Infant Class Size Funding

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					                                                                         Agenda Item No.3
INFANT CLASS SIZE FUNDING

To:       Cambridgeshire Forum

Date:     22nd April 2010

From:     Hazel Belchamber - Head of Infrastructure
          Martin Wade – Schools Finance Manager


1.0 INTRODUCTION AND BACKGROUND

1.1 This paper explains the current legislation in respect of the admissions process and the
    impact on Infant Class Size Funding (ICSF) and seeks views on the issues identified.

1.2 Infant Class Size Funding (ICSF) provides funding to schools to ensure that Key Stage 1
    (KS1) pupils are educated in classes with a maximum of 30 children to one qualified teacher.

            Using the January Census data, 5/12ths of funding is distributed for the period April to
             August on the basis of ‘missing’ pupils to the next multiple of 30 in Key Stage 1.

            September KS1 numbers are then estimated based on the latest available
             admissions data and a 7/12ths allocation is calculated. This allocation is then funded
             in May/June to cover the period September to March.

            Finally, on receipt of the October census data the calculation is reviewed to identify
             any further schools that may have triggered the funding requirement.

1.3 Example

      If a school has a KS1 January count of 95 pupils, the school would be required to run four
      classes to maintain the principle that all KS1 children are taught by a qualified teacher in
      classes of 30 pupils or fewer. Therefore, funding would be allocated towards the costs of
      the ‘missing’ pupils as follows:

        A                B                C=B–A
        January PLASC – KS 1              Next Multiple of 30        ‘Missing Pupils’
        95               120              25

      The “missing pupils” figure would then be multiplied by 5/12ths of the average KS1 teacher
      AWPU value.




      Based on the admissions data provided in May the same school is expected to have only 89
      KS1 pupils from September.

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      A                B           C          D = 0 or C- A (which ever is greater)
      January PLASC – KS 1         Estimated September KS1       Next Multiple of 30
                       ‘Missing Pupils’
      95               89          90         0

     On this basis they would not receive any further funding for the period September to March.
     However if this school continued to have more than 90 pupils for this period they would
     receive funding for the 25 “missing” pupils for the 7/12th period.

1.4 The Infant Class Size (ICS) grant ended in March 2003 and was incorporated into the main
    schools funding allocation. At the time of cessation, the grant totalled approximately £1.8m.
    In 2009/10 the missing pupil funding for the full year totalled £3.757m across approximately
    170 schools. The allocation for 2010/11 based on current estimates is expected to be
    approximately £3.5m, so although less, it remains a significant amount of resource. The
    increase in cost since 2003 is due to the changes made to the local formula which now
    funds missing pupils at a higher rate than in the past to reflect the average teacher cost and
    the increase in the total number of missing pupils being funded.

2.0 LEGISLATIVE REQUIREMENTS

2.1 The statutory guidance regarding admission to school is contained within the School
    Admissions Code (Code), the latest version was published on 10th February 2010.

2.2 The Code states that; “Infant classes (i.e. those where the majority of children will reach the
    age of 5, 6, or 7 during the school year) must not contain more than 30 pupils with a single
    school teacher.1 While admission can be refused on normal prejudice grounds once an
    admission number of lower than 30 (or multiples of 30) has been reached, admission must
    be refused on “infant class-size prejudice” grounds where the published admission number
    allows for classes of 30, and the school would have to take ‘qualifying’ measures to keep to
    the statutory class size limit if more children were admitted, e.g. employ another teacher.”

2.3 The Code then goes on to explain the circumstances under which a child may be admitted in
    breach of legislation; “The class size legislation makes allowance for the entry of an
    additional child in very limited circumstances where not to admit the child would be
    prejudicial to his or her interests (‘excepted pupils’). However, every effort must be made to
    keep over large classes to a minimum. These circumstances are where:

          a) children with statements of special educational needs are admitted to the school
             outside the normal admissions round;
          b) children move into the area outside the normal admissions round for whom there is
             no other available school within reasonable distance;
          c)   children admitted, after initial allocation of places on the local offer date, because
               the person responsible for making the original decision recognises that an error
               was made in implementing the school’s admission arrangements and that a place

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            A permissible exception to ICS limits is where schools teach children in mixed KS1 and KS2 classes
           and the majority of the class comprises KS2 children.
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                   ought to have been offered;
            d) children in care admitted outside the normal admissions round;
            e) children admitted where an independent appeal panel upholds an appeal on the
               grounds that the child would have been offered a place if the admission
               arrangements had been properly implemented, and/or the admission authority’s
               decision to refuse a place was not one which a reasonable admission authority
               would have made in the circumstances of the case;
            f)     children are registered pupils at special schools and by arrangement with another
                   school which is not a special school, receive part of their education at that other
                   school; and
            g)     children with special education needs who are registered pupils at a school which
                   is not a special school and are normally educated in a special educational needs
                   unit attached to that school, and attend, an infant class in the school (i.e. not in the
                   unit), where this has been deemed as beneficial to the child.

