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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

43.

Election of Chair

To elect a Chair of Schools Forum for 2019/20.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

The Forum agreed to appoint Neil Baker as Chair of Schools Forum for 2019/20.

44.

Election of Vice Chair

To elect a Vice Chair of Schools Forum for 2019/20.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

The Forum agreed to appoint Lisa Percy as Vice Chair of Schools Forum for 2019/20.

 

45.

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: Mark Cawley (Early Years Rep), Michelle Chilcott (Secondary Academy Rep) and John Hamp (Special School Academy Rep).

 

Apologies were received from the following Wiltshire Council Officers:  Terence Herbert (Executive Director – Children and Education) and Helen Jones (Director – Commissioning).

 

Membership Changes:

 

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

 

Fergus Stewart (Head of St Laurence School, Bradford on Avon is the new Chair of WASHH).  Fergus replaces Neil Spurdell (Head of Sheldon School) on the Forum.

 

At the last meeting, we identified where there was the need to appoint an additional primary academy representative and this position has been filled by Rebecca Carson of Woodford Valley Primary Academy.

 

Lindsay West is no longer the Principal of Durrington Infants School and so a new Primary Academy representative is needed.  Catriona Williamson as Chair of PHF will raise it and seek a new representative at their next meeting in November.

 

Cllr Ross Henning will join as the Observer representative on behalf of the Local Youth Network.  Ross is the Vice Chair of the Chippenham Local Youth Network.

 

We are still awaiting a Primary School Governor Rep from the WGA (to replace Sue Jiggens).

46.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 13 June 2019 (copy attached).

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 13 June 2019 were approved as a correct record.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Chairman sign the minutes of the meeting held on 13 June 2019.

 

Forum Members asked about an update on the Admissions Appeals service as this had been requested to be presented to this meeting.  Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) confirmed that this was still being worked on with colleagues in Democratic Services and would come to the next Forum meeting on 12 December 2019.

 

47.

Chair'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 announcement:

 

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. There were no members of press or public present at the meeting.

 

 

48.

Declaration of Interests

To note any declarations of interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

49.

Wiltshire Schools Forum Proportionality, Membership and Terms of Reference

The report of Lisa Pullin (Democratic Services Officer) seeks approval to the

revision of the Forum’s Terms of Reference by the Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills in light of the review of the proportionality of membership that was carried out in June 2019. 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Lisa Pullin (Clerk to the Panel) referred to the Proportionality, Membership and Terms of Reference report that had been circulated with the Agenda.

 

Lisa reminded the Forum of the review of a proportionality of membership that was carried out in June 2019 where it was identified that there was a change to the Wiltshire pupil numbers and that there was a need to appoint another Primary Academy representative to the Forum. 

 

Rebecca Carson (Headteacher – Woodford Valley) had been appointed as the additional Primary Academy representative and the Forum’s Terms of Reference would need to be amended to reflect this change in membership numbers, with approval via the Delegated Decision process to be sought from the Cabinet Member for Children, Education and Skills.  Lisa referred to Terms of Reference which were attached as Appendix 1 and asked the Forum to note that there was also a minor change to correct a Wiltshire Council job title.

 

The Forum were also asked to note the current vacancies and that requests had been made to the Primary Heads Forum and Wiltshire Governors Association to nominate representatives:

 

·           A Primary Academy representative (previous Head had left School)

·           A Primary Governor representative

·           Observer representative – Wiltshire Children and Families Voluntary Sector Forum.

 

Resolved:

 

That Wiltshire Schools Forum:

 

i)          Notes that the proportionality of the Forum has been reviewed and that in light of this a new Primary Academy representative (Rebecca Carson) has been appointed.

ii)        Approves the proposed changes to the Forum’s Terms of Reference as detailed in Appendix 1 and requests that these changes be presented to the Cabinet Member for Children, Education & Skills for approval through the delegated decision process.

iii)       Notes the current Membership details of the Forum.

iv)       Recommends that representatives to the vacancies detailed in the

          report be requested to be appointed by the Primary Heads Forum

          (PHF), Wiltshire Governors Association (WGA) and the Wiltshire and Children and Families Voluntary Sector Forum as soon as possible.

 

50.

Updates from Working Groups

The Forum will be asked to note the updates from the following:

 

·      Early Years Reference Group meeting held on 13 September 2019.

