What did Wirral Council’s response to my letter about the Lyndale School Cabinet decision on 4th September say?

What did Wirral Council’s response to my letter about the Lyndale School Cabinet decision on 4th September say?                                                  I have received a full response to my letter of the 8th September 2014 to Wirral Council about the Cabinet decision on the 4th September 2014 about the decisions on Lyndale School. This letter was received … Continue reading “What did Wirral Council’s response to my letter about the Lyndale School Cabinet decision on 4th September say?”

What did Wirral Council’s response to my letter about the Lyndale School Cabinet decision on 4th September say?

                                                

Councillor Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services) at the Special Cabinet Meeting of 4th September 2014 to discuss Lyndale School L to R Cllr Stuart Whittingham, Cllr Tony Smith, Cllr Bernie Mooney and Lyndzay Roberts
Councillor Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services) at the Special Cabinet Meeting of 4th September 2014 to discuss Lyndale School L to R Cllr Stuart Whittingham, Cllr Tony Smith (Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services), Cllr Bernie Mooney and Lyndzay Roberts

I have received a full response to my letter of the 8th September 2014 to Wirral Council about the Cabinet decision on the 4th September 2014 about the decisions on Lyndale School. This letter was received after the 24th September 2014 deadline in the letter of the 8th September 2014, although an earlier letter was also received stating that this letter would happen by the 1st October 2014. I have yet to consider my response to Wirral Council’s letter of the 30th September 2014 which is below.

The letter of 30th September 2014 is included below as is, there are some missing full stops and unnecessary apostrophes which have been printed as they were in the original letter.

For information I include it below. I am considering my options as to what to do next. The protocol states that an “application for judicial review must be filed promptly and in any event not later than 3 months after the grounds to make the claim first arose”.

That’s 3 months from 4th September 2014 so a maximum time limit of 4th December 2014. However it would be inadvisable to wait that long as permission would be denied for not being done “promptly”!

Personally I feel that we’re getting soon to the date when “promptly” would be an issue (although maybe that explains Wirral Council’s tactics). The call in has put implementation of the decision on hold until at least the 2nd October 2014.

For the ease of converting to HTML some minor formatting has been lost as to how it was laid out in order to get this published promptly. A line of equals signs represents the end of an A4 page.

(Wirral Council logo)

Department of Transformation & Resources

Joe Blott
Strategic Director of Transformation &
Resources

Town Hall, Brighton Street
Wallasey, Wirral
Merseyside, CH44 8ED
DX 708630 Seacombe
Website: www.wirral.gov.uk

date 30 September 2014

By Email and Post

to Mr John Brace
Jenmaleo
134 Boundary Road
Bidston
Wirral
CH43 7PH

your ref
my ref
service Legal and Member Services
tel 0151 691 8569 Please ask for Surjit Tour
fax 0151 691 8482
email surjittour@wirral.gov.uk

Response to Pre-Action Protocol letter

Dear Mr Brace

I write further to your letter before claim dated 8 September 2014. For the avoidance of doubt, this letter constitutes Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council’s (“the Council”) formal response in accordance with the Pre-Action Protocol for Judicial Review.

1. The Claimant

The proposed Claimant is Mr Brace; who is unrepresented.

2. The Proposed Defendant

The proposed Defendant is Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council.

3. Reference details

Wirral Metropolitan Borough Council: Surjit Tour, Department of Transformation and Resources, Town Hall, Brighton Street, Wallasey, Wirral, CH44 8ED

Mr John Brace: Jenmaleo, 134 Boundary Road, Bidston, Wirral, CH43 7PH

4. The details of the decision being challenged

The Council’s in-principle decision of 4 September 2014 to publish statutory notices in respect of the closure of Lyndale School (“Lyndale”) from January 2016.

5. Response to the Proposed Claim

The Council denies Mr Brace’s claim for the reasons detailed below.

6. Details of interested parties

No interested parties identified.

www.wirral.gov.uk

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7. Address for further correspondence and service of court documents

Please address any further correspondence in this matter to Surjit Tour.

8. Background

8.1 Lyndale School is a special school providing specialist educational provision for primary aged pupils, the majority of whom have Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (“PMLD”). There are 21 pupils currently on the roll, nine of whom will be transitioning to secondary school by the end of the 2015/16 academic year. The declining number of students admitted to Lyndale over recent years has drawn into question The Lyndale’s financial viability for the future.

8.2 In 2013 the Department for Education (“DfE”) radically reformed the way in which funding for High Needs pupils is provided. Previously, funding was based significantly on the number of places available at a school rather than the number of pupils actually attending. The new system places a far greater emphasis on the number of pupils attending and their specific needs. Lyndale has set a balanced budget for 2014/15 for 40 places and 23 pupils. Applying the new intended future DfE funding arrangements, Lyndale may only be funded for 23 places, a reduction of £170,000. This shortfall would only increase as the number of pupils reduces. Funding this shortfall would not be possible without a significant reduction in funding for other schools in the area.

8.3 In addition, there are two other primary schools, namely Stanley and Elleray Park which are rated as providing good and outstanding education to students with complex learning difficulties, some of whom will have PMLD.

8.4 The Report presented to Cabinet details why the option to expand Elleray Park and Stanley Schools was the most viable option and therefore we do not propose to go into any further detail here.

8.5 The report to cabinet on the 4th September 2014 contains information on the background history of CLD/PMLD provision. The report also details the responses to the consultation and the independent consultant’s report. A link is provided for your information:

http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/ieDecisionDetails.aspx?ID=2786

8.6 Cabinet Resolved that:

8.6.1 (1) Cabinet thanks all those who have participated in the consultation exercise, with particular regard to submissions from parents of children at The Lyndale School;

8.6.2 (2) Having reviewed the responses received during the consultation process, analysed the alternative options and applied the SEN Improvement Test, it is recommended that:

8.6.2.1 Statutory notices be published in respect of the closure of The Lyndale School from January 2016.

8.6.2.2 That Wirral Council, under the leadership of the Director of Children’s Services, work individually with

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children and families, towards effecting a smooth and supportive transition to an alternative place at one of the following schools:

(a) – Elleray Park Special School

(b) – Stanley Special School

(c) – Another appropriate school

8.6.3 In doing so, that the Director of Children’s Services, in acknowledgement of the close relationships that exist between staff and pupils at The Lyndale School, investigates if staff could be employed, where possible, at receiving schools, (subject to legal practice and the approval of governing bodies).

8.6.4 The Director of Children’s Services be authorised to take all necessary steps to publish the proposals and ensure the prescribed procedures are followed, including requesting permissions from the Secretary of State, in furtherance of the proposals.