     In the case of f) and g), the child will remain an exception for any time they spend in an
     infant class at the mainstream school or outside the special educational needs unit. In all
     other circumstances the child will only remain an exception for the remainder of the school
     year in which they were admitted. Measures must be taken for the following year to ensure
     that the class falls within the infant class size limit.”


2.4 There are two distinct admissions processes;

                applications received as part of the normal admissions round, ie. Reception places
                 for the following September; and,
                in-year admissions, i.e. Requests for places to all year groups including into KS1
                 received after the beginning of the academic year.

     Further details are provided in Appendix 1.

3.0 CURRENT ISSUES

3.1 The overall cost of funding missing pupils within KS1 is the main issue as this reduces the
    funding available elsewhere within the primary distribution formula. At an individual school
    level, the change in KS1 numbers can have a significant impact on funding and organisation.
    Below are some of the main issues which lead to additional missing pupil funding and/or
    organisational problems for schools:

                Multiples of 30 - Where a school has KS1 numbers which are constantly around
                 multiples of 30, one or two pupils can make a significant difference to funding and
                 class structure.

                Timing - The timing of when KS1 numbers for September are confirmed is
                 problematic when schools are deciding whether to recruit or change structure.

                September numbers - Where a school’s actual numbers in September would not
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            trigger ICSF, yet they have already received the funding, no funding is clawed back if
            the school has already put a revised structure in place based on estimated KS1
            numbers.

           The Published Admission Number (PAN) – in some instances a school’s PAN means
            that they are always likely to receive ICSF. The financial implications of offering
            places up to the PAN are not considered during the normal admissions round. This is
            because there is a statutory requirement on the admission authority to offer places up
            to the PAN if sufficient applications are received.

           Over-admissions - When considering the over-admission of children during the
            normal admissions round the Admissions Team takes account of the Local Protocol
            on Over-Admission (attached as Appendix 2) agreed by Cambridgeshire’s
            Admissions Forum and the financial implications for the next financial year are
            discussed in advance with both Finance and the schools concerned.

            In cases where a school has refused to admit a child following an approach from the
            LA Admissions Officer, the application may be referred to an Officer Panel for further
            consideration and a decision. The Officer Panel comprises officers from the
            Infrastructure Service. The circumstances of the case, the cost of transporting the
            child to an alternative school and the reasons why the school approached have
            refused the admission in the first instance are taken into account as part of the
            decision-making process. However, the future financial implications for example in
            terms of ISC of over-admission decisions are not currently integral to either the
            general admission process or the Officer Panel process.

           Class Size exemptions – Exemptions can have an impact in future years. For
            example, if a school has a PAN of 30 and has 91 pupils in KS1 with one of the pupils
            in the Reception class being admitted as an exception due to one of the
            circumstances detailed in Section 2.3, the school is only required to run 3 KS1
            classes for the academic year. However, if the school then fills to PAN in the
            following year and doesn’t lose any other KS1 pupils the total of 91 will require 4
            classes, therefore attracting missing pupil funding for 29 pupils.

           Impact on KS2 – As there is no similar mechanism in KS2 some schools may have
            potential problems as larger cohorts move through the school.

3.2 As an added complication, there is the introduction of the national admissions deadline for
    admissions with effect to entry from September 2011. Currently the local deadline is
    December, but the new national deadline is January. This will mean that the information
    used to estimate the 7/12ths element of ICSF will not be available until around a month later
    than is currently the case.




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4.0 OPTIONS

4.1 Due to the legal requirement to maintain KS1 class sizes to 30 or fewer children to one
    qualified teacher, the options for change are limited.

4.2 The area where significant change could be made is in respect of the funding of missing
    pupils. Options for change have been identified below:

           Remove ICSF Funding in totality. – Schools funding would be based on January
            pupil numbers only and the funding currently used for ICSF would form part of the
            overall activity funding element. This could cause a number of schools difficulty in
            maintaining the required number of KS1 classes where their numbers are only just
            over the thresholds.