 

·       Joint Meeting of the School Funding Working Group and SEN Working Group held on 1 October 2019 (which are to follow).

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Forum noted the update received by way of the minutes of the Early Years Reference Group meeting held on 13 September 2019 that was circulated with the Agenda.

 

A Forum Member asked if the plans to roll out the Liquidlogic system was still intended?  Marie Taylor (Head of Finance - Children and Education) confirmed that yes this roll out was still ongoing.

 

The Forum noted the update received by way of the minutes of the joint meeting of the School Funding Working Group and SEN Working Group meeting held on 1 October 2019 (circulated within Agenda Supplement (1).

 

It was noted that Catriona Williamson, Sam Churchill and Nick Breakwell were present at the joint meeting and that their attendance should be amended on the notes.

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum note the minutes of the Early Years Reference Group meeting held on 13 September 2019 and the joint meeting of the Schools Funding and SEN Working Groups held on 1 October 2019 subject to them being amended to confirm the correct attendance.

51.

Schools Revenue Surplus and Deficit Balances 2018/19

The report of Hazel Ryan (Schools Strategic Financial Manager Adviser) presents the position of revenue balances for Wiltshire maintained schools as at 31 March 2019 and identifies those schools that are in deficit.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) referred to the report which presented the position of revenue balances for Wiltshire maintained schools as at 31 March 2019 and identified those schools that were in surplus and in deficit.  Grant also explained the appendices to the report in some detail and asked the Forum to note that the analysis excluded 2 schools that had converted to academies during the 2018/19 financial year. 

 

Grant highlighted the following:

 

·       As part of the DSG’s assurance framework, the DfE ask Local Authorities to provide additional information in certain circumstances.  Wiltshire would not trigger an investigation from the DfE from the number of schools that have had revenue balances of more than 15% of their school budget share for the last 5 years.  However, there could be an investigation triggered in relation to the number of schools that have had a deficit balance of more than 2.5% for the last four years;

 

·       The number of schools in deficit has decreased from 19 in 2017/18 to 16 in 2018/19, however the value of the deficits has increased from £3.24m in 2017/18 to £3.67m in 2018/19.  This was positive news and recognised that it was not easy to change things around to achieve this;

 

·       The number of schools in surplus in 2017/18 and 2018/19 remains constant at 125 and 124 respectively, however the value of the surpluses has increased by £0.59m from £9.70m in 2017/18 to £10.29m in 2018/19;

 

·       Lypiatt Primary School (which had a high surplus) closed in August 2019 and was a site-specific school for MOD children who had returned from oversees following a family breakdown.  Numbers had considerably reduced and there was no deemed need.  The school had previously been propped up my MOD funding and this had been withdrawn, making the school unviable;

 

·       There were a number of other schools not highlighted in Appendix 3 due to Officer/formatting error which have also had revenue budgets in excess of 15% for the last 5 years and these were – Crockerton, Southwick and Urchfont; and

 

·       A number of support mechanisms have been put in place to support schools facing financial difficulty.  The Local Authority continues to support the F40 Group which works for fairer funding for schools with Wiltshire being the 7th lowest funded.  There was an increased capacity of Schools Strategic Financial Advisors to work with schools facing deficit budgets.  There was a new structure within the School Improvement Team to support schools facing a number of challenges and there was collaborative work with Regional and School Improvement Advisers to ensure that recovery plans are take account of both educational as well as financial needs.

 

Forum Members asked the following questions:

 

13 of the schools that were in deficit in 2018/19 were Primary Schools – is there a trend in respect of this? 

 

Grant Davis reported that this is a backward-looking report and across the board it does look like more schools would be heading into difficulty and towards a deficit balance.  The DfE  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Dedicated Schools Budget - Budget Monitoring 2019/20

The report of Marie Taylor (Head of Finance – Children and Education) seeks to present monitoring information against the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for the financial year 2019/20 as at 31 August 2019.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Marie Taylor (Head of Finance – Children and Education) referred to the Dedicated Schools Budget Monitoring 2019/20 report that was circulated with the Agenda.  Marie highlighted the following:

 

·       That an overspend of £4.864m was currently projected against the overall schools’ budget which is really concerning and although this was the first report of the new financial year, the ongoing pressures on the high needs block is known and understood;

 

