09:10 Proposed Government Changes for Children's Trusts
Nancy Clarkson introduced the report regarding government plans to amend the current legislation regarding Children’s Trusts. The changes would remove the duty on schools to co-operate and the requirements to have a Children’s Trust Board and to publish a joint Children and Young People’s Plan (CYPP).
Jill Billinge asked if the role of the headteacher was to represent themselves or their wider community.
Howard Cooper responded that as the Chair of the Primary Heads Consultation Group and Wirral Association of Secondary Headteachers they were representing Primary and Secondary headteachers and that a commitment would be made to go back to their groups to communicate but also being headteachers they would have their own views. He noted that having headteacher representatives on the Board strengthened the Board and could only be of benefit to all children’s services to have engagement of all parties.
Phil Sheridan asked what biggest concern was if schools do not co-operate.
Howard Cooper noted that the Council remains deeply committed to the five Every Child Matters outcomes for children and that schools are integral partners to deliver these successfully. Over the past 3 to 4 years schools have been increasingly involved in effective working with partner agencies which has had significant impact on outcomes for children and young people. It is important that schools remain engaged with the whole community in order to improve outcomes for all children and young people. More specifically in the area of safeguarding schools are the biggest initiators of the Team Around the Child. This links to early intervention and prevention and schools are at the heart of that.
Howard Cooper noted that the major barrier to children and young people’s learning was what happened in the home, and that partnership collaboration would enhance schools knowledge in this area.
When the duty to co-operate is abolished there is a risk that schools disengage with wider agenda; this will be at the detriment to children and young people and communities. The duty is a strong signal of the importance and benefits of working together.
Phil Sheridan noted that although schools are competitive the clear message for them is that when addressing outcomes for all children and young people it is important to focus Wirral wide.
Jane Owens noted the positive effects of joint working and that sharing information with school governors could only strengthen this as more governors ask more questions and become more aware of the full ECM agenda to the benefit of children and young people.
Howard Cooper noted that the Police view of the reduction in First Time Entrants in to the Youth Justice System was linked to the volume of embedded officers in schools. Howard Cooper believes that embedding services in school can lead to marked improvements for all children and young people and their communities.
Resolved: The Board agreed the continuation of Wirral Children’s Trust arrangements in their current form.
Resolved:That the continuation of the involvement of schools is endorsed by the Board and the Director of Children’s Services in collaboration with school representatives communicate with schools regarding their continued participation.