Agenda and minutes

Gloucestershire Schools Forum - Thursday 15 September 2022 2.00 pm

Venue: Remote meeting

Contact: Joanne Bolton - 01452 324197 

Items
No. Item

27.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 130 KB

To agree the minutes of the previous meeting held on 16 June 2022 and note actions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

27.1    The minutes of the previous meeting held on 16 June 2022, were approved as a correct record subject to the following amendment:

 

Paragraph: 22.5:  “The Forum was informed that for High Needs, DSG funded services were overspent by £17.043M £17.042M in 2021/22 …….”

 

27.2    Philip Haslett, Head of Education Strategy and Development, explained that in regard to action 1 on the action sheet, the SEND team had confirmed that it would require significant work to produce a detailed local view of the costs to the authority of defending SEND Tribunal cases.  However, the DfE had undertaken some of this work in national research in 2017; a weblink to view the cost analysis had been provided in the action sheet.

 

27.3    Members were informed that the joint implementation plan resulting from the local authority’s SEND and Inclusion Strategies would be shared with the Forum after the SEND and Inclusion Local Partnership Board meeting had taken place on 20 September 2022.

ACTION: Head of Education Strategy and Development.

 

28.

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.

29.

Public Questions

To receive any public questions. Questions can be asked on the day or sent to the Clerk before the meeting.  If you would like to ask a question on the day of the meeting, please contact the Clerk Joanne Bolton (email:

joanne.bolton@gloucestershire.gov.uk) (Tel: 01452 324197), by 10:00am

on Tuesday 13 September 2022, so that arrangements can be made as the

meeting is being held remotely via video conferencing.

 

The Chair will advise the timescale for any questions asked on the day of

the meeting or received less than 3 working days before the meeting.  A

written answer will be provided if questions are received 3 clear working

days before the date of the meeting.

Minutes:

No public questions had been received.

30.

School Funding 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 679 KB

Minutes:

30.1    The Head of Education Strategy and Development gave a presentation on School Funding for 2023/24.  The Forum considered the implications of government indicative announcements on school funding for 2023/24, and the proposed funding formula method to use for Gloucestershire’s schools and academies.

 

30.2    The Forum noted that the Schools block (indicative) allocation had increased by 1.9%, the High Needs block allocation had increased by 5.6%, the Central School Services block by 2.5%, and the Early Years block had not yet been updated by the DFE so was currently showing at 0% change, resulting in an overall forecast increase to the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) allocation of 4.6%.  The final DSG position would be presented at the 12th January 2023 Schools Forum meeting after being updated for the final DSG and revised pupil data due to be announced in December 2022.

 

30.3    The Head of Education Strategy and Development explained that overall, the indicative amounts demonstrated a slowing of the increase in funding going into the High Needs block and the Schools block, in comparison to the allocations of previous years.  He emphasised that this was a concern, given the significant increase in costs in the school system, and that this would, consequently, represent real-term cuts which would impact on schools.

 

30.4    The Head of Education Strategy and Development presented the changes and clarifications to the National Funding Formula (NFF) for 2023/24.  The Forum noted that:

Ø   The supplementary grant received in 2022/23 had been rolled into the NFF.

Ø   Core factors would increase by 2.4%.

Ø   Free School Meals Ever 6 and IDACI factors increased by 4.3%.

Ø   Funding floor applied through the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) could be set between 0% and 0.5%.  The local authority had set this at 0.5% to match the 0.5% applied through the funding floor in the NFF.

Ø   Minimum Per Pupil Levels (MPPL) increased for supplementary grant (£119 for primary and £162 for secondary) and then increased by 0.5% which meant MPPL for primary schools was £4,405 and secondary was £5,715.

 

30.5    A Forum member representing secondary school headteachers explained that his school had experienced a £300,000 increase in costs in 2022/23 in comparison to the previous year.  The financial impact on his school budget of increased costs would be even greater in 2023/24 due to the MFG for 2023/24 being set at 0.5%.  He stressed that the whole system could collapse if schools did not receive additional funding to cover increased costs.

 

30.6    The Head of Education Strategy and Development explained that he was engaging with the F40 group to look at how the group could influence the DfE and the ESFA around addressing this issue, and to determine whether there would be any additional funding coming into the education system.  He added that the agencies and organisations that were actively campaigning in previous years over real-term cuts and concerns around the viability of school funding, were now re-mobilising.  He suggested that these were the best routes for engaging with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

High Needs pdf icon PDF 550 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

31.1    The Head of Education Strategy and Development, provided an update on the High Needs financial forecast for 2022/23.  He explained that at Schools Forum in June 2022, a forecast deficit budget was set of £4.8M.  Over the summer there had been several adjustments that had needed to be made, which had resulted in the expected deficit increasing to £6.3M.  There were two key variances.  The first was a significant forecast rise in the cost of the 1 in 40 model, which was now expected to cost £2.6M; an increase of £690k from last year.  The second variance was a rise of £800k in the costs for special school exceptional funding (£1.4M) and Education Other Than At School (EOTAS) and SEN packages (£1.1M).

