Schools and Colleges - FAQs
Ofsted challenges you on your arrangements for pupils who are in alternative settings either via the SEIP or placed by you directly.
How do you ensure that you have a robust and rigorous process for supporting these pupils? Visit the SEIPS, SCHOOLS AND OFSTED page for guidance.
What's on this Page?
Behaviour Strategies in Schools - see question 15
City address students - see question 1
Devolve the Funding to individual schools? - see question 14
Expelling a school from a Partnership - see question 9
Fair Access and Permanent Exclusion - see question 6
Financial implications of PEx and referral - see question 3
Full Cost Recovery - see question 10
Ofsted Questions about students who are Programme Managed - see question 13
Opting out of our local Partnership - see question 7
Parental rights over Programme Management - see question 12
Permanent Exclusion - see question 2 and 15
Permanent Exclusion - effects on other schools - see question 4
Permanent Exclusion - parental refusal re Programme Management - see question 12
Roll issues - see question 5
Single Central Record and AP - see question 11
Taking other schools' P Exs - see question 5
The Good Old Days when the LA sorted it - see question 8
Why can't we have the money instead of it going to our partnership? - see question 14
1. Our school is working with a City address students who is at risk of exclusion. What should we do?
Schools should work with these students in exactly the same way as they would any other student. Use your locally agreed systems to refer the student to your Partnership. If your partnership makes a decision with you to place the student on an alternative education programme the Co-ordinator will make any necessary arrangements for transfer of support from Leicester City. Detailed advice and Guidelines are available here. The City has published a flow chart to illustrate this process
2. Can a Headteacher / Principal permanently exclude students?
Leicestershire's arrangements do nothing to restrict the right of a Headteacher / Principal to permanently exclude a student. Schools collectively have made a commitment to avoid permanent exclusion whenever they can. Our arrangements make it possible for schools to move quickly with the help of their local partnership to set up appropriate needs based provision out of school for a student who cannot sustain a school place.
3. What are the financial implications for my school if a student is educated in a partnership programme out of school?
How does this work if a school permanently excluded a student?
The Partnerships will invoice the school for the Average Pupil Cost, pupil premium and any additional funding related to an EHCP from the day that the partnership programme takes over the education of the student. This is in line with national regulations for transfer of funding for students who are permanently excluded.
If a student is permanently excluded he or she will be placed on the roll of another school in the local partnership ( see below). The excluding school will pay the Average Pupil Cost and pupil premium for the rest of the school year. In the following school year the new on roll school will pay this. Some Partnerships have agreed that the excluding school will continue to pay until the end of the Key Stage but this is a local decision and is not set out in regulations.
The School and early Years Finance Regulations 2021 set out that funding will follow a child who is permanently excluded from a school and that this will be calculated from the first day of the exclusion. These regulations apply to LA maintained schools but Para 271 of the Suspensions and Exclusions Guidance 2023 sets out that Academy Funding Agreements mean that the same rules in this respect applies to them as well. Our calculation will be based on the Average Pupil Cost (published by the LA and on the SEIPS web site) plus any Pupil Premium and additional funding arising from an EHCP or Inclusion Fund Grant( A). The calculation will be based on the number of school days remaining in the school year (B) over the total number of school days in the year (C). Sum = A * B/C. Custom and practice in Leicestershire is that schools pass over these sums directly to their local Partnership, who organise and pay for the education programmes on receipt of an invoice from the Partnership and as set out in the Partnership Agreement. The LA will step in to enforce payment with maintained schools should this be necessary. It has no powers to do so for Academies but an academy not passing the money on may be in breach of its funding agreement with the EFA.
4. What are the implications for other schools in our Partnership if I permanently exclude a student?
There is no Pupil Referral Unit in Leicestershire. All schools and academies have signed up to the Partnership Agreement and the Memo of Understanding with LCC. This means that if you permanently exclude a child, another school in your partnership has to take that child onto their roll. The Fair Access Process is used to decide on the school. Most Heads and Principals will seek to avoid permanent exclusion for this reason.
5. Do I have to take a student on to my roll if my Partnership asks me to?
The Leicestershire Fair Access Protocol for Secondary Schools has been locally agreed and reviewed regularly in line with DFE Regulations. The FAP gives the power over fair Access Admissions to each local Partnership. Schools collectively, working through their local partnership group meetings can therefore decide which local school should admit a Fair Access child. Partnerships aim to ensure that schools all take their fair share of the extra admissions arising from Fair Access.
6. Are Permanently excluded children entitled to be admitted to a school under the rules of Fair Access?
The short answer is "Yes". Children who live in the locality of a Partnership, do not have a school place and meet the criteria set out in the Fair Access Protocol are entitled to a school place and should be placed on a roll swiftly. A school who receives a FAP student with a background that includes recent exclusions will make a referral to the local partnership for partnership support up to and including "Programme Management". This means that a school may have to take the child on roll but the responsibility for providing education will be with the Partnership.. More on FAP here
7. Can my school opt out of the Partnership arrangements and use our share of the funds given to the partnership to deal with issues in our own way?
