Venue: to be held virtually via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Rosalyn Patterson - email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for absence were received from Christine Ingle, Clive Wisby, Andrew Fowler, Alison Hall and Steve Horne.
The Forum is asked to approve as a correct record the minutes of the last meeting held on 12 November 2020
The minutes of the meeting held on 12 November 2020 were agreed as a correct record.
Jeanne Pratt, Learning and Schools
The Schools Forum received a report on the work done to support children who have Emotionally Based School Avoidance (EBSA).
It was reported that two EBSA Learning Mentors were appointed and took up their posts in October and November. One of the new appointments is pregnant so a third appointment has been made, from the unsuccessful applicants, who has been seconded to the post from the end of January 2021.
Avatars have been deployed which have proved successful in at RTMAT and Special Schools. It was noted that more of these will be used in cases where the pupil has gained confidence and is needing a bridge to school.
The EBSA Strategy and Good Practice Guidance has been completed and sent to all schools.
It was suggested in order to maximise the use of workers there may be opportunities to get workers to extend what they do to online working, i.e. deliver live classes. It was agreed that anything schools have that could be used to bridge the gap from one to one tuition would be beneficial.
It was confirmed that at the EIP meeting children were starting to be allocated to workers. It was also noted that referrals can be made through the online form and there is still capacity within the service.
RESOLVED - That the Schools Forum noted the contents of the report and
approved the carry-forward of the projected underspend to support this project.
Jeanne Pratt, Learning and Schools
The Forum received a report on Behaviour Support Service and the Fair Access Educational Psychologist (EP). The Forum previously agreed to de-delegate funds to create the EP post and support the Primary Behaviour Support Team.
It was noted that throughout the pandemic contact has been maintained with schools. Three Teaching Assistants spent time at Eslington and Hilltop Special Schools and the rest worked online with schools, continuing with the behaviour network.
There have been 13 new referrals to the EP last year and there are still 25 active cases, which are largely around emotional health. Training has gone online, as well as one to one support and whole school training. It was noted that the service is trying to adapt to the needs of the school in terms of how they continue to deliver.
The Forum was fully supportive of the service and it was felt that the current situation relating to Covid, makes it even more of a need.
The Forum thanked Jeanne Pratt for all of her hard work and wished her luck in the future as this was her last meeting.
RESOLVED - That the Schools Forum approved the de-delegation of funds
for the Primary Fair Access Educational Psychologist and the Primary Behaviour Support Team special needs assistants.
Jenny Edwards, Learning and Schools
A report was presented on the work delivered by EMTAS since last year. It was noted that there has been a steady rise in the number of Ethnic Minority and Gypsy Roma and Traveller children attending Gateshead schools, an increase from 12.1% to 12.78%.
In addition, there has been an increase in the number of pupils with English as an additional language (EAL), currently 8.16% up from 7.76% in the January 2019 census.
Staffing has remained the same, with the appointment of an EAL Inclusion Officer on a one year fixed term contract, to start in January 2021.
It was confirmed that the EAL support would be available to schools who require additional support for more intensive work.
The Schools Forum agreed that this was a valuable service.
RESOLVED - That the Schools Forum noted the work undertaken by EMTAS
to support the educational achievement of all ethnic minority and Traveller pupils in Gateshead schools and approved the de-delegation of funding for EMTAS at the rates of £3.00 for every maintained mainstream primary pupil and £245.00 for each primary maintained mainstream EAL pupil.
Carole Smith, Resources and Digital
The Forum received the outcome of the Mainstream School Funding consultation. It was reported that four responses were received, the majority of which were in favour of the proposals contained in the appendix to the report.
The growth funding has been recalculated on October 2020 census data and movement is not as great as originally estimated. Therefore the updated estimate shows a reduction in growth fund by £244,354.
The new academy school has not been announced by the DfE and therefore has been removed from modelling to allow the maximum funding to all other mainstream Gateshead schools.
There has been an increase in the number of free school meals (FSM), once the updated data is received a bigger increase is expected because more children are in secondary school where growth has been the greatest.
It was questioned as to what pressure there will be on the growth fund if the academy school opens. It was noted that the new school will fill from the bottom up so those year 7 pupils will not have been in any other secondary school, and the growth fund looks at movement and where the pupils are.
RESOLVED - (i) That the Schools Forum approved the proposals set
out in the mainstream school funding formula consultation as far as possible when the updated APT and DSG settlement are received later this month.
(ii) That the Schools Forum noted the revised lower
estimate of growth fund.
(iii) That the Schools Forum noted the revised position for planning for the new academy school.
(iv) That the Schools Forum approved the proposal to deal with any possible opening of a new academy school in September 2021 via the Growth Fund.
(v) That the Schools Forum noted the probable impact of the increase in FSM numbers on the affordability of the mainstream funding formula.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
7 January 2021 at 2pm
The next meeting will be held at 2pm on 7 January 2021.