Commissioning


When the commissioner is a local authority, it will be purchasing a place at the school. A contract agreement will be negotiated and drawn up to provide a number of places under an agreed Service Specification. The Specification will set out the obligations of the school, the commissioning authority and the child’s host school so that all parties are clear about: what will be delivered; how; when; at what price; the responsibilities of the parties to the agreement to maintain the highest level of support to the child; and what monitoring arrangements will be agreed to review the contract performance. The school will seek and welcome contractual arrangements with key local authorities proximal to the school. The contract monitoring review process will be on a regular periodic basis in agreement with the commissioner. The school will collate demographic and outcome data gathered in relation to the students’ needs, attendance, academic performance and behavioural presentation in the school. This will be reviewed jointly with the local authority commissioner on an agreed schedule.

Individual feeder schools may also commission places at Durham Gateway, and will also provide similar contracting procedures where commissioners are individual schools and academies. 

Commissioners (schools, academies and local authorities) will provide top-up funding to cover the total costs of this specialist provision. This top-up funding is based upon the student’s assessed needs and the cost of meeting those needs in the school, and will come from the local authority or other school that commissions the place. Presently for 2020/21 the standard top-up fee for each student will be £11,000 and this fee will cover reasonable transport costs. 

 Each learner takes part in a thorough induction. The induction and initial assessment programme will include the following activities:

  • Welcome and introduction to Durham Gateway; set expectations as outlined in the Home Academy Agreement; enrolment into ‘house’ group.
  • Introduction to curriculum offer including vocational qualification options; participation in vocational option taster sessions
  • Compile critical student information, including: information from commissioners regarding any exam concessions that have been applied; Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) and SEN (as applicable); SATs/KS3/4 results; school reports (academic and behavioural); initial assessment of academic baseline; and personal, social and employability (PSE) skills
  • Formulate individual support plans 
  • Target setting using Etracker with student information, targets and progress monitoring. 
  •  Pastoral meeting with allocated mentor to discuss targets, support plans and behaviour policy. 
  •  Explanation and discussion around safeguarding, equality and diversity, Fundamental British Values and Prevent agenda

If we accept a referral, we will contact the commissioner notifying them of this, including financial requirements, the support to be offered, the earliest possible start date, the date by which the offer should be accepted and the address to which to respond. 

Procedure following an offer when offer letters are sent

If the commissioner fails to accept the place by the date set out in the letter, it will be assumed that the commissioner no longer wants the place and the offer will be withdrawn. 

Appeals against any refusal to accept a referral

In the case of an appeal against a decision to refuse a referral, the commissioner should write to: 

Natalie Davison-Terranova
Chief Executive Officer
Bishop Auckland College
Woodhouse Lane
Bishop Auckland
County Durham
DL14 6JZ

The commissioner should outline the rationale for the referral and any supporting documentation. Cases will then be heard by an Independent Appeals Panel comprising at least three people from Durham Gateway management within 15 working days of the appeal being received. A decision will be notified within five working days of the hearing.

Durham Gateway undertakes to abide by any decision of the Appeals Panel. 

 If a satisfactory conclusion is not achieved through the Appeals Panel, then Durham Gateway will provide any possible assistance in securing a more appropriate placement for the student.