Agenda and minutes
Venue: The Council Chamber - The Shire Hall, St. Peter's Square, Hereford, HR1 2HX. View directions
Contact: Sarah Buffrey, Governance Services
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were noted from: Mrs S Bailey, Mr E Gwillim, Ms K Harley, Mr S Kendrick and Mrs R Lloyd.
NAMED SUBSTITUTES (if any)
To receive any details of Members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a Member of the Forum.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive any declarations of interest by Members in respect of items on the Agenda.
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2018.
The SFM updated the forum that contact had been made with the offices of both Herefordshire MPs with a view to their meeting with members of the forum. As neither MP was able to attend the planned January or March meetings of the forum, a letter would be sent to them setting out the key matters the forum wished to raise and requesting that they suggest alternative dates for a separate session.
Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the chair.
To agree final budget proposals for recommendation to the cabinet member for children and families for school budgets, central school services and early years within the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for 2019/20.
The SFM introduced the report. Key points noted were:
· the Budget Working Group considered the report on 11 January 2019 and did not make any additional or alternative recommendations;
· primary schools had indicated that they valued the SEN protection scheme and the proposed transfer of £112k ensured that the current cap remained for 2019/20;
· additional funding for high needs had been allocated by the government after the consultation with schools had been carried out, the additional funding of £375k for each of 2018/19 and 2019/20 was welcome and had been incorporated into the high needs block projections shown at paragraph 17 of the report;
· there was no indication whether there would be similar additional funding for future years but the one off allocation reduced the possibility of the LA needing to top slice school budgets to meet a deficit in the high needs block, current projections showed a positive balance figure through to 2021/22;
· if demand continued to increase or the funding from the DfE changed substantially then the forecasts would be revised, it was agreed that the high needs block be kept under annual review to ensure sensible budget setting;
· the detail of the high needs budget for 2019/20 would be brought to the March forum meeting with revised forecasts, rising numbers continued to be a concern.
The SFM summarised the recommendations before the forum:
· recommendation (a) fully implemented the national funding formula (NFF) values at a total cost of £100.2m;
· recommendation (b) made additional allocations relating to the expected surplus of £0.3m reflecting the outcome of consultation with schools in the autumn term, this resulted in an additional £10 per pupil on top of the NFF values, an increase to the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) to ensure this was passed to all schools and a transfer of £112k to the high needs block to support the primary SEN protection scheme;
· recommendation (c) allocated additional surplus funds that had not been projected on a broadly equal share between allocating to schools and supporting high needs, this resulted in a further £5 per pupil, an increase in the MFG to the maximum permitted 0.5% to ensure this was passed to all schools and a further transfer to the high needs block of £103k to support the increase in special school places;
· recommendation (d) was a technical matter setting the protected funding level so that the government’s 0.5% increase on 2017/18 baselines would be passed on to all schools;
· recommendation (e) set out the allocation of the central schools services block, which included a transfer of £56k surplus funds in this block to the high needs block;
· recommendation (f) related to early years block funding, as the funding received from the government was unchanged no changes were proposed to the early years funding formula, the pass through percentage would be 97.5%;
· recommendation (g) related to de-delegated services for LA maintained schools, the only significant change from the previous year was the transfer of free school meals administration to a service level ... view the full minutes text for item 24.
Any other business
Vacancies for parent governor co-optees to children and young people scrutiny committee
The chair of the children and young people scrutiny committee reminded forum members that there was a vacancy for a primary school governor and a secondary school governor to be co-optees onto the scrutiny committee. Forum members were asked to consider if they knew of any parent governors who might be interested in these roles. The chair was happy to meet informally with anyone who wanted more information.
The assistant director education development and skills agreed to circulate information to governing bodies.
Future of Schools Forums
In response to a query, the SFM confirmed that the government had not published any further information about the future role of schools forums. Primary legislation to put in place the hard national funding formula would clarify the role of the forum but there was no indication as to if and when this legislation would come forward.