Committee came to the following Conclusions: