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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Kennet Room - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Lisa Pullin, Tel 01225 713015 or email  committee@wiltshire.gov.uk  Email: lisa.pullin@wiltshire.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies and Changes of Membership

To note any apologies and changes to the membership of the Forum.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from the following Forum members: Andy Bridewell (Primary Headteacher representative), Sue Jiggens (Primary School Governor representative), Nigel Roper (Secondary School Headteacher representative) and Catriona Williamson (Primary Headteacher representative).

 

Apologies were also received from the following Wiltshire Council Officers – Nicholas Breakwell (Head of SEND), Becky Hellard (Interim Director – Finance and Procurement), Helean Hughes (Director of Education & Skills) and Helen Jones (Director – Commissioning)

 

The following changes to the membership of the Forum were noted:

 

Sam Churchill was substituting for Catriona Williamson for this meeting only.

 

Rebecca Carson was substituting for Andy Bridewell for this meeting only.

 

Sue Jiggens has recently stepped down as chair of Wiltshire Governors’ Association and Chair of Wylye Valley Primary School and has asked the WGA to find a replacement Primary School Governor Rep on Schools Forum.  The WGA will advise Schools Forum as to the replacement soon.

2.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 6 December 2018(copy attached).

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 6 December 2018 were approved as a correct record subject to the following amendment –

 

Agenda item 59 on page 9 of the minutes.  The sixth paragraph down to include the word “not” and to now read as follows “Forum members strongly felt that the monies should not just be taken from the vulnerable groups, but the burden should be shared across all schools”.

 

A Forum member asked if the Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills had written to Wiltshire MP’s to request support for high needs funding at both local and national level.  Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) reported that this had been requested and that she would check with the Cabinet Member’s PA to see if this had been actioned.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Chairman sign the minutes of the meeting of Schools forum held on 6 December 2018 subject to the agreed change above being made.

3.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chair.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed all to the Forum and asked all others present to introduce themselves.

 

The Chairman made the following announcements:

 

Press attendance at meetings

 

The meeting is not being webcast today, however we are aware that this is a public meeting that anyone can attend.  The Chairman asked if any members of the press were present.  Julia Hiystek confirmed that she was the Local Democracy reporter for The Gazette and Herald and the Wiltshire Times.

 

Changes to Agenda papers and Agenda supplements

 

There were changes to Agenda items 7 and 10d (Early Years papers) and those reports are available as a hard copy and two supplements were also published.  All members of the Forum were provided with copies. 

 

Confidential Item for Agenda Item 10F – High Needs Block Funding Update 2019/20

 

There is confidential information to share with the Forum at agenda item 10F at which point a request will be made for Forum members to agree to move to a Part II closed session part of the meeting to allow information to be shared and discussions to take place.

4.

Declaration of Interests

To note any declarations of interests.

Minutes:

John Proctor declared a pecuniary interest in the hourly rate to be agreed for 3 and 4 year old funding.  In his role as a nursery provider, any changes in the funding rates would impact upon his organisation.

5.

Update from School Admissions Service

The report of Debbie Clare (School Admissions Co-ordinator) provides details of changes that are taking place in the School Admissions Service.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) referred to the report from Debbie Clare (School Admissions Co-ordinator) which had been circulated with the Agenda which provided details of changes that are taking place in the Schools Admissions Service.  Marie highlighted the following:

 

·       Current funding for School Admissions is from central schools’ services block and in the 2018/19 budget report there was a request for an increase for the team funding which was not approved;

 

·       In line with the Schools Admission code there is no longer the statutory requirement for in year applications to be co-ordinated within county, however in the interest of safeguarding the Local Authority still co-ordinates all applications (including in year) for all children to Wiltshire schools.  This was in response to the positive response from 95% of schools that were surveyed about this:

 

·       A successful bid was made for additional funding to support the Army Basing Programme and this has enabled the team to maintain their current staffing structure for the next financial year and employ an additional short term member of staff to support the families returning from Germany as part of the Army Basing Programme;

 

·       It is possible that additional funding may be sought in the future to fund the in year (non statutory) service; and

 

·       The Schools Admissions Team have also begun a project to switch over to a new IT system (Liquid Logic) which it is hoped will provide a more streamlined way of working and provide information to schools in a more efficient way.

