Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

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Cabinet Decision: 12th July 2018
Title of Item/Report
Children's Services Progress Update: 2017/18 - Year End and Quarter 4
Record of the Decision
Consideration was given to a report that provided a summary of performance across Children's Services. It included both a quarter 4 update and an annual update. It was based on the Children's Strategy priorities agreed by Cabinet in June 2017.

The report summarised performance information in relation to the Children's Services Strategy 2017-20. This strategy, agreed by Cabinet in June 2017, sets out the key priorities for Children's Services and the key performance indicators associated with delivery.

The update report was in three parts:

a. Update on 2017/18 priorities.
b. Update on other actions and progress against the wider strategy
c. A summary of priorities for 2018/19.

With regard to giving children the best start in life in addition to the commissioning process for 0-19 services, there were a number of other outcomes and updates to report on:

a. Take up of the existing free entitlement to 15 hours of education was at 100%.
b. There had been a significant and sustained increase in the take up of the disadvantaged 2 old places, from 54% take up in 2015 to 94% take up in 2018.
c. In relation to the roll out of the 30 hours of support overall, the Council remained on track to deliver the required numbers of places, and to support a gradual increase in uptake. There were around 45% of parents registered from those eligible. Provision included capacity for around 1600 places, and demand was forecast to rise further. This would be monitored on a regular basis to ensure a supply of places.

With regard to focusing on schools and learning outcomes key areas of update for this priority included:

a. For both primary and secondary schools with an Ofsted judgement as of 31 March. 2018: 92% of those schools with a judgment were judged outstanding or good.
b. The % of pupils in good or outstanding schools as of March 2018 was 92.2% (of the 74 schools with a judgement).
c. The Review of School Inclusion being undertaken by the Children and Young People Select Committee was nearing completion and had gained significant local profile.
d. Officers had commenced new termly meetings with the Regional Schools Commissioner on the progress and issues across Stockton-on-Tees. These were designed to enhance the process for any schools causing concern.
e. Officers were working with the Tees Valley Combined Authority to ensure Stockton issues were considered as part of the Education, Employment and Skills strategy for the Tees Valley, as the details of the careers and the education improvement priorities were finalised.
f. The School Improvement Board for the Tees Valley had been established and Tees Valley was successful in a number of proposals to the second round, including a project led by the Council, one of the few nationally to be led by a local authority.
g. A project was being developed to work with Thornaby Academy on improving its perception in the local community. This was being delivered as part of the Talent Network

With regard to safeguarding and protecting vulnerable children and young people, backed by outstanding social work practice the overall summary position was:

a. The Council continued to maintain high performance around timeliness and efficiency of our processes;
b. The reductions in levels of referrals, and assessments was evidence that the rising levels of demand experienced in the past 2 years may be slowing down;
c. The Council had been successful in reducing the numbers of children on child protection plans, but it needed to be monitoring the rate at which children required additional child protection plans - as this can be evidence of over optimistic decision making;
d. The Council continued to have high rates of children in need - the Council was working to step down cases to early help wherever possible.


1. The continued performance in respect of early years and schools be noted.

2. The continued performance and outcomes from inspection for children's homes be noted.

3. The outcomes from peer challenge and inspection be noted.

4. The key priorities for 2018/19 be noted.
Reasons for the Decision
To ensure that Members are aware of progress and issues in the delivery of the Children's Services Strategy 2017-20.
Alternative Options Considered and Rejected
Declared (Cabinet Member) Conflicts of Interest
Details of any Dispensations
Date and Time by which Call In must be executed
Midnight, 20 July 2018.

Date of Publication: 16 July 2018

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