           Remove 7/12ths ICSF funding – Schools funding would be based on January pupil
            numbers and missing pupil funding would be calculated for the full year based on the
            missing pupils at this point in time. Those schools which cross the thresholds in the
            September may have difficulty in providing for an additional class. A small
            contingency could be held back to assist in these cases. Likewise, those schools
            which drop below the thresholds may benefit for the period September to March if no
            claw back is applied.


4.3 The only other option which has been identified at this stage is to retain the current funding
    system.

4.4 In respect to cases which involve consideration of applications for places, which if approved,
    would result in a school exceeding its PAN, there is a clear need to improve the link between
    the admissions and financial processes. One way this could be achieved would be to
    provide the Finance and Performance team with an early alert/warning when ICS funding
    would be triggered as a result of an admission decision. A simple form will be developed to
    record this information.

4.5 As part of the annual consultation process on co-ordinated admission arrangements to be
    undertaken in respect of admission to school in 2011/12, views could be sought on
    proposals to change schools’ PANs where appropriate to reduce the number of schools who
    automatically trigger ICSF simply as a result of the operation of their current PANs.

4.6 The PAN of a school is set with regard to the Net Capacity Assessment (NCA) for the
    school. The Net Capacity Assessment will produce a range showing the maximum and
    minimum number of pupils who should be admitted to the school at the point of entry.
    Taking into consideration this range, the proposed school/class organisation at the school,
    the demographic forecast information for the catchment area of the school and the
    requirements of Infant Class Size Legislation, the admission authority will determine the
    PAN. The PAN must be a number within the range produced by the NCA, but does not have
    to be the maximum number, known as the Indicated Admission Number (IAN).

4.7 Whilst it would appear that to chose a PAN from the range which is a multiple of 30 would be

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     an ideal solution there are two distinct disadvantages to this approach:

           To set the PAN lower than the IAN - this would allow the school to organise in
            discreet year groups and to meet ICS legislation, for example IAN of 38, but PAN set
            at 30. However, this may leave the school vulnerable where the school is popular
            and over-subscribed. Many publications, websites and solicitors, who specialise in
            advice about how to win your school admission appeal, will use the discrepancy
            between the PAN and IAN as a way to win the appeal at Part 1 of the hearing. Their
            argument is that "prejudice cannot be proven at this stage as the school has chosen
            not to admit the maximum number of children to the year group, and therefore there is
            cannot be 'prejudicial to the efficient use of resources' when the maximum resources
            are not being used?". This will result in admissions being made to the school, which
            will be legitimate exceptions to Infant Class Size Legislation for Reception Year, but
            will potentially require "qualifying measures" the following year, as mixed year
            teaching would not be an option if the PAN is applied in the following year or previous
            year.

           To set the PAN at the IAN, or at the higher end of the IAN, so that it is a multiple of 30
            - for example IAN 60 and PAN set at 60, but demography figures for next 5 years
            show that children in catchment, and parental preference trends for the school would
            result in only 39 children being admitted to the school. Just because the PAN is 60
            does not mean that 60 children would be admitted each year. Should only the 39
            children identified come to the school this year, and the same number in subsequent
            years, there would be surplus places at the school totalling 35% after 7 years. Some
            of these surplus places would be funded by missing pupil funding in KS1, but this
            level of surplus would be identified through the PLASC data, and remedial action
            would be required by the school and LA to resolve this situation.

5.0 NEXT STEPS

5.1 Cambridgeshire Forum is asked for comments on the issues raised above.

5.2 Officers will work with CPH Finance representatives to look at the options for change to be
    implemented from April 2011.




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Appendix 1 – Current Admissions Process

Normal Admissions Round

When considering applications received requesting places for Reception the SAC is very
clear regarding the number of places which must be offered. All schools must have a
published admission number (PAN). This is defined in law as “an age group in which
pupils are or will normally be admitted” to the school in question. The PAN must refer in
each case to children being admitted to the school for the first time.

The PAN is set with regard to the Net Capacity Assessment (NCA) for the school, and
takes into consideration the demographic profile of the catchment area for the school. In
setting the PAN for an infant or primary school the admission number must be compatible
with the duty to comply with the infant class size legislation. All PAN changes are subject
to annual consultation with all interested parties.

