The last Schools Forum of the school year took place yesterday in Chelmsford. The significant issues of interest were as follows.
- The recommendations we’ve worked on for the school formula were approved, and will shortly be sent to schools for consultation. The KS1 class size changes are to the benefit of small schools, who should vote YES to this change, which removes the unnecessary restriction that only schools with more than 120 pupils can access the fund. However, unfortunately the positive changes will not be very clearly visible in the spreadsheets the LA will circulate, because the additional funding small schools will receive will be through the LA’s retained growth fund rather than through the school funding formula. I have asked the LA to clarify this in the accompanying text.
- We had a presentation from the new School Effectiveness Plus team, who are likely to return to Schools Forum in October to ask for financial support for their work to complement, or instead of, individual school subscriptions. I asked that they consider a model where subscribing schools pay per pupil on roll rather than as a flat rate per school. They agreed to look at this option.
- The programme for improved SEN provision was approved, top slicing 0.35% of school budgets, after the LA had come back with a detailed explanation of the various issues raised at previous meetings.
- We set up a working group to revise the banding of SEN pupil need. I intervened to suggest that the remit of the working group be widened to consider all bandings, not just the highest need (£15k per pupil or more) and this was agreed. I think further clarity over SEN banding would be very helpful.
I wish everyone a great Summer holiday!