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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - 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

60.

Apologies and Changes of Membership

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

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Pauline Church, Mark Cawley, Jon Hamp, Graham Shore, Cllr Ross Henning, David Whewell, Charlotte Corfield and Trudy Srawley.

 

It was noted that Graham Shore from Holy Trinity Academy in Calne would be the new Primary Academy representative in place of Lindsay West, and that a new Primary School Governor representative from the WGA to replace Sue Jiggens had not yet been appointed.

61.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve as a correct record and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 10 October 2019 (copy attached).

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 October 2019 were presented for consideration, and it was,

 

Resolved:

 

That subject to spelling corrections under minute numbers 53 and 54, to approve and sign the minutes as a true and correct record.

62.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements from the Chair.

 

Minutes:

There were no announcements.

63.

Declaration of Interests

To note any declarations of interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations.

64.

Updates from Working Groups

The Forum will be asked to note the update from the joint meeting of the School Funding Working Group and SEN Working Group held on 2 December 2019 – copy attached.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Forum received the update from the Working Groups. In particular an update was received regarding charging fees for admission appeals, to cover local authority overheads. It was reported that the council was looking into the possibility of providing a subsidy for the cost.

 

There was an update regarding the Ministry of Defence education support funding for 2020, where only £0.054m had been awarded, partly as a result of successful large bids for support funding in previous years.

 

It was reported that budget roadshows would be incorporated within the briefings for Headteachers, and it was being explored if this could be extended to School governors.

 

At the conclusion of discussion, it was,

 

Resolved:

 

To note the update from the working groups.

65.

DSG Expenditure - Wiltshire Virtual School

The report of Kathryn Davis (Head of Virtual School) will present to the Forum the forecast expenditure on looked after children in full time alternative education provision for the financial year 2019/20.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A report was received from Kathryn Davis, the new Head of the Virtual School, in relation to forecast expenditure on Looked After Children for the financial year 2020/21. The Forum received details of the past years’ expenditure and anticipated needs for the following year. It was noted costs for full time alternative education provision during 2019/20 were broadly similar to costs incurred during 2018/19, and with no expectation that the need would decrease it was requested the same level of funding be allocated for 2020/21.

 

The Forum welcomed the details of the report, and at the conclusion of discussion, it was,

 

Resolved:

 

To note the expenditure forecast at the end of 2019/20 and to consider the request made for 2020/21 at the time of setting the 2020-21 budget in January 2020.

66.

Dedicated Schools Budget Consultations - Update 2020-21

The report of Marie Taylor (Head of Finance – Children’s Services seeks to update on the results of Wiltshire’s Autumn consultations which will help inform Schools Forum decisions that will need to be made as part of the budget setting process at the January 2020 meeting and to update on the DfE consultation around future treatment of DSG deficit reserve balances.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A report was received in relation to three separate consultations which had taken place in Autumn 2019.

 

The Schools Block De-delegated budget consultation sought information from schools on which services maintained mainstream primary and secondary schools would wish to be de-delegated. There had been a limited number of responses, however those responses had been significantly in favour of retaining the de-delegated arrangements in respect of HCSS Software Licence, Trade Union facilities costs, maternity costs, ethnic minority achievement service, Traveller education service and behaviour support service.  It was agreed by members that the de-delegation of services would remain unchanged from 2019-20 and that the budget allocations would be determined at January’s meeting.

 

The Transfer of Schools Block to support the High Needs Block consultation followed a decision by the Forum in January 2019 to transfer up to 1% from the Schools block to support the high needs block, which was approved by the Secretary of State.

 

The consultation responses (which were low – 9 respondents) supported removing excess growth from the DfE’s growth fund where practicable to do so, with a mixture of responses on the level of transfer with a majority selecting a transfer of £1.5m, 67% of respondents believed children with EHCPS could be supported with reduced funding, and comments were made regarding alternatives to a per pupil reduction model, and two schools volunteered to be part of a working group to look at this issue.

 

The final consultation was a DfE consultation on clarifying the specific grant and ringfenced status of the Dedicated Schools Grant. This was stated to be a potentially significant change to the partnership funding approach currently in place between Wiltshire council and Schools Forum if confirmed in 2020 guidance as expected, as the consultation seems to suggest placing the responsibility of any High Needs Block overspend with Schools Funding block alone reducing the risk that covering DSG deficits from general fund reserves could require local authorities to make spending reductions in other services.

 

Resolved:

 

Schools Forum noted the report on local consultation responses and would take them into account when making the required decisions in relation to the schools delegated budget for 2020-21 at the January 2020 meeting. The maintained primary and secondary representatives were in support of maintaining the de-delegation for all the listed services.

