Scrutiny Councillors look at pupil behaviour and the effect on performance in schools

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The Schools Performance Scrutiny Panel met with the Access to Learning Manager and Principal Education Psychologist in November to look at issues affecting behaviour of children and young people in school and how that in turn affects schools performance.  Councillors also, in preparation for this meeting, contacted schools asking for their views on this issue and at the meeting used those responses to inform our questioning and discussion.

The Panel received a copy of the behaviour strategy document ‘Promoting Positive Behaviour for Children and Young People in Swansea’ 2014 and were informed that Swansea’s strategic approach starts with a recognition that there is a continuum of behaviour from good and acceptable behaviour to severely challenging. Within this approach there is an acknowledgment that some behavioural difficulties are complex in origin and require multi-agency insight and involvement if they are to be addressed.  The Panel were pleased to see that this strategic approach involves prevention, early identification and intervention, partnership work with parents/carers and young people/full range of agencies and maintaining an appropriate continuum of provision to meet needs.  They were also encouraged to see that the main philosophy is to keep children in mainstream but to have an avenue for those who cannot access this.   The Panel also agreed that schools must build their capacity to be able to manage more children in mainstream.

The Panel recognise that Restorative Practice is a good tool but some young people need more, so it is important for schools to have a range of ‘tools’ at their disposal to manage behaviour.  .

Councillors understand that Swansea has an issue around drugs and alcohol and do recognise how important it is to look at the effects both on the child directly and through living in an environment where drugs and alcohol are used.  The Panel were informed that Swansea has a small drugs and alcohol service for children and young people through SANDS drugs project and that demand on this service way outstrips capacity.

The Panel agreed that we must as an authority ensure that the behaviour strategy is used consistently across schools in Swansea and emphasised the importance of advice being given and consistency being monitored by the schools improvement service.

Comments were received from a number of schools to a selection of questions  that were sent to them.  Resulting from this we had a detailed discussion about the Special Education Needs funding formula and were informed that this is currently being looked by the education service.  We therefore plan to look into this further and will schedule it as future item for our work programme.  We found the information from schools very useful and thank those schools who participated for their time and assistance.

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