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum note the current pressures that the School Admissions Team face around the DSG funding allocation.

6.

Dedicated Schools Budget - Budget Monitoring 2018-19

The report of Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) presents the budget monitoring information for the financial year 2018/19 as at 31 December 2018.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) referred to the budget monitoring report as at 31 December 2018 that was circulated with the Agenda.  Marie highlighted the following:

 

·       That there was an improved position from what was reported at the December meeting of Schools Forum, with an overspend of £2.307 million projected against the overall schools’ budget;

 

·       An underspend on the Early Years Block was forecast of £0.818 million and this variance on projections and take up was largely due to parental choice of take up of the childcare entitlement;

 

·       The forecast overspend on the High Needs Block is £3.331 million (down from £4.1 million reported in December).  The Secretary of State announced in mid-December an additional £250 million would be made available to support high needs with Wiltshire’s revenue allocations for 2018/19 and 2019/20 being £1.128 million each year;

 

·       £100 million of capital funding has also been allocated by the Secretary of State, but the announcements about an allocation for Wiltshire has not been made yet.  The Local Authority have been told that there will be a “green light” to free school bids and we are anticipating the outcome of our bid for a Special School provision in the south of the county later this month;

 

·       A major pressure on the High Needs Block is the high number of EHCP’s.  The overspend is 9% of the total budget and this is a 16% increase on the numbers of EHCP’s;

 

·       There was a small forecast underspend on central schools’ budgets which might be available to fund other identified funding pressures such as union duties which was previously discussed at Schools Forum; and

 

·       The report proposes that in view of the forecast overspend on the High Needs block, and the forecast underspend on the Early Years block, the Early Years Inclusion Fund is no longer supported by high need funding and is fully funded by the Early Years block.  This would not impact the bottom line but support the premise that the Early Year funding block should match the Early Years activity.  We would not wish for this to be a precedent for future years, but for this year we could move money to where the need is.

 

An Early Years representative member reported that Early Years were sympathetic to the current predicament and in theory thought that it was reasonable that the Early Years underspend be used to reduce the High Need block deficit and that there could be a transfer to where the spending is currently needed but limited to current forecast expenditure levels, not budgeted levels.  Marie confirmed that this was acceptable and the Local Authority could move forward on this basis for 2018/19 only.

 

It was noted that any 2019/20 budget decisions would be taken at the end of the meeting.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    That Schools Forum note the budget monitoring position at the end of December 2018, the continued pressure on high needs budgets and supports and contributes to the on-going work of the High Needs Working Group.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Dedicated Schools Grant - Early Years Budget Monitoring 2018/19

The report of Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) presents the budget monitoring information against the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for the financial year 2018/19 as at 31 December 2018 and  seeks to recommend an in-year change in the funding arrangements of the Early Years Inclusion Fund. 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The revised report of Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) on the Early Years budget monitoring for 2018/19 which replaced the version that was circulated with the original Agenda was not considered at this point of the meeting.  It was confirmed that the contents of the extract report had been included under the previous report covering all the funding blocks.

 

Resolved:

 

Schools Forum note the budget monitoring position for the Early Years block for December 2018.   

8.

Reports from Working Groups

To note updates on the following working groups as detailed below:

 

·       Joint Meeting of the School Funding and SEN Working Group meeting held on 8 January 2019 (minutes attached).

·      Early Years Reference Group meetings held on 16 November (minutes attached) and 11 January 2019 (to follow in Agenda Supplement (1)).

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Forum noted the updates received by way of the minutes of the meeting of the School Funding and SEN working group held on 8 January 2019 (within the Agenda pack) and Early Years Reference Group meetings held on 16 November 2018 (within the Agenda pack) and 11 January 2019 (within Agenda supplement 1).

 

There were no questions raised.

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum note the minutes of the School Funding and SEN working group held on 8 January 2019 and the meetings of the Early Years Reference group held on 16 November 2018 and 11 January 2019.    

9.

