Venue: Beaumanor Hall, Beaumanor Drive, Woodhouse, Leicestershire
Apologies for absence/Substitutions.
Apologies for absence were received from Dave Hedley, Jo Blackburn, Mark Mitchley, Kath Kelly, Catherine Drury, Heather Sewell and Callum Orr.
Martin Turnham attended on behalf of Jo Blackburn.
The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.
The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 5 December 2016 were agreed as a true and accurate record.
Schools’ Form Self-Assessment
Jenny Lawrence explained that this item was included on today’s agenda.
David Thomas raised a question regarding the transfer to High Needs Block and the impact on school budgets. Jenny responded in terms of school budgets these were at the same level as for 2016/17. It is difficult to quantity the impact of moving the £2.85m to High Needs as no discussions had been undertaken over how this would have been allocated.
introduced her report and summarised the recommendations in paragraphs 3 - 10,
which would require both noting and decision making by Schools’ Forum members.
Jenny explained that the Schools Block Education Services Grant which the Local Authority receives for statutory duties was now included in the Dedicated Schools Block.
High Needs - Jenny reported that the school funding rate would remain at 2016/17 levels. The Minimum Funding Guarantee will remain at minus 1.5% per pupil for 2017/18.
Jenny reported that School Budgets had been submitted and had been declared compliant with the regulations by the Education Funding Agency (EFA).
The High Needs transfer is slightly below the estimated £3m at £2.58m in the County Council Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS), which will be considered at Cabinet tomorrow and County Council on 22 February.
The table in paragraph 30 sets out High Needs pressures to 2018/19. Proposed savings include Placement costs, review of Specialist Teaching Services and other areas funded from High Needs.
Paragraph 34 sets out the proposed Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) savings targets.
The National Funding Formula for Early Years has been introduced by the DfE from April 2017. Changes to the ways providers receive funding has been subject to a consultation. An increase of 13.5% for Leicestershire will get passed on to providers. 2017 sees the introduction of the Disability Access Fund, giving additional funding for pupils in receipt of National Living Allowance.
SEN Inclusion Fund – support for 3 and 4 year olds set up for SEN providers. An increase of £100,000 to reflect the expansion of 15 to 30 hours provision for eligible families from September 2017.
Base Rates set out in paragraphs 59 - 60 in terms of 2, 3 and 4 year olds.
No changes to the way school budgets are calculated, other than the re-stating of IDACI bands which are led by national changes in data from the EFA.
New rates set for excluded pupils.
No formal notification of Pupil Premium for 2017/18.
It is estimated £2m as free balance within the Schools Grant, which is being held as contingency. Not clear the Local Authority role in terms of school growth once the National Funding Formula is introduced.
Paragraph 63 sets out high level proposals around Local Authority Budget for growth and savings and focus of Capital Programme over the next 2 years.
The following questions were raised:
High Needs Block
Suzanne Uprichard referred to the table on page 19 which indicates that Oakfield was expected to take a reduction of £30,000 in 2017/18 and £50,000 in 2018/19 and asked if that was correct. Jenny responded that those proposed savings were correct.
Suzanne reported back from a recent meeting at Oakfield which concluded that £30,000 plus other savings identified meant could not logically continue but could probably squeeze up to £20,000. Suzanne reported that Alison Bradley the Headteacher was also a Service Manager at the Local Authority and she was expected to spend time at the LA, that time was not reimbursed back into Oakfield. There needed to be clarification whether Oakfield is a service or a school. Concerns regarding decisions had not been made with Oakfield and concerns that it may result in possible safeguarding issues at Oakfield with their most vulnerable children.
Jenny Lawrence responded that a range of savings and opportunities had been identified by service leads within the Local Authority, within the Medium Term Financial Strategy being presented at County Council on 22 February.
Paul Meredith reported that the decision was made on the basis of information provided by officers and was still going through the process ... view the full minutes text for item 27.
