Agenda item - Update on the Hidden Children Strategy

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Agenda item

Update on the Hidden Children Strategy

Report of the Executive Director Families Children & Learning (copy attached)

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the committee

 

(i)             Noted the progress on the original hidden children strategy as

detailed in the report and in Appendix 1.

 

(ii)       Noted the actions being taken to recruit to a the new post of hidden children officer and the future focus on early identification and support, preventative and restorative action, re-engaging pupils who have been out of education and the monitoring and tracking of children and young people at risk of becoming hidden.

Minutes:

58.1    The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director Families Children & Learning which provided an update on the Hidden Children Strategy that was brought to the Children Young People & Skills Committee on 17 September 2018. The report was introduced by the Head of School Organisation and was joined by Ms D Boyd from PaCC, Ms R Cook (Amaze) and Ms M Banks (Asc-Mascot) who spoke on their own experiences.

 

58.2    Councillor Hills noted the rise in the number of children who were home educated, and that some of those would be vulnerable children, and asked if a full Equalities Impact Assessment (EIA) would be undertaken when the new officer was in place.  The Head of School Organisation confirmed that would be done. She noted that some children did fall through the net and so had an incomplete schooling and asked if there would be a catch-up procedure in place to assist them. The Head of School Organisation said that it would depend on each child, but they would be supported to return to school and officers would sign-post families to assistance which was available.

 

58.3    Mr Muirhead asked how the Local Authority could ensure that any impact Covid may have on the hidden children agenda was kept to a minimum. The Head of School Organisation said that there would be a focus on minimising the impact of Covid and would be something which the Steering Group would look closely at. Mr Muirhead noted that whilst the term ‘hidden children’ was widely used it also had the possibility of alienating some parents and stakeholders and asked if the language used could be reviewed. The Head of School Organisation said he aware of those concerns and confirmed that the terminology would be reviewed.

 

58.4    Councillor Brown said that it was important to have more contact with families of hidden children to ensure that they were receiving the required level of education, but noted that the Local Authority did not have the right to enter those family’s home without being invited in and hoped that person in the new role would be able to have more contact with those families. The Head of School Organisation agreed and said that officers would continue to engage with all home-educated children.

 

58.5    Councillor Nield noted that the most common reason cited by parents or carers for electing to home educate their child(ren) was due to health concerns related directly to Covid-19, and asked how many of those parents had a general concern about their children being exposed to the virus and how many were worried because their children had a specific medical condition such as asthma and so would be more vulnerable, and how many parents/carers were likely to allow their children to return to school once the pandemic was over. The Head of School Organisation said he didn’t have that information but would provide after the meeting.

 

58.6    RESOLVED: That the committee

 

(i)             Noted the progress on the original hidden children strategy as

detailed in the report and in Appendix 1.

 

(ii)       Noted the actions being taken to recruit to a the new post of hidden children officer and the future focus on early identification and support, preventative and restorative action, re-engaging pupils who have been out of education and the monitoring and tracking of children and young people at risk of becoming hidden.

Supporting documents:

 


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