Agenda and minutes
Venue: online meeting
Contact: Sarah Buffrey, Governance Services
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from the following forum members: Julie Cohn, Alex Davies, Georgie Griffin, Martin Henton, Tim Knapp, Tracey Kneale, Sian Lines, Norman Moon.
Apologies were also noted from the assistant director, education development and skills, and from the head of additional needs.
NAMED SUBSTITUTES (if any)
To receive any details of Members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a Member of the Forum.
The attendance of the following substitutes was noted:
Lynn Johnson for Georgie Griffin
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive any declarations of interest by Members in respect of items on the Agenda.
Paul Deneen and Chris Lewandowski declared interests in agenda item 5 as representatives of unions.
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2021.
Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2021 be approved as a correct record.
To seek the views of the forum on local and national school funding issues, including the recommendations of the budget working group (BWG) on the following matters:
• Herefordshire schools budget 2022/23 including schools consultation paper
• Fair funding for all - government consultation paper 7 July 2021
• High needs budget 2022/23
Behaviour Support Service
The principal educational psychologist attended for this item and set out the background to the proposed de-delegation for the behavioural service. Forum members heard that:
· the service was currently operating on a pay as you go model and this was not sustainable beyond 2022;
· two options would be set out in the consultation papers for schools, a base level service and an enhanced service;
· the base level service would offer 113 days free at point of use for LA maintained schools, to cover individual consultation work, one-to-one interventions with children and workshops to teach skills to staff that they could take back to their schools;
· if schools supported the higher level service this would allow for a modest expansion in the team and increase the number of free days available;
· a set of criteria would be produced to prioritise requests for support;
· academies would continue to purchase services on a traded basis;
· the nurture hubs were an initiative sitting between mainstream and specialist provision and, after an initial settling in period, it was hoped they would offer outreach services that would complement the services of the behaviour team;
· some specific projects would continue to be funded separately.
The strategic finance manager explained that de-delegation would deduct funds from LA maintained school budgets at source and that the behaviour support team was a service for which the DfE permitted de-delegation. The base level service would come at a cost of £4 per pupil while the higher level offer would costs around £5.50 per pupil. Special schools were not included but could buy in support as required. It was intended that the funding agreed through de-delegation would be matched from the high needs block.
In discussing the proposal forum members highlighted the importance of the service, particularly in light of the unknown impact of covid. The relationship with pupil referral unit services was queried and it was suggested that conversations should take place with the new head of the unit once he was in post.
Herefordshire schools budget 2022/23
The strategic finance manager gave a presentation on the projected schools budget for 22/23. The principles used were the same as in previous years, namely to fully fund the national funding formula, transfer funding to the high needs block to support the SEN protection scheme and aim to set a balanced high needs budget. If there was surplus funding the strategic finance manager proposed to add this to balances to top up the reserves.
A change in the way sparsity was calculated would result in 9 additional small primary schools benefitting from this factor. The expected growth fund allocation would cover these additional costs.
The chair of the budget working group commented that there had been a good discussion about the proposals at the recent working group meeting and that group members had recommended the draft consultation paper. The proposals regarding the de-delegation for behaviour support had been added after that meeting and would be discussed at the next meeting. ... view the full minutes text for item 29.
The Department for Education has requested changes to the council’s local scheme for managing schools. Schools Forum is asked to approve the changes.
The schools finance manager explained the changes required to the scheme. In discussing the changes forum members noted that five year forecasts would always include a number of unknowns, such as future rates of inflation and pay, but these longer term forecasts were nevertheless felt to be useful.
It was resolved that the following changes be approved to the scheme:
a) Revision to Para 2.3.1 (a) “Each school must submit a five-year budget forecast each year by 1 June. In exceptional circumstances this may be extended to 30 June on request; and
b) 4.9 Licensed Deficits and recovery plans – new paragraph 4.9b – “ Schools must submit a recovery plan to the local authority when their revenue deficit rises above 5% at 31 March of any year. The 5% deficit threshold will apply when deficits are measured as at 31 March 2021.
Only schools members were eligible to vote on this item.
To receive a report on the annual review of membership of Herefordshire Schools Forum and Budget Working Group and to approve action as necessary to maintain proportionality.
Forum members received the outcome of the annual review of membership. It was noted that:
· the forum was required to review membership on a regular basis to ensure that representation by schools members broadly reflects the proportion of pupils in academies and local authority maintained schools; and
· analysis of the 2021 January School Census showed no significant change in proportionality and as a result no changes were proposed to the allocation of seats on the forum or the working group.
It was resolved that:
the outcome of the annual review of proportionality be noted and no changes made to allocations of seats on Herefordshire Schools Forum or the Budget Working Group.
To confirm dates for meetings of the forum in the 2021-22 academic year and the work programme for those meetings.
The dates of meetings for the 2021/22 academic year were noted as:
10 December 2021
14 January 2022
18 March 2022
15 July 2022
The draft work programme was noted as containing the standard regular items.
The clerk outlined that the DfE consultation document on the future of the funding formula included at Annexe B the proposed changes to the responsibilities of the schools forum under a hard national funding formula. There were still details to be worked through, notably in relation to SEN, but it was clear that the DfE still saw a role for a local forum.
The clerk explained that the term of office of current members of the forum had come to an end and that in light of the information in the DfE document it was proposed to proceed with recruitment for a new membership for the next 3 year term. The forum noted that the clerk would initiate recruitment procedures in October.