Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Wallasey Town Hall. View directions

Contact: Sue Ashley 

No. Item


Minutes of the Meeting held on 26th September 2018 pdf icon PDF 76 KB


The minutes from the meeting were accepted as a true record.



Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 84 KB

Free School Meals Eligibility deferred decision


Free School Meal Eligibility

Shaun Allen updated Forum of the developments within the Free School Meals Eligibility since the last Forum. The introduction of Universal Credit and the end of the opt-out process due to GDPR has increased the risk of eligible children not being identified and therefore funding may be reduced.  The de-delegation amount is not sufficient to cover the cost of the Benefits team’s work and increased checks for the Benefits team resulting from a handful of schools independently purchasing Capita’s on-line checker system (OFSM).

Capita’s OFSM is an alternative system that would be maintained by schools.  Wirral could purchase it on behalf of maintained schools, at a discounted rate, through increased de-delegation.  Running 2 systems simultaneously is not a viable option, so the report seeks forums views and recommends purchasing the online system, funded by de-delegation of the licence cost for Primary and Secondary maintained schools, and an in year charge of the licence cost for maintained Special Schools.


The schools that have already purchased the system independently have identified additional FSM pupils which has more than covered the cost of the licence.

If the LA purchase Capita OFSM Academies will be able to buy it at the discounted rate as long as they purchase within 3 months of the start of the contract, but there would no longer be access to the Benefits Team. 



·  Forum unanimously agreed to approve the purchase of the Capita’s Online FSM System from April 2019 to be funded through an increase of de-delegation for each maintained school and reflecting the licence cost for their particular school.

·  Forum agreed for the OFSM system to be introduced at the earliest opportunity

·  Forum rejected the recommendation for the de-delegation for 2019-20 to enable the Benefits Team to provide transitional support.



High Needs Update

Verbal Update


John Wood verbally updated Forum on the independent SEND Review, the Pilot Schemes, budget pressures, and the upcoming consultation regarding a 0.5% top-slice from the schools block to support High Needs.  The document included in Appendix 1 was provided at the meeting.  Members requested clarity on the use of the 0.5% top slice in 2017-18 before any decisions could be made on a further top slice for 2018-19.  John Wood and/or those carrying out the SEN review will be attending Headteacher groups, and cluster groups.



Forum noted the report


Appendix 1




Restructure commenced early 2018 – WBC additional funding of £587k

·  Statutory assessment team – now permanent - 9 coordinators plus 2 trainees

·  Coordinators aligned to phases – primary/secondary/post 16/LAC-OOB-Independents

·  New manager – legal, training, policies and processes

·  KIND – clinical psychologists

o  Early intervention, non-SEN, EY/KS1

o  Working with schools, children and families

·  Data migration to Capita – integration with other systems, improved responsiveness

·  Teams concentrated on Hamilton Building except Home Education


a.  Builds on the internal review completed in late 2017 and will where appropriate, develop some of its recommendations.

b.  Who will carry out the review:

The review will be carried out by the Premier Advisory Group PAG  whose team will be led by their Director, Keith Warburton.

c.  Purpose - to support the Council in the:

o  development of the future model for SEND provision and services in the Wirral

o  generation of the high needs budget for 2020-21 and….

o  development of a three-year plan for the management of the High Needs budget;

d.  Duration – the review will run until late Autumn 2019.

e.  Phasing (indicative)

o  Phase 1 – to January 2019

§  Provision mapping exercise

§  Consultation with schools, services, parents

§  Identification of options

§  Input into 2019-20 budget setting where practicable

o  Phase 2 – February to May 2019

§  Options appraisal

§  Modelling of need

§  Testing with users, partners

o  Phase 3 – June to October

§  Generation of business cases

§  Three-year model

§  Detailed costings

f.  Factors being considered in delivering the programme:

o  The lack of integrated SEND datasets which would delay the work of the consultants – it was agreed that as an independent organisation, PAG needed to support the direction of change rather than validate the data.

o  The need to integrate the work of the Review with a series of internal council projects which have been identified and are being commissioned.

g.  Communications

a.  Whilst there will be formal phases of consultation it is intended that consultation and feedback should continue through the life of the review;

b.  We want to take all opportunities to maintain the dialogue and to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to contribute:

  i.  Regular feedback via existing fora eg. WiSpHA, primary, secondary heads associations, PCPW, locality meetings, Schools Forum, SEND Strategy Group etc

  ii.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 588.


Outcome of Schools Funding Formula Consultation pdf icon PDF 142 KB


The Chair of the Schools’ Forum thanked the Local Authority for work on the consultation, which was very clear and provided sufficient information to make informed responses. The consultation being electronic for the first time also made it easier for schools to respond.

Shaun Allen provided feedback on the results of the Funding Formula Consultation which will affect from 2019-20 and thanked members and schools for the high level of engagement.  86 schools responded to the consultation, and as 34 (40%) of respondents favoured Model 4 (current formula with NFF Low Prior Attainment) this has been recommended by the LA. 31% preferred model 2, a direct move to NFF values, but more schools preferred a transitional arrangement. 

As 65% of responders favoured a 0% MFG this has been recommended by the LA.

The extra funding of approximately £1.4 m (headroom) will be used in full to support the implementation of Model 4 and other values will need to be reduced.  In the other models any spare headroom can be shared amongst other elements. 



·  Forum noted the report

·  Forum agreed Model 4 to be implemented for the 2019-20 funding formula.  (10 for, 7 against, 3 abstentions)

·  Forum rejected 0% MFG for the 2019-20 funding formula, which means a -1.5% MFG will be applied. (7 for, 8 against, 5 abstentions).

·  Forum agreed that as Model 4 was agreed the factor values are reduced across all factors.  (16 for, 3 abstentions)


It was noted that the chair considered it morally wrong for Forum to contradict a well responded consultation.



Update on PFI Budgets pdf icon PDF 66 KB


Shaun Allen updated Forum on the PFI matters including

·  the use of two PFI City Learning Centres at Hilbre and former Kingsway Academy sites

·  value for money testing and Benchmarking against the market price of equivalent Facilities management services.

·  Discussions on alternative options for the use of the PFI building of the former Kingsway Academy.



  The report was noted



Workplan pdf icon PDF 56 KB


The workplan was provided for information.

The dates of the meetings for the 2018-19 academic year are:-

Wednesday 16th January 2019

Wednesday 15th May 2019

Wednesday 26th June 2019




Any Other Business


There was no other business