·       The budgets for the free entitlement for 15 and 30 hours childcare are currently forecast to be overspent by £0.978m – this is because the take-up has increased above the budgeted hours which were based on the average take up of the past 3 years;

 

·       High needs budgets are projected to overspend by £3.958m with the biggest areas of overspend being Independent Special School packages, Named Pupil Allowances and top ups in non-Wiltshire provision;

 

·       The major driver of the increased cost is volume which is measured in FTE pupils and at the last meeting, Forum members asked for more detail about activity which was included within Appendix 2.  It was important to note that the number of EHCP’s being requested has not slowed at all and are rising at a similar rate as 2018/19.  There had been an increase of 5.98% in EHCP’s from 1 April 2019 to September 2019 which is 213 EHCP’s – an average increase of 14/15 per month;

 

·       There had been an increased take up of the Inclusion Support Fund with the budget being based on previous take up, so this was beneficial for the children accessing this, but not for the budget;

 

·       There was also a huge increase of 26% for the Named Pupil Allowance;

 

·       Of real concern was that the forecast overspend would take the DSG reserve in to a deficit position of £7.130m.  Last year the Authority did not trigger the submission of a DfE Action Plan for a DSG deficit of more than 1% of total DSG, but it was looking likely we would require a recovery plan and explanation to the DfE in June 2020.  The ISOS findings and new SEN Strategy currently being drafted would be used as an operational tool to take the school budget forward;

 

A Forum member noted that the SEN alternative provision, Direct Payments and Elective Home Education provision has jumped from 37 to 137 and appears to have come out of nowhere.  Marie reported that they were now monitoring this data closely as it was the first time it has become part of the monitoring and it was good that the authority were now aware of it.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Forum note the budget monitoring position as at the end of August 2019 together with the findings and recommendations from the ISOS report and presentation and the Schools Budget 2020/21 consultation report.

53.

High Needs Update

Marie Taylor (Head of Finance – Children and Education) will update Schools Forum on the journey so far.

 

Ben Bryant and Karina Kulawik will present the recommendations from the ISOS Partnership at the meeting.  (The final report is confidential and included in Part II of the Agenda papers). 

 

Helean Hughes (Director – Education & Skills) and Matt Sambrook (Consultant Headteacher for the Local Authority & Head Teacher of Exeter House Special School) will discuss the next steps at the meeting.

Minutes:

Marie Taylor (Head of Finance – Children and Education) referred to the journey so far presentation (shown at the meeting and attached as Appendix 1 to this Minutes) which showed the timeline and actions take by the Authority to address the budget pressures on the high needs block.

 

Ben Bryant and Karina Kulawik from the ISOS Partnership were present at the meeting to share the findings and recommendations from their final report (attached under Agenda item 18 as a confidential part II paper).  It was confirmed that this report was no longer confidential and could now be shared as appropriate. 

 

Ben reported to the Forum that he intended to give them the top line messages from the findings (presentation slides from meeting attached as Appendix 2 to the Minutes) and referred Forum members to the main report (which was now available as detailed above).  Ben explained the aims of the review:

 

Evidence: To build an evidence base and collective understanding of how effectively the local system supports young people with high needs.

 

Engagement: To engage a broad range of partners, build consensus and harness collective expertise to shape and implement solutions.

 

Shared strategy: To work co-productively to develop a shared strategic approach.

 

ISOS approached the project as follows:

 

Phase 1 – Initial scoping

 

Between January and March 2019, ISOS carried out initial work to understand the current context, analysis of data and documents and scoped out their evidence-gathering.

 

Phase 2 – In-depth evidence gathering

 

Between April and May 2019, ISOS carried out broad engagements with key partners to gather feedback and evidence.

 

Phase 3 – Testing findings and shaping recommendations

 

Between June and July 2019, ISOS were testing findings and shaping recommendations and a future approach through co-production.

 

Ben thanked all those that had worked with ISOS and contributed to workshops etc. 

 

Ben detailed the overarching messages which were:

 

·       Wiltshire is a well-regarded local SEND and high needs system.

·       The system is, however, facing considerable demand and financial pressures.

·       There is a willingness to forge new relationships and a collective ethos around high needs.

·       There is the need to build strong, strategic and co-productive relationships and partnerships with all key partners in the local system.

