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Decision details

Commissioning of Learn Sheffield

Decision status: For Determination

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes



The purpose of the report is to seek Co-operative Executive approval to renew the School Improvement contract between Sheffield City Council (SCC) and Learn Sheffield.


This includes:

                The award of a contract to Learn Sheffield for the school improvement service which:

o   Delivers the statutory duties in relation to school improvement on behalf of SCC

o   Supports the delivery of the Sheffield Inclusion Strategy

                The provision of services in kind from SCC to Learn Sheffield which support     Learn Sheffield to deliver these statutory duties:

o   Performance and Analysis service

o   E Learning

o   Crisis Communication


The current contract expires on the 31st August 2021.




RESOLVED: That Co-operative Executive:-


1.       Approve the award of a further contract with Learn Sheffield for school improvement from 1st September 2021 – 31st August 2026; and


2.       Delegate authority to the Executive Director of People Services in consultation with the Director of Legal and Governance Services, Director of Finance and Commercial Services and the lead Cabinet Member for Children and Education:


i)               To instruct Learn Sheffield further under the proposed agreement, to provide any additional services that are required, to address school improvement.


ii)Take other such necessary steps not covered by existing delegations to achieve the outcomes and objectives of this report.


ii)              Take decision on the contract break points in year 3 and year 4


iii)            Take decision, in negotiation with Learn Sheffield, on any changes to the offer of services in kind within the budget envelope outlined for this commission.




Reasons for Decision




The preferred option is:


1)    The award of a new contract to Learn Sheffield

2)    Enable, through the delegations outlined, flexibility in the approach to the contract and services in kind, whilst remaining within the outlined financial envelope.


This option was chosen because it:


                Allows SCC to continue to work with Learn Sheffield to deliver the statutory requirements for School improvement

                Responds to the school system who support Learn Sheffield through a financial based subscription model

                Allows us to update the current service specification to address the current needs of children in the city

                Meets with legal and commercial regulations

                Allows the current school improvement work to become more fully embedded, particularly during and after the COVID-19 pandemic

                Reduces disruptive change for schools and other workers

                Circumstantial evidence of the improvement in Sheffield schools’ standards during the current contract would suggest that Learn Sheffield has proven itself to be an effective provider




The intended outcomes are to achieve better outcomes for all children and young people, particularly our most vulnerable:


                Sheffield will be an inclusive city

                All children and young people get the right support at the right time so that they can live a happy and fulfilled life

                Innovative and collaborative approaches improve the quality of schools and teaching

                The interests of disadvantaged children and young people are championed

                There is sustainable improvement across the system




Alternatives Considered and Rejected




In making the recommendations two other options were considered and rejected:


1)     End the existing service and deliver in house:


This alternative was rejected because:


                It does not respond to the need to support a school sector led system of school improvement

                It does not respond to feedback from the sector – 90%of schools currently financially support Learn Sheffield through a subscription model demonstrating a commitment from the sector to this organisation




2)    End the existing provision and invest in a new provision through a procurement exercise


This alternative was also rejected because:


                The current model begun in 2015 and we are continuing to work in partnership to develop and mature the role of this organisation.

More change for schools would be disruptive, particularly during the recovery from the COVID pandemic




Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted








Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration








Respective Director Responsible for Implementation




Executive Director, People Services




Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In




Children’s Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee


Publication date: 23/07/2021

Date of decision: 21/07/2021

Decided at meeting: 21/07/2021 - Co-operative Executive

Effective from: 30/07/2021

Accompanying Documents: