Partnership Staff - Co-ordinators FAQs
Question1: I can't find the answer here. What do I do?
Use the text box at the bottom of this page to send us your question. We will answer as soon as we can. Alternatively you can try searching the site, using the search box at the bottom of this page.
Question 2: What does the Co-ordinator need to do when they hear of a looked after child arriving in a school? (Child in Care)
1. Is the Child a Leicestershire Child? (ie Has the child lived in Leicestershire for some time rather than arriving into care form another local authority?
2. If the answer is "Yes" the Leicestershire Virtual School Head and CinC team will work to ensure that the child is admitted to a school and that the school responds to the child's needs. You should not be involved other than to advise the school to make a referral quickly if additional support is needed.
3. If the answer is "No", the child is supported by a social worker and the Virtual School Head from another local authority. Detailed advice is in Looked After Children from another LA
4. It is important that the Admissions Process is completed by the LA Admissions Team and the School as a first step. The School then makes a referral to the Partnership if it judges it to be necessary. Formal advice to Schools on Admissions for LAC is here.
What's on this Page?
Average Pupil Costs - see question 5
APs acting as Illegal Schools - see question 12
Belonging Rule - which Partnership picks up the referral? - see question 9
Can't find the answer - Question 1
City Children in County Schools - see question 11
Children in Care - see question 2
Children Missing education - taking off roll - see question 8
EHCP Funding and Top Up Funding - see question 14
Fair Access - see question 3
Full Cost Recovery - see question 4
Illegal Schools - see question 12
Managed Moves - see question 6
Ofsted - schools and partnerships - see question 10
Off rolling -see question 8
Safeguarding at Alternative Providers - see question 7
SEND Funding - see question 14
Virtual School - see question 2
Which Partnership is Responsible? - see question 9
Work Experience - see question 13
Can't find it here? See the message box at the bottom of this page.
Question 3: What are the key steps when a Co-ordinator receives a Fair Access Referral?
1. When you receive a referral from School Admissions, check that the child really meets the Fair Access Criteria. Look at page three of the Fair Access Protocol. Look at the Flow Charts at the end. If in doubt contact AS.
2. If "Yes" the Co-ordinator is responsible for the child until he or she is on roll at a school. Make certain that the school has put the child on roll before ending your focus on the case. See the detailed Fair Access Step by Step Guidance.
3. Move quickly to get the case discussed at your Panel so that schools can agree who will take the child on roll. You are advised to ensure that you do this at your panel meetings or similar meetings when all schools have been invited to attend. A decision taken without all schools having the opportunity to contribute will not be enforceable. (The decision to allocate the child to a school can be taken if the school is absent from the panel provided the school has been notified of the meeting.)
4. Make sure that the selected school is informed of the decision as soon as it is taken. ( See standard emails in Fair Access Step by Step)
5. Make sure the School Admissions Team are informed of the decision as soon as it is taken.
5. Check with the school and School Admissions Team that the child is on roll within a week of the decision.
6. If the child is not on roll let School Admissions know and ask to be kept informed of the action School Admissions take to follow up the case.
Question 4: What is Full Cost Recovery and how might Partnerships collect the full cost of a programme from a school?
ITS COMPLICATED - RING AS!
1. A school that is a member of the Partnership will not be asked to pay the full cost of Provision for a permanently excluded student nor for a programme managed (Tier 4) student. Each Partnership has a local agreement about how much schools pay in these circumstances. It is expected that schools will pass on, as a minimum, the Average Pupil Funding pro rata. (The average pupil costs is the bulk of the pupil related funding that a school receives)
2. If a school withdraws from the Partnership arrangements or if a school has its membership of the Partnership revoked by the collective decision of member schools the Partnership still has the responsibility of meeting the needs of that school's permanent excluded students. The Partnership Agreement states that the LA will secure full cost recovery from the school in those circumstances. (B6.5 in the Partnership Agreement.)
Will the LA seek full cost recovery in these circumstances?
4 The LA has a statutory requirement to remove pupil related funding for permanently excluded pupils and would seek to enforce this payment from schools if they failed to pass funds to the Partnership. The School and Early Years Finance Regulations require a reduction in the funding attributable to that excluded pupil, this is enacted through the partnership requiring a contribution equal to the Average Pupil Funding pro rata. (This is calculated from the total Schools Budget with rates determined annually and set out by the Local Authority in the Schools Budget report to the Leicestershire Schools Forum annually in February.)
5. If a school has not permanently excluded a student but the students is being programme managed (Tier 4) the Partnerships will expect the LA to support it by seeking the pupil related funding from a school that is refusing to pass the agreed level of funding to the Partnership.
