The government has launched a consultation paper on section 6.2 of the ‘scheme for financing schools’ guidance, with the desire to include admission appeals as one of the services that a local authority can charge school budgets for agreed services. The proposal is aimed at seeking views on the proposed changes on how local authorities are able to include funding for admission appeals in their financial management schemes. The government requires local authorities to publish schemes for financing schools as well as setting out the financial relationship between the schools they finance. The aim of this consultation is to provide additional flexibility for funding admission appeals. The target group for the consultation are school Governors, chief finance officers and finance officers at local authorities, chairs and clerks of school forums, Diocesan representatives and other interested parties. The consultation was issued on November, 2015 and participants are required to respond with their views by December, 2015.
Local authorities are required by paragraph 1.14 of the School Admissions Appeals code to ‘allocate reasonable funds to governing bodies of maintained schools which are admission authorities to meet admission appeals costs’. This mandate was changed during the 2013 to 2014 funding reforms which removed the ability of local authorities to specifically allocate funding for own admissions authorities and also ended the separate grant paid to academies for admissions. The changes will therefore allow local authorities to offer appeals services to schools which local authorities are the admission authority, and also to use their powers under the Financial Management Scheme to charge those schools. All other schools would be required to handle their own admission appeals with funding for this service included in their delegated budget, with no support from local authorities. The theme of the proposed changes is based on ‘costs incurred by the authority in administering admissions appeals, where the local authority is the admissions authority and the funding for admission appeals has been delegated to all schools as part of their formula allocation’ – Section 6.2.20 of the Scheme for financing schools.
According to the Scheme, the following are some of the circumstances in which charges may apply:
The recently published spending review and autumn statement 2015 by the Chancellor of the Exchequers looked at the government’s economic plans committing £4 trillion on its priorities over the next 4 years. The statement covered all spheres of economic activities in the country. The overriding aim of the review is to ‘set out a 4 year plan to fix the public finances, return the country to surplus and run a healthy economy that starts to reduce the government debts’. The debate prior to the announcement was the much anticipated cuts to public spending and where the axe was going to fall and by how much. The education sector was spared the chancellor’s cuts and the following summary for the sector attest to the importance of the department to the government and the country as a whole.
The education sector’s share....
The chancellor has argued that investing in education and skills will help deliver economic security’, however, the needs of teachers and facilitators at the forefront of ensuring the economic success of the policies announced in parliament will need to be addressed. It has always been the aim of the government that every child will have the opportunity to fulfil their potential irrespective of their socio economic background. It is believed by the government that the level of budget provided for this parliament will help ensure that every child in the country is given the said opportunity to achieve their talent.
The National Pupil Database at a glance
The National Pupil Database (NPD) is an evidence based data for the education sector, providing an invaluable contribution towards school improvement and accountability. According to the department for education, the ‘NPD is one of the richest education data sets in the world holding wide range of information about pupils and students which has provided evidence on performance to inform independent research’. Record from the database can be shared under strict terms and conditions with named bodies and third parties for research or analysis, producing statistics, advice or guidance, providing information and the general well being of children. The department for education has stressed the importance of allowing more parties to have access to the database for the above stated objectives. Interested parties can obtain extracts of the data from the NDP using an improved application process accessed via the department’s website. A user guide has been drawn up to help users and potential users of the data offering useful tips on how to access data observing the stricter terms and conditions of ensuring the confidentiality of all records found in the database.
The data for the NPD include record coming from local authorities, schools and awarding bodies. The information that is obtained from NPD consists of gender, special educational needs, pupils’ absence and exclusions, ethnicity and eligibility for free meals. Test and exams results, prior attainment and progression at different key stages for pupils in the state sector are also found on the database. There is also information on pupils in independent schools as well as attainment data for students in non-maintained special schools. The department will not disclose pupils’ and/ or children’s personal information without consent unless the law allows it to do so, and it is in compliance with the data protection. The law allows the department to share pupil data from the NPD with named bodies and third parties including schools, governments departments, local authorities and other educational agencies under the Education Regulations 2009. The main sources of information for the database come from school census conducted three times every year in the spring summer and autumn terms and provides the department with both pupil and school level data.
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