 

Schools Forum noted the DfE consultation regarding Block movements and would consider the impact when making the required decisions in relation to the schools delegated budget for 2020-21 at the January 2020 meeting

67.

Dedicated Schools Budget - Budget Monitoring 2019/20

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

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A budget monitoring report was received for 2019/20. An overspend of £6.429m was currently projected against the overall schools budget, which included an underspend of £0.247m on the schools block budget, £0.995m overspend on the early years budget, and an overspend of £5.685m on the high needs budget. This would take the cumulative deficit over the 1% DfE threshold to require a recovery plan to be created.

 

Details were provided of recovery plans in place to stop or delay any uncommitted spend not linked to safeguarding, elections, trading or longer-term transformation or savings plans.


Details were sought on comparisons with statistical neighbours in relation to numbers of Education, Health and Care Plans (EHCP) growth in year. It was clarified that this is only collected nationally annually but that the latest SEN2 dataset would be shared when available.

 

At the conclusion of discussion, it was,

 

Resolved:

 

To note the budget monitoring position at the end of October 2019

alongside;

 

a)    the recovery action plan presentation later in the agenda

b)   Reports on the various Autumn consultations de-delegated services, transfer of schools block to high needs block and the DfE’s consultation on treatment of the DSG as a ringfenced grant in the local authority’s accounts

c)    To share SEN2 comparative data when it becomes available.

 

68.

High Needs Recovery Planning

The Forum will receive an update on high needs recovery planning from Helean Hughes (Director – Education and Skills) at the meeting.

Minutes:

Helean Hughes, Director of Education and Skills, delivered a presentation in relation to High Needs Recovery Planning. The volunteering of two headteachers to form part of a working group to look at the issue was welcomed, recognising schools and the council would need to work together to address cultural and other issues to address the increased demand.

 

Project streams had been established to look into specific areas such as post 16 transition, inclusion and school effectiveness, enhanced learning provision and resource bases, in order to target specific areas for change and support.

 

The Forum discussed the presentation, noting that no schools had responded to a previous consultation on post 16 transition and encouraging this to be done, although there had been engagement with Heads at earlier stages. In response to queries it was stated upskilling mainstream schools to support children was essential in order to transition pupils back to mainstream settings.

 

It was also noted that even with all the potential savings identified through the recovery plan there was still projected to be an increased overspend, so further work with schools would be needed to make further cost saving measures.

 

The Forum noted the presentation and the continuing work that remained to progress the recovery plan.

69.

Schools Block - National Funding Formula 2020-21

The report of Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) seeks to build upon the report presented to Schools Forum in October 2019 for school revenue funding and will with regards to the National Funding Formula for the schools block of funding for the 2020-21 year.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A report was received on the national funding formula for the schools block for 2020/21, noting that whether the result of the General Election there was not likely to be sufficient time for any changes to the formula from the DfE for the 2020-21 year.

 

The Forum discussed the main changes to the formula, including minimum per pupil funding levels, a 4% increase in the core factors of the formula except for free school meals which would be increased by inflation, and introduction of a new formulaic approach to the mobility factor. It was stated that Wiltshire had not applied a mobility factor before, and under the new formula Wiltshire would receive just over £0.500m, with military service areas with the largest impact.

 

The Forum also considered the overall allocations as compared to previous years, with an increase of £19.79m,

 

At the conclusion of discussion, it was,

 

Resolved:

 

To note the report.

70.

Allocation of Funding for Pupil Growth 2020-21

The report of Grant Davis (Schools Strategic Financial Support Manager) seeks agreement from Schools Forum on the methodology for allocating funding for pupil growth from the school’s block growth fund in 2020-21.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A report was received on a proposed methodology for allocating funding for pupil growth from the school’s block growth fund in 2020/21. Although there had been a change in the methodology of being awarded the funding, the Forum was not required to adjust how it allocated the funding.

 

The Forum discussed the new funding methodology and the criteria to apply for allocation of growth funding. It was discussed that the Forum had not previously established an optional Falling Rolls fund for a number of reasons, and that DfE criteria required that if established this funding could only be provided to Good or Outstanding schools. The Forum debated the proposed methodology for allocation, and after discussion, it was,

 

Resolved:

 

a)    To approve the criteria for allocating pupil Growth Fund in 2020-21, unchanged from 2019-20.

 

b)   To agree that the budget for the Growth Fund to be set at its meeting in January 2020, when the full DSG is known for the 2020-21 year.

 

c)    To not establish a Falling Rolls Fund

71.

Confirmation of Dates for Future Meetings

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

 

16 January 2020

26 March 2020

11 June 2020

15 October 2020

10 December 2020.

Minutes:

The dates of future meetings, all to start at 1.30pm, were confirmed as follows:

 

16 January 2020

26 March 2020

11 June 2020

15 October 2020

10 December 2020

 

72.

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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