25.1 Philip Haslett, Head of Education Strategy and Development, introduced the report on school funding in 2020/21. He explained that the recent announcements and the associated changes to school funding that were required, meant that the ESFA had not been able to provide indicative Dedicated Schools Grant budgets; changes to the NFF rates; or changes to the Authority Pro-Forma Tool rules that local authorities had to follow when submitting their school budget formulas. Officers anticipated that this information would be received in time for an update to be presented at the next Schools Forum meeting on 14 November 2019.
25.2 Officers explained that just prior to the publication of the report they had received further details from the ESFA, and those details were set out in the report. A key point was that the Government had confirmed its intention to work closely with schools, local authorities and others on a move to a ‘hard’ NFF for schools where budgets would be set on the basis of a single national formula. The Forum noted the changes to the NFF as outlined in the report.
25.3 The Forum noted that the mobility factor (targeted additional funding to the schools with the highest levels of pupil turnover outside the usual points of entry), had not been included in Gloucestershire’s 2019/20 school funding formula. However, it would now be included in the 2020/21 formula due to it being included as a formula factor within the NFF. Previously this factor had been based on historic spend, but it would now be based on a formula. Some schools in Gloucestershire would receive an allocation of funds in accordance with this formula factor; however, detail on the formula that would be used for this was needed for a full understanding of how this would work.
25.4 The Forum noted that officers would be undertaking further modelling work throughout October as further details were announced by the Government. More information on what the announcements meant for Gloucestershire schools would be available at the next Forum meeting on 14 November 2019.
25.6 The Forum was able to make decisions on the amount of the growth funding to be allocated and the de-delegations for 2020/21.
25.6.1The Forum agreed a top-slice from the Schools Block for growth in 2020/21 of £1.429M, subject to being updated for any change in the basic need Age Weighted Pupil Unit rates for 2020/21.
25.6.2The Forum considered the proposals for de-delegations. Sarah Murphy, Trade Union representative, presented the report on Local Authority Teaching Union Facilities 2019. She emphasised the importance of the de-delegation provision for union facilities, explaining that the funding allowed teaching unions to provide Gloucestershire schools access to effective statutory and collective consultation, bargaining and individual representation from trained and accredited local teaching union officials. School leaders and managers also had access to a valuable resource in the resolution of workplace issues and disputes. Local officers were able to respond to the large proportion of queries for informal advice from members, via phone and email, which resulted in issues being dealt with without having to involve the school or without escalation to any formal procedure. The Chair on behalf of the Forum thanked the Trade Union representative for her report. The Forum noted the report.
25.6.3In response to a question, it was clarified that secondary schools and academies could buy-in union facilities through the local authority’s traded services arrangement. There was a mixture of some schools opting to buy-in the trade union facilities arrangements and others that did not. The Trade Union representative pointed out that it was a statutory requirement for all local authority maintained schools to meet statutory and procedural entitlements to union representation, and the de-delegation for union facilities had been established as being the most cost effective way of schools meeting this requirement.
25.6.4Members of the Forum felt that it would be useful to receive benchmarking information on the arrangements and de-delegation amounts for union facilities, in other comparable authorities. It was agreed that the Forum would be provided with this information during the next budget setting round in September 2020.
ACTION: Philip Haslett/Sarah Murphy
25.6.5The Forum’s maintained schools’ representatives present at the meeting (by sector) agreed de-delegation at the per pupil rates shown in the report for: In-year increases in pupil numbers – primary; Targeted intervention – primary; Union facilities – primary; Local authorities’ duties (primary and secondary).