Agenda and draft minutes

Schools Forum
Tuesday, 16th July, 2024 1.45 pm

Venue: Remote - To be held remotely via Zoom - View directions

Contact: Mark Leavesley 

No. Item




In the absence of both the Chair and Vice-Chair, Alison Tones (Maintained Primary Headteacher representative) agreed to Chair the meeting.


Apologies for absence


Kerrie Fox

Andy Gilbert

Kerrie Henton

Judith Kemplay

Debbie Simon

David Tungate

Phil Willott


Declarations of interests


None at the meeting.


However, prior to the meeting, Kerrie Fox (Chair and HHELC representative) had declared an interest, insofar as her establishment was partly the subject of the only substantive item (item 5, minute 36, ‘Education for children unable to attend school for health reasons’) and as she would need to leave the meeting prior to consideration of the item, sent her apologies for the meeting.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 601 KB

Last meeting held 16 January 2024 (for confirmation)


The Forum agreed the minutes of the last meeting held on 16 January 2024 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair presiding at the meeting.



To note the appointment of Jill Wilkinson as a Primary Academy representative.


(1)  the appointment of Jill Wilkinson (a Governor at Rosslyn Park Academy) as a Primary Academy representative was noted;


(2)  Terry Smith (a Maintained Primary representative) informed members that this would be his last meeting due to his retirement at the end of term. The Chair and members thanked him for his attendance and contribution to the Forum over the years.


Education for children unable to attend school for health reasons pdf icon PDF 248 KB

Report of Interim Corporate Director for Children and Education Services


Jennifer Hardy (Interim Head of Access to Learning), Maddi Popoola (Mental Health Support Team Service Manager) and Donna Munday (High Needs Senior Commercial Business Partner), presented the report, which detailed the following:


a)  Section 19 of the Education Act 1996 has always required Local Authorities to make provision for children who are unable to attend school due to illness, permanent exclusion or other reason. However, the Department for Education (DfE), has issued revised guidance for schools, settings and Local Authorities about how to support children unable to attend school for health reasons;


b)  the revised guidance supports the updated ‘Working Together to Improve School Attendance’ guidance, which becomes statutory in August 2024;


c)  in order to meet the growing demand for support for children with health needs, as well as allowing the Council to meet this statutory duty, a proposal for a policy, a new team and a new process has been developed, and is outlined in more detail in the report;


d)  despite the significant increase in workload, demand and resources that both new pieces of guidance will create for schools, settings and the Local Authority, the DfE are not allocating any additional funding for this work;


e)  instead, the guidance for supporting children unable to attend school for health reasons refers to the ongoing expectation that alternative provision for children with medical needs is funded by local authorities’ high-needs budgets, which is a legitimate use of high-needs funding;


f)  a new team will be established in the existing Mental Health Support Team to support young people not attending school for mental health reasons. This team will comprise of 4x FTE Child Welfare Practitioners, 4x FTE Education Mental Health Practitioners, 1x FTE Clinical Supervisor and 1x FTE Team Manager, at a cost of £434,156. It is estimated this team could support approximately 240 children at a time;


g)  new roles would need to be established in the Council to oversee this process - an Education Panel Programme Manager, a Co-ordinator, and two Education Welfare type roles to support with safeguarding and oversight of the children open to this service, at a cost of £183, 267;


h)  if children are unable to access education via their home school, the Local Authority may put an education provision in place. This budget (of £450,000) could be used for online learning, to fund additional Teaching Assistants at HHELC under their Outreach Programme, or to purchase AV1 Bots to allow children to access a remote education. Funding not spent in the 2024/25 academic year would be returned to the High-needs budget;


i)  it is proposed to fund this model for 12 months initially, with a view to bringing an update report to Schools Forum in 2025 for review;


j)  while the costs outlined in this paper are significant, they represent an investment in a model that can bring significant change for children and their families, and support schools to re-engage young people;


k)  the DfE guidance driving this proposal is  ...  view the full minutes text for item 36.


Dates of future meetings

To agree to meet remotely via Zoom at 1.45pm on the following Tuesdays during the academic year 2024/25:


2024  2025

08 October  21 January

03 December  29 April

24 June


It was agreed to meet remotely via Zoom at 1.45pm on the following Tuesdays during the 2024/25 academic year:


2024    2025

08 October    21 January

03 December    29 April

    24 June