Update from the High Needs Block Working Group

The report of Helean Hughes (Director for Education & Skills) on the work of the High Needs Block Working Group is to follow.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Marie Taylor referred to the report of Helean Hughes (Director – Education & Skills), circulated as Agenda Supplement (2) which gave an update on the work of the High Needs block working group.  Marie highlighted the following:

 

·       As previously reported the additional funding from the Secretary of State had slightly reduced the High Needs block cost pressures;

 

·       The actions that had been taken to address the on-going demands on the budget (listed in the report);

 

·       That ISOS (a research and advisory company) where being commissioned to lead a strategic review of the SEND provision to identify cost saving projects.  The two consultants appointed to work on the project are highly experienced in leading projects of this type.  Due to the pressure on the High Needs block the Local Authority are funding the consultancy work.  Action plans would be drawn up with potential savings attached and actions were to be put in place to prevent the Authority from being in this position again next year; and

 

·       The High Needs block working group would reconvene as part of the ongoing work.

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum note the update from the High Needs block working group and the proposed actions detailed in the report.

10.

Budget Setting 2019/20

To consider the budget for 2019/20.

 

The following update reports provide details on the overall funding settlement on each of the funding blocks, the decisions will be made after consideration of all the update papers via the decision matrix.

10a

Schools Block Update - Delegated Funding 2019/20

The report of Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) seeks to update the Forum on issues relating to the schools delegated budget for 2019/20 and the decisions that will need to be made as part of the budget setting process.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) referred to the report which sought to update Schools Forum on issues relating to the schools delegated budget for 2019/20 and the decisions that would need to be made as part of the budget setting process.  Grant highlighted the following:

 

·       The DfE had allocated £275.215 million to Wiltshire which included funding of £2.217 million for the growth fund (which was detailed in a separate report);

 

·       In 2018/19 Wiltshire had been able to replicate the National Funding Formula (NFF) as closely as possible.  Formula factors were all fully funded apart from FSM6 Derivation factor which was funded at a lower value for affordability reasons;

 

·       Modelling work had been carried out to calculate individual school budgets and although the DfE fund the Local Authority based on the NFF, it may not be possible to fund all schools in line with the National Formula;

 

·       It was proposed that the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) be set at 0.5% to ensure that all schools gain through their ‘per pupil’ funding.  This option would be modelled against others and presented to the Forum later in the meeting alongside other funding options;

 

·       Funding for de-delegated services must be allocated through the formula but can then be de-delegated for maintained primary and secondary schools with Schools Forum approval.  The services to be considered for de-delegation in 2019/20 are:

 

i)               HCSS Software Licence

ii)              Trade Union Facilities Costs

iii)            Maternity Costs

iv)            Ethnic Minority Achievement Service

v)             Traveller Education Service

vi)            Behaviour Support Service

vii)           FSM eligibility (this was missed from the list circulated within the report)

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum note the report and make the required decisions to the schools delegated budget for 2019/20 later in the meeting when all information had been received.

10b

Schools Revenue Funding 2019-20 - Funding Settlement & Budget Setting Process

The report of Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) seeks to update the Forum on the schools revenue funding settlement and the budget setting process for 2019-2020.  It also outlines the funding settlement announced on 17 December 2018 and the impact on school budgets arising from the settlement. 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) referred to the report which sought to update Schools Forum on the schools’ revenue funding settlement and the budget setting process for 2019/20.  Grant highlighted the following:

 

·       The DfE had issued the revenue funding settlement for schools on 17 December 2018.  The provisional Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) allocation for Wiltshire Council was £351.646 million which was an increase of £9.148 million from 2018/19;

 

·       The table at paragraph 6 on page 52 of the Agenda showed the split of funding across the four blocks and the increases received.  The increase to the High Needs block funding included the £1.128 million of additional funding received from the Secretary of State;

 

·       Pupil numbers had increased with figures from the October 2018 census showing an increase of 15 primary aged children and 412 secondary aged children, making a total of 63,116;

 

·       The funding regulations do allow for a transfer of funding between the Schools block to the High Needs block with the agreement of Schools Forum of up to 0.5%.  Above this amount requires specific approval from the Secretary of State and as requested at the December meeting of the Forum a disapplication request was made to transfer 1%.  The DfE have asked the Local Authority to confirm that their request still stands in light of the additional revenue of £1.128 million to be received in 2019/20.  Officers had responded that Schools Forum had yet to meet, but confirmed that the request should continue;(NOTE - Since the meeting, approval to transfer funds at 0.8% from Schools block to High Needs block was received from the Education & Skills Funding Agency in a letter dated 25 January 2019 – copy attached as Appendix 1).