8.6.5 A further report be brought on the outcome of the publication of the statutory notices.

8.6.6 The Director of Children’s Services to ensure that Education, Health and Care Plans for all pupils of The Lyndale School are completed by 31st October 2014.

8.7 I respond to each of your proposed grounds of challenge as below.

9. Cabinet meeting notice requirements

9.1 You state in your letter that the Council has not complied with Regulations 8-9 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements)(Meetings and Access to Information)(England) Regulations 2012 set out below as the document specified in Regulation 9 was not published.

9.2 Regulation 8

9.2.1 (1) In these Regulations a “key decision” means an executive decision, which is likely–

9.2.2 (a) to result in the relevant local authority incurring expenditure which is, or the making of savings which are, significant having regard to the relevant local authority’s budget for the service or function to which to which the decision relates; or

9.2.3 (b) to be significant in terms of its effects on communities living or working in an area comprising two or more wards or electoral divisions in the area of the relevant local authority.

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9.2.4 (2) In determining the meaning of “significant” for the purposes of paragraph (1) the local authority must have regards to any guidance for the time issued by the Secretary of State in accordance with section 9Q of the 2000 Act (guidance).

9.3 Regulation 9

9.3.1 (1) Where a decision maker intends to make a key decision, that decision must not be made until a document has been published in accordance with paragraph (2), which states–

9.3.2 (a) that a key decision is to be made on behalf of the relevant local authority;

9.3.3 (b) the matter in respect of which the decision is to be made;

9.3.4 (c) where the decision maker is an individual, that individual’s name, and title if any and, where the decision maker is a decision-making body, its name and a list of its members;

9.3.5 (d) the date on which, or the period within which, the decision is to be made;

9.3.6 (e) a list of the documents submitted to the decision maker for consideration in relation to the matter in respect of which the key decision is to be made;

9.3.7 (f) the address from which, subject to any prohibition or restriction on their disclosure, copies of, or extracts from, any document listed is available;

9.3.8 (g) that other documents relevant to those matters may be submitted to the decision maker; and

9.3.9 (h) the procedure for requesting details of those documents (if any) as they become available.

9.3.10 (2) At least 28 clear days before a key decision is made, the document referred to in paragraph (1) must be available for inspection by the public–

9.3.11 (a) at the offices of the relevant local authority; and

9.3.12 (b) on the relevant local authority’s website, if it has one.

9.3.13 (3) Where, in relation to any matter–

9.3.14 (a) the public may be excluded under regulation 4(2) from the meeting at which the matter is to be discussed; or

9.3.15 (b) documents relating to the decision need not, because of regulation 20(3), be disclosed to the public,

9.3.15 the document referred to in paragraph (1) must contain particulars of the matter but may not contain any confidential, exempt information or particulars of the advice of a political adviser or assistant.

9.4 It is accepted that the “in-principle” decision is a “key decision” under Regulation 8 and therefore the Council must comply with Regulation 9.

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However the Council has fully complied with Regulation 9 by publishing the Forward Plan for the period of August 2014 to November 2014.

9.5 The Forward Pan specifically identifies the “Outcome of Lyndale School Consultation” as a key decision and therefore complies with Regulation 9(1)(a) and (b).

9.6 Further, in compliance with Regulation 9(c), page two of the Forward Plan lists the names of the Cabinet members who would be making the decision. It also identifies that the decision is expected to be taken in September 2014 in compliance with Regulation 9(d).

9.7 In relation to Regulation 9(e)-(g), therefore were no reports available at the time the Forward Plan was published, however they were made available in advance of the Cabinet meeting.

9.8 For these reasons, the Council considers your point here to be without foundation.

10. Cabinet decision take by the wrong people

10.1 Your letter states that regulations require a member from the Church of England and Roman Catholic diocese to be appointed to the Council’s Families and Wellbeing Policy Committee and Coordinating Committee (“the Committees”). These committees review, amongst other things, the Cabinet’s decisions on education matters. As such they are “education overview and scrutiny committees” as defined in Regulation 13(1) Local Authorities (Committee System)(England)(Regulations) 2012 and must therefore comply with the requirements in the Regulations.

10.2 Specifically, Regulation 13(2) states that the “committees must have at least one qualifying person” which is defined in Regulation 13(3) as “the person nominated by the Diocesan Board of Education for any Church of England diocese.” Regulation 13(4) and (5) has the same provision in relation to Roman Catholic diocese. This is accepted by the Council.

10.3 However, you further state that as a Church of England diocese member was not appointed to the Committees, a member should have been appointed to the Cabinet. This is not required by any of the Regulations quoted in your letter, nor any other statutory provisions.

10.4 You claim that a Church of England diocese member was neither appointed to the Committees nor the Cabinet when the “in-principle” decision was made on 4 September 2014 that such decision is in someway invalid or defective. We set out below why the Council considers this is completely unfounded.

10.5 Firstly, Table 1, Point 18 of the Council’s Constitution states that the Executive has the authority “to consider and determine statutory proposals relating to the establishment and discontinuance of schools.” As you are no doubt aware, the Executive is comprised of the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet. Secondly, as referred to above, Diocese members are only required to be appointed to the Committees whose function is to review decision relating to decision. Furthermore, the role of the Committees is to scrutinise decisions of the Cabinet and, if necessary, recommend that Cabinet reconsider the decision. The Committees have no authority to nullify the decision of the Cabinet.

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10.6 The Cabinet was not required by any regulation or statutory provision to appoint a diocese member and had absolute authority to take the decision in this matter. Any claim to the contrary in entirely without foundation.

10.7 However, as stated, the Council is aware that it is required to have a Church of England diocese member on the Committees. To this end, we have contacted the diocese on numerous occasions in order to receive an appropriate nomination from them. As yet, a nomination has not been received despite the Council’s best efforts. This is due to no fault of the Council and as stated above, this anomaly does not invalidate the decision taken by the Cabinet on 4 September 2014.

11. Human Rights

The Council is fully aware of its obligations under the Human Rights Act 1998 (“HRA”) and the European Convention on Human Rights (“ECHR”) and ensures that all decisions it makes are fully compliant with these.

The Council refutes any suggestion that there has been a breach of the human rights of any children by the decision under challenge, for the reasons set out below.

11.1 Protocol 1 (Article 2) – Right to education

11.1.1 The assertion that the Council is denying the children of Lyndale the right to an education is entirely without merit. Article 2 of Protocol of the ECHR does not provide a pupil of an educational institution with the right to receive an education or be taught at a specific institution. It merely provides that a pupil must have access to the education system. No child currently at Lyndale is being, or will be, denied access to an education.

