Venue: Beaumanor Hall, Beaumanor Drive, Woodhouse, Leicestershire
Apologies for absence/Substitutions.
Apologies for absence were received from Jean Lewis, David Thomas, Troy Jenkinson, Claire Allen, Zoe Wortley and Ros Hopkins.
Tracey Foreman substituting for Dawn Whitemore and Jason Brooks was attending as the representative for Maintained Special Schools.
The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 30 September 2019 were agreed subject to the following amendment:
Agenda Item 4 – Proposed Transfer from Schools Block to High Needs Block 2020/21
Third paragraph, first sentence should read “The Secretary of State announced there would be additional funding of £700m for special educational needs and analysis of this suggests Leicestershire will receive £5.4m which is insufficient to address the high needs deficit”.
Matters arising – Proposed Transfer from Schools Block to High Needs
Jenny reiterated her response in the minutes that the County Council held £24.5m in usable revenue reserves made up from £8.5m maintained school balances and £15.5m uncommitted local authority balance.
Jane Moore introduced this item and explained that the presentation at today’s meeting will give an overview of the consultation and its responses. Following the presentation Schools Forum will be asked to vote on the proposals which will be outlined and to consider the next steps.
Jenny Lawrence confirmed the presentation will be emailed to members of the Schools Forum and also published on the Schools Forum website. The timescale for the consultation was short but timescales were given to the local authority by the DfE; the consultation opened on 23 October and closed on 31 October.
Jenny outlined the 3 aspects of the consultation to the meeting. There had been 103 responses of which 77% were from headteachers. There was some evidence of misunderstanding of the National Funding Formula (NFF) and Jenny outlined the key points regarding this. Jenny stated that an explanation of what the NFF is, what it does and what it will not do as it stands at the moment will be included in a future headteachers’ newsletter.
Jenny went through the High Needs Funding and highlighted that Leicestershire is low funded but also low need. The pure formula is based on current national resource which allocates £2.3m less than current funding. In terms of DFE High Needs benchmarking data the incidence of additionality within the High Needs Formula is low and indicators are shown through research to have a high correlation with SEN EHCPs are in line and expenditure is high.
Regulations say that school balances (if schools have a surplus) cannot be removed from school so cannot be used to address the overspend.
Jenny stated that there was a DfE consultation out at the moment on changing the conditions and regulations applying to the dedicated schools grant (DSG). If the conditions of the grant are changed the local authority will be required to carry forward the whole of the DSG overspend to be funded from the following year’s grant and remove the requirement of Schools Forum agreement. The consultation also proposes that local authorities may only provide revenue funding to support the Dedicated Schools Grant with the approval of the Secretary of State.
In terms of School SEN Funding Jenny outlined the key information to the meeting.
Jenny outlined the 3 questions that were asked as part of the consultation.
The sparsity factor has not been previously used and provided a low level of funding. Inclusion keeps alignment between Leicestershire formula and the NFF. The results of the consultation tended to agree with the inclusion of the sparsity factor in the Leicestershire formula.
In terms of mobility this was not an option for Leicestershire to use until now. The DfE have now generated a formula so funding can be received through NFF for this formula. The consultation results were very close with nearly half of the responses agreeing with the inclusion.
In response to concerns about the speed of the consultation information on whether transfers would be possible for 2020/21 was not known until September. Local authorities can only seek approval on a transfer annually and there is no automatic carry forward. The DfE set out the information that should be included in the consultation and Schools Forum can approve up to 0.5%. If approval is not agreed at Schools Forum the local authority can seek approval from the Secretary of State by 28 November. There is no information on whether transfers will be allowable in 2021/22.
Jenny explained the transfer methodology and referred to the proposals effectively maintain the NFF as it had been delivered since 2018/19. The modelling was based on the ... view the full minutes text for item 109.
Any other business.
There was no further business.
Date of next meeting.