 

·       The Authority was required to submit their proposed delegated budget for schools in their areas to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) by 21 January 2019.  The ESFA would then need to confirm the formula is compliant with the funding regulations.  Once confirmed, the LA will then be able to distribute the budget information for all maintained schools by the end of February 2019 at the latest.  The ESFA would notify all academies of their budget information also by the end of February 2019;

 

·       The table at paragraph 15 on page 53 of the Agenda showed how the amount of funding available for distribution to schools would be calculated; and

 

·       As previously reported, de-delegation of services would need to be agreed for 2019/20 with the inclusion of FSM eligibility service which was missed from the list at paragraph 22 on page 54 of the Agenda.

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum note the report.

10c

Allocation of Funding for Pupil Growth 2019-20

The report of Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) seeks agreement on the methodology for allocating funding for pupil growth from the school’s block growth fund in 2019-20 and the amount of funding to be allocated for pupil growth.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) referred to the report which sought agreement on the methodology for allocating funding for pupil growth from the School’s block in setting a growth fund in 2019/20.  Grant highlighted the following:

 

·       There had been a change in the methodology for funding local authorities for growth and it was now based on the actual growth in pupil numbers they experienced the previous year.  This would ensure that over time local authorities are funded on the basis of the actual growth they experience (on a lagged basis), rather than being based upon historical spending decisions;

 

·       £2.2 million had been allocated to Wiltshire for growth in 2019/20.  The DfE measure growth within local authorities at “middle layer support output area (MSOA) 1 level.  In Wiltshire, there are 62 MSOA’s with an average of 4 schools in each MSOA area.  The table at paragraph 13 on page 56 of the Agenda shows how the Wiltshire allocation has been calculated;

 

·       The DfE expect Local Authorities to use their own funding formula for growth and have previously confirmed that Wiltshire’s current growth fund criteria is fully compliant with the funding regulations;

 

·       The list of requirements for allocating funding from the growth fund must include the agreement from Schools Forum on both the criteria and size of the fund to be allocated;

 

·       Historically Schools Forum have agreed an annual budget of £1 million to be retrained for funding pupil growth and in the report, it was suggested that this be increase to £1.2 million for 2019/20.  Since the preparation of the report it is now recommended by Officers that the budget remain at £1 million (from the allocation of £2.2 million), based upon need for 2019/20 and enabling funds to be used elsewhere to fund known cost pressures;

 

·       During 2019/20 there would be two new primary schools opening, one in Amesbury to meet an increase in the basis need of the area and the other in Ludgershall to deal with the increase in demand following the Army Basing Programme.  The increase of pupil numbers for both schools was unknown as yet and parental choice will impact upon the popularity of both schools;

 

·       The Authority successfully secured £0.75 million of funding from the MOD’s Education Support Fund to support the preparations and recruitment in schools directly affected by the Army Basing Programme.  This funding will help to ensure that Wiltshire Schools are not disadvantaged as result of the programme; and

 

·       Additional funding has also been promised by the DfE towards the significant growth in pupil numbers through the Army Basing Programme.

 

The Chair wished to record his thanks for the hard work that was undertaken by Officers to secure funding through the MOD’s ESF and also to the Councillors and MP’s that had supported Officers to gain agreement from the DfE that the additional growth funding would be made available. 

