Our Current Investigations
Over the next couple of months we're planning to look at the following areas of work:
- Valuing Young People Strategy and Youth Engagement
- Special Educational Needs
7/01/2014 - School Places
In January the Committee received a report which provided an update on proposals to increase the number of school places. Members praised the huge amount of work that was taking place to increase school places across all year groups and locations within Manchester. We were pleased to hear that planned housing developments were taken into account when forecasting population growth. We were also pleased to hear that the Council is committed to only using school buildings to deliver education. We recommended that plans be finalised to further increase school places, including places for children with special educational needs, and asked for regular updates so that we can monitor progress.
5/11/2013 - Co-opted Members - Teacher Representatives
The Committee has a number elected co-opted members who support councillors to scrutinise local education issues. Nominations have recently been requested for the Teacher Representative posts. One nomination was received for the Secondary Sector post from the existing member Liam Duffy and he will be re-appointed. Three nominations were received for the Primary Sector post and an election was held, the results of which were as follows: Phillip Hughes (Crab Lane Community Lane Primary School) 35 votes, Jayne Stoba (St Lukes Primary School) 38 votes, Marian Gadian (Sensory Support Service (Lancasterian Special School) 48 votes. Total electorate - 2217, total votes cast 155 (received by the deadline), total number of rejected ballots 33. In December, we will welcome Marian Gadian and Liam Duffy who are the existing members and have been re-appointed to take over this role for the next two years.
16/07/2013 - School Governance
Members were pleased to hear more about the fantastic work of school governors in July. The Council was in the first stages of its new strategy and wanted members views. School Governors are the largest volunteer force in the country, and the Council wants to ensure that Manchester has high quality governance and governors, with a broad range of skills. Members were told how the partnership with the Manchester Schools Alliance and the Strategic Education Partnership would help with this. Members offered some useful contributions to the strategy and recommended changes to the job description and person specification for local authority governors.
21/05/2013 - Exclusion from School
In May we considered a report on Local Authority provision for children and young people excluded from school. Young people that are excluded are referred to a Pupil Referral Unit to receive their education instead. We were shown a short film on the experiences of young people in Secondary Pupil Referral Units entitled ‘Student Voice’. It was really interesting to hear the young peoples perspective. We were pleased to hear that exclusion rates had dropped in Manchester and we were now more in line with the national average and welcomed the work taking place around early intervention to prevent exclusions from happening in the first place.
5/3/2013 - Safeguarding
Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd attended the March meeting along with the Missing Persons Manager for Greater Manchester Police to look in detail at Safeguarding arrangements in Manchester and how the Council and its partners can work effectively together to ensure that vulnerable children and young people in Manchester are not at risk. We were keen to hear their views and develop strong partnerships. We were disappointed to hear that looked after children were more likely to have criminal records and are committed to decreasing the criminality of children in the Council's care. We made a number of recommendations including reviewing protocols for calling the police out to Children's Homes and requesting more information on the nature of these incidents and how they can be avoided. We are extremely supportive of the restorative justice approach and welcome the positive impact the Council's 'Troubled Families' initiative will have on looked after children.
5/2/2013 - School Funding
The Committee received two reports on School Funding at this meeting and headteachers were invited along to comment on the proposals. We endorsed the report to Executive which set out how the new funding arrangements will work and how the money will be spent. We decided we'd like to look at changes to the law on early years childcare provision and the impact this will have in Manchester at a future meeting. We requested that our Executive Member write to the government to reinforce our concerns over the High Needs Funding for post 16. We welcomed the change in arrangements for funding Pupil Referral Units which allows them greater flexibility and control over their own funds and decided to look at the work of PRUs at a future meeting. We welcomed the new Director for Education and Skills and acknowledged the importance of his role and that of the Strategic Education Partnership and Manchester Schools Alliance going forward.
19/02/2013 - Business Plans
Also in February the Committee looked at the draft Business Plan of the Directorate for Families Health and Wellbeing and the Directorate for Children and Commissioning Services as part of the Council's business planning process, with a focus on those sections relating to children and young people. The business plan would then go to the Finance Scrutiny Committee who would review all of our comments before making recommendations to Council who would decide whether to implement it. We wanted to make sure it was scrutinised in detail before this approval was sought. We were keen to hear how in the current climate of funding cuts the services offered by the Council to children and young people could be maintained, and our performance improved. Members endorsed the draft business plan and made a number of additional recommendations.
8/01/2013 - Play Strategy
In January the Committee received a report which provided further details on the Council's Play Strategy. This is a key focus of the Committee's work and members were keen to hear about developments in this area. We wanted to ensure that play resources are distributed on the basis of need, in particular to those children in poverty or deprivation. We welcomed the proposals to align play resources with youth provision and asked for ward level data on children in poverty/deprivation in order to ensure funds are being effectively targeted. We also asked the Director of Children's Services to review the amount allocated to the training budget as whilst we appreciate training is important for providers we felt that in times of limited funding this may be better spent on play itself.
To find out more information have a look at our full work programme. This includes what topics we will be looking at, what specific issues we will be considering and who we will be hearing from. Please bear in mind that the programme is continually updated, and so dates and agenda items may change from those listed in the programme.
If there's an issue you want to contribute to, let us know. You can either send a written contribution to firstname.lastname@example.org or you can attend a meeting and ask the Chair if you can speak. You can also suggest a topic for us to look into by filling in our 'suggestions form.'
If you want to speak to somebody about contributing to the committee, please call our scrutiny support officer on 0161 234 3071 or e mail email@example.com.
The Role of the Committee
"As members of the Children and Young People Scrutiny Committee, we challenge the Council and other public services to make sure that they give young people in Manchester every chance to live happy, fulfilling and successful lives. We have discussions with these organisations and use our experience of representing children and parents in our wards to recommend to them how they can ensure their services meet your needs.
Our areas of interest include education, looked after children, social care for children, provision for under 5's, disabled children, special educational needs and activities and facilities for young people.
Through this page you'll be able to keep in touch with what we've been doing and find out what we'll be investigating over the next few months and how you can get involved" Councillor Alistair Cox, Chair of the Young People and Children Scrutiny Committee (Councillor Cox has been appointed to take the Chair for a 6 month period until May 2014 following the death of Councillor Carmody).
Find Out More
- You can read our agenda, minutes and reports here, as well as find future meeting dates.
- You can find out who's a member of the Committee here.