11.1.2 In addition, case law has established that local authorities have the discretion to allocate resources how they deem fit when arranging education provision, provided that a pupil is not denied access to the education system, which has not happened in this case.

11.1.3 No final decision has been made in relation to whether to close Lyndale or not. No child will be denied the right to continue their education and so will not be denied access to the system Therefore, there is no legal basis for this alleged ground of challenge.

11.2 Article 2 – right to life

11.2.1 To establish that this Article is engaged, you would have to demonstrate that either; a) the Council were deliberately trying to end the lives of the pupils; or b) we ought to be aware that there was a real and immediate risk to the lives of the pupils were they to be moved to alternative educational provision.

11.2.2 No decision has yet been made in relation to any specific pupil transferring to an alternative educational provider. Therefore this ground of challenge is entirely baseless.

11.2.3 Any suggestion that the Council are deliberately trying to end the lives of the children is simply untenable and there is no evidence to suggest that there is a real and immediate risk to their lives given that no decision has been made to transfer any child to an

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alternative educational provider. This ground of challenge is therefore completely unfounded.

11.3 Article 3 – prohibition of torture

11.3.1 The Council denies that the children of Lyndale would be subject to torture, inhumane or degrading treatment.

11.3.2 Torture is defined as “deliberate inhumane treatment causing very serious and cruel suffering.” It is refuted that the children of Lyndale would be subjected to any suffering, let alone serious or cruel suffering or otherwise.

11.3.3 Inhumane treatment is defined as treatment “causing intense physical and mental suffering.” There is no evidence to suggest that any children will be subjected to physical or mental suffering.

11.3.4 Degrading treatment is “treatment or punishment” which “humiliates and debases” the victim. The Council’s in-principle decision to publish a statutory closure notice cannot in any way be described as a decision designed to humiliate or debase the children of Lyndale.

11.3.5 You have provided no evidence to substantiate this claim and is it entirely without merit.

11.4 Article 11 – freedom of assembly

11.4.1 Your reference to this Article is unclear and the Council considers that the Article is not engaged in this matter in any event.

11.5 Article 14 – prohibition of discrimination

11.5.1 This Article is only engaged if a breach of another Article is proven. Given the difficulties, set out above, that you would have to sustain an argument that any of the above Articles have been breached, the Council denies that Article 14 is relevant.

11.5.2 You suggest in your Letter before Claim that the political views of the parents were discounted and that this, in some way, led to Article 14 being engaged. This is denied given the points raised above however we wish to point out that the views expressed by the parents during the consultation process were taken into account in this matter as demonstrated by the summary of the responses considered by Cabinet (which is publicly available online). The Council refutes the suggestion that differing political views affected the decision and denies that any individual or group has been discriminated in any way by its “in-principle” decision.

11.5.3 Further, your reference to children being born disabled is unclear.

12. Equality Act 2010 (“Equality Act”)

12.1 Section 13

12.1.1 You have provided no evidence to sustain an allegation that less money would be spent on the education of the Lyndale children if Lyndale were to close, therefore the Council considered this allegation unfounded.

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12.1.2 As mentioned in the Cabinet Report, the net result of a potential closure of Lyndale would be a £33,470 budget surplus. If the Council made a final decision to close Lyndale after completing all of the 5 stages of the statutory processes this could be shared across all remaining schools who would stand to gain £3,347 additional funding each.

12.1.3 The Council does not hold any information relating to the protected characteristics of any staff members of Lyndale. If you require this information we suggest you make further contact with the School direct.

This information is not held by the Council but the governing body of the school

12.2 Section 15

12.2.1 The aim of this process is to secure the highest standard of education possible for the children of Lyndale. In order to secure this, the Council has a duty to ensure that the provision of the education is affordable in the long-term. Your assertion that this is not a legitimate aim for the purpose of the Act is without foundation.

12.2.2 The Council has consulted extensively with interested parties, including staff, parents, Governors and the general public with regard to the potential closure of Lyndale and will continue to invite representations from such parties during the representation stage of the Statutory process. Having considered these views and the report which considered the SEN Improvement Test which was applied to a range of different options it has been decided, in principle, that the closure of Lyndale is the most proportionate means of achieving the legitimate aim set out in the 4th September cabinet report.

12.3 Section 19

12.3.1 This argument is legally flawed as, pursuant to s.19(1) Equality Act, the parents would have to possess a relevant protected characteristic. You have provided no evidence of this.

12.4 Section 26

12.4.1 The allegation that the Council has in any way violated the dignity of the persons affected by its decision, whether the children or otherwise, is entirely misconceived and without foundation and is not supported by any evidence.

12.4.2 Further, there is no evidence that any current or previous members of staff at the school have been intimidated by any members of the Council.

12.5 Section 27

12.5.1 For this section to be engaged, the Council would have had to have subjected the parents to a detriment directly because they have threatened legal proceedings. As far as the Council is aware, no legal proceedings have been issued.

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12.5.2 You have provided no evidence of this and therefore your claim is unfounded. In any event, the Council denies that any parents have been subject to a detriment.

12.6 Sections 85 and 86

12.6.1 Your claim in relation to these sections are also without foundation as you have provided no evidence to suggest that any children will be subject to a detriment as a result of this decision.

12.6.2 Furthermore, the Council has consulted a wide range of interested parties on a number of different options to ensure that all consultees were aware of the different proposals that the Council wished to consider prior to making an appropriate “in-principle” decision that would lead to the children continue to receive the highest standard of education.

12.6.3 In addition, the decision to commence the statutory process to publish a closure notice to close the school from 2016 is not determinative that the school will be closed or that the children will be moved to another school which is specifically designed to provide education to pupils with special educational needs and other disabilities. On that basis, the children will suffer no detriment as a result.

12.6.4 Further, the allegation that children are being penalised for their parents’ opposition to the proposals, or for any other reason, is entirely without foundation. This is simply incorrect and there is no evidence to support such a spurious allegation.

12.7 Section 112

12.7.1 The Council strenuously denies any breach of the Equality Act, therefore your point in relation to this section has no legal foundation.

12.8 Section 149

12.8.1 For the reasons set out at paragraph 14 below, the Council has clearly discharged its public sector equality duty under the provision of the Act.

12.9 Section 158

12.9.1 The Council accepts that the pupils at Lyndale have educational needs that are different from the needs of pupils in mainstream education. However, you state in your letter that pupils with Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties (“PMLD”) form a small minority of the school population. This is not the case, there are 21 pupils on the roll at Lyndale, 18 of which are diagnosed as having PMLD.

12.9.2 In dealing with your point, we reiterate that the level of education provided to the children will not be affected by the proposals.

