Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Schools Forum
Friday 20 October 2017 2.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Joanne Bolton - 01452 324197 

Items
No. Item

35.

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.

36.

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 Chairman will advise timescale for any questions asked on the day of the meeting or received less than 3 working days before the meeting.

Minutes:

No public questions had been received.

37.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 21 June 2017 and note actions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

37.1    The minutes of the previous meeting of 21 June 2017 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

37.2    It was agreed that the following extract from the minutes would be added to the Action Sheet for this meeting, with a view to tracking progress: ‘Colin Belford, Secondary headteacher representative, would be meeting with representatives of the Local Enterprise Partnership, to discuss opportunities for work-based training for young people, particularly those at risk of exclusion, and for capital investment’.  

  ACTION: Joanne Bolton.

 

37.3    The Forum noted that the existing guidance for schools on Multi Academy Trusts and other forms of collaborations would be circulated to the members of the working group for initial comments.

            ACTION: Stewart King.

38.

School Funding 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 275 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

38.1    Stewart King, Lead Commissioner for Education and Skills, presented the detailed report which outlined the government announcements on school funding and the resulting approach to the funding formula for mainstream schools in 2018/19 and 2019/20.

 

38.2    The Forum was informed that as a consequence of the announcements the Schools Block for Gloucestershire would increase by 1.94% for 2018/19 and a further 1.08% for 2019/20.  The introduction of a minimum per-pupil element had had a major impact on the outcome of the NFF for Gloucestershire secondary schools, particularly those with low levels of additional needs.  The Forum noted that all schools would gain from the 0.5% uplift in the baseline.  Members of the Forum felt strongly however that whilst schools would see an increase to their budgets, in real terms, this would not cover the increasing costs for schools.

 

38.3    The Forum considered Annex A to the report which showed a comparison between the 2017/18 baseline funding and the NFF for each school in Gloucestershire.  Annex B to the report showed a comparison between the current Gloucestershire and the revised NFF. The Forum noted that there were still significant differences between the two formulas; a key one being that the basic amount per-pupil was still lower in the NFF despite the uplift in the revised NFF.

 

38.4    The Finance Manager, Schools Strategy and Capital, informed the Forum that for 2018/19 and 2019/20, as expected, the funding allocation would comprise of the NFF allocation for each school aggregated to local authority level. He tabled a copy of a spreadsheet which set out the DfE Schools Block Totals in each local authority in England; (For Information: A copy has been uploaded to the Council’s website and will be included in the signed copy of the Minute Book).

 

38.5    The Finance Manager informed the Forum that officers across the local authorities had concerns about the Authority Proforma Tool (APT) which must be used to submit the formula to the DfE.  Currently the tool did not include the capping and floor mechanisms used by the DfE to calculate the NFF and used different methods for certain calculations such as the minimum pupil funding.  Numerous local authorities had asked the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)  if they would provide a copy of the APT that they could use that replicated the NFF but they had been told this would not be possible and the ESFA confirmed that local authorities would not be able to replicate the NFF when they allocated funds to schools . He explained that as a consequence of this they would not be able to deliver a formula for Gloucestershire schools that, as proposed by the Forum, closely replicated the NFF.

 

38.6    A question was raised on whether a request could be made for a mechanism, to be included within the formula, to reallocate the total figure obtained through the capping of school budgets, back to schools, via an increase to the basic per-pupil allocation.   In response, the Finance Manager  ...  view the full minutes text for item 38.

39.

High Needs - To Follow pdf icon PDF 77 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

39.1    Stewart King, Lead Commissioner for Education and Skills, presented the report which provided an update on the High Needs Programme, and the implications of the proposed National Funding Formula for High Needs.

 

39.2    The Forum was informed that the Government had announced that there would be no changes to the proposed National Funding Formula for High Needs.  However, in line with the NFF for schools, every local authority would receive a 0.5% increase per head in 2018/19 and a further 0.5% per head in the 2019/20 over the 2017/18 baseline. 

 

39.3    As a result, Gloucestershire’s High Needs Block would increase by 0.91% in 2018/19 and a further 0.47% in 2019/20.  Whilst the Forum welcomed the  additional funding for the two years, members  acknowledged that it still represented a real term reduction of around 2.5% before allowing for population increases. 

 

39.4    Officers explained that budget reserves would be used to cover the overspend in the High Needs Block for 2017/18.  The Forum noted that other authorities were struggling to contain their spending on High Needs, with a number running into a significant deficit, and/or having to take emergency measures.  Gloucestershire’s position meant that it could take a more measured approach, although the budget remained precarious.

 

39.5    The Forum noted that the areas of particular concern in High Needs were Education Health Care Plan (EHCP)  top-ups in primary schools, and placements in independent special schools.  Members were informed that the DfE had allocated Gloucestershire £1.9M to develop more in-county complex need places. At present there were only 70 specialist places attached to mainstream schools in the county, a figure which was much lower than in other comparable authorities.

 

39.6    In response to concerns raised about EHCPs ceasing in Early Years, officers explained that Early Years pupils would still obtain the support they needed, but without parents/carers needing to seek an EHCP. 

 

39.7    The Forum received a verbal update on the High Needs project plan; the initial priorities had been Alternative Provision and exclusions, and engaging with schools on the inclusion issues.  It was reported that focus would be on Post 16 next, where additional capacity would be sought. Officers explained that the current costs of Post 16 were out of line with the comparator group.

 

39.8    John Reilly, Specialist Adviser, gave an update on Restorative Practice.  He read out a statement from the Headteacher at Tewkesbury School, where the approach had been implemented as part of the GCC pilot last year.  In his statement the headteacher emphasised the positive effect the approach was having on both staff and pupils.  The Forum was pleased to hear that the roll-out of the Restorative Practice approach at Tewkesbury School had progressed well and had good prospects of a positive impact on attendance and exclusions.

 

39.9    The Forum subsequently agreed the investment proposal for Restorative Practice, which would enable the programme to be expanded to other schools.  The Forum noted that proposals for the other priority areas would be submitted to future Forum meetings.

 

39.10  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.

40.

F40

Minutes:

 

40.1    The Chair provided the Forum with an update on the latest f40 news.  Members were informed that the f40 Executive Committee had met following the government announcements.  The mood during the meeting was one of disappointment.  Members of the group did not feel that a fairer funding allocation to schools had been achieved, and consideration was now being given as to whether the f40 should continue to campaign for a fairer funding deal, and if so, how.

 

40.2    The Forum noted that a questionnaire had been circulated to all local authority members of the f40 group, to seek their views, with a deadline for responses of Friday 10 November 2017. Members of the Forum considered the questionnaire and the overwhelming consensus was that the campaign should continue.