National Middle Schools’ Forum Newsletter

April 2012

 News of three new developments:

1) Special Day Conference – June 2012

 

      The New Ofsted Framework and Middle Schools

      Behaviour and Safety & Performance Management

 

We held two very successful day conferences in February where we began to consider the implications of the new Ofsted Framework for Inspection for middle schools.

Many delegates expressed an interest in finding out more about the new Behaviour and Safety category and we are grateful that Gill Jones, HMI, has kindly agreed to lead a further day in London which will consider this, together with a first look at the suggested requirements for Performance Management that form part of the current consultation, ‘A good education for all’, which are likely to come into force in September 2012.

Dates and venue:

           Friday 22nd June 2012: Broadway House, London    

Audience: Governors, Headteachers and senior staff in Middle Schools

Cost: £75 per person

To book your place please complete the attached booking form and return to me.

Full details and booking form can be downloaded from the News section of the homepage for the NMSF website – www.middleschools.org.uk

2) Government consultation - new funding system for schools

The government are consulting on proposals for new funding arrangements for schools. The closing date for responses is Monday 21 May 2012

The full details are available here:

http://www.education.gov.uk/consultations/index.cfm?action=consultationDetails&consultationId=1817&external=no&menu=1

I have written a briefing paper about the proposed changes – which you can download from the home page of the NMSF website:

www.middleschools.org.uk

The government have drawn back from moving to a national funding formula – and instead propose greatly simplifying the current system by reducing to 10 the number of allowable formula factors, and by introducing a presumption of maximum delegation.

In brief there are three issues of interest to middle schools:

a) Flat rate - see paragraph 1.3.40

It is pleasing that they appear to have accepted that small middle schools (and small secondary schools) also require a degree of protection in the same way. (Middle schools are specifically mentioned in paragraph 1.3.40.)

However they are proposing to allow just one level of flat rate to apply to all schools.

Suggestion: In the comment box for Question 4 - we welcome the recognition of the need for a flat rate element for middle schools – but suggest that to have practical effect it may need to be at a different level to that which would protect a small primary school.

See Question 4 in consultation paper

b) Secondary funding per pupil

 

The DfE originally proposed a single, per pupil rate for all secondary age pupils. They are now consulting on the possibility of allowing separate AWPU rates for KS3 and for KS4. In discussion with the DfE it is clear that this is now their preferred option.

As KS4 funding is higher at present, the proposal for a single secondary rate would have shifted funding into KS3 to the disadvantage of our upper schools.

Suggestion: Here is a situation where we might consider it in the best interests (and long term viability) of our pyramids to respond positively to the suggestion of setting different rates for the KS3 and KS4.

 

See Question 1 in consultation paper

c) Changes to the Schools Forum

Proper representation for middle schools will be critical during this period of change. It was clear from discussions with individual middle schools before Christmas that in some areas the proper representation of middle school interests in the Schools Forum is a real issue.

There are a number of detailed changes to the operation of the Schools’ Forum which are most clearly set out in the separate document Operational Guidance for Local Authorities:

 

Available at this link:

 

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/financialmanagement/schoolsrevenuefunding/a00205567/school-funding-reform-and-arrangements-for-2013-14

These changes may present an opportunity to ensure middle schools concerns are properly represented as fundamental changes to the local funding formula is negotiated.

3) Two middle schools designated as Teaching Schools

Congratulations to Robert Bloomfield Academy and to Lincroft School (in conjunction with Sharnbrook Upper School) who achieved designation as Teaching Schools recently.

The full list of the first 200 schools to gain designation is available here:

http://www.nationalcollege.org.uk/docinfo?id=154985&filename=teaching-schools-designations.pdf

Nigel Wyatt

Executive Officer

nigel.wyatt@dial.pipex.com