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13. Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (“DDA 1995”) and the Disability Discrimination Act 2005

13.1 I do not propose to respond in detail to the provisions referred to in the above Acts given that both were repealed by Schedule 27(1) Paragraph 1 of the Equality Act.

13.2 As a gesture of goodwill, I have listed below the points you have raised in relation to these Acts that are covered by the new Equality Act.

13.2.1 Sections 21B, 28B, 28C and 28F DDA 1995 are now covered by s.13 Equality Act.

13.2.2 Sections 21D and 49A DDA 1995 are now covered by s.149 EA 2010.

13.3 I have responded to the points raised under the new provisions above.

14. Equality Impact Assessment (“EIA”)

14.1 As mentioned above, the Council is fully aware of its public sector equality duty to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, advance equality of opportunity and foster good relations between persons with a protected characteristic and those without.

14.2 In order to comply with this, the Council commissioned an EIAs which commenced on the 6th December 2013 and further reviewed on the 6th August 2014. The purpose of the EIA was to ensure that the Cabinet was fully aware of any equality implications when considering a proposal that Lyndale may close before making an in principle decision to public a statutory closure notice.

14.3 The EIA, which is publicly available online, assesses the impact that the proposals could have on pupils; staff at both Lyndale and other schools; and the parents of children affected by the decision. The EIA refers to the potential positive impact that the proposals could have on the children concerned, for example they may be provided access to new and varied opportunities, and steps that can be taken to ensure there are no negative consequences.

14.4 The members of the Cabinet had access to the EIA documents and reviewed both of them prior to making its decision of 4 September 2014. As such, it is clear that the council has had “due regard” to its’ public sector equality duty under the Equality Act.

15. SEN Improvement test

15.1 The Council is fully aware of its obligation to apply the SEN Improvement test to the decision in this matter. To assist compliance with this duty, the Council instructed an independent consultant to assess all the options.

15.2 Specifically in relation to the points you raise, Table 1 and Part 7.7 of the independent consultant’s report referring to the SEN Improvement Test (which is also publicly available) indicate that both alternative schools, Stanley and Elleray Park have at least as good Ofsted judgements. This demonstrates that if in due course it is proposed that Lyndale pupils are placed in either of these schools it will not limit their access but will improve their access to high quality education and services.

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15.3 The two alternative schools are special schools with staff that are suitably qualified to teach and support children although no decision has yet been made that a particular child will move to either of these alternative schools. Furthermore, if in due course the Council decides to implement a decision to close Lyndale it will look to support staff at The Lyndale in finding alternative employment. However, no decisions in this regard have been made, so this particular ground of challenge is extremely premature. However, the Council wishes to point out that no pupil’s access to specialist staff will be affected.

15.4 Part 7.7 of the Report also states that the first alternative school, Stanley, has new accommodation specifically designed to cater for children with PMLD. In particular, it has 12 large classrooms, a hydrotherapy pool and sensory facilities. The second alternative school, Elleray Park, is currently being expanded to enhance the specialist facilities that pupils with PMLD require. As such, it is clear that if a decision to close Lyndale is made in due course, pupils at Lyndale will be able to access suitable accommodation facilities at other schools in the area. This may include Elleray Park or Stanley Schools whose capacity has recently been increased.

15.5 On that basis your assertion that there will not be an improved supply of places is unfounded.

15.6 Further, reiterating what has already been mentioned in this letter, both Elleray Park and Stanley schools are special schools and are therefore more than able to receive pupils with PMLD and other complex needs.

15.7 Referring to the point you raise regarding funding, the Report clearly states that this is a viable option. Most other options lead to a budget deficit of between £26,000 and £168,000 which is financially unsustainable and would lead to a significant reduction in the quality of education provided to the pupils at Lyndale, which you will agree, is not a viable option. This proposal indicates there would be a surplus of £33,000.

16. Premature Challenge

16.1 In addition to all of the reasons stated above, the Council regards your threat of Judicial Review as being extremely premature. As is clearly stated in the Cabinet minutes, this is merely an “in-principle” decision to proceed with the statutory process.

16.2 There are still several stages of the statutory process to undergo which includes a stage whereby any person or organisation will be invited to make further representations to the Council in response to the statutory notices. The Cabinet is under a statutory obligation to consider such representations before making a final decision. It is possible, that the Council may decide not to close Lyndale School.

16.3 As these processes have not yet been completed and no final decision on the matter has been made, it is the Council’s view that any suggestion of a way of challenge by way of Judicial Review at this stage is extremely premature and unnecessary.

17. Further information

17.1 At section nine of your letter you outline numerous requests for further information. The Council’s response to each request is detailed below.

17.1.1 The Council’s Cabinet Report of 4th September 2014, its appendices and the record of the Cabinet decision of 4 September

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2014 sets out fully the Council’s reasons for its “in-principle” decision.

17.1.2 The Council does not hold statistical information relating to staff at Lyndale. It is possible that Lyndale may hold such information and it would therefore be appropriate for you to deal with Lyndale direct in relation to this request

17.1.3 You have requested information relating to statistics on any protected characteristics of the Council’s workforce. The Council does hold such information, but cannot see the relevance of this request in light of the proposed grounds of challenge. Any such information is held purely based on information employees have provided about themselves to the Council as their employer and is not relevant to the in principle decision to publish a statutory closure notice.

17.1.4 In relation to your request for statistics on pupils at Lyndale – the Council can confirm that currently 21 pupils are listed on the admission the roll at Lyndale. 18 children have been diagnosed as having PMLD, three have complex learning difficulties, two are of Asian (Indian) origin and the remainder are White British.

17.1.5 The Council believes that the financial information that is publicly available as part of the Cabinet report fully discharges its duty of candour in relation to the request for a three year projection of Lyndale School’s budget.

17.1.6 Any earlier draft of the report detailing the outcome of the consultation are not relevant as officers continued to consider their report in the light of feedback and responses

18. Documents you request

18.1 At Section 10 of your letter you request a number of documents that you consider relevant. The Council’s response to each request is detailed below.

18.1.1 Please refer to Appendix 6 of the Cabinet report (which is publicly available) which contains a summary of the responses received during the consultation.

18.1.2 The Council’s response to your request for these documents is detailed at Paragraphs 17.1.5 and 17.1.6 above.

18.1.3 Six public meetings which formed part of the Council’s consultation process were held, to which all interested parties including staff and trade unions were invited to attend. Notes of these are published with the Cabinet report at Appendices 5-7.

18.1.4 As part of the Council’s consultation process it met with the Chair of governors of Lyndale and the whole governing body in separate meetings.

