Issue details

20/00126 - Leadership of Inclusion Module for Kent School Leaders

Proposed decision:

 

To award a contract, without competition, to Leadership Learning South East (LLSE) to deliver a range of training modules on Inclusion for Kent School Leaders.

 

To delegate decisions about the establishment of the new service to the Corporate Director for Children, Young People and Education, or other Officer as instructed by the Corporate Director in liaison with the Cabinet Member for Education.

 

Reason(s) for decision:

 

KCC is facilitating, on behalf of schools, a range of training on Inclusion for Kent School Leaders. This is part of the agreed 1% of Schools Budgets for 2020/2021 to be used to support the inclusion agenda in mainstream schools.

 

Background:

 

Plans approved by the County Education Reference Group and the Schools’ Funding Form include a proposal to develop a new suite of school leadership development modules, focused on leadership of inclusion.  Schools have expressed support for a module that is aligned with and delivered, as far as possible, alongside the existing National Professional Qualifications (NPQ) for school leaders.

 

The NPQ programmes can only be delivered by accredited providers, appointed by the DfE, of whom there are a number across the South East but only one in Kent: Leadership Learning South East (LLSE).  LLSE are also the only NPQ provider who are commissioned by Kent Association of Headteachers to deliver the Kent Leadership Strategy. The accredited providers bring their own networks of teaching schools, and hold exclusive rights to delivery, although these rights are not geographically-based. This means that technically any accredited NPQ provider could be appointed to deliver in Kent, although there are likely to be logistical and financial implications of this, and uptake may well be affected if a less familiar network of teaching schools were appointed to lead delivery.

 

Since the DfE manage the qualification framework as well as the providers, the additional inclusion module cannot be formally embedded within the course.  Instead, the proposal is to align delivery as far as possible so that existing NPQ participants would have the option to take part in an additional inclusion module as part of their programme of study.  In order to test this approach, it is proposed that the additional module is developed and trialled with existing NPQ participants, ideally from January 2021.   

 

This will allow opportunity to evaluate the impact of the programme, but also enable alignment with the procurement timelines of the DfE’s process to appoint new NPQ providers to deliver from September 2021.  These new providers will be appointed to a four-year Framework Agreement from which schools and central government will be able to call off contracts; clarification is being sought as to whether local authorities will also be eligible to do so.  Once the outcome of the procurement process is known (award anticipated in Spring 2021) we will be able to better understand the potential market and procurement options for any future competitive process for delivery from September 2021.

 

Options (other options considered but discarded):

 

1)       Operate a pilot (without competitive process) – one of the requirements of a Pilot is to run a full competitive tender at the end, and it is not yet known what the outcome of the DfE procurement will be, which providers are on the Framework, how that could align with a comprehensive and seamless service in future years, or whether Local Authorities could access their Framework.

2)       Run a competitive process (Light Touch Open Procedure, below OJEU threshold) – this would be viable with a new contract in place from April/May, but given that the outcome of the national re-tendering for NPQ providers will not be known until Spring 2021, this is likely to impact negatively on any competitive process. In addition, LLSE are not taking on new participants from January and with a diminishing cohort, the opportunity to evaluate the approach would be lost with a new contract from April/May 2021.

 

Decision type: Key

Reason Key: Affects more than two Electoral Divisions;

Decision status: Withdrawn

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 15/12/2020

Decision due: Not before 13th Jan 2021 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Reason: In order that the proposed decision can be published for a minimum of 28 days, in accordance with statutory requirements

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills

Lead director: David Adams

Department: Education & Young People's Services

Contact: Christy Holden, Head of Strategic Commissioning, Children and Young People’s Services Phone number: 03000 415356.

Financial implications: Based on 250 participants and the current fees charged for modules, it is expected that this will cost £125,000. This will be funded from the 1% Inclusion Funding and is supported by the Kent Association of Head Teachers.

Legal implications: There could be a challenge from other training providers that this is awarded without competition. To mitigate this, a VEAT notice will be published. A VEAT (Voluntary Ex-Ante Transparency Notice) can be published when a contracting authority has chosen a particular route to market. This route falls under the label of a closed competition tender.

Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA) screening has been completed and has concluded that the proposed decision does not present any adverse equality impact.