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Wirral Schools Forum meeting of 30th April 2014 in the Council Chamber at Wallasey Town Hall
Wirral Schools Forum hears of U-turn on schools funding school crossing patrols
Andrew Roberts talks at the Wirral Schools Forum meeting of 30th April 2014 about school crossing patrol funding
The Chair of the Wirral Schools Forum Richard Longster said that there were a couple of matters arising, the first being school crossing patrols.
Andrew Roberts (Senior Manager – School Funding and Resources) said, “The delivery of the saving of the school crossing patrols savings option was withdrawn at Council but the rest is part of the budget for 2014-15.”
However this was what was in the Schools Budget report when it was agreed at Budget Council on the 25th February 2014:
“There are a number of budget savings options for 2014-15 arising from working in partnership with schools. These have been progressed in discussions with schools and as part of this budget as follows:
– School Crossing Patrols £415,000
This option has been discussed with Headteacher groups with a view to it being funded by schools from their delegated budgets. The crossings would continue to be managed and staffed by Streetscene, but schools individually would meet the costs of the service.”
and it was also in the Labour budget resolution that was agreed:
“Schools Crossing Patrols
Cabinet believes the safety of children is paramount. In December Cabinet agreed to ask schools to take over the funding of school crossing patrols. Given the concerns expressed by a minority of schools, officers are instructed to continue discussions with schools with a guarantee that no funding is removed where agreement cannot be reached.”
So I wonder why an officer now states the savings option for school crossing patrols has been “withdrawn”?
In January the Chief Executive stated he had received legal advice that schools funding school crossing patrols was legal but Councillor Stuart Kelly disagreed giving Regulation 7 of the The School and Early Years Finance (England) Regulations 2013 as the reason why it wasn’t lawful for school crossing patrols to be funded from the schools budget.
So what happened behind the scenes over school crossing patrols to force such a U-turn? Did the headteachers refuse to fund it from their school’s budgets? Did Wirral Council’s legal department change their advice? Or did something else happen?
The Chair referred to the other matter arising relating to the minimum funding guarantee application to the Education Funding Agency to be exempt from the minimum funding guarantee.
Andrew Roberts replied, “OK, this is just to update the application for the LEA’s exemption was withdrawn to the EFA after the meeting on the 27th.”
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