The cabinet member for children, schools and adult care to present the theme for the meeting.
The cabinet member for children, schools and adult care, Councillor Jasmine Ali, presented the motion on the themed debate.
Councillor Dan Whitehead, the majority opposition group spokesperson, responded to the cabinet member's motion and proposed Amendment A.
Following debate (Councillors Maggie Browning, Anood Al-Samerai, James McAsh, Cleo Soanes, William Houngbo, Peter John, Helen Dennis, Adele Morris, Kieron Williams, Alice Macdonald), the cabinet member for adult care and financial inclusion, Councillor Jasmine Ali, responded to the debate.
Amendment A was put to the vote and declared to be Lost.
The motion was put to the vote and declared to be Carried.
1. Council assembly notes:
a. Under this Labour administration, Southwark is delivering the best possible start in life for our children. Ofsted has rated our children’s services good and our adoption services are outstanding. Southwark’s Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Services are examples of excellence where other local authorities are turning to Southwark for guidance on their SEND services. Our Youth Offending Service (YOS) was praised by Ofsted as it carries out its essential work supporting young people who have or at risk of offending. This Labour administration has protected funding for YOS and will continue to do so.
b. No child should be left behind, and so welcomes Southwark’s continued efforts to improve education at every stage. From Early Years to Key Stage 5, Southwark exceeds national averages for results - including attainment of pupils with special educational needs.
c. Nine out of 10 schools in Southwark are rated as Good or Outstanding by Ofsted, showing that our schools are great places for our young people to learn and develop. Council assembly further notes the huge progress our schools have made in the last eight years, when less than two thirds were Good or Outstanding.
d. That this administration has made it easier for children to go to the local school of their choice and get the best possible start in life. Council assembly further notes the enormous progress from the previous administration’s schools placement crisis where 500 children were not being offered a place at any of their preferred schools. Council assembly welcomes that there are now an additional 4,425 primary school places since 2009. This means almost 90% now get their first choice of primary school, and 64% get their first choice of secondary school.
e. The council’s commitment that children should lead happy, healthy and full lives. It welcomes measures such as the introduction of Free Swim and Gyms and Free Healthy School Meals to help tackle childhood obesity and improve standards. Council assembly further welcomes the council’s programme of refurbishing and improving play areas across the borough, so that every child has access to a top quality place to play in their neighbourhood.
f. Southwark is a great place to grow up.
2. Council Assembly further notes:
a. After eight years of cuts and austerity from Conservative and Liberal Democrat governments, not all families are thriving. Council assembly recognises that cuts to council budgets, attacks on welfare and benefits, a national crisis in care, a housing crisis and spiralling youth violence have all impacted on young people in the borough. Investigations where a child is believed to be at risk of significant harm have more than doubled.
b. The commitment from this administration to stand alongside our communities in the face of government attacks and to do what it can to support children and young people.
3. Council assembly welcomes the council’s commitment to a fairer future for all and commitment that everyone has the best start in life with no one left behind.
4. Council assembly calls on cabinet:
a. To launch a Keeping Families Strong strategy
i. To endorse, support and facilitate the work between the council and local communities, and to make sure parents are well supported as part of our Children and Families offer.
ii. To support the approach of the cabinet member for children, schools and adults to lead active engagement with parents across Southwark to make sure that the strategy targets the right support where it is needed.
b. To protect existing and develop new early years services
i. To protect the funding of its 16 children’s centres and start to roll out free healthy meals in our nursery schools from January 2019.
ii. To help parents spread the cost of childcare over a longer period by setting up an affordable loan scheme.
c. To improve education for all
i. To welcome the increase in the number of Southwark schools rated either Good or Outstanding, which has risen to 91%, from 64% in 2010, and continue to raise standards in schools, ensuring that parents and pupils benefit from choice based on transparency with up to date and accessible information on schools.
ii. To open the Passmore Centre to provide training and apprenticeships for young people.
iii. To continue to support the work of the Construction Skills Centre to help our young people get the education and training they need to get the high skilled construction jobs being created in our borough.
d. To guarantee an education place or an apprenticeship for all care leavers
i. To work across the council, with Catch22, other partners and local education and businesses to make sure that the 474 children in care and 440 care leavers the council is a corporate parent to, have every opportunity to fulfil their potential.
ii. To launch a local Care Covenant to make sure children leaving care get access to job opportunities in this borough and guarantee an education place or an apprenticeship for every care leaver.
e. To improve adoption
i. To be the lead authority in the Regional Adoption Agency across South London, providing the best start for children in care in Southwark and to work towards positive permanence services for all children including adolescents.
f. To continue to improve the health and wellbeing of our young people
i. To help our children and young people stay fit and active by making free swim and gym more flexible and making swimming lessons free for all residents, so our young people can get the most out of Southwark’s fantastic leisure centres.
ii. To introduce a ‘daily mile’ in all our primary schools so children have the opportunity to walk or run a mile every day.
iii. To close roads around schools at drop off and collection time so that it is safer and healthier to walk or cycle to school.
g. To revolutionise our mental health services for children and young people
i. To reject the National Health Service’s disgracefully low target to meet just 35% of children and young people’s mental health needs.
ii. To endorse a new approach and work towards meeting 100% of children and young people’s mental health needs.
iii. To set up a children’s mental health reference group made up of the key stakeholders from the NHS, the council, the third sector and user groups to raise aspiration by actively working to meet 100% of children and young people’s mental health needs.
iv. To defend Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) from cuts, seek match funding from partners, make applications for innovation funding, and seek new approaches to revolutionise our CAMHS and to be a beacon across London of how to support children and families.
h. To provide exciting opportunities for young people
i. To ensure that 500 young people from low income backgrounds get paid internships with London’s best employers.
ii. To work with our communities to find solutions that help young people stay away from knives and youth violence.
iii. To re-open the Blue Youth Club and Community Centre so as to provide young people with a welcoming, positive space they can use and visit.
iv. To continue the work of the last administration, which created nearly 2,000 apprenticeships, and create 2,500 more apprenticeships, many of which will benefit young people.