Schools and Colleges - Partnership History
The Secondary Education and Inclusion Partnerships were set up by Headteachers and Principals of Leicestershire Secondary Schools in response to a "cry for help" from the Local Authority in 2010-11. The LA's Secondary Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) had been placed in special measures by Oftsed and a representative group of Headteachers had stepped in to take on its leadership.
From this emerged a consensus across the county that secondary schools would abandon the use of Permanent Exclusion in all but the most exceptional cases. Schools and Academies, working together in local groups - partnerships - agreed to share the responsibility for children and young people who, as a result of challenging behaviour, were unable to sustain their places in mainstream settings. A joint decision taken by the Local Authority with the schools led to the closure of the secondary PRU in Leicestershire and the devolving of funds previously used to fund the PRU and the central services that worked around it out to the newly constituted partnerships.
The Five Partnerships have evolved since 2013 to meet local needs. In all five partnerships the emphasis has focused on developing a graduated response to children and young people with challenging behaviour. The changes in the SEN Code of Practice - which are mirrored in the Youth Justice system - recognise behaviour as a form of communication - usually indicating underlying social, emotional and mental health difficulties in individual students. Partnerships have responded to this growing emphasis on the underlying causes of vulnerability by working together to strengthen the capacity of individual schools and academies to meet needs "in house". They have also worked to build the capacity of the system as a whole to work collectively to secure better outcomes for these children and young people even when they cannot be sustained in mainstream settings.
Where does the money come from?
+A grant of around £2million is shared between the five partnerships based on pupil numbers and fsm as a proxy for deprivation. This money is drawn from the High Needs section of the DSG.
+Additional funding from High Needs allocated for a small number of students as part of an EHCP
+Additional development funding drawn from High Needs
+ Pupil funding directed from schools to their partnerships for students no longer in school
Who is in charge?
Each Partnership has a Chair who is a local Headteacher or senior staff member of a Partnership school. The Chair acts as Head of the Partnership staff. The Chair is chosen by all local heads and is accountable to them.
The Partnerships receive funding from the LA through a commissioning agreement, underpinned by a memo of understanding signed by Heads of all secondary schools and academies in the county.
The Chairs meet together regularly with the LA.
Loss of Sovereignty?
The Legal right of a Headteacher or Principal to permanently exclude a pupil is unaffected by these arrangements.
Our arrangements do mean that a school or academy can get help and support with a student, upto and including a placement in an alternative setting. Permanent Exclusion is not needed as a means to "move a child on"
Local schools work together in a highly effective way to find good solutions.
Value for money?
Each local school attends the local referral panel in each Partnership. Decisions about which students should access the additional resources held by the partnership are therefore taken collectively.
Partnerships have been successful in finding ways to develop provision locally to drive down the cost of educating children out of school.