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A message from Christine McInnes:

30 November 2023 weekly update

30 November 2023

This week, Christine updates on schools finance, the Pathways for All post 16 sector-wide conversation, and the voluntary register of local MATS and SATs.

Dear Colleagues,

Schools finance

A big thank you to Finance Business Partner Karen Stone, who following her input at the Headteacher Briefing meetings on school finances, ran a follow up session on Friday 24 November which I know many of you attended and the materials used will be circulated to you. Some key points that have been raised to emphasise

  • At this time, we are not expecting to significantly change the High Needs Top Up process for 2024/25 financial year (April 2024 to March 2025) although to help support the wider review and possible transition to a new model we are expecting to increase the level of moderation of requests and review of the use of high needs top up funding.
  • The funding rates for High Needs Top Up (£40.9m in 2022/23) are yet to be agreed and the proposals will be discussed with the Schools Funding Forum before a final decision is made. There is no intention to “stop” high needs top up funding but we do want to ensure it is being used to support children with SEN in the most effective way. The outcome of this consultation may impact the future approach to high needs top up funding.
  • Schools should continue to budget in line with the current process for 2024/25, confirmation of funding rates will be provided by 28 February 2024 along with wider school budgets information.

As explained in last week’s bulletin, the consultation on future proposals for High Needs top up funding for mainstream schools has launched as part of the wider principles on the development of localities. Feedback on the consultation will help to determine whether this proposal is taken forward, the timescale for any changes and the arrangements for supporting transition from the current model to any new model.

Find further information on the Locality Model for Special Educational Needs Inclusion consultation.

Just a reminder that you still have an opportunity to respond the School Funding Consultation prior to Friday’s School Funding Forum.

Developing a local offer: Pathways for All post 16 transformation

On Tuesday I was delighted to open the Pathways for All Post-16 Sector-Wide Conversation (PDF, 1.7 MB) at the University of Kent. An audience of 118 including three quarters of secondary headteachers, heads of sixth, special school headteachers, senior representatives from our three FE colleges, a range of other post-16 providers and officers. The key-note speaker Kevin Gilmartin, Post-16 and College specialist, ASCL,  took us through the current complexities of the post 16 landscape qualification reform programme.

The purpose of the event was to make the first steps in planning to address concerns about the lack of provision for students who are not on a Level 3 pathway and particularly those for whom Level 2 qualifications are challenging, those with low attainment, unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people and SEND students. A huge thank you to Kerry Greene, Principal of Goldwyn SEMH school; Seamus Murphy, Chief Executive Officer of Turner Schools MAT; Lucy McLeod, Deputy CEO, and Graham Razey OBE, CEO East Kent Colleges group; who shared their innovative work to improve the local offer for young people, as well as to the Chair of the PfA Board, Tony Breslin. Charlie Guthrie, Chief Executive of Endeavour MAT and member of the PfA Board, was very much the driving force behind this event, so a big thank you to him and to one of our providers CXK who provided a great film of the views of their young people. Everyone engaged and I’m really pleased to say we have an number of action plans and named leads which will enable us to move forward on this important priority.

And finally...

Since last year officers have been meeting with MAT and SAT Chief Executives to ensure KCC has a dialogue with all parts of the Kent education system. At the time the government introduced a target of all schools to academise by 2030 which was later rescinded. Locally we agreed that in the interest of transparency it would be helpful to introduce a voluntary register of local MATS and SATs. The draft MAT pro-forma (XLSX, 14.8 KB) has been developed in liaison with the Chief Executives and it would be really helpful to have your views on the information the proforma would provide prior to its finalisation. The draft proforma is informed by the DfE Guidance - Commissioning high-quality trusts - which will be helpful to consider in your deliberations.

Responses to Kirsty Bianco, my new Executive Assistant, by emailing by Wednesday 13 December.

Christine McInnes
Director of Education and SEN