Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Mezzanine Room 4 - Tor Hill House, Union Street, Torquay, TQ2 5QW. View directions

Contact: Mike Freeman 

No. Item


Apologies/Changes to Membership


Apologies were received from Roger Hughes and Clive Star. Jayne Keller and Julie Chubb attended in their place respectively. In Rogers absence Mike Lock was chair of the meeting.




Local Area Proposals for Achieving and Maintaining a Balanced Higher Needs Budget pdf icon PDF 679 KB


Rachael Williams presented to members details of the current financial situation. With the Forums agreement to vire funds of £365k, there is currently a negative reserve of £614k in the DSG. With further in-year pressures expected, the final budget pressure could potentially be around £3m.


The purpose of this Exceptional meeting was to address what actions the Forum needs to take to balance the budget and reduce costs over time, based on proposals considered by the Higher Needs Recovery Group (HNRG). It was explained to members that any proposals recommended by the forum would be subject to a formal consultation, including a full equality impact assessment.


Proposals are based on three principles, following recommendations from the HNRG and the independent audit of SEND practices in schools:


Strengthening an inclusive and accountable culture


A Peer to Peer Challenge group has now been set up, giving schools a chance to share expertise and to work on a common understanding of behaviour thresholds. It was noted by members that the first round of these groups has been very well received by participating schools.


Following consultation with schools, it was noted that Fair Access Protocols have now been refreshed and are being adopted.


SENDIAS (Special Educational Needs and Disabilities Independent Advice Service) provide neutral advice for parents at the point of exclusion. After discussion, it was felt that an additional investment of £20k per year would enable SENDIAS to support all families (including those that do not currently meet criteria), and would enable Schools Forum to make considerable savings on future bespoke packages.


Vote - To provide additional provision to SENDIAS at a cost of £20k per year:


For: 8

Against: 0

Abstain: 5


The Forum then looked at the possibility of providing training and information to Governors on inclusion, which would enable governors to challenge permanent exclusions. A one-off cost of £30k would cover both staffing and the training resources required for this, and would also enable the LA to conduct a review in schools of how their element 2 funding is being allocated. Members questioned whether this cost would be ongoing, given the turnaround of governors each year. It was felt that a vote should be taken on a one off cost for this year, with further training being addressed at a later date if needed.


Vote - To provide training and information to Governors at a cost of £30k:


For: 6

Against: 0

Abstain: 7


Ensuring children and young people have access to alternative and bespoke provision


An exclusion recovery process is already being enacted by the LA, following recommendations made by Schools Forum in June. However, presently the LA does not recoup funding from schools when a child moves from mainstream into the Medical Tuition Service or to an alternative provision, effectively meaning that the LA is paying for the child’s provision twice. Following discussions at the HNRG, it was proposed that the funding should follow the child, leading to an anticipated recovery of £650k. It was noted that any  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.


Items for next meeting

·         Financial Report

·         Audit Action Plan Group

·         Report on High Cost Placements – Dorothy Hadleigh

·         Discussion the possibility of special schools’ allocations being reduced to 17/18 levels



·         Financial Report

·         Higher Needs Recovery Group

·         Audit Action Plan Group

·         Report on High Cost Placements – Dorothy Hadleigh

·         Discussion the possibility of special schools’ allocations being reduced to 17/18 levels



Future meeting dates

·         Thursday 11th October 2018, 09:00, Mezzanine Room 4, Tor Hill House

·         Thursday 29th November 2018, 09:00, Mezzanine Room 4, Tor Hill House

·         Thursday 17th January 2019, 09:00, Venue TBA

·         Thursday 7th March 2019, 09:00, Venue TBA



·         Thursday 11th October, Mezzanine 4, Tor Hill House

·         Thursday 29th November, 4th Floor South, Tor Hill House

·         Thursday 17th January, 4th Floor South, Tor Hill House

·         Thursday 7th March, Mezzanine 3, Tor Hill House