18.1.5 There was no report commissioned from a Principal Educational Psychologist.

18.1.6 Details of how the Council think the preferred option meets the SEN Improvement test – this is detailed extensively in the Cabinet Report, its’ appendices and Paragraph 15 above.

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19. Action you request

19.1 For the reasons set out at paragraphs 9 and 10, the original Cabinet decision of 4 September 2014 was entirely valid and therefore your request that the Council issue an undertaking to postpone proceeding with the statutory process is unreasonable and inappropriate.

19.2 Any further Cabinet meeting that takes places that considers any decision associated with the decision made on the 4 September 2014 will, of course, comply fully with the regulatory and constitutional requirements, which the Council is subject to.

19.3 The Council is committed to openness and transparency about its decision-making and from the nature of the information that is publicly available all interested parties are able to determine the full range of information the Council took into account, including the different options considered, before the decision of 4 September 2014 was made. The Council is satisfied that its decision making process to date has been transparent and open, and does not consider that a further meeting would be beneficial particularly in light of the fact that the early stages of the statutory process have not yet completed and no final decision with regard to the potential closure of Lyndale has been made.

If you are still minded to pursue a claim for Judicial Review, the Council will vigorously oppose any proceedings and seek to recover its costs of defending such proceedings. We consider the threat of such proceedings to be premature, wholly misconceived and entirely without merit for all the reasons set out above.

Yours sincerely,

(signature of Surjut Tour)

Surjit Tour
Head of Legal and Member Services
and Monitoring Officer

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Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Funding, banding and need (part 7)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Funding, banding and need (part 7)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Funding, banding and need (part 7)

 

This is what happened at the last of the consultation meetings about the closure of Lyndale School and continues from Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Kingsway, funding and hydrotherapy pools (part 6).

Julia Hassall (Director of Children’s Services) continued by saying, “Just to reinforce the point that Phil [Ward] has made, we are really clear that if a child needs a certain type of frequency of provision, then we will replicate that in a different school setting.”

The next question was, “Am I allowed to ask about funding?”

Julia Hassall and others replied, “Yes”. Phil Ward said, “Go on then.”

The person asking the question said, “Basically, we do have a big and major issue with regards to the funding with the banding. Obviously you informed us on the last meeting which we work in a way is that band five children have to hit those three things now. We’ve now been made aware that one of the main criteria that they have to be gastroscomy fed. Now a lot of our children are unable to walk, talk, do pretty much anything for themselves, have seizures, … all different types of things, you know choking, aspiration is the main one but we are able to feed them orally, so and they’re getting eight grand less than the kids. I mean can’t we like, you know, surely to God something needs to be done about this? Our kids needs that other eight grand.

I mean because basically, I mean we’re on band four because at this precise moment, us two and you know potentially Robinson as well is going to be in band four right? So our kids are all going to be in band four so we get eight grand. Now where you’ve got the autistic children in Stanley and Elleray who can walk and talk who are on the National Curriculum scale, you know and are …, what band are they because how much money are they going to have taken off them? You know their money’s going to be plummeted.”

Phil Ward said, “Right, let’s bring Andrew in on that because that’s quite a long question. Hang on a sec, let’s bring Andrew in.”

Andrew Roberts said, “I think the main answer to your question is, it goes back to what I said before. This is a new system, it’s a system that’s only started from the first of April with five bands in it. You’ve clearly got to have a means of being able to distinguish between one band and another.”

The person asking the question said, “But we’re already telling you it’s not going to work! It can’t! It’s physically impossible when you’ve got, you know children just because they’re not gastroscomy fed are getting half the amount of money!”

Another person said, “… but he had to have a gastroscomy, because he had seizures and I have to give him his medication at a set time, morning and night.

So if he’s had a seizure and he’s fast asleep after it, obviously I can’t feed him, so then I use the gastroscomy, but if he’s fit and well, I try to keep feeding him orally because I don’t want him to lose the skill of feeding. So, is he going to be in band four and a half, is he band five, is he band four?”

Phil Ward said, “Hang on, hang on.”

David Armstrong said, “I think there’s two issues that are of concern, in terms of taking that away and reflecting on it. It’s two issues. First of all there’s the banding system itself and secondly it is are your children on the right band?

In terms of the banding system, you know, I know it’s simple but it was the special schools budget. We needed to come up with a way of distributing it, we were all in agreement when it was put together on the Schools Forum, including special heads and so on. The banding system was devised, there were comments about the banding system which will also be from outside next week to look at the banding system.

The comments that you’re making back, clearly need to feed back into looking at the banding system after it’s first year of operation. The banding system is a way of taking a fixed budget, which I think is pretty fair and obviously if you adjust one band up, we’ve got to take the other bands down but in terms of are your children on the right band, clearly Andrew [Roberts]’s an accountant, like myself. We’re well away from this. We don’t allocate children to bands, that’s a separate issue.

If your children are sitting in the wrong band, which I can deduce from that, clearly you need to take that up.”

A number of people from the audience started talking at once. One of them said, “We know our children require one to one attention.”

Phil Ward tried to talk but was drowned out by numerous people. He said, “The point’s taken around the banding and the banding issue can also be discussed at every child’s annual review if that needs to be looked at because the point…” He was drowned out by a number of people again. He continued, “hang on a sec, the point at that course is not only to look at the progress the child is making or otherwise but to look at needs as well. Now there’s a lot more… “

Julia Hassall said, “Can I just add one other bit, I think it’s important to feed that in through the psychologist when the meetings are taking place as well.”

Some asked a question about banding and reviews, which was replied to by David Armstrong. Someone responded by saying that it didn’t answer the question.

The next comment made was, “You did say the national funding is the reason why you know it all changed ok? National funding had changed, but local authorities have got you know, they’ve got the ability to decide what change they want to make to funding and what the funding stream is and what those changes are.

Lots of other boroughs have funded on a school by school basis depending on the need. On Wirral they decided to do away with this system, which you know because it was easier, but it really doesn’t have very much flexibility or address the actual needs of the children involved. That could be in relation you know to decide what to do with the banding system.

When you’ve said that you know that’s an ongoing process and the Schools Forum you’ll take it back to them and they will look at it again to reassess it, but by that time in the consultation process rest assured in this exercise you know whether, by the time it’s been looked at possibly splitting band five into two to improve the funding for these children, Lyndale will already be shut. The agreed place allocation as well for Lyndale by the way is twenty-eight, so it hasn’t got fifty percent occupancy.”

Continues at Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Tom Harney “it’s amazing the things that go on” (part 8).

