31.1 The Forum received an update on the key messages coming out of the government’s Comprehensive Spending Review 2021 in relation to Education.
31.2 For Early Years and Family Support, there would be additional funding for the early years entitlements worth £160M in 2022-23, £180M in 2023-24 and £170M in 2024-25. A total of £302M to fund new programmes to support parents, provide bespoke breast-feeding services and parent-infant mental support, and funding to rollout Family Hubs across England.
31.3 It was reported that for the core schools’ budget there would be an additional £4.7 billion by 2024-25. In response to a question, the Head of Education Strategy and Development explained that this closely aligned with the 2019 spending review figure of £7.1 billion over three years, and should therefore result in a similar percentage increase to the Per Pupil funding levels continuing for schools, like those seen over the last 3 years. However, schools would need to consider the cost of the National Insurance Levy from April 2022, and the commitment to increase teacher starting salaries to £30k (announced in 2016).
31.4 In response to a further question, he clarified that there were no further details on whether the Per Pupil funding, by remaining at a similar level, would mean a redirection of funding into the additional needs aspects. He added that any action to direct funding to support children with additional needs would be linked to the outcomes of the government’s SEND review, which was due to be published imminently.
31.5 For Post-16 and Youth Services there would be an additional £1.6 billion by 2024-25 for 16-19 year-olds. Current funding rates would be maintained as student numbers grew. An additional 110,000 students were anticipated by 2024/25. The capital settlement for SR 21 included £2.8 billion for colleges condition funding and funding for improved facilities (including continued roll out of T-Levels) and to establish 20 new Institutes of Technology. A total of £560M new funding had been announced for youth services in England over the next three years, enough to fund 300 youth clubs.
31.6 The Forum noted that a total of £2.6 billion had been allocated to fund places for children and young people with SEND. The Head of Education Strategy and Development reported that initial indications from the ESFA were that this funding would be allocated to the new free school and academies programme. The Education Building and Development Officers Group (a national group made up of local authority officers and property professionals who are responsible for effective asset manager of school premises within their own LA), was engaging with the ESFA’s policy team, and requesting greater flexibility to enable the funding to be used to enhance existing specialist provision in local areas. This was on the basis that the process for free school bids could take up to 3 years to complete, and there was a risk that the bids may not even be successful.
31.7 In education recovery there would be a £1 billion extension to the Recovery Premium for the next two academic years to help schools to deliver evidence-based approaches to support the most disadvantaged pupils. The Head of Education Strategy and Development reported that schools in Gloucestershire could expect that the recovery funding levels they were currently receiving would continue for at least the next two years. However, if there were any significant changes to Pupil Premium numbers this would have an affect on the level of recovery funding being received as the funding was calculated on Pupil Premium census data. A total of £800 million had been announced for 16-19 year-olds, with the expectation that this would fund 40 additional hours per student per week.
31.8 The Director of Children’s Services reported that Gloucestershire represented 1% of the national population of children; consequently this could be interpreted locally as Gloucestershire broadly receiving 1% of those headline figures. Initial indications were that this would be a good settlement for Gloucestershire. He referred to the national £1.7 billion levelling up fund, and commented that he hoped that Gloucestershire would receive a share of the funding which could then be directed at enhancing schools serving the more deprived areas in the county, in recognition that education was an effective way out of poverty.
31.9 In response to a question, it was explained that further details on the funding for Gloucestershire’s schools core budgets in the financial year 2023/24, would be reported at the September 2022 Forum meeting.
31.10 The Head of Education Strategy and Development agreed to circulate to Forum members, further details on the funding announcements, once they became available.
ACTION: Head of Education Strategy and Development.