Jenny Lawrence introduced her report, based on an early analysis what proposals mean and what the National Funding Formula may be if implemented.
Jenny reported that Cabinet would be considering proposals at its meeting tomorrow.
Local Authority and School Funding 2018/19
High Needs funding
The Department for Education will calculate the pupil level elements of DSG and there would be an addition of non-school factors funded at historic cost. 2018/19 the Local Authority will be responsible for setting formula for schools.
A ‘hard’ formula will be implemented in April 2019, the DfE will calculate, local authorities will be removed from decisions on the school funding system.
Tony Gelsthorpe asked if that meant School Funding Forum will effectively disappear. Jenny responded there are still some elements of the consultation which suggests discretion of LAs, but would have to consider the role of the Schools’ Forum. Paul Meredith commented it could be a different format bringing schools together.
Jenny said it was important to note the figures you see are not what budgets will be in 2018/19, they illustrate what 2016/17 budgets would be if the new formula was introduced. Pupil data will change underneath that.
Jean Lewis commented that deprivation on area cannot reflect pupils outside catchment coming into school; money doesn’t follow them. Jenny reported that IDACI is based on the home address of pupils not the school they attend.
A question was raised regarding Sparsity indicator. Based on distance children have to travel to nearest school, does not reflect transport. Leicestershire is expected to receive £306k but there is an £11m reduction in the Lump Sum. Almost impossible to predict.
Concern that it may not be possible to fund schools as value in National Funding Formula, if there were increases in the cost of the school factors and pupil growth.
Jenny clarified that the National Funding Formula treats academies and maintained schools exactly the same.
Jean Lewis referred to special schools that run 4-19 right through and asked does the basic amount given to our schools alter or are they still on flat rate? Jenny responded the National Funding Formula does not affect special schools at all.
Karen Rixon commented on high amount allocated towards prior attainment, primary schools by definition, don’t get prior attainment. In infant schools that is a third of the children, quite discriminatory and perhaps needs to be clarified. Jenny responded that the LA will be responding to the consultation to say do not agree with the weightings.
Nick Goforth commented seems quite a large gap, which questions whether gaps need to be so large.
Could be up to £6m loss of High Needs funding, huge concern as a Local Authority.
Schools special needs units where per pupil funding will revert back to mainstream funding top up Element funding £6,000 not £10,000, just a technical change.
The Local Authority is working through and will be submitting a response to the consultation, which Jenny agreed to share with Schools’ Forum members. Jenny advised that Schools’ Forum may wish to consider whether they wanted to submit their own response to the consultation which ends on 22 March. Schools’ Forum members agreed as there would be a difference of views on particular issues, colleagues to respond on behalf of their school. It was also agreed Schools’ Forum Members to urge headteacher groups to respond to the consultation accordingly.
Steve McDonald asked if Leicestershire would benefit from extra funding? Jenny responded if the formula was fully implemented, yes.
Jenny agreed to convene an informal workshop for all Forum members before the end of the consultation period to ... view the full minutes text for item 28.
Schools' Forum Self-Assessment
Jenny Lawrence referred to the DfE guidance self-assessment toolkit issued for local authorities, which sets out responsibilities and good practice guides looking at the way Schools’ Forum works. Jenny asked for any comments or suggestions to be sent to her by the beginning of March.
Ian Shape asked for clarification regarding academy schools – ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ formula – pro rata or just carry on as now. Jenny responded, as we understand it will impact for maintained from April and academies from September.
Any other business.
There was no further business.
Date of Next Meeting
Monday 12 June 2017, 2.00 – 4.00 pm at Beaumanor Hall
Monday 25 September 2017
Monday 4 December 2017
Both at 2.00 – 4.00 pm at Beaumanor Hall
Monday 12 June 2017
Monday 25 September 2017
Monday 4 December 2017
All dates from 2.00 – 4.00 pm at Beaumanor Hall