Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Schools Forum - Thursday 10 November 2022 2.00 pm


Contact: Joanne Bolton - 01452 324197 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

Members of the Forum must declare an interest in any agenda item where the outcome may give them a direct pecuniary advantage or avoid a disadvantage. 


No declarations of interest were made.


Public Questions

To receive any public questions.


Questions can be asked on the day or sent to the Clerk before the meeting.  If you would like to ask a question on the day of the meeting, please contact the Clerk Joanne Bolton (email: (Tel: 01452 324197), by 10:00am on Tuesday 8 November 2022, so that arrangements can be made as the meeting is being held remotely via Teams.


The Chair will advise the timescale for any questions asked on the day of the meeting or received less than 3 working days before the meeting.  A written answer will be provided if questions are received 3 clear working days before the date of the meeting.


No public questions had been received.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 139 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 15 September 2022 and note actions.

Additional documents:


37.1    The minutes of the previous meeting held on 15 September 2022 were approved as a correct record. 


37.2    Members noted progress against the actions, as detailed in the Action Sheet.


School Improvement Funding - 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 166 KB

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38.1    The Head of School Improvement presented a report which detailed the local authority’s plans to support school improvement following the removal of the Local Authority Monitoring and Brokering (LAMB) Grant.


38.2    The Forum was informed that on 11 January 2022, the local authority was notified that the DfE would be going ahead with the removal of the grant.  Gloucestershire had been significantly impacted by the removal of the grant which was allocated according to the number of maintained schools in each area.  The impact of the DfE’s removal of the grant was a £720,000 reduction in the Schools Improvement budget phased over a two-year period (50% removed in April 2022 and the remainder in April 2023). 


38.3    The Head of School Improvement explained that in order to adapt to the reduction in funding a range of changes had been made to the way in which the Education Intervention and Outcomes Team (EO&I) operated.  The work around income generation to support the universal school improvement offer had been particularly positive.  As a result, ‘Gloucestershire School Improvement’ known as ‘GLOSSI’ had generated £255,000 (as of 14.10.22) with further income expected from training courses.


38.4    The Head of School Improvement informed members that de-delegated funding for targeted intervention remained a key element of the funding to support the EO&I team.  The activities undertaken to address the reduction in funding for universal school improvement support had enabled the local authority to retain the de-delegation funding rates at the same level as previous years.  De-delegation enables the authority to provide good quality support to maintained schools that are in challenging circumstances, usually when they met or are likely to meet the criteria under ‘Schools Causing Concern’ and in line with the local authority’s School Improvement Strategy.


38.5    Members were informed of how the de-delegated funds were allocated, and the particular activities that the funding was used for as part of the prevention and targeted intervention work that took place. 


38.6    The Head of School Improvement outlined that school performance across the county, in both LA maintained schools and academies remains very positive, with 86.9% of primary schools and 90.2% of secondary schools currently holding a good or outstanding Ofsted grades.  The Head of School Improvement explained that there was some variation between the performance of LA maintained schools and academies, but that this was to be expected, as the poorest performing schools were sponsored to become academies.


38.7    In response to question, the Head of School Improvement confirmed that from 2023/24 whilst there would be a full removal of the grant, the current level of provision could be retained with the same de-delegation per pupil rate as in 2022/23.  It would, however, be a more of a challenge; as a consequence, the local authority was looking to increase the level of income generated through GLOSSI.


38.8    A Forum member representing primary headteachers explained that she had received an email from the Chair of Gloucestershire Association of Primary Headteachers (GAPH) ahead of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.


High Needs pdf icon PDF 450 KB

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39.1    The Head of Education Strategy and Development presented a report which provided an update on the High Needs financial forecast for 2022/23, the current numbers of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCPs) plus the forecast growth trends, and the key activities taking place to address the overspend.


39.2    He explained that at the Schools Forum meeting in September 2022, a planned total spend of £90.895M was reported.  This had risen by £574k to £91.469M.  The Forum was informed of the key variations.  The High Needs overspend for 2022/23 was now forecast to be £6.9M, which would result in a cumulative £27.1M overspend by the end of the year.


39.3    The Head of Education Strategy and Development emphasised that the pressure around the EHCP system was still high.  The number of supported EHCPs had continued to rise (5,323 funded plans were in place at the start of October 2022).  He added that the number of requests for assessments being refused and decisions by the local authority not to progress with an EHCP, had increased; however, a consequence of this was a rise in the number appeals and SEND Tribunals.


39.4    He reported that the rate of EHCPs per 1000 pupils in Gloucestershire had historically been lower than comparator groups.  It was unclear, until a new national dataset was developed, as to whether the increases Gloucestershire was seeing had worsened Gloucestershire’s position compared to the picture nationally and for statistical neighbours.  He emphasised however that this was a national issue and therefore it was likely that other local authority areas were experiencing similar increases.


39.5    The Forum was informed that both Autism and Speech Language and Communication Needs (SLCN) were increasingly being identified as primary areas of need in new plans.  This was being monitored to assess whether some targeted earlier intervention outside of the statutory EHCP process could have an impact on the rises particularly for SLCN.


39.6    The Forum received the draft implementation plan for the SEND and Inclusion Strategies.  The Head of Education Strategy and Development gave an update on two key areas of the development work.  The first being that the new EHCP pathway and the digital platform had been agreed and would be implemented from January 2023.  The new pathway was a much more streamlined and efficient process for caseworkers to manage, and would enable improved engagement between caseworker and family.  The digital platform would enable greater visibility of progress of the EHCP process for families through the portal, and would facilitate clearer engagement for all involved across the EHCP process. 


39.7    The second key area was the work taking place to increase the sufficiency of special school places in the county.  The Brook Academy 11-16 SEMH special school opened in September and now had 35 children on roll.  The competition to appoint a provider for a new special school on the site of the closed Severn View primary school was completed and the school had been awarded to the SAND multi-academy trust.  The school  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


F40 Update pdf icon PDF 165 KB

Additional documents:


40.1    The Head of Education Strategy and Development gave an update on the recent activities of the f40 group.  Whilst the core focus of the f40 group remained on influencing change in the way central government allocated education funding to local authorities, there was now increased focus on the quantum of funding and SEND funding.


40.2    Members were informed that the f40 group was undertaking a range of different activities in order to gain momentum in communicating the core messages around education funding.  This included recent coverage in national media.  The Chair of the f40 had also written to the new Prime Minister, the DfE’s SEND Review Team, and the Secretary of State for Education.


40.3    The Head of Education Strategy and Development explained that the f40 would be working on undertaking a survey and developing case studies to present information to the DfE of the impact on schools of the real-term cuts. 


40.4    He explained that there was an opportunity for a Forum member representing headteachers or governors to become involved in future meetings of the f40 Group.  He emphasised that it would be of value to have additional Gloucestershire representation at the meetings particularly in regard to providing a school’s perspective on the key issues.


Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of Gloucestershire Schools Forum will take place at 2:00pm on Thursday 12 January 2023.  The meeting will take place in-person, in the Cabinet Suite of Shire Hall, Westgate Street, Gloucester, GL1 2TG.


The Forum noted that the next meeting would take place on 12 January 2023, in person at Shire Hall.