Venue: Beaumanor Hall, Beaumanor Drive, Woodhouse, Leicestershire
Apologies for absence/Substitutions.
absence were received from Jane Moore, Karen Allen,
Nick Goforth chaired the meeting in the absence of Karen Allen.
The minutes of the meeting held on 26 November 2018 were agreed.
Jenny Lawrence presented a paper on the 2019/20 Dedicated Schools Grant Settlement for Leicestershire and the 2019/20 Schools Budget. The report builds upon a number of reports presented through the 2018/19 financial year.
Jenny explained the background to the funding system in terms of how it is received into the local authority and the role of the Schools Forum in setting the 2019/20 Schools’ budget.
Jenny referred to paragraph 17 which sets out the purpose and scope of the 2019/20 Schools’ Budget and the action required.
Jenny referred to the Dedicated Schools Grant (paragraph 20) section in the paper which sets out the funding settlement for 2019/20. The provisional overall DSG is £500m which is broken down into four separate blocks, the use of which Jenny outlined to the meeting.
In terms of the high needs block there was an announcement in December that gave Leicestershire £1.4m each year for 2018/19 and 2019/20 but was unsure whether this will continue, the High Needs Development Plan accounts for this funding on an on-going basis. This would ease some of the high needs pressure but confirmation of this funding was still awaited. The Early Years final grant will not be confirmed until June 2020.
Jenny stated that in terms of the Schools’ Block a ‘soft’ funding formula has been confirmed for 2020/21 i.e. local authorities retain responsibility for setting a school funding formula but there is no further information on school funding. The Leicestershire funding formula continues to reflect the National Funding formula (NFF) with the exception of sparsity funding. 2019/20 is the second year of the NFF and schools will receive a minimum per pupil increase in funding of 0.5% on the floor (a total of 1% compared to the 2017/18 baseline). Jenny stated that the formula has been submitted to the ESFA who have queried one element of the submission. Until this is resolved school budgets cannot be issued. It was hoped to get the issue sorted around 2017/18 baseline which is used this year but cannot use next.
The current overspend position of SEN placements and it is projected that an overall high needs overspend of £5.2M will be present in 2022/23 after which the deficit is recovered. The situation is expected to stabilise as new provision comes through the system. Jenny highlighted the £4.3m protection funding mentioned in paragraph 27 which is not guaranteed and it is uncertain how long that will remain in the funding system. A submission to the ESFA in December for the places expected to commission from the high needs providers for the following academic year are shown in Appendix C.
Jenny stated that there was no new information on the grants for universal infant free school meals and PE and sports.
Jenny stated that funding school growth funding for a new school works well but is proving to be a barrier in terms of growing mainstream school capacity which is something that needs to be addressed.
Jenny outlined that for 2019/20 funding for school growth is formulaic based on increases in pupil numbers between 2017 and 2018 October census and the allocation for 2019/20 is £2.3m which is a significant increase from 2018/19. However the cost of delivering the full NFF in 2019/20 exceeds the school element of the Schools Block by £0.6m. £0.2m of this relates to a difference in the formula budget and DSG allocation for the new Lubbesthorpe school opening in September 2019. The growth allocation has fully funded the shortfall resulting in a proposed school growth budget of £1.7m for 2019/20.
The dedicated schools grant reserve is at £1m ... view the full minutes text for item 88.
David Atterbury gave a presentation on the current position of the High Needs Block Recovery Plan in terms of Priority 3 (SEND Strategy).
David stated that a report went to Cabinet on 18 December outlining the plan to develop local SEND and to seek approval to consult on the proposals.
David explained that there are 3 key aspects to SEND Sufficiency and Provision. They are Inclusion, Systems and Processes and Development of Leicestershire Provision. Alison Bradley gave a brief update on the different aspects in terms of investment happening for the inclusion strand. David reported that Tom Common, Head of Service for SEND was currently looking at the EHCP process in terms of entitlement and equality of provision and David will be overseeing the development of Leicestershire provision.
David reported that Maplewell is proposing taking over a building on the Charnwood College campus as a Post 16 provision potentially for 40 places for use by Maplewell, Forest Way and Ashmount. This will free up places for ASD at Maplewell.
David reported that 30 high quality bids for 15 units were received. David went through the statutory process for the schools to follow which will be significant change for academies or statutory notices for mainstream schools. The units will need to be up and running by this year and some next year.
David outlined the following schools:
· 80 place ASD school (Barwell Newlands) to open September 2020. There is also a legal process to go through.
· 50 place SEMH school on the Shepshed Iveshead campus. As this will be a Free school a decision is awaited from the DfE.
· Potential for 50 place SEMH school in Lutterworth subject to further discussion with DfE and Trustees
The FE specialist provision will be taken forward after half-term.
As a snapshot of the online consultation those in favour of change was between 93 – 99%. There will be 6/7 drop in sessions to talk to parents in more detail. A report will be presented to Cabinet in May.
Schools Forum raised the Leicester Mercury report regarding comments made by the Leader of the Council regarding SEN provision. Schools Forum were concerned about comments made in the Leicester Mercury and formally voted as a majority to agree they would welcome clarification and public correction. The Clerk to the Forum would raise this with Jane Moore, Director of Children and Families.
David stated that the budget pressures are reported to Members and was very much about inclusivity and locality of provision.
Schools Forum formally thanked the local authority for taking this forward and gave their full support.
Any other business.
There was no further business.
Date of next meeting.
Monday 10 June 2019, 2.00 pm
Proposed future dates:
30 September 2019, 2.00 pm
25 November 2019, 2.00 pm
Beaumanor Hall to be confirmed
Monday 10 June 2019
Monday 30 September 2019
Monday 25 November 2019
All at 2.00 – 4.00 pm at Beaumanor Hall