Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Room 3 - 3rd Floor - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Shelley Humphries  01902 554070 Email: shelley.humphries@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Introductions

2.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Schools’ Forum members David Lewis, Jeremy Parkes, Jon Dovey, Graham Tate, Raymond Green, Lucia Turner, Debbie Clarke and Carroll McNally.

3.

Declaration of Interest or Confidentiality

Minutes:

Three members representing PFI schools declared a pecuniary interest in item 10 and the report on Private Funding Initiative (PFI) and Unitary Charge.

 

4.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 87 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting as a correct record]

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the minutes of the last meeting held on 6 December 2019 be confirmed as a correct record.

5.

Schools' Forum Membership 2018 - 2019 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

[To receive an update on current Schools’ Forum Membership]

Minutes:

Shelley Humphries, Democratic Services Officer provided an update on the Schools’ Forum Membership 2018 - 2019 and highlighted that the current Substitute Representative for the Nursery Sector had been identified as Emma Smith of Eastfield Nursery.

 

It was clarified that steps had been taken to fill the current vacancies and the Membership would be updated in due course.

 

Resolved:

That the current status of Schools’ Forum Membership 2018 – 2019 be noted.

 

6.

Schools' Forum Forward Plan 2018 - 2019 pdf icon PDF 48 KB

[To consider the Forward Plan]

Minutes:

Resolved:

That the Forward Plan for Schools’ Forum 2018 - 2019 be noted.

 

7.

Deficit Budget Management pdf icon PDF 49 KB

[To receive an update on action taken for maintained schools with deficit balances]

Minutes:

Steven Hurdley, Finance Officer presented the Deficit Budget Management report. The report set out the Authority’s monitoring process for schools that either already had a deficit balance or had a predicted deficit.

 

It was reported that a list had been compiled of schools at risk, which was then compared to a list from previous periods. Schools on this list had been rated red, amber and green depending on the level of risk, with red being the highest. It was clarified that various measures would be taken to address these deficits which ranged from discussions with the headteacher to more rigorous monitoring methods or recommending that the school submit a licensed deficit application.

 

It was explained that regular reports and updates were presented to the Schools at Financial Risk Panel (formerly entitled Schools Under Notice of Concern or SUNC) and discussed on a case by case basis.

 

Resolved:

That the Deficit Budget Management report be noted.

 

8.

Dedicated Schools Grant and Schools Funding 2019 - 2020 pdf icon PDF 631 KB

[To receive the report on Dedicated Schools Grant and Schools Funding 2019 – