Agenda and minutes

Children, Education and Skills Sub Committee - Thursday, 9th September, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Chamber - Quadrant, The Silverlink North, Cobalt Business Park, North Tyneside, NE27 0BY. View directions

Contact: Maria Parkinson  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence from the meeting.



Appointment of substitutes

To be informed of the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.



There were no substitute members




To receive any declarations of interest

You are invited to declare any registerable and/or non-registerable interests in matters appearing on the agenda, and the nature of that interest.


You are also requested to complete the Declarations of Interests card available at the meeting and return it to the Democratic Services Officer before leaving the meeting.


You are also invited to disclose any dispensation from the requirement to declare any registerable and/or non-registerable interests that have been granted to you in respect of any matters appearing on the agenda.



Councillor M Madden declared a registerable personal interest in Item 7 Poverty Intervention Fund as she is a member of the Wallsend Memorial Hall and a Director of the People’s Advice Service.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 234 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 8 July 2021


Resolved that the minutes of the previous meeting held on 8 July 2021 be confirmed and signed by the Chair. 



Children's Readiness for School Response Report and Action Plan pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To note the Cabinet Response to the Children, Education and Skills Sub-Group Report on Children’s Readiness for School and the Action Plan considered by Cabinet.


To follow.


Additional documents:


The recommendations of the Children, Education and Skills Sub-Group had been accepted by Cabinet and the Action Plan set out in Appendix 1 had been approved by Cabinet on 6 April 2021.

The Committee considered an update on the Action Plan and in the course of discussion raised the following points:



-       The Action Plan proposed that further communication was undertaken with early years providers and settings to ensure the respective Early Help Assessment and early years funding and resources processes and requirements were understood.

The Early Years Manager now attended the Early Years and Primary Network meetings, working with the school improvement team to ensure that early year’s providers and schools have up to date information and guidance around any new training available or changes to legislation. This has also helped to improve the communication systems from the local authority to schools and private nurseries, whilst providing a networking opportunity for schools and early years settings to access peer support.

A question was raised regarding take up and it was confirmed that there had been an increase in Early Help Assessments from partners during the lockdowns and that debt was an issue for parents and a clothing and foodbank had been set up in the Riverside Centre.


-       It was noted that across Children’s Services there had been a significant increase in demand due to the impact of poverty, debt, neglect, family breakdown, mental health issues and substance misuse and this was reflected in the child protection statistics and an increase in the complexity of cases.


-       Pilot sessions were to be mainstreamed on both the Ready For School (RFS) and Children’s Centre Facebook pages, with the option to join virtual group sessions or face to face options, dependant on Covid restrictions.

Parenting sessions were to be offered to all new parents attending the Ready for School Centre on a rolling basis.

These sessions were also now available to any parent or professional via the Children’s Centre and RFS face book pages. The 0-19 team also had access to the modules and could use them with families, to enable a consistent approach.

It was confirmed that attendance at these sessions had increased.


-       Reference was made to the external evaluation of the Ready for School offer which had begun in partnership with St John’s University in York and would help inform the further development of the offer across the Borough.

It was noted that once completed the evaluation could be shared with the Sub-Committee at the end of 2022.



The Chair thanked the Senior Manager Prevention and Early Help for the informative update and for attendance at the meeting.




Education Update - Covid Recovery pdf icon PDF 465 KB

To receive an update on the academic year 2020/2021, the

work of Local Authority Officers in their support of schools, and any impact seen in pupils’ attainment and wellbeing because of COVID

Additional documents:


The Sub-Committee considered a report on the academic year 2020/2021, the work of Local Authority Officers in their support of schools, and any impact seen in pupils’ attainment and wellbeing because of Covid.


The academic year 2020/2021 was beset by further disruption to pupils’ education, because of Covid. High rates of outbreak within schools and repeated periods of enforced isolation led to an extended period of closure in the spring term 2021 which required schools to move to on-line learning at haste.


Previous periods of lock down and isolation had enabled most schools to hone their approaches to home learning and ensure that all pupils had access to appropriate devices and data. The facilitation of regular ‘teach meets’ by Local Authority officers and the support of the Research School and the EdTech demonstrator schools programme ensured good practice was shared.


