Funding, Ofstead inspections and Revised Statutory Guidance and Regulations

December 19th, 2011 by Elisabeth Laing QC

1. There are three items to notice from last week.

2. First, on 13 December, the Secretary of State announced details of education funding for 2012-13. This included the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), funding for 16-19 education and training, and capital funding for maintained schools, Academies, the voluntary aided sector and 16-19 provision.

3. Second, on 16 December, Ofsted annnounced the framework for school inspections from January 1012, and third, also on 16 December 2011, the Department published on consultation on revised statutory guidance and regulations for exclusions from schools and pupil referral units in England.

1.      Funding    

(1) School funding

4. The current method for funding schools in 2012-13 will continue. The underlying school budget will be kept at “flat cash per pupil” for 2012-13.

5. The overall schools budget will stay at the same level per pupil (before the addition of the Pupil Premium). But the actual level of each school’s budget will vary.  It will depend on local decisions. The budgets of some schools will be reduced. A Minimum Funding Guarantee will continue, in order to protect schools from significant budget reductions.

6. Details of the arrangements, including per pupil funding for each local authority, were to be sent to LAs on 13 December and are on the Department for Education’s website.

7. Also on 13 December a report on the consultation responses on School Funding Reform” was published. The Department will produce further proposals in light of the responses.

(2) Funding for 16-19 provision

8. The Young People’s Learning Agency (YPLA) published a statement on funding for 16-19 education and training for 2012-13. This showed that the Government plans to fund an increased number of places.

(3) Capital funding

9. Funding for 2012-13 will include allocations for the funding for additional places, maintenance, and “devolved formula capital”.  The reason for the one-year allocation is said to be the rapidly evolving picture.

(4) Capital funding for 16-19 provision

10. Over £107 million of capital funding will be available in 2012-13 to meet maintenance and building needs of sixth form colleges and demographic pressures for new 16-19 places in schools, Academies and sixth form colleges. Further sums will be available for more places where there are demographic pressures in schools, Academies and sixth form colleges.

(5) The Capital Review

11. Consultation on the capital review ended in October. The final Government response to its recommendations is due to be published in January 2012.

(6) The Priority School Building Programme

12. The Secretary of State indicated that he should be able to make an announcement in the New Year about which schools will be in the the Priority School Building Programme. Applications are being reviewed by Partnerships for Schools.

2.      Oftsted inspections

13.  The link to the new framework is

14. There will be four key areas which will be judged: achievement, quality of teaching, behaviour and safety, and leadership and management. There will also be focus on how well a school well promotes pupils spiritual, moral, social and cultural development.

15. There will be no graded ‘sub-judgments’ or ‘contributory judgments’.  There will be no separate graded judgments for the Early Years Foundation Stage or the sixth form; these will be assessed as part of the school’s total provision. Value-added measures rather than contextual value-added measures will be used.

16. There will be a greater focus on narrowing gaps between groups of pupils, the quality of teaching and its impact on learning and progress, reading and literacy, and behavior and safety. Inspectors will continue to make specific recommendations for improvements based on their assessment of schools’ strengths and weaknesses. Stakeholders will be involved in the process of inspection. More time will be spent on the observation of teaching.

3. Revised Statutory Guidance and Regulations

17. The link to this is

18.  The revised guidance reflects section 4 of the Education Act 2011 (which is not yet in force). This will change the process for challenging exclusions. IAPs will be replaced by independent review panels (“IRPs”), which will have different powers. Parents will be able to apply to the F-t T in cases where disability discrimination is alleged. One aim of the revisions to the guidance is greater clarity. The intention is that similar regulations to the draft for maintained schools should apply to PRUs and to Academies.

19. The final version of the guidance will be published in July 2012. The new regulations will come into force in September 2012.

20. The policy aim is to support schools to promote good behavior. IRPs will not be able to direct a school to reinstate a child, but will be able to quash decisions of governing bodies, and to order them to reconsider a case. If governors, on reconsideration, decide not reinstate, the school will be expected to contribute to the cost of educating the excluded pupil elsewhere.

21. Parents will have the right to ask for an SEN expert to advise the IRP, even if the school does not recognise that the child has SEN. The revised guidance factors in schools’ duties under the Equality Act 2010. Another policy aim is to reduce exclusions, but also to improve the quality of education for those who are excluded.

22. The changes are detailed and quite extensive, and schools should use the lead-in period before September next year to train governors, head teachers in their new responsibilities.

23. The consultation closes on 17 February 2012. It can be completed on-line.

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