Update: RS Policy Committee - Nov 2017

Standalone Resources & Sustainability meeting

Representatives from the National Audit (NAO) joined the group to discuss the NAO’s study looking at the conversion of schools to academy status. The committee was disappointed that the study focused on the conversion process rather than whether the policy of academisation represents good use of public money and improves outcomes. Consideration of how the academy system is meeting the needs of the most vulnerable learners is critical as the numbers of children electively home educated are increasing as are the number of students being placed in more specialist provision e.g. special schools and alternative provision.

There remains an inequality of treatment of the financial balances of schools which become academies via different routes. LAs also provide a range of support to schools during the transfer process which has cost implications yet LAs receive no additional funding. Some LAs are beginning to recharge academies for the costs incurred during conversion but it was noted the DfE is not supportive of this approach.

Finally, the group received a short update on home to school transport following the ADCS survey in 2016 which showed LAs spent approximately £1b pa on this service. DfE has committed to reviewing the statutory guidance on home to school transport for children with special educational needs and/ or disabilities however, there are no plans to make changes to the legislation that underpins this. The committee will continue to gather case study examples of work taking place locally on home to school transport.

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