 

Resolved:

 

 

1.    That Schools Forum note the report.

 

2.    Approve the criteria for allocating pupil Growth Fund in 2019/20.

 

3.    That  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10c

10d

Early Years Block Funding 2019/20

The report of Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) seeks to update the Forum on issues related to the early years block for 2019-20 and the decisions that will need to be made as part of the budget setting process for 2019-20.  The operational guidance for the early years block confirms that Schools Forums must be consulted on changes to local early years funding formulae, including agreeing central spend, although the final decision rests with the local authority.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) referred to revised report which sought to update the Forum on issues related to the Early Years block for 2019/20 and the decisions that would need to be made as part of the budget setting process.  Marie highlighted the following:

 

·       The operational guidance for the Early Years block confirms that Schools Forum must be consulted on changes to local early year funding formulae, including agreeing central spend, although the final decision rests with the local authority.  Officers wished to seek the views of Forum members and for them to be happy with the decisions that would need to be made.  The key points of the guidance were explained to the Forum;

 

·       The hourly rate for 2 year olds in Wiltshire has been confirmed for £5.32 for 2019/20;

 

·       The DSG initial allocation for Early Years remains at £4.30ph for the 3 and 4 year old entitlements and the current rates for providers in Wiltshire (agreed by Schools Forum – January 2018) is £4.16ph. An increase to £4.18ph was indicated last year and this increase was supported by the Local Authority and is based upon spend on supplements and historical take up rates;

 

·       Considering the High Needs block funding pressures, it is unlikely that Schools Forum will be able to allocate any High Needs block funding to support Early Years expenditure and with this in mind, Officers are recommending that the High Needs block contribution is withdrawn and the total budget is funded from the Early Years block;

 

·       The Early Years Reference Group met on 11 January 2019 and requested that detailed modelling of the additional funding level scenarios be drawn up and these are attached as Appendix 1 to the revised report.  Appendix 2 shows the calculations of compliance with the % pass through – all scenarios are compliant; and

 

·       After consideration of the scenarios, the Local Authority confirm that they could support an hourly rate of £4.20ph but would not be able to support an increase beyond that as the financial risks cannot be mitigated.

 

An Early Years representative member made the following points:

 

·       Early Years providers are really struggling – there has been an increase in business rates, providers haven’t received any “extras” like schools have, e.g. funding to help with salary and pension increases and Little Extras funding;

 

·       Last year when we wanted rate to be £4.18ph we were told “no, you will get a deficit”.  What has actually happened is that we have an underspend – we would like our underspends to be ringfenced for Early Years;

 

·       At a rate of £4.18/£4.20ph many providers cannot afford to pay their way and this is affecting sufficiency of providers.

 

Marie Taylor responded that the Local Authority felt that £4.20 was a fair offer and was double the rise that was received in the last financial year. 

 

Two proposals were being put forward for consideration, which were either setting the rate at £4.18ph (Local Authority preferred proposal) or £4.20ph and in both options, it  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10d

10e

Schools Central Block Funding Update 2019/20

The report of Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) seeks to update the Forum on issues relating to the Central Schools Services Block (CSSB) budget for 2019-20 and the decisions that will need to be made as part of the budget setting process.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) referred to the report which sought to update Schools Forum on issues relating to the Central Schools Services Block budget for 2019/20 and the decisions that would need to be made as part of the budget setting process.  Marie highlighted the following:

 

·       What approvals would need to be agreed by Schools Forum on a line by line basis as part of the CSSB funding block as detailed in Section B and the historic commitments; and

 

·       If the allocations were agreed by Schools Forum as proposed by the Local Authority then an amount of £0.334 million is estimated to be available to transfer to fund high needs pressures.

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum note the report and make the required decisions to the schools delegated budget for 2019/20 later in the meeting when all information had been received.

 

10f

High Need Block Funding Update 2019/20

The report of Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) seeks to update Schools Forum on issues related to the high needs block for 2019-20 and the decisions that will need to be made as part of the budget setting process for 2019-20. 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Prior to the consideration of this report Schools Forum members were informed that confidential information was to be shared with them and that it was advised that the budget discussions should from this point of the meeting be considered under Part II.

 

The Forum were in agreement that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of Agenda items 10f and 10g and duly

 

Resolved:

 

To agree that in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the public from the meeting for the business specified in Minute Numbers 10f and 10g because it is likely that if members of the public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act and the public interest in withholding the information outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information to the public.