Continuing high levels of infection during the summer term, particularly within the 10-14 age range led to further disruption for pupils. By the time schools began summer holidays over half were deemed in outbreak.


Despite the challenges that Covid had brought, Local Authority Officers continued to work with schools to support recovery and to tackle the priorities outlined within the Ambition for Education document to improve outcomes for all pupils. 


The full extent of the impact of two interrupted academic years of education was yet to be realised.


The report also included an update on Attendance, Transition to another phase of education, Curriculum and Assessment, Interventions, Ofsted Inspections and Personal Development. 


The Sub-Committee discussed the issues raised in the report and in the course of discussion raised the following points:


-       Members highlighted concerns about how children could catch up with work that had been covered but had not been understood via online learning. 

It was noted that whilst some schools had robust gap analysis systems in place and had been proactive in assessing pupils’ attainment throughout the pandemic, others had been less successful in their efforts.

A ‘Different Summer 2020’, primary documents, had been created by North Tyneside Local Authority Advisers and serving practitioners and based on National Curriculum programmes of study for key stages 1 and 2. They were designed to support subject leaders to plan their curriculum in a more targeted way, by focusing on those objectives that could be delivered remotely and those that required face to face teaching for optimum impact. They were provided free to all schools. These were subsequently extended to include autumn and spring term curriculum plans. Extremely positive feedback was received by those schools who adopted them, with teachers reporting that they gave them a clearer understanding of progression in subjects across year groups and phases. These recovery documents would continue to be promoted in the autumn term to support transition into the next year group.


-       Catch up funding had been used in a range of ways as schools saw fit. For example, some did after school booster classes and others did pre-teaching and follow up sessions. The national tutoring  ...  view the full minutes text for item CES14


Poverty Intervention Fund pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To receive an update on the Poverty Intervention Fund




The Sub-Committee considered a report on the use and spend of the Poverty Intervention Fund.


The purpose of the Fund was to help to alleviate the impact of poverty on families and individuals across North Tyneside with particular emphasis on children, by providing support to those who needed it.


On 21 September 2020, Cabinet had agreed the first priorities and initiatives for the Fund.  These were to deliver the Fund in a phased approach with the first phase focussed on the following priorities:


-       for children – focusing on the key impact which living in poverty has in relation to their experience at school

-       for older people – focusing on the key impact of not taking up full benefit entitlement

-       for families with children – focusing on the key impact of not being able to afford the essentials of clothing for school and food during school holidays (where they do not have access to free school meals).


The Committee considered an update on progress on the following initiatives in the 2020/2021 financial year:


-       Poverty Proofing the School Day (for children)

-       benefit advice and support for older residents (for older people)

-       school appropriate clothing (for families with children)

-       holiday food (for families with children)

-       Food for older residents (for older people)



 £172,755 had been allocated from the Poverty Intervention Fund for Poverty Proofing the School Day in order to address the impacts of poverty felt by children and young people at school. 

The Programme was run by Children North East and delivered through schools and sought to better understand what poverty looks like from a child and young person’s perspective.

Each school involved was fully supported to be able to put in place an action plan to alleviate this in the school setting and to reduce the stigma and discrimination faced by children who live in poverty.

Funding the programme through the Poverty Intervention Fund meant that every school in the borough was able to take part and there was a consistent experience for children and young people.


Successful outcomes for the programme included more equity of experience, opportunity and learning outcomes for pupils who live in poverty.  Where the programme had been delivered there had also been improvements in relation to mental health and wellbeing amongst children and young people. Schools had implemented actions such as free musical instrument tuition for all pupils, supplying bus passes, alternatives to non-uniform days for fund-raising, not sending debt letters home with pupils and challenging staff over whether asking pupils to write about their holidays or presents was appropriate.


Members acknowledged that one of the biggest impacts for schools was a cultural shift. One school told evaluators that previously, they had done things without ‘necessarily being aware of what the impact on disadvantaged pupils would be’, but that after the programme, they ‘now considered the impact first’.


The programme would run through all of the 2021/2022 academic year to ensure that no school was disadvantaged due to  ...  view the full minutes text for item CES15