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Agenda item

Dedicated Schools Budget - Budget Monitoring 2022-23

The report of Marie Taylor (Head of Finance – Children and Education) seeks to present budget monitoring information against the Dedicated Schools grant (DSG) for the financial year 2022-23 as at 30 November 2022.


Marie Taylor (Head of Finance – Children and Education) referred to the report which presented the year end budget monitoring information against the DSG for the financial year 2022-23 as at 30 November 2022 and highlighted the following:


·       An overspend £9.325 million was currently projected across the overall DSG schools budget which was a small increase from the meeting in December 2022;


·                Although an underspend of £2.257 million was forecast for the Early Years budget it was anticipated that the DfE’s post financial year adjustment would claw this back in the summer in whole or part if the January 2023 census numbers fall;


·                The main reason for the underspend was the take up for 3 and 4 year olds and there was a slight underspend on take up for 2 year olds although there was an overspend in the Inclusion Support Fund as the 30 hours take up was higher than anticipated, largely due to the expansion of the scheme to support working parents for up to 30 hours;


·                Officers had been successful with a 2022-23 bid for COMF grant funding to use in early years settings to support flexible pastoral support.  There had been no claims for hardship this year and it was suggested that settings could be approached again to see if they wished to make any bids;


·                There was a forecast underspend on the School budgets of £179k – this was because of alternative grants being used including some Ukrainian funding;


·                The High Needs budget was due to overspend by £12.182 million – when the level of funding doesn’t match the local needs the budget cannot be set at an achievable level and is clear that the whole budget is under significant pressure;


·                There had been an increase in EHC assessments which had been delayed due to the Covid backlog.  The forecast increase in EHCP’s was 574 which was a 13.1% increase compared to a 6.1% in 2021-22;


·                There was a small forecast underspend for the Central Schools Services block of £421k which was driven by careful management of the specialist education packages for children in care as well as use of alternative external grant funding where possible to do so;


·                The reserve brought forward of £25.973 million was increased by the positive early years block adjustment of £564k.  The forecast overspend would take the reserve into a deficit position of £34.734 million.  Officers were working closely with the DfE’s Delivering Better Value (DVB) partners (CIPFA and Newton) to enhance current plans, adding insight from other local authority action plans and offering the opportunity to bid for transformational funding; and


·                The Early Years Reference Group had considered the limited one off usage of the early years contingency to support children for school readiness and support for vulnerable early years pupils with additional needs.  This would be by way of four FTE temporary Early Years Intervention Advisors, Inclusion Support for settings and an Early Years Conference in the summer or autumn term 2023.  These proposals were anticipated to assist with Covid recovery for children and also contribute to the early help and prevention agenda.




That Schools Forum note the year end budget monitoring position as at 30 November 2022 in conjunction with the high needs recovery plan and the Delivering Better Value update.

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