·       There is the need to ensure core processes that govern the day to day operation of the system are effective, transparent and have the confidence of families and professionals.

·       There needs to be a strategically planned continuum of SEND and high needs support, services and provision.

 

As part of the six broad themes (detailed below) that the review has explored, Ben gave details of the headline findings, potential “quick wins” and the identified longer term actions to the Forum.

 

1.    Co-production with parents/carers and young people.

2.    Partnerships working across education, health and care.

3.    Identification, assessment and access to support.

4.    Building inclusive capacity in mainstream schools and settings and providing targeted support for inclusion.

5.    Developing responsive, effective local specialist provision.

6.    Preparation for adulthood.

 

As previously identified the high  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53.

Appendix 1 to Minutes - High Needs Update - Journey so far

Supporting documents:

Appendix 2 to Minutes - Summary of key findings and recommendations

Supporting documents:

Appendix 3 to Minutes - Final Structure

Supporting documents:

54.

School Revenue Funding 2020-21

The report of Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) seeks to update Schools Forum regarding the content of the Department for Education’s (DfE) operational guidance on School Revenue Funding for the 2020 to 2021 year.   

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) referred to the reported circulated with the Agenda which sought to outline and update Schools Forum on the content of the DfE’s operational guidance on Schools Revenue Funding for 2020/21.  Grant highlighted the following:

 

·       An update to the National Funding Formula (NFF) funding rates are due to be announced in October and this has tended to be towards the end of Term 1;

 

Lisa Percy reported that the MP for Chippenham had requested to be at Hardenhuish tomorrow (11 October) and she thought that this might be because an announcement on funding was due to be made then?

 

·       The elements of the NFF that are to be in place for 2020/21 for mainstream school funding;

 

·       The High Needs NFF will see an increase to all Local Authorities funding of at least 8%, taking account of changes to their 2 to 18-year-old population and the additional £1.1m announced as part of the £125m uplift for 2019/20.  For Wiltshire this would mean a minimum increase of £3.76m to the high needs block.  There is a gains cap of 17%, which is the maximum increase an Authority could gain.  This would equate to a maximum increase of £7.99m which would be a great help.  It was anticipated that around a £5.2m uplift would be more likely;

 

·       For the 2020/21 the DfE have confirmed it will be another “soft” funding year and each Authority along with its Schools Forum will be able to determine its school funding formula.  The only mandatory factor for 2020/21 will be the application of the minimum per pupil funding levels of £3,750 for primary and £5,000 for secondary schools;

 

·       Indicative funding allocations from the DfE will be made available in October and based upon the October 2018 census.

 

A Forum Member asked when would the “hard” funding formula be in place?  Grant reported that the DfE state that they are “moving towards this”.

 

Lisa Percy reported that she would endeavour to ask the Chippenham MP tomorrow to see if any further information was known.

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum note the contents of the report.

 

55.

Annual Schools Consultation - Delegation of Central Expenditure 2020/21 and Transfer of Schools block to High Needs Block 20/21

The report of Marie Taylor (Head of Finance – Children and Education) seeks to brief Schools Forum and agree a set of questions to be sent out to all schools in October 2019.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Marie Taylor (Head of Finance – Children and Education) referred to the report which sought to seek Schools Forum’s agreement to a set of consultation questions which was due to be sent out to all schools in relation to delegation of central expenditure for 2020/21 and a transfer from schools block to the high needs block.

 

Marie referred to Appendix 1 which was a tick table, asking maintained schools to indicate their preference around delegation/de-delegation of budgets for central services within the Schools’ Block.  Forum Members approved the table as drafted.

 

Marie reported that it was likely that Schools Forum would be asked to discuss and make a decision regarding a transfer from the Schools’ Block to the high needs block for 2020/21 as well as other plans to reduce the forecast overspend for 2019/20 of £4.864m.  It is recommended that we seek the views of all schools on the proposed questions in Appendix 2 which cover a range of options from transferring funding from Schools Block’, using the growth fund estimated surplus in the first instance and reducing the unit values of direct funding levels of support for children and young people.