 

Marie Taylor (Interim Head of Finance) referred to the report which sought to update Schools Forum on issues relating to the High Needs block budget for 2019/20 and the decisions that would need to be made as part of the budget setting process.  Marie highlighted the following:

 

·       A recommendation that had been agreed by the Director of Finance – to be put forward for approval by Cabinet which would seek to put in place part of the recovery plan for the High Needs block pressures;

 

·       The projected demand on the High Needs block as shown in paragraph 4 on page 83 of the Agenda.  As raised earlier in the meeting it was now proposed that the Growth Fund be set at £1 million which meant that £1.2 million would be available through the Schools block and if agreed, could be available to transfer to the High Needs block;

 

·       The estimates of the shortfall were based on a number of assumptions which were explained to the Forum.  At the December meeting of the Forum, the use of the “Little Extras” funding had been discussed as an option for funding the shortfall, but as the capital contributions had now been released it was more than anticipated and so this option would not be pursued;

 

·       A movement of funding from Schools block was to be proposed and as agreed at the December meeting of Schools Forum a disapplication request to agree a transfer of 1% has been made to the Secretary of State.  The Local Authority is now proposing that a transfer of 0.8% be made which would allow high needs funding to be made available in 2019/20 whilst the SEN consultant works with schools and the Local Authority to model options;

 

·       At the Forum’s December meeting it was felt that it was all doom and gloom, but Officers have now been able to model up scenarios and feel there is a way forward by utilising the transfers from Central and Schools blocks and electing not to fund the Early Years Inclusion Funding, together with the additional monies from the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10f

10g

School Budget Decisions 2019/20

The Forum will be asked to consider the Schools Budgets for 2019/20 and make relevant decisions using the decisions matrix (which will be circulated at the meeting).

Minutes:

Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) displayed different options on the Smartboard which could be considered for funding a transfer to the High Needs block.

 

These options included keeping the FSM Ever6 rate at 75.2% (which would mean a Schools block surplus of £35,000 or, in line with the National Funding Formula (NFF) this could be raised to 76% which would balance the funding in the Schools block.  This would mean certainty for schools that they can rely on this funding and could benefit from the increase if agreed.

 

Another option was to set the Minimum Funding Guarantee at 0% but this option was not favoured as it was moving away from the NFF, it would be proposed that the MFG continue to be set at 0.5%.

 

Another option was to not raise the minimum per pupil funding levels (currently at £3,300 and £4,600) to £3,500 and £4,800, but again this was not in line with NFF and not deemed appropriate.

 

A Forum member asked if we manage to move things around within our blocks to “balance” our budgets – Does this convey the message to the DfE that we are doing OK?

 

Grant responded that our disapplication request to the Secretary of State will be clear that we are not “doing ok”.  Other Local Authorities are also in this position and are asking for a higher % to be allowed to transfer from the Schools block to the High Needs block.  It sends the message that we have to “rob” our Schools block fund to be able to support our High Needs budget which is under extreme cost pressures.

 

Grant then circulated an A3 decision matrix at the meeting to Forum members to make it clear which funding block was being discussed and what decision was required by the Forum and each decision was discussed line by line.

 

Schools Forum members wished for their concerns to be noted that each year we are in the same position with the Early Years budgets and Schools budgets having to be used to support the High Needs budgets and what could be done to make sure that we are not in the same boat again next year.  If agreements were made to transfer between blocks it should be clear that it was not Schools Forum member’s wish that this is what is planned to happen each year (as it had previously). 

 

Officers explained the reasons why they were not able to support a larger hourly increase to the Early Years providers and that anything over £4.20 would be too much of a risk to the Council and there would be a chance that if the rate was raised more than this, that it would have to be lowered in a subsequent year which would cause even more difficulties to the providers.  The rate of up to £4.20 per hour was allowing for post year adjustments following the census data.

 

It was agreed that an update from the High Needs block working  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10g

Appendix 1 to Minutes - Ltr from Education and Skills Funding Agency - 25.1.19

Supporting documents:

Appendix 2 to Minutes - Decision Matrix 2019/20

Supporting documents:

11.

Confirmation of Dates for Future Meetings

To confirm the dates of future meetings, as follows, all to start at 1.30pm:

 

28 March 2019

13 June 2019

10 October 2019

5 December 2019.

Minutes:

The Forum noted that the future meetings would be held on:

 

28 March 2019

13 June 2019

10 October 2019

5 December 2019

16 January 2020

26 March 2020.

 

12.

Urgent Items

To consider any other items of business, which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

 

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