Once the PAN has been set, where sufficient applications are received the number of
places offered must reflect the PAN. The number of children offered places at schools
should not exceed the PAN unless, the school and the local authority agree that admitting
above that number will not adversely affect the school in the longer term and will not have
a detrimental effect on neighbouring schools.

There is only one reason why, during the normal admission allocation process the school
would be asked to exceed the PAN. This is where the number of in-catchment children is
greater than the PAN, to admit these children to an alternative school would incur
transport costs, and to admit these children would not breach infant class size legislation
in that Reception year i.e. the class organisation at the school is such that the admission
of additional children would not require the school to take “qualifying measures”.

Following the offer date, if it is identified that an error was made when handling an
application, which has resulted in that child being refused a place which should have been
offered to them, the school will be asked to admit a child. This child is known as an
“excepted pupil” and is one of the very limited exceptions where it is possible to breach
the infant class size legislation.

In all other circumstances additional places would not be offered, but unsuccessful
applicants would be offered the right of appeal.


In Year Admissions

When an application is received outside of the normal admissions round for a place in Key
Stage 1 the application will be considered in accordance with infant class size legislation.

The application will be processed as follows:-

      where the application is for a child who is an “excepted pupil” under the Code this
       child will be admitted;


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   where the child is not an “excepted pupil”, the PAN for the year group for which the
    application is received is a multiple of 30 and the school is organised in discreet
    classes of 30 pupils in Key Stage 1, if the year group for which the application is
    received is “full”; i.e. the number of children equals the PAN; the application will be
    refused and the parent offered the right of infant class size appeal.

   where the child is not an “excepted pupil”, the PAN for the school is not a multiple
    of 30 and the school is organised in mixed year groups, if the year group for which
    the application is received is “full” but to admit the child would not breach infant-
    class size legislation, the admission of the child will then be considered in
    accordance with the Local Protocol on Over-admission, which is attached at
    appendix 1.

   where the child is not an “excepted pupil”, the PAN for this school is not a multiple
    of 30 and the school is organised in mixed year groups, if the year group for which
    the application is received is full, to admit the child would not breach infant-class
    size legislation, the admission of the child does not meet the requirements of the
    Local Protocol on Over-admission, the Admission Officer may present the case to
    an officer panel, where to not admit the child would result in other issues for the
    child or for the local authority; eg transport costs, not in best interest of child.

   where the child is not an “excepted pupil”, the PAN for the school is not a multiple
    of 30 and the school is organised in mixed year groups, if the year group for which
    the application is received is “full” but to admit the child would not breach infant-
    class size legislation, the admission of the child will then be made.




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Appendix 2

                         LOCAL PROTOCOL ON OVERADMISSION


Child:…………………………………………….. D.O.B. ……………………….………...

Overadmitting school:…………………………………….. Application Date: …………..



Checklist
From 1st June 2008, overadmission may be made:                                               Condition
                                                                                             met?
1.     to correct an error, i.e if the error had not occurred, the child would have
       been offered a place. (This counts as a legitimate exception to the infant
       class size rule);
2.     for any child, where a Managed Move has been formally agreed;
3.     for any child with a statement that names the school.
4.     for any child where there are compelling reasons to admit to that particular
       school and no other, e.g. child protection cases, documented and
       unresolved bullying, change in foster care placement.
5.     for a catchment child, where there is no reasonable alternative school
       (This can be a legitimate exception to ICS, but usually only in Y2);
6.     for an out of catchment child, where the catchment area school is unable
       to accommodate and there is no reasonable alternative (can be legitimate
       exception to ICS, but usually only in Y2);
7.     for an out of catchment child whose older sibling was allocated a place at
       the school due to oversubscription at the catchment area school2;
8.     for an out of catchment child whose sibling attends the school, where ALL
       the following conditions are met:
              the overadmission will not result in the total number of children
               exceeding the net capacity of the school; and
              the overadmission will not result in the school being unable to take
               the next catchment area child who applies for that NCY; and
              the overadmission will not result in the school being able to
               accommodate all catchment area children the following September;
               and
              the headteacher and governing body of the catchment area school
               have no objection to the overadmission; and
              the headteacher and governing body of the preference school
               support the overadmission; and
              there is no concern about the school’s ability to meet infant class
               size legislation, either at the time or in the future; and
              class sizes in KS2 are not expected to exceed 32 for a mixed year
               group class or 34 for a single year group class.



2
 The older sibling must have applied on time and still be in attendance at the school at the time of
admission of the younger.
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