 

The Forum considered the questions in Appendix 2 and Marie was asked to incorporate the following:

 

i)           The detail from the ISOS Action Plan into the background information so the context is understood, and the news is not all “doom and gloom”. 

ii)          School’s Forums previously agreed principles regarding school funding and what was agreed to do last year - raised by David Whewell.

iii)         Details about the referral to the Secretary of State so those completing survey can understand the position and be aware of the implications

iv)        Preamble for Schools to contact their Schools Forum’s reps for any further information required

 

Marie reported that the consultation would be sent out to all Heads/School Business Managers and Governors.  The response last year was low and as the response was due by the end of November 2019, all were asked to encourage responses.  Helean Hughes would flag this at the forthcoming Headteacher briefings in November.

 

The Forum asked that the final version of the consultation questions be shared with Neil Baker, Lisa Percy and David Whewell as Schools Forum representatives before issued to schools.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    That Schools Forum approved the consultation questions for maintained schools around delegation/de-delegation of budgets for central services within the Schools Block as set out in Appendix 1.

 

2.    That Schools Forum approve the consultation questions set out in Appendix 2 subject to the incorporation of items i) to iv) above with final approval before despatch being sought from Neil Baker, Lisa Percy and David Whewell.

56.

Government Consultation - Implementing Mandatory Minimum per Pupil Funding Levels

The report of Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) outlines to Schools Forum the content of the Department for Education’s (DfE) consultation on Implementing Mandatory Minimum per Pupil Funding Levels.   

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Grant Davis (School Strategic Financial Support Manager) referred to the report that outlined the content of the DfE’s consultation on implementing mandatory minimum per pupil funding levels.  Grant highlighted the following:

 

·       Provisional Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) funding will be announced in October (based on October 2018 census details) and full and final details of the funding allocations will be announced in December 2019;

 

·       The DfE launched the consultation on 10 September 2019 and responses must be made by 22 October 2019.  The consultation focusses on how best to implement the minimum per pupil funding levels and it raises questions on both technical and operational arrangements and provides an opportunity for respondents to raise wider issues and concerns;

 

·       From 2020/21 there will be a mandatory rise for primary schools and the minimum per pupil level of funding will increase from £3,500 to £3,750 with a rise in secondary schools from £4,800 to £5,000;

 

·       This would mean that in Wiltshire 9% of primary and 50% of secondary schools would be underfunded with these new arrangements – the gains would go to the bigger primary schools and half of Wiltshire’s secondary schools.  It would also mean that schools with low levels of Deprivation and Prior Attainment funding would benefit and be topped up under these proposals, whereas those more inclusive schools with higher levels of deprivation and low attainment would not gain.  It was the feeling of Schools Forum that extra money should be shared around for those that are inclusive and that additional funding would be more fairly distributed through the AWPU and the Additional Educational Needs factors;

 

A Forum Member asked if a gains cap would be applied and Grant confirmed that under the NFF a gains cap can still be applied as part of the minimum funding guarantee.  The full details are due to be published in December 2019. 

 

·       There are four questions from the DfE as part of the consultation and Officers will draft a response as soon as possible to be shared with the Schools Forum members which they can bear in mind when they complete their own responses.

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum note the report and that the Local Authorities response to the DfE’s consultation on Implementing mandatory minimum per pupil funding levels be shared with Schools Forum Members in order for responses to be submitted by 22 October 2019.

57.

Confirmation of Dates for Future Meetings

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

 

12 December 2019

16 January 2020

26 March 2020.

Minutes:

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

 

12 December 2019

16 January 2020

26 March 2020.

 

58.

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.

59.

Strategic Review of Support, Services and Provision for Children and Young People with High Needs in Wiltshire - Final report from ISOS Partnership (Part II)

In the spring of 2019 Wiltshire Council commissioned an independent strategic review of support, services and provision for children and young people with special educational needs (and high needs).  This was prompted by growing pressure on the high needs block (the stream of funding within the Dedicated Schools Grant for the local area to support children and young people with high needs), and the need to develop a new, shared strategic approach to ensuring this collective resource is used to best effect to support young people within additional needs in Wiltshire. 

 

The review was led by Ben Bryant (from Isos Partnership, an independent research and advisory organisation, with a track record of carrying out national research and fast paced reviews of inclusion and SEND) and Karina Kulawik (an independent consultant specialising in inclusion and SEND).

 

Please note this report was first published under Part 2, however is longer confidential and so this agenda has been republished to reflect that dicussion was held in Part 1.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

This report was considered as part of High Needs update (minute number 53) and at the time of the meeting the report was no longer confidential.

 

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