6. The LA states that full cost recovery does operate in other local authority areas where there is a local agreement for it. It believes that Leics secondary schools - by signing the Memo of Understanding linked to the Partnership Agreement - have agreed to full cost recovery. (but see point 2 above). The LA believes that this agreement is not legally enforceable but it would attempt to recover the full cost of provision of a student who is permanently excluded by a non member school.
7. If a school withdraws from the Partnership and permanently excludes a child it will be charged in accordance with the provisions set out in the School and Early Years Finance Regulations. This is a mandatory adjustment to a school budget and would be implemented by the LA in the event that the school failed to a Partnership's invoice. It will also be asked by the Partnership for the remainder of the cost of provision for the child up to the full cost and will be supported by the LA in seeking this additional payment form the school.
8. Co-ordinators and Chairs of Partnership are advised to discuss any need for full cost recovery with senior officers at the LA.
9. The LA's position re Full Cost Recovery was outlined in an email shared with Chairs which can be accessed by clicking the underlined section of this paragraph.
Question 5: What is the "Average Pupil Cost" mentioned in Question 4?
Average Pupil Cost is calculated by the LA on our behalf each year. It is higher than the age weighted pupil funding because it takes into account other funding to the school.
Question 6: Can a child be “managed moved” from one school to another without the agreement of the parents?
No. Although there is no specific guidance published by the DFE that governs Managed Moves they are mention in Exclusion Regulations. These state that the parents and both schools must be in agreement for a Managed Move to take place. The Statutory Guidance encourages Headteachers to use managed moves from one school to another as one often effective strategy in avoiding permanent exclusion. The SEIPS Managed Move Protocol is available here. Individual SEIPS may have their own local agreement adding to this. There is a useful document published by Newcastle City Council on Managed Moves.
The guidance is different when placing a child in Alternative Provision. The Guidance for AP gives schools the power to direct a pupil off-site for education to improve his or her behaviour. Click for extracts from Statutory Guidance. Go to Government Documents for full versions of the Statutory Guidance
Question 7: Should Alternative Provision Staff have undergone Safeguarding Training?
Yes. APs must be compliant with "Keeping Children Safe in Education" - the statutory guidance for schools and colleges that governs this area of work. The Guidance says that all staff must have regular Safeguarding Training although it doesn't set out what this should be. You can decide to continue using an AP who cannot show that they have undergone LCC training but you must be convinced that they have done some training. The Guidance says that there should be a Designated Safeguarding Lead (DSL). We should strongly encourage APs to ensure that the DSLs undergo regular training using the County Trainers. This will ensure that they understand what training they then need to provide for the rest of their teams. Details of LCC's Safeguarding Training are posted in the AP section of this web site.
Some excellent guidance sets out the sort of expectations that we should have of APs and the way their staff interact with students. This is the Guidance for Safe Working Practice in Education Settings Feb 2022.
Question 8: When can a school take a child off roll?
A school might think a child has stopped attending and that it can therefore take the child off roll. Our advice should be don't! The child has to have enrolled somewhere else or been genuinely missing before the school can act. A child who is not attending because of school anxiety or illness and who is receiving support from a Partnership or LA remains on the school roll in the same way as a Programme Managed child would. See the DFE Guidance "Children Missing Education" Annex A for the regulations.
Question 9: Which Partnership is Responsible?
It is the school where the child is on roll that guides the decision as to which Partnership is responsible for supporting the child if they are referred for support. If a child is permanently excluded we will still consider the excluding school as the key in deciding which Partnership should work to support the child. Just occasionally this might seem unfair - for example a case where a Child in Care lived in HBEP, attended an HBEP school for a few weeks but then was put on roll at a NWLLIP school followed by a rapid referral for Partnership support. In a case like this the Co-ordinator would be right to raise it with the other partnership, perhaps with a view to exploring cost sharing. (There might also be discussion about how any provision is managed - with reference to the child's home address.) It is important that the home partnership does not let this become a reason for delaying a response to the referral.
Question 10: Will we get an Ofsted Inspection?
The Ofsted Inspection Handbook takes account of the sort of arrangements we have in Leicestershire with provision for learners run collaboratively between schools working in partnership.
1. Contact you to find out about the effectiveness of arrangements for an individual student.
2. Check with you that the school is maintaining its contacts with each individual student.
3. Check that you are regularly monitoring any alternative placements for individual students.
4. Check that you have a robust QA process in place and that the school understands and perhaps contributes to this.
5. Come and visit your "in-house provision" to check its quality.
6. Go and visit one or more of the alternative providers you are using.
If an Inspection found that your arrangements in response to 1-4 and/or your provision in 5 and 6 was not of good quality this might well have an impact on the judgement that the school receives.
Our current judgement is that the time that Ofsted Teams have in school is limited and that the capacity of Teams to go out and about is therefore restricted. It seems unlikely that you would be repeatedly visited by Inspectors coming to look at your "in house provision". Schools will increasingly recognise the need to work collectively to have their own quality assurance process in place to check up on their Partnerships.
