Agenda item

High Needs Update

Jo-Anne Sanders – Verbal update


High Needs Update


Updated Safety Valve Management Plan


Jo-Anne Sanders updated the meeting.


·         The LA is currently in Enhanced Monitoring within the Safety Valve Programme. The LA are off track for the original savings plan.

·         A resubmission of the revised plan and trajectories is due on 30 June 2023.

·         Meetings have been held with DfE advisors.

·         After resubmission, if successful, quarterly monitoring of the revised plan will be put in place by the DfE.

·         It is very important that the LA stay within the Safety Valve Programme. There is over £16m of funding at risk for the LA.

·         There will be significant financial problems for the LA if they drop out of the Safety Valve Programme.

·         We have had meetings with the DfE during the re planning process and feedback has been taken. It is very important that the revised plan is based on realistic assumptions and delivery of the revised plan will be key.

·         We do still have challenges in the LA with provision.

·         The assumptions for the revised plan were summarised including;

-       A cap on out of area spend.

-       Additional provision to come on line in September 2023.

-       Early Years block transfer of £0.5m per annum.

-       SEND inclusion fund transfer and cap on spending.

-       Consultant (Peter Gray) work on different ways of funding activities.

-       More workforce development in schools.

·         We plan to have an in year balanced budget for 2026/27 but some historic deficit will remain.

·         We have got example data dashboards to include in the submission.

·         Engagement with schools and settings will be summarised.

·         Risks to the revised plan include;

-       Inflation

-       Cost of living impacts

-       Rising costs of capital investments

-       Demand and complexity of need

·         Opportunities include;

-       System changes and more satellite provision

-       Less reliance on out of area provision

-       Potential to have an AP Free School

·         We have had feedback confirming that we have made significant progress.

·         The revised plan will be submitted on the 30 June 2023 together with narrative.

·         If the revised plan is accepted, quarterly monitoring will start in September 2023.

·         There will be a further update at the next Schools Forum meeting.


Q. Is the overall deficit £1.4m or is this just for a single year?

A. This is the deficit for the overall budget by 2026/27.


Q. At what point would the LA be excluded from the Safety Valve programme? Is a deficit of £1.4m by 2026 / 27 acceptable?

A. We need to continue to engage with the DfE, but we need to give confidence that we can achieve an in year balanced budget to give confidence that the overall plan is achievable. Confidence in our collective capacity and ability to deliver plans is key.

Q. Is the contribution from the Main Schools Block unchanged?

A. Yes.


Q. When do you expect that the decision on the AP Free school will be made?

A. This is expected in Autumn 2023, with an opening date not before 2025 if approved. This will make a step change to provision in the LA. There are two applications but we will not get both.


Q. Can you confirm that the revised plan will not change the agreed transfers from the Main Schools Block?

A. The assumptions have not changed and the Block Transfer remains part of the proposal.


Q. Do we need to be sure that pupils going to Special Schools are still the right pupils?

A. This is a question and there will be new pathways. This needs to be considered at the Special Schools Heads meeting. There needs to be clarity on the graduated approach.


Q. Places in Special schools can depend on parents’ ability to navigate the system?

A. Yes but this can work both ways.

(a)   Specialist Placement Sufficiency Update.


Specialist Placement Sufficiency Update May 2023 slides had been circulated before the meeting.


Kelsey Clark-Davies updated the meeting.

·         Out of area placements currently cost circa £11m per annum which is a significant cost. There will always be a need for a small number of out of area placements. Up to 75% of these children have SEMH as a primary need.

·         We are working very hard on Local Sufficiency of places. We have also expanded our Specialist Outreach teams and have had positive feedback about their support.

·         The SEND Sufficiency overview slide was summarised including;

-       Future Jospeh Norton site at Deighton Road – places to increase from 83 to 132

-       Future Woodley School and College site at Fernside Avenue – places to increase from 122 to 180.

-       Beaumont Park Academy ARP – 12 places

-       Carlinghow Academy ARP – 12 places

-       Netherhall St James ARP – 12 places

-       Netherhall Learning Campus Junior School – 12 places

-       Netherhall Learning Campus High School – 20 places

-       Old Bank Academy ARP – 16 places

-       Ravenshall and Headfield satellite – 10 places

-       Woodley Post 16 satellite proposal TBC

-       Commissioned Alternative Provision

-       Alternative Provision Free School


·         Using local providers will impact positively on transport costs, both local and out of area. Transformation plans are currently being worked upon for Transport


The Chair noted thanks and support for all the work being done by Jo-Anne Sanders.


Jo Anne Sanders noted that support and feedback from Schools Forum is appreciated. The Forum members were thanked for the open, honest and professional conversations.