The short answer is "No". The Local Authority has the legal responsibility for the administration of the High Needs element of the Dedicated Schools Grant. "High Needs" pays for provision for excluded children and young people. LCC has delegated the money (that in some LAs is spent on PRU provision) to partnerships of schools working together collectively. A school opting out of the Partnership is still bound by the local Fair Access Protocol. It is still required to transfer pupil based funding to the local Partnership if it permanently excludes a child. It would lose its right of access to all the provision that the local Partnership has in place to support young people at risk of exclusion.
8. Is working collectively through Partnerships better for my school than the old system of a central LCC service for exclusions including a PRU?
Most schools and academies in Leicestershire would answer this question with a firm "Yes". Because schools in the locality control the money previously held centrally they can work together creatively. Money that was previously spent on maintaining a PRU can in part be spent on early interventions and creative approaches. The outcomes for young people in Leicestershire at risk of exclusion have steadily improved since this approach was adopted.
9. Can schools in a Partnership expel a "non co-operating" school from the Partnership?
Yes. The Partnership Agreement sets out how local schools might make such a decision in section 16. No Partnership has needed to make such a decision up to this point. The DFE including the Regional Schools Commissioners and Oftsed champion collaborative working between schools. Multi Academy Trusts recognise that working with vulnerable learners needs to be rooted in localities. So common sense usually prevails!
10. What is "Full Cost Recovery" and can it be levied on schools who are not in the Partnerships
Full Cost Recovery - a school is charged the full cost of provision for an excluded child. This is likely to be significantly in excess of the pupil based funding allocated to the school. The Partnership Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding that supports it (and has been signed by all Leicestershire Secondary Schools) refers to Full Cost Recovery. Partnerships will not seek Full Cost Recovery from their member schools. LCC has agreed that it will seek Full Cost Recovery on behalf of the Partnerships should the necessity arise - where a school was excluding children but not participating in Partnership arrangements.
11. Do schools need to worry about the safeguarding, single central record and DSL arrangements when they place students in "settings other than schools"?
The short answer is YES! You must satisfy yourselves that everything is in place to ensure that your students are safeguarded wherever they are. If your student has been referred to the Partnership who are making the arrangements for alternative placements you can be confident that this will all be in place. The Partnerships have robust processes, set up with LEBC, to ensure that all is as it should be for each student in each placement. You can find further details here. If you are making your own arrangements to place students in settings other than school these need to ensure that all safeguarding issues are "sorted" and we would strongly advise that you contact your local Partnership and/or LEBC before making any placements.
12. A child's Parents are refusing to follow our recommendation that the child should be Programme Managed by the Partnership. Should the school permanently exclude the child in order to over ride the parental opposition?
The Headteacher has the power to direct that a child is educated off site in order to improve behaviour. See Paragraph 36 - 47 of 2023 Exclusions Guidance See page 8 of Alternative Provision Guidance .The legislations described in this guidance references maintained schools and not academies. However, academies do have the power to direct pupils off-site for the improvement of behaviour if their funding agreement and/or articles of association make clear that they comply with the above legislation. Even though this might be a difficult discussion with parents it may be preferable to use this regulation rather than resorting to permanent exclusion. If, in line with the County agreement, the school does not normally use permanent exclusion, to do so in this circumstance may be judged as taking the action to "punish the parents not the child".
13. Ofsted asks you: "How do you ensure that your students are safeguarded when they are placed in alternative settings?"
The Partnerships have a process for checking on the arrangements made by Education Settings other than schools, using Leicester Education Business Company LEBC. There is a document that summarises these arrangements that can be shared with Ofsted Inspection Teams called Safeguarding Arrangements for Students in Settings other than Schools. There is more on Ofsted and the SEIPS here
14. Why can't Leicestershire devolve the funding used for the SEIPS to individual schools as is is the case in some other parts of the country?
a. Some other Local Authorities have High Needs Block Grants that are proportionately higher than Leicestershire's. Grant level is based on variations in the distribution of need from area to area. In Leicestershire the level of funding available for this area of work, if allocated on a school by school basis, would be too small for many schools to do more than add some additional support hours and insufficient to allow the school to develop the range of strategies that can be offered by pooling resources.
b. Leicestershire County Council officers have consistently taken the view that the collaborative arrangements in the Partnerships have significantly improved the county's capacity meet the needs of children and young people with semh needs. Developments such as the multi agency Inclusion Forums, processes to ensure a strong and well regulated network of alternative providers and strengthening accountability over this area of work are all benefits of our partnership working.
15. Some of our colleagues argue that permanent exclusion must be used to enforce discipline in schools. How do we counter this argument?
a. The SEIPS always respect the right of a Headteacher to use permanent exclusion as a last resort when all other efforts to secure the future of a child in school have failed.
b. It is clear that good and outstanding schools share a common characteristic of well planned and consistently delivered strategies for managing behaviour in school. Young people thrive in an environment where "certaintly not severity" underpins the behaviour codes in their school. Good and outstanding schools see poor behaviour as an indication of underlying unmet need and effectively apply the strategies of "plan , do, review" that they use to support all pupils with special educational needs.
c. 2022 DFE Guidance, Behaviour in Schools sets out the framework for behaviour management in schools - emphasising "zero tolerance" but at the same time the importance of identifying underlying need and making additional provision for those who struggle to comply with school behaviour codes.
Do you have a question that we have not answered here? Send us a message and we will get back to you.