Venue: Virtual meeting
Contact: Caroline Breheny
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.
The minutes of the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 23 March 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.
The Chief Executive submitted a report which identified the forthcoming issues to be considered by the Executive, as outlined in Appendix A to the report.
The report provided the Overview and Scrutiny Board with the opportunity to consider whether any item contained within the Executive Forward Work Programme should be considered by the Board, or referred to a Scrutiny Panel.
School Exclusions: Discussion with Secondary Schools
Representatives from Middlesbrough Secondary Schools and the Deputy Director, Regional School’s Commissioner for the North Region will be in attendance to hold a discussion with the Board in respect of the following:-
- To reflect on the high school exclusion rates in Middlesbrough and the contributory factors.
- To consider how as a town we can work collectively to reduce the high school exclusion rates and ensure children remain in school.
- To identify good practice and evidence based approaches to reduce both temporary and permanent exclusions.
The Chair advised that as Members were aware at the last meeting of OSB information was provided by the Council’s Chief Executive in respect of the high number of school exclusions across Middlesbrough in 2021/2022. In response Members of the Board had expressed the view that it would be helpful to hear directly from Head Teachers of secondary schools across the town to understand the issues from their perspective. It was stated that the Board was keen gain absolute assurances that all secondary schools in Middlesbrough were doing everything possible to support children to remain in school and achieve their full potential.
By way of background information it was noted that following the OSB meeting in March 2022 an invite had been sent to the appropriate representative from all secondary schools. In response to that invite the Principal at Unity City Academy, Andrew Rodgers, and the Regional Head Teacher at River Tees Multi Academy Trust, Leanne Chilton, were in attendance at today’s meeting.
Unfortunately the Head Teachers at Kings Academy, Acklam Grange, McMillan, Outwood Academies and Trinity Catholic College were unable to attend the meeting and had offered their sincere apologies to the Board. The Chair advised that although the Head Teachers at Acklam Grange, Outwood Academies and Kings Academy had been unable to attend they had invited Members of the Board to visit their schools to discuss school exclusions. It was hoped that this could be arranged, with the Board’s approval, in advance of the next OSB meeting, as scheduled to be held on 11 May 2022. A written statement had also been received from the CEO of Nicolas Postgate Catholic Academy Trust (NPCAT), Hugh Hegarty, to which Trinity Catholic College was a part of and would be presented to the Board at the appropriate time.
In addition the Chair advised that an invitation had been sent to the Regional Schools Commissioner for the Department for Education. The Deputy Commissioner, Kim Mitchell, and her colleague, Paul MacKenley, were also in attendance to give their views on the high number of school exclusions in Middlesbrough and provide an insight into their experiences across the North region. The Chair acknowledged that although it was disappointing that more Head Teachers from secondary schools across the town were not in attendance at today’s meeting it would be beneficial for the Board to undertake the school visits. Members of the Board were supportive of this suggestion and the Chair advised that these would be arranged at the earliest opportunity.
The Director of Education and Partnership advised that information in respect of the statistical data and work being undertaken by the Local Authority in partnership with schools on the issue of school exclusions had been provided and the accompanying presentation was presented to the Board. Following the presentation the Deputy Regional Schools Commissioner was invited to add an additional relevant information. It was stated that from the Department of Education’s perspective there was no right number of suspensions or permanent exclusions. The Department of ... view the full minutes text for item 20/85
Chief Executive's Update
The Chief Executive was in attendance and provided an update to the Board in respect of the following:-
· March OSB Follow Up
· LMT ‘Hot Topics’
· Executive decisions update
Reference was made to a number of issues that had been raised by Board Members at the March meeting and it was advised that responses had been provided to the relevant Councillors directly.
In terms of LMT ‘hot topics’ it was advised that the key issues for consideration were reoccupation and the move to Fountains Court; values and staff engagement; Strategic Plan delivery; locality working; health and safety; the town centre; school exclusions; closure of accounts and budget planning 2023 and beyond.
In relation to Executive decisions a number of reports were expected to be considered by the Executive in May 2022 and these included; demolition of the former SLAM nightclub; Green Strategy, year 2 action plan; improving our highways; approval for the proposed residential pest control service; the Cultural Investment Prospectus; Tees Advanced Manufacturing Park next phase; tree maintenance and bus lane contraventions.
The Chair thanked the Chief Executive for his briefing and contribution to the meeting.
The recommendations to be submitted to the Executive were:
A) That the potential for a permanent structure modelled on the West Bromwich Outdoor Market project that could provide a covered performance area in Captain Cook Square, or stalls for street markets or community events, that would also generate renewable electricity and contribute to Middlesbrough’s net carbon neutral targets be explored.
B) That Middlesbrough Council should liaise with Sheffield City Council regarding their Grey to Green Strategy, ensure that the Council’s Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SuDS) Guide identifies appropriate plant species that are attractive, low maintenance, improve biodiversity net gain and provide all season coverage for use in SuDs planting schemes and more generally throughout the town.
C) That signage and information boards be reviewed and replaced as necessary on dedicated cycle routes throughout the Town to help cyclists plan their leisure or commute journeys and use the available network efficiently.
D) That a map or guide to the cycle network be produced either in paper format, or that could be downloaded onto a digital device from the Council’s website or made available from the Middlesbrough’s Town Hall, Libraries and/or Community Hubs.
E) That through the planning process, Developers be encouraged to include Electric Vehicle Charging Point (EVCPs) in new houses, housing or commercial developments.
F) That Middlesbrough Council should continue to press the Tees Valley Combined Authority (TVCA) to seek further funding to at least maintain the current number of bus services, and increase them wherever possible.
G) That Middlesbrough Council should ask the TVCA to work with Local Authorities to ensure that new bus routes are provided in all new housing developments at the point of delivery, so that greater patronage of services can be encouraged as soon as houses are occupied.
H) That a Wash, Squash and Recycle Campaign be introduced to reduce the level and volume of contaminated items currently collected from domestic recycling bins, and improve current recycling rates.
I) That a pilot scheme be trialled in one or two wards, for sowing more wildflower areas and moving to a monthly grass cutting regime, with more frequent litter picking, and grass cleared from the footpaths immediately after mowing.
J) That Middlesbrough Council continues to build on initiatives such as the Green Month Takeover and Green Action Days to promote and improve membership of established local volunteer groups and encourage greater participation by Elected Members, Council Employees and Middlesbrough Residents to make Middlesbrough greener.
AGREED that the findings and recommendations of the Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel be endorsed and referred to the Executive.
Scrutiny Chairs Update
Adult Social Care and Services Scrutiny Panel
Councillor J. Platt (Chair)
Children & Young People’s Learning Scrutiny Panel
Councillor D. McCabe (Chair)
Children & Young People’s Social Care and Scrutiny Panel
Councillor D. Davison (Chair)
Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel
Councillor C. McIntyre (Chair)
Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel
Councillor S. Walker (Chair)
Health Scrutiny Panel
Councillor D. Davison (Chair)
The Scrutiny Chairs/Vice Chairs provided updates in respect of the work undertaken by their respective panels since the last meeting of the Board.