The Send Governance Review Guide Published byThe Driver Youth Trust & Whole School Send & DfE.

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Representing North Lincolnshire Governors at a national level

As previously mentioned many times in Governors’ News, the executive of your association is anxious to ensure that we have strong links at a national level, both to gather as much information and insight about developments in governance as possible and to share our views, experiences and ideas with colleagues from other parts of the country.

We are therefore very happy to fund travel for Petula Whittaker and Shelley Thomas (Chair and Vice Chair of Governors at St Luke’s) who are both experienced local special school governors, so that they can dedicate the time and effort needed to represent us on the NGA Special Schools Advisory Group.

Pet and Shelley always provide update reports for Governors’ News and these are shown below.

Angela Dunkerley, NLAGB Chair 


Attendance at a meeting in Birmingham in July 2019 when representatives met with the DfE to discuss the funding crisis for SEND.

Report to follow below.


NGA’s Special Schools Advisory Group (SSAG)

Special Schools Focus Group 16/05/19

National Governance Association, Birmingham


Special Schools Focus Group - Tom Fellows, NGA’s research manager

Working with Professor Chris James at the University of Bath and Dr Sarah Fitzgerald at the University of York St. John’s, NGA is currently in the process of scoping a research project exploring the unique aspects of governance in special schools. As such, they held an initial focus group to gain a preliminary understanding of what those who govern in special schools find particularly challenging in the current education landscape and how their roles and responsibilities differ to those governing in mainstream settings. The information they gathered from this focus group will be used to scope a wider mixed-method research project to explore the unique and challenging aspects of special school governance.

All agreed our main areas of concern, in order of importance, were as follows:

1. Funding - High needs

2. Knowledge and understanding of SEND.

3. The right balance or education and meeting children’s medical/social/emotional/needs.

4. Space - Now and for adequate future development.


NGA’s Special Schools Advisory Group (SSAG)


Introduction from Steve Edmonds, Director of Advice and Guidance

Discussion on high needs funding.

Attendees views on the DfE’s SEND and Alternative Provision, Call for evidence.

Attendees experiences of exclusion reviews and their views on the recommendations from the Timpson Review of school exclusion.

Suggested topics to take to Nick Gibb, Minister of Stare for School Standards.


High needs funding.

Concerns that it’s a postcode lottery and depending on the the area where you live has a huge impact on funding.

School’s now having to find the money for pension from their budget.


Attendees views on the DfE’s SEND and Alternative Provision, Call for evidence.

The Timpson Review.

Mental health week - Discussion around schools having to support and help children and young people.

Long waiting list for referrals to CAMHS  putting extra pressure on school’s. School’s not having enough funding and training for in house support systems.


Experiences of exclusion.

Children placed in special needs schools not being the right provision pushes school’s into having to exclude the child to gain them the right provision!


Steve Edmonds and Emma Knight meeting with RT Hon Nick Gibb.

Questions to take forward:

The need for resources to adhere to and support the EHCP.

The need for change around the postcode lottery and funding.


This was a very informative and enlightening meeting. Thank you to our Local North Lincolnshire Association of Governing Boards for funding this opportunity for us.


Petula Whittaker, Chair of governors St Luke’s      Shelley Thomas, Vice Chair of governors St Luke’s


NGA SEND Conference

Birmingham 7th July 2018


Emma Knights (NGA) - Welcome

Philippa Stobbs - The importance of being inclusive

Gillian Allcroft - High needs funding

Christopher Rossiter - Send Governance review guide

Claire Collins - Workshop - The Effective Governance of SEND

Q n A


The importance of being inclusive.

Philippa gave an inspiring presentation with regards to:

Aspirations and outcomes, principles, views, wishes and feelings of our children.

Listening to parents/carers children and young people, and information from EHC plan to program towards the child’s/young person’s future.


The learning progress gap:

Children are being excluded from lessons and School’s as young as 3-5 years old!

If the right provision is not in place by 3-5 years old the problem moves on to the next year groups 5-7 years old.

So early intervention and with (EHC) plans the right provision can be provided to support the children.

Quote from Damien Hinds 5 July 2018

We know there has been a steady movement of children with special educational needs out of mainstream schools and into specialist provision, alternative provision and home education. At the same time, rates of exclusion have begun to rise after a period of having calmed down. And I hear too many stories about off-rolling. I want to be clear right now: this is not okay. SEND pupils are not someone else’s problem.

Every school is a school for pupils with SEND; and every teacher is a teacher of SEND pupils.

Further input regarding personalised absence figures.


Wider Issues

●    Persistent absence figures

●    Attainment

●    Participation in activities beyond the school day

●    School trips

●    PE

●    Exclusions

●    Bullying

●    Not in employment education or employment (NEET)




High Needs Funding

Gillian gave us the most interesting conversations around the tables and left us wanting to debate this further!

The NGA’s position - funding the future - fairer funding - High needs funding and how it has moved up the agenda.

Discussions of how this is often a postcode lottery and not focussed around the child’s personal needs.


What Next?

●    NGA will continue to campaign for additional funding

- Both mainstream and high needs.

●    Reform to high - needs system so that children with broadly similar needs receive the same levels of funding.

●    What can you do?

-      Fill in the forms in your packs - tell us your stories in relation to high

-      needs pupils. (And we did)!

SEND Governance review Guide

A copy to be submitted to Governor Advisory Group



In networking discussions around our table, it was felt very strongly that special needs schools receive banding that is sometimes unfair!  Special needs schools are experts in health care and educational provision!


Attended by Shelley Thomas vice chair St Luke’s SN school and Petula Whittaker Chair St Luke’s SN school and PGR for North Lincolnshire.

Thank you so much for allowing us to attend this send event. We gained so much and made amazing networking contacts up and down the Country.

We would like to thank the NGA and would love to attend more of these events and especially be put forward for the special education needs advisory group! PLEASE!

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