A report from John Brace
A blog about Wirral Council’s public meetings, Wirral Council’s councillors, Bidston & St. James ward and other public bodies on Merseyside
A report that went to last night’s Wirral Schools Forum about funding for special schools makes for interesting reading. The report’s based on the operational guide (schools revenue funding 2016 to 2017) published in July 2015.
Those with long memories will remember that the reason given for closing Lyndale School by Wirral Council officers was that funding for special schools would change starting in the 2016-17 academic year. Officers confidently stated that instead of funding being based on place numbers it would instead be based on how many pupils were at a school. In their view this meant that Lyndale School not being financially viable as the large (and increasing) difference between pupils and places at Lyndale School would result in a shortfall in funding.
A report to yesterday’s Wirral Schools Forum states (EFA stands for Education Funding Agency) “In respect of High Needs Funding (funding for special schools, bases, non-maintained special schools, independent special schools, alternative provision, EMAP and the Hospital School) the EFA have indicated the allocation for place funding and other high needs funding will remain at the same level as 2015-16.”
This was confirmed in the operational guide which states in a section on high needs funding starting on page 30, “The full year 2016 to 2017 allocation will therefore be based on the 2015 to 2016 academic year place numbers, and for the remainder of the high needs allocation there will be no change to what was allocated for 2015 to 2016.”
More detailed reports about the changes for special schools funding were published in September.
Sadly this news arrives too late to make any difference to the Cabinet decision to close Lyndale School at the end of the 2015/16 academic year.