A summary of extracts from Ofsted documents relevant to Partnerships is available. Detailed Ofsted Guidance for schools related to the Partnerships is in the school section of this web site.
Question 11. How should Partnerships respond to City address children who are referred for support?
It is the responsibility of the County school to meet the additional needs of a child up to the equivalent of an additional cost of £6000 per year. A child who has SEND, an address outside Leicestershire and a place in a county school is entitled to seek additional support from the local authority in which he or she lives.
The Partnerships have agreed to interpret this as:
A student who is referred to the Partnership for support will have needs considered without reference to the home address. Any provision agreed below the level of Tier 4 - full time programme management will be arranged and financed by the Partnership. If a decision is made that the student needs full time programme management, and the child has an address in another Local Authority, the Partnership and the school must work together to ensure that a referral is made in line with the laid down rules for the Local Authority Area in which the child lives. Detailed Guidelines and standard emails for contacting the City of Leicester can be found here
A recent flow chart issued by the City of Leicester Partnership School indicates that at the point where a City address student in a county school can no longer sustain his or her place in that school the responsibility for the students' provision will pass to the City. This indicates that the City will take on 100% of the cost and management of the student, although they will expect the pupil funding from the school.
Question 12. How should Partnerships help ensure that APs do not operate as illegal schools?
There is a clear description of the law in relation to APs operating as illegal schools here towards the bottom of the page.
Partnership Co-ordinators should make sure that they are not asking an AP to provide the substantial part of a child's education programme. More than three days a week out of five would certainly be considered by Ofsted to constitute "substantial". However if this was part of a short term plan - for example in restoring a child to regular attendance - this would be acceptable provided that there was a clear end date in the short or medium term in the plan.
Although the law says that the AP would be acting illegally only if the judgement of substantial applied to four or more students (or 1 or more LAC or EHCP) Coordinators should apply this to every child as an act of caution. If you do set up a programme where a student is receiving a substantial part of their programme from one provider for the short term, make sure a clear written plan is in place showing evidence of agreement to the plan by the school and those with parental responsibility. The plan should contain target dates for the review and the ending of the substantial role of the AP. The AP needs to have a copy of this plan with the child's paperwork in case of an Ofsted visit.
This is especially important for those providers who offer a broad and more general range of educational provision.
Question 13. Can Partnerships place a student on work experience? How should this be checked?
Coordinators and their teams make careful judgements about the programme for students all the time. The goals of programmes are to provide a route back towards full engagement in education and to secure effective transition at the end of Year 11 into employment education or training. Work experience can be justified if it contributes to those goals.
Any work experience placements needs to be checked through the LEBC process. A placement does not need to have the full audit required of our alternative providers.
Coordinators should take care when placing a student with an organisation that is not fully audited by LEBC. The offer needs to be genuine work experience. It must not be an offer of a set of activities - however useful they might be to the student - that are called work experience to avoid the need of undertaking the LEBC audit.
Question 14. How does additional funding support from SENA work?
Some students receive additional funding from SENA. This may be because:
1. The student's school has applied for Top Up Funding - which does not require an EHCP. This funding is granted for the duration of a school year and does not automatically continue in subsequent years.
2. The student has an EHCP. The EHCP will name the school that is to provide education for the child and will describe the levels of provision that the school needs to make that is additional to its normal provision. The school will then receive additional funding from SENA only where the requirements for additional support are likely to cost more than £6000 per year. (The rules anticipate that schools have money in their budgets to meet the first £6k of the cost of additional provision.)
Co-ordinators should ensure that, when a child is referred to the Partnership they are absolutely clear about the child's SEND status. Here are some steps to check:
1. Does a newly referred child have an entitlement to any Top Up Funding even though they do not have an EHCP? If Yes, how much? Arrange for it to be transferred with the child if they come into programme management.
2. Does a newly referred child have an EHCP? If (s)he does then the referral should not come to your normal panel. Instead the school SENCO should hold an annual review. If the decision is taken to programme manage the child, check that any additional funding from SENA to the school is paid on to the Partnership.
3. Does an annual review reach a conclusion that the child needs more complex support that should be provided by a specialist placement? If the answer is yes SENA may consider that a SEIP could be that specialist placement. If that is under consideration co-ordinators should:
consider carefully whether in fact the partnership could put in place a programme of support that is appropriate for the child;
make sure the current school agrees with this - because in these circumstances the child will remain on roll at the current school and it will need to maintain involvement;
check that the wording on any newly issued EHCP is correct (advice on wording here);
make sure that the SEIP is receiving the agreed funding (normally £25.5k per annum) by checking the SENA spreadsheets.
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