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Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about banding, outdoor space and Stanley School (Part 3)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about banding, outdoor space and Stanley School (Part 3)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about banding, outdoor space and Stanley School (Part 3)

                          

Continues from Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: David Armstrong explains why there’s a consultation and questions begin (Part 2)

Julia Hassall said, “I think the point I was just going to raise is that we’ll make sure that the high level notes, I think it’s a very valuable suggestion looking at grouping them for each meeting to get a sense of the themes, are made public when we go to Cabinet with our report. So those will inform in part along with other things, the recommendations that are made to Cabinet.”

A member of the audience described the consultation document as “not worth the paper it’s written on” and “utterly deceiving”. Phil Ward replied with “point taken” and asked for any other questions?

A different member of the audience asked whether they would look at the banding system and see whether it was adequate? Phil Ward replied, “No, there is an intention for the work around the children, not n relation to costing but it was in relation to in the event of Cabinet agreeing to close the school and it finally does so, then we had captured the up to date information that we retain on the children so that we could begin, on an individual family basis, because we’re not talking about groups of children looking for one place or another, I have to speak up on an individual basis just to ensure that discussions with parents and discussions around the receiving schools and so forth we just had to give the fullest information. That was the purpose of that.”

David Armstrong said, “Just on the banding system, the banding system where we have five bands because of the special schools budget. Clearly, it’s new so it’s only been in place for a short while and I mentioned the Schools Forum before. We had an issue before to review that, clearly we’ve got to make it run for this financial year.” He referred to the Schools Forum and how questions about the banding feed into the Schools Forum.

Someone in the audience said that even if the school was full, that this didn’t matter as what mattered was whether they were adequately funded because without that they couldn’t stay open. Phil Ward replied to that and Councillor Dave Mitchell referred to a petition to Council five years ago about Lyndale School and a presentation. He referred to bullet points from the agreed notice of motion and other issues presented at that time. He asked if that would be presented to Cabinet?

David Armstrong replied, “The Cabinet report will have to include the history of all the previous reports that have gone over the last couple of…”

Councillor Dave Mitchell asked, “Will that include the decisions made by Council which were fully supported by all parties?” David Armstrong answered, “No, it would just include references to previous reports.” Councillor Dave Mitchell replied, “I think that’s a very important issue, it should be actually highlighted. It was a notice of motion to Council and it was fully supported by the local authority at that time.” Julia Hassall said, “We did make very clear reference to that to my recollection at the call in.” Phil Ward thanked Councillor Dave Mitchell for his point.

Someone from the audience said they wanted to raise a point about outdoor space at the three schools (Lyndale, Elleray Park and Stanley). She said she thought it was where it’s going to fall down on the SEN [Improvement] Test. Lyndale School was described as “it’s an absolutely fabulous site, it’s got established gardens, it’s got established trees, we take children out into the garden, we take lessons in the garden, we take children at a lunchtime”. She said, “the idea of squashing people in is not conducive to a good education”. Phil Ward replied, “Thank you for that point.”

The next question was about Stanley School. David Armstrong replied, “The school’s brand new and what we learnt when the Lyndale School was built was looking at primary schools. We built them absolutely tight on the existing campus. We found that the schools became more popular and also you’re building something for fifty or sixty years. We’re building something for fifty or sixty years, so we’re building to a generous standard and the new style that was built to a generous standard.

The school, the school that we’re building had a capacity of ninety pupils. The new building is capable of taking a hundred and ten and the reason for that is that we’ll be building to the maximum standards in place, we’re building some spare capacity because we’re investing several million pounds for the next couple of years.”

The next question was if there were any children with profound and multiple learning disabilities at Stanley School? David Armstrong answered, “The school was built to take the full range of pmld [profound and multiple learning disabilities]. The same questioner asked, “Are there any there at the moment?” followed by asking that if you put four or five from Lyndale into the school surely it would fail the SEN [Improvement] test as Lyndale provided one to one care in a school that catered for their complex needs? Phil Ward replied, but people started talking over each other again.

Julia Hassall said that she’d talked about the children with profound and multiple learning disabilities not growing in size, but that there had been an increase in children with complex learning difficulties, the questioner referred to the numbers over the last five years. Julia Hassall replied, “In terms of how we meet the SEN Improvement Test we are confident that the staff at the Stanley School…” and then was then interrupted.

Continues at Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: questions about Stanley, Elleray, Foxfield, the educational psychologist (Part 4).

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Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Julia Hassall explains why Wirral Council are consulting on closure (Part 1)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Julia Hassall explains why Wirral Council are consulting on closure (Part 1)

Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: Julia Hassall explains why Wirral Council are consulting on closure (Part 1)

                            

The last of the meetings concerning the consultation on closing Lyndale School was held in the hall at Acre Lane Professional Excellence Centre. There to answer questions people had were David Armstrong (Assistant Chief Executive), Julia Hassall (Director of Children’s Services), Andrew Roberts and Phil Ward (who was chairing the meeting). There was also a sign language interpreter called Sue March, however Phil Ward sent the sign language interpreter away as there was no one present (from the twenty-five or so others present at the start of the meeting) that indicated they needed sign language interpretation.

Labour’s Cabinet Member for Children and Family Services Councillor Tony Smith arrived about five minutes late to the meeting. He sat with the three officers, but didn’t take a part in answering the questions people had.

Julia Hassall said she was “pleased to see so many people” and that there had been some people who had been to all six meetings. She was giving the same introduction at each one, which was drawn from the consultation document (copies of which were available for people at the meeting). She described Lyndale School as a special school in Eastham for children with complex learning disabilities whose viability was compromised by a falling roll and a small number of children.

It was at this point that Councillor Tony Smith arrived.

She repeated a point she had made at a previous meeting, that the consultation on closure was nothing to do with standards of education at the school as the last OFSTED inspection in November 2012 had concluded that the school was good with many outstanding aspects. However in her view Wirral Council needed to get future provision right and in her view two other schools (Elleray Park and Stanley) were able to provide good quality education and care.

Ms Hassall said that the closure proposal was not linked to Wirral Council’s need to save money as any money saved would be used elsewhere, however they were under a duty to make sure there were sufficient school places. She referred to the Children and Young Peoples Plan and the Children and Families Act 2014 c.6. She said that the new legislation would improve the partnership between education and health as the care plan would detail how both education and health would meet the children’s needs in a joined up way.

She referred to the report to the Cabinet meeting of the 16th January when they had agreed to start the consultation and the other options that were being consulted on (she went through the options some of which other than closure were becoming a 2-19 school, federating with another school, co locating with another school, becoming a free school or academy). The full list of options are detailed in an appendix to the Cabinet report. Julia Hassall said that during the consultation all options and any new ones were being considered.

Continuing she told those present that the Cabinet decision of the 16th January had been called in and looked at again by the Coordinating Committee on the 5th February and 27th February. She said that the Coordinating Committee had recommended that the consultation start, which had begun on the 2nd April.

