Just a quick report from the February 2015 meeting of Schools Forum. I note that Chris Kiernan has started circulating a newsletter of Schools Forum news to schools, so I will try to keep the overlap with these updates minimal.
The “Spend to Save” proposals for SEN provision came back to Schools Forum and were approved on the basis of a more thorough costing and a shift in apportionment of costs between sectors to equalise overall proportionate reduction between primary and secondary. While I think that for fairness, it would make more sense to equalise proportionate AWPU reduction, this still seems to be a plausible way forward, and amounts to a 0.23% reduction in funding in the short term, in order to recoup greater savings in the long term.
We had a presentation on the new School Effectiveness Plus software solution for school improvement. For those schools who are already subscribers to Target Tracker, the major innovation seems to be a way that schools can construct a structured SEF and use it to identify partner schools with complementary strengths.
I was misquoted in the draft minutes of the last meeting regarding election procedures to Schools Forum: what I actually suggested was that if there are n schools forum places then each school should have n votes, unlike recently where there were three governor vacancies but schools were only given one vote each. This principle was accepted.
I noted that the LA has not yet circulated the updated wording of the Scheme for Financing Schools that moves from a flat rate school contribution to capital expenditure to one based on pupil numbers, as previously agreed. I was told this will be circulated shortly.
Schools Forum agreed a significant increase in LA contribution to the funding of EPHA and ESSHA, from £10k to £55k per annum, which should hopefully help to give primary heads in Essex a stronger and more organised voice.