Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Schools Forum
Thursday 15 November 2018 2.00 pm

Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Joanne Bolton - 01452 324197 

Items
No. Item

33.

Election of Vice-Chair

To elect a Vice –Chair with a term of office of two years.

Minutes:

There were no nominations received for the election of Vice-Chair.  The Chair emphasised the importance of having a Vice-Chair in place, and it was agreed that the election of Vice-Chair would be added to the agenda for the next meeting, for one more time, in a final attempt to appoint to the role.

ACTION: Joanne Bolton

 

34.

Declarations of Interest

Members of the Forum must declare an interest in any agenda item where the outcome may give them a direct pecuniary advantage or avoid a disadvantage.  A form is available at the back of the meeting room.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

 

35.

Public Questions

To receive any public questions.  Questions can be asked on the day or sent to the Clerk before the meeting.  A written answer will be provided if questions are received 3 clear working days before the date of the meeting.  The Chair will advise timescale for any questions asked on the day of the meeting or received less than 3 working days before the meeting.

Minutes:

35.1    No public questions had been received.

 

35.2    At this juncture Jacqui Phillips, Secondary (Academy) Governor representative, asked for clarification on how the School Funding 2019/20 consultation document had been circulated, and to whom it had been circulated to.  In response Stewart King, Lead Commissioner for Education Strategy and Development, explained that the document had been circulated to all headteachers via email, and published in the ‘Heads Up’ and ‘What’s Up Gov’ bulletins.  Jacqui Phillips contended that Stroud High School had not received the document and she stressed the importance of ensuring that chairs of governing bodies at all schools received the document as well as headteachers.  It was agreed that officers would look into the process of how the document was circulated.  ACTION: Stewart King.

           

            (Post Meeting Note:  Officers have received confirmation that the consultation document was circulated to headteachers via email on 1 November 2018, and that it was received by Stroud High School on 1 November 2018.  A link to the consultation document was also published in the ‘Heads Up’ bulletin on 1 November and the ‘What’s Up Gov’ bulletin on 8 November 2018).

36.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 92 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 20 September 2018.

Minutes:

36.1    In considering the accuracy of the minutes of the previous meeting of 20 September 2018, Steve Savory, Primary (Academy) Headteacher representative, made the point that in his view the minutes did not convey strongly enough, the strength of feeling amongst Forum members that all of the proposals set out in the School Funding 2019/20 and High Needs reports, to address the High Needs Block shortfall, were unpalatable.

 

36.2    It was agreed that the following point he had made at the meeting would be included in the minutes of the previous meeting: 

 

            31.9  ‘A member emphasised the point that none of the proposals set out in the report for managing the High Needs Block shortfall, would support schools which had a disproportionally large number of pupils with High Needs in comparison to other schools’.

 

36.3    Subject to the amendment outlined above, the minutes of the previous meeting of 20 September 2018 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

37.

School Funding 2019/20 and High Needs pdf icon PDF 230 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

37.1    Stewart King, Lead Commissioner for Education Strategy and Development, introduced the report.  He explained that a consultation document outlining the possible options for school funding in Gloucestershire in 2019/20 had been circulated to schools via email and published in the ‘Heads Up’ and ‘What’s Up Gov’ bulletins.  In addition, three consultation meetings had been held for schools and stakeholders in the week commencing 15 October 2018.  As at 14 November 2018, a total of 80 responses to the consultation document had been received.  The Forum noted the closing date for responses was 12pm on Tuesday 27 November 2018.   Officers estimated around 90 people in total had attended the three consultation meetings.

 

37.2    The Forum considered a summary of the responses which was tabled at the meeting.  (For Information: A copy of the summary has been uploaded on the Council’s website and is included in the signed minute book).  There was a degree of concern expressed amongst Forum members that the total of 80 responses received so far seemed quite low in comparison to the number of schools in Gloucestershire.  There was concern that the document may not have reached all schools via email.

 

37.3    Members of the Forum questioned whether schools could make informed responses to the questions in the consultation document, as the average cash impact on schools of any transfer from the School Block had not been conveyed.  In response, officers explained that it was not possible to calculate the budget impact for each individual school at present.  He stressed that the cost impact would vary for each school.

 

37.4    The Lead Commissioner for Education Strategy and Development explained that overspending in the High Needs Block was a national issue.  Gloucestershire discretionary spending with the High Needs block (which funds the protection arrangements for schools with exceptional numbers of high needs children was the fourth highest out of the 150 local authorities.  63 authorities allocated no discretionary funding.  He explained that funding out of county placements for children with complex high needs was a major budget pressure.  He stressed that 36 local authorities for 2018/19 budget setting, had sought approval from their School Forums to make a transfer from the Schools Block.   He anticipated a sharp increase in the number of Schools Forums making this request for 2019/20 budget setting.

 

37.5    Forum members had a wide-ranging and challenging debate on the options set out in the report. One particular view expressed was that the options for addressing the High Needs Block shortfall did not support schools which had a disproportionately large number of pupils with high needs.  There were also concerns raised that the proposals would, if adopted, result in all schools becoming less able to provide the crucial support services for children with high needs.

 

37.6    The overwhelming view expressed by Forum members was that the government was significantly underfunding high heeds, which was undermining the ability of schools and local authorities to meet the needs of children with SENDs.

37.7    Clare Steel, Special School Headteacher  ...  view the full minutes text for item 37.

38.

Gloucestershire School Places Strategy 2018-2023 pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Minutes:

38.1    Sandra Donaldson, Place Planning Manager, presented the report outlining the draft strategy and the implementation plan for Gloucestershire 2018-2023. 

 

38.2    The Forum noted that the strategy set out the demographic trends in Gloucestershire, including a summary of major new house building, details of current school and post-16 provision, an analysis of the latest pupil projections, emerging proposals and guiding policies and principles upon which decisions would be informed.  The Place Planning Manager explained that the documented information was a tool to support dialog with schools and would inform the capital programme.

 

38.3    Members were informed that comments were invited on the draft strategy up until the deadline of 21 November 2018.

 

38.4    The Forum noted that the Council’s Cabinet would receive a report on the proposed implementation plan in December 2018. 

 

38.5    The Forum noted the report.

39.

Implementation of the National Pay Award and Revised National Pay Spine for Local Government Staff

A briefing on the changes and discussion with the Schools Forum to understand the impact on schools. Briefing paper to be tabled.

 

Minutes:

39.1    In accordance with paragraph 3.6 of the Constitution the Chair agreed that this item would be considered by the Forum in private. The press and public were therefore excluded.

 

39.2    Colin Parkin, Assistant Head of Human Resources, provided a verbal update on the National Pay Award and Revised National Pay Spine for Local Government Staff. 

 

39.3    The Forum was informed that the first year of the national agreement was already in place, effective from 1st April 2018, with a pay increase of 2% for most employees.  The second year of the pay award was effective from 1st April 2019 and involved more fundamental changes to the National Pay Spine, and a review of the grading structure.  The Forum was informed of how the changes would affect schools; the Forum was assured that the proposals would not require job re-evaluation. 

 

39.4    The Forum noted that Unions were currently being consulted, and schools would receive information on the changes before the Christmas break.   

40.

F40

Minutes:

40.1    Stewart King. Lead Commissioner for Education Strategy and Development informed members that the f40 had now published its outline campaign strategy and this would be circulated to Forum members. 

            ACTION: Stewart King.

 

40.2    He notified members that there was now a vacancy on the f40 Executive Committee for a Gloucestershire representative, and he was looking for a volunteer.  No members put themselves forward on this occasion.   A representative would be sought.

ACTION: Joanne Bolton/Stewart King