 

31.2    The Forum was informed that the 1 in 40 model provided support to schools with disproportionately high numbers of children with EHCPs.  The model had increased in use significantly in the last few years.  The model looked at the number on roll of a school and divided that by 40, which created a threshold for a number of EHCPs, after which the High Needs budget contributed element 2 (£6,000) to the mainstream school.

 

31.3    The Head of Education Strategy and Development presented a table which showed the history of the model since it started in 2016/17, at which time it was based on a more generous 1 in 75.  It showed the overall cost of the model for each year and the increase from the previous year.  The cost for 2022/23 was currently forecast at just over £2.6M (increase of over £690k from the previous year).  At its current trajectory, the 1 in 40 model was nearing the levels that it reached in 2018/19, when the decision was made to change the ratio to help reduce the level of funding it was attracting.

 

31.4    The Head of Education Strategy and Development explained that some schools were attracting a disproportionately high number of children with EHCPs as they were perceived by parents and carers to be particularly inclusive.  Consequently, it was often the case that children with an EHCP were travelling to a mainstream school because the view was that it was better able to meet their needs, or because the local mainstream school had said they could not meet need.  Officers were finalising and testing a dataset that explored the movement in more detail to establish the full picture across the county, this would be shared with the High Needs Budget Working Group.  He added that consideration would need to be given to exploring ways of changing the culture so that families had confidence in sending their children to their local school.

 

31.5    The Head of Education Strategy and Development informed members that he recognised the importance of the support the model provided to schools thus enabling children with an EHCP to attend mainstream provision.  He acknowledged that if the model was removed the consequences of this would mean mainstream schools not able to meet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

Education Capital pdf icon PDF 164 KB

Minutes:

32.1    Gareth Vine, Universal Commissioning Manager, presented a report on Education Capital.  He informed the Forum that the revised annual budget for the 2022/23 Schools capital programme was £33.556M.  The financial year spend as at the end of August 2022 was £10.812M.  He explained that there were some very significant challenges due to the current economic climate, particularly the rising supply chain costs (of up to 40%) of some key materials on projects, together with a shortage of construction workforce.  This was having an impact on the cost of schemes.  The situation was being closely monitored and revised plans developed where necessary.

 

32.2    The Forum received an update on each of the key specialist development activities that were underway in order to meet the growing demand for special school places.  The Head of Education Strategy and Development reported that the local authority had received a High Needs Provision Capital Grant from the DfE totalling £14.320M.  The funding was to deliver further new places and improve existing provision for children and young people with SEND or who required alternative provision.  He stressed the importance of the local authority being successful in its bids for the 2 new special schools as part of the DfE’s Free School Programme, as this would then ensure that the grant was freed up to be used to support other key development activities within High Needs.

 

32.3    The Forum was informed that the new 900 place High School Leckhampton opened its doors on its permanent site on 5th September 2022.  The development had faced many challenges along the way, but it was a real celebration that the facilities were now complete and being used.

 

32.4    The Forum was informed of the plans for the new 3 form entry primary school in Bishop’s Cleeve, Greenacres Primary Academy, which would be part of the Gloucestershire Learning Alliance Academy Trust.  There had been some challenges regarding planning issues and costs, which had been anticipated and were being worked on to resolve.  

 

32.5    A member questioned whether there were any plans to build a new school in response to the planned new housing development in the Swindon Village area of Cheltenham.  In response, the Universal Commissioning Manger confirmed there were plans and the wider strategic discussions with Cheltenham Borough Council and the developers were taking place.  The scale of the development meant that a new secondary school and two new primary schools would need to be phased in during the course of the development.  He emphasised that it was important to have the schools in place when needed and not before, so as to avoid the schools providing places to children outside of the intended catchment area.

 

32.6    Forum member Mikey Ezewudo, Primary School Governor representative, made reference to the plans for a new 3 form entry primary school that was to be built in the Chesterton area of Cirencester.  He expressed deep concerns around the potential impact the new school would have on the existing primary schools in the area,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.

33.

F40 Update pdf icon PDF 290 KB

The F40’s response to the SEND Review Green Paper: Right Support, Right Place, Right Time, is attached.

Minutes:

33.1    The Head of Education Strategy and Development informed members that the next meeting of the F40 would be held on Tuesday 27 September 2022.  The focus of the meeting would be on the government’s new announcements around school funding, the current funding pressures on schools, and the group’s next steps in regard to the activities around those issues.

 

33.2    The Forum noted the F40’s response to the SEND Review Green paper.

34.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Schools Forum will take place on 10 November 2022 at 2:00pm.

Minutes:

The Forum noted that the next meeting would take place on 10th November at 2:00pm.