Since the consultation had begun, there had been three meeting in April, two already in June with this meeting being the last of the six. Issues that had been brought up previously were referred to. She said that they had to apply the SEN Improvement Test as any alternative had to be as good as or better than the current provision. Julia Hassall said that they had agreed to engage an independent consultant Lynn Wright (Ed – I am unsure of the exact spelling of this person’s name however this was what it sounded like Julia Hassall said) to offer advice how how they looked at the eight options, any new options and to assess how they applied the SEN Improvement Test. She said that Lynn Wright was not known to the officers prior to this and would produce a separate report with an independent view that would be included when Cabinet decided whether to proceed for a formal proposal.

If Cabinet decided to proceed to the next stage, then there would be a four week statutory representations period and if Cabinet finally approved to close the school it would close at the end of the summer term in 2015 and children at Lyndale would be transferred in September 2015. She wanted to stress that no decision had been made and they would take everybody’s views into account. Ms Hassall referred to someone called Janice who was taking notes on the front row. She continued by saying that small schools could go into financial deficit whereas larger schools had more flexibility and could spend a higher proportion on teaching and meeting children’s needs.

Every January they took a census of pupil numbers. There were 401 children attending nursery with complex learning difficulties and within this 401, sixty-four had profound and multiple learning difficulties. However the number of children with profound and multiple learning difficulties had been similar over the past four years and wasn’t a growing trend. She referred to the number of places at Elleray Park and how through discussions with the school and building work they planned to increase the places there to 110. Stanley School had moved from its former site to a purpose built school and in her view they could add a further five to ten more children there without an extension but could extend it if needed to give sufficient places. She referred to a meeting between the Chief Executive (Graham Burgess) and three parent governors and how there would be a further meeting on Friday (20th June). She then handed over to David Armstrong.

Continues at Lyndale School Consultation Meeting: David Armstrong explains why there’s a consultation and questions begin (Part 2).

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What happened between Wirral Council and the Education Funding Agency over the minimum funding guarantee?

What happened between Wirral Council and the Education Funding Agency over the minimum funding guarantee?

What happened between Wirral Council and the Education Funding Agency over the minimum funding guarantee?

                         

I’ve received a fuller response from the Education Funding Agency over my Freedom of Information request to the EFA about communications between themselves and Wirral Council over an application for exemption for the minimum funding guarantee (which was later withdrawn). Following the internal review the emails were now include who they were sent from and to and the dates as well as the emails about what happened after and Wirral Council’s withdrawal of their application for an exemption from the minimum funding guarantee requirements.

I see even a civil servant in the Department of Education expressed a similar sort of frustration (but in very a very diplomatic way) to that that the parents of children at Lyndale School had in dealing with Wirral Council officers. Gavin Monument (a civil servant who’s the School Funding Policy Adviser at the Education Funding Agency which is part of the Department of Education) states in an email to a Wirral Council officer dated 17th February 2014 “For some reason we are really struggling to understand your approach at this end and we do want to make sure we get it right when it gets sent to the Minister.”

As the issue of the minimum funding guarantee is connected to the issue of Lyndale School’s future that is currently being consulted on, I’m including the email exchanges below. Some of the statements made in these emails seem to directly contradict what was stated during public meetings by some Wirral Council officers on this matter.

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From: Roberts, Andrew D. [mailto:andrewroberts@wirral.gov.uk]
Sent: 03 January 2014 15:31
To: HOWKINS, Keith [keith.howkins@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Cc: FUNDING, ReformTeam [reformteam.funding@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Subject: RE: 237: Wirral 344 Special SchoFUNDING, ReformTeam ols exemption request

Hello Keith
Thanks for comments. I hadn’t picked up the change in grant conditions, or that protected rates apply only to Special Schools or Special Academies.
Option 3 is a calculation comparing each top-up band at a school with the rate used in 2013-14 (less 1.5%). I think from your comments below this no longer applies.
Option 2 compares the average amount that would be paid to a school using the new top ups and existing pupil data, with the amount that has been paid in 2013-14 (less 1.5%).

Option 1 – No MFG was supported by 4 out of 11 Special Schools
Kilgarth
Foxfield
Elleray Park
Orrets Meadow
Option 2 Average MFG was supported by 2 Special Schools
Claremount
Stanley

Regards
Andrew

=======================================================================================================
From: keith.howkins@education.gsi.gov.uk [mailto:keith.howkins@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Sent: 30 December 2013 15:24
To: Roberts, Andrew D. [mailto:andrewroberts@wirral.gov.uk]
Cc: FUNDING, ReformTeam [reformteam.funding@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Subject: RE: 237: Wirral 344 Special Schools exemption request

Andrew – thanks for sending this through.

Could you explain more about the difference between options 2 and 3 please, and send through details on which option each special school supported?

We appreciate that there was some confusion over the exact wording of the protection requirements. What we said originally about these applying to each top-up rate was incorrect; the correct wording is what you have quoted below and applies to the overall budget if the number and overall type of places remained the same. I’m not sure if this changes anything you have sent.

As a point of information, the protection arrangements in the conditions of grant only apply to special schools and academies. There is no protection requirement for special units or AP, so you do not need any approval for proposals in relation to these.

Keith

Keith Howkins

Team Leader, Funding Reform Team

Maintained Schools Division

Education Funding Agency

Department for Education

2 St Paul’s Place

Sheffield. S1 2FJ

=======================================================================================================
From: Roberts, Andrew D. [mailto:andrewroberts@wirral.gov.uk]
Sent: 12 December 2013 12:35
To: FUNDING, ReformTeam [mailto:reformteam.funding@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Subject: 237: Wirral 344 Special Schools exemption request

This letter is requesting exemption from the requirement for an SEN MFG included within the 2014 – 2015 DSG additional conditions of grant. Paragraph g “In deciding on top up funding rates for the pupils it will place in special schools …. and the total number and type of places received the same in the 2 financial years the school or Academy budget would receive by no more than 1.5% in cash between 2013 – 2014 and 2014 – 2015.”

Over the past 12 months a Schools Forum SEN finance group has met to develop proposals for high needs funding and particularly to agree a banded approach for specialist SEN provision.

A banded system (with 5 bands) was developed taking account of a number of issues:

· The need for stability
· The fluctuation arising from part year places and the need to have places available.
· To take account of the increasing demands and population with social communication needs and to recognise the resource intensive nature of provision for children with profound and multiple learning difficulties.

These 5 bands have also been applied to SEN resourced base provision in mainstream schools and academies. The bands used take account of the same needs identified within Wirral’s 11 special schools and in addition gives an equivalent level of funding for each child.

Changes of this nature will result in movement of resources and a number of schools will as a result receive more funding and others will receive less. However proposals include a contingency fund to financially support any specialist provision that may experience financial difficulties.

The SEN top up proposals were subject to a full consultation with all schools and providers in Wirral, commencing on 3rd July and closing on 18th October. The consultation papers included an illustration for each school of the funding a school might receive using current numbers and numbers at capacity, compared with the level of funding provided in 2013 – 2014. In addition there has been a series of meetings with schools to discuss the changes suggested.

24 responses were received including 10 out of 11 special schools and 6 out of 14 school SEN resource bases. Overall the responses were supportive and in favour of the local authority’s proposals.

Since the consultation was launched schools were asked a supplementary question about views on seeking an exemption from the requirement for an SEN MFG. This approach has been adopted because the MFG will not work with the new top up bands. Without capping the MFG costs an additional £800,000 which would be unaffordable, whilst capping would defer the introduction of the new top-up structure.

Schools were asked for their preferences based on a table illustrating:

No MFG (7)
An Average MFG (phased over 3 years) (5)
A full MFG (0)
The responses are shown in brackets above.

This issue was discussed at the Schools Forum meeting on 13th November 2013. The recommendation from the forum was “That Forum supports an application to the EFA for an exemption from the requirement to use an MFG (Option 1) on Top Ups for 2014 – 2015, and failing that Forum request the EFA agree the use of an average MFG (Option 2)”

A number of papers are attached to this e-mail including:

School Forum Agenda from 13 November 2013:
– Element 3 Top up funding arrangements for pupils with high needs (SEN) and for pupils attending Alternative Provision. (This report includes the consultation paper and letter to schools about the MFG)
– An extract from the Schools Forum minutes

Please let me know if you would like further details.

I look forward to hearing from you

Yours sincerely

Andrew Roberts
Senior Manager – School Funding & Resources
Children and Young People’s Department
Wirral Council
Tel: 0151 666 4249
Fax: 0151 666 4338
andrewroberts@wirral.gov.uk

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

=======================================================================================================
From: Roberts, Andrew D. [mailto:andrewroberts@wirral.gov.uk]
Sent: 14 March 2014 10:52
To: MONUMENT, Gavin [mailto:gavin.mounment@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Subject: RE: Wirral 344 Special Schools exemption request- additional information

Hello Gavin
Further to our meting I am writing to confirm the withdrawal of Wirral’s application for an MFG exemption for High Needs. The clarification provided by the EFA indicates the additional cost for Maintained Special Schools be be in the region of £80,000, which is affordable within the High Needs Budget. It is the intention to make the same offer available to Resourced Base provision in Primary, Secondary schools and academies, although this may be for one year only.
Thanks you for your advice.
Regards
Andrew

=======================================================================================================
From: gavin.mounment@education.gsi.gov.uk [mailto:gavin.mounment@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Sent: 17 February 2014 14:09
To: Roberts, Andrew D. [mailto:andrewroberts@wirral.gov.uk]
Subject: RE: Wirral 344 Special Schools exemption request- additional information

Hi Andrew,

Sorry for the delay in coming back to you on this. I thought Keith had ruled out your original option 3 – which compared each top-up band at a school with the rate used in 13-14 – as the conditions of grant confirmed the protection applies to the overall budget level. So I thought we were down to options 1 and 2

For some reason we are really struggling to understand your approach at this end and we do want to make sure we get it right when it gets sent to the Minister. I’m due to be over in the North West later in the week and I’m wondering if the simplest solution would be to pop across for a chat and see if we can clear this up face-to-face rather than via e-mail. It probably won’t take very long to do and be less frustrating to you guys who have worked all this through whilst I’ve got a mental block on it. Would this sound a good idea? I can do Wednesday afternoon or any time on Thursday if this would work for you.

Thanks

Gavin.

Gavin Monument
School Funding Policy Adviser
Maintained Schools Division

Mowden Hall
Staindrop Road
Darlington
Tel: 01325 735842
Mob: 07824 895783

www.education.gov.uk

=======================================================================================================
From: Roberts, Andrew D. [mailto:andrewroberts@wirral.gov.uk]
Sent: 20 January 2014 13:05
To: MONUMENT, Gavin [mailto:gavin.mounment@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Subject: RE: Wirral 344 Special Schools exemption request- additional information

Hello Gavin
Keith indicated that Option 1 is not correct – the MFG applies to the overall budget (ie I think this means average values and Option 2).Similarly the calculation is only required for Special Schools not Resourced Bases (so is a lesser requirement)The request is for no MFG, but if we need to have one then it should be Option 2.
Is there any idea on timescales?
Thanks
Andrew
=======================================================================================================
From: gavin.mounment@education.gsi.gov.uk [mailto:gavin.mounment@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Sent: 14 January 2014 11:29
To: Roberts, Andrew D.
Subject: RE: Wirral 344 Special Schools exemption request- additional information

Thanks Andrew,

That’s been really helpful as I’ve been able to track through the calculations for the options. Can I check my understanding though, just to make sure we’ve captured your request correctly.

Your preference is to run with option 1, which uses the banding system for the schools, but creates a much larger MFG requirement. So, you are requesting an MFG exclusion to be able to move straight to the new banding system. If this is not approved you would move to option 2, which uses an average rate for each school as this creates a much lower MFG requirement. Are you also asking for an MFG exclusion for option 2, or will you run with this option including the MFG impact?

Many thanks

Gavin.

Gavin Monument
School Funding Policy Adviser
Maintained Schools Division

Mowden Hall
Staindrop Road
Darlington
Tel: 01325 735842
Mob: 07824 895783

www.education.gov.uk

=======================================================================================================
From: Roberts, Andrew D. [mailto:andrewroberts@wirral.gov.uk]
Sent: 08 January 2014 17:59
To: FUNDING, ReformTeam [mailto:reformteam.funding@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Cc: MONUMENT, Gavin [mailto:gavin.mounment@education.gsi.gov.uk]
Subject: Wirral 344 Special Schools exemption request- additional information

Hello Gavin
The attached is a summary of the MFG calculation. The end column shows the MFG for each school. The average band rate shown is a weighted band average for each school which is then compared with the MFG rate.
Pupil numbers used are:
Elleray and Stanley 90
Lyndale 25
Observatory 45

Andrew Roberts
Senior Manager – School Funding & Resources
Children and Young People’s Department
Wirral Council
Tel: 0151 666 4249
Fax: 0151 666 4338
andrewroberts@wirral.gov.uk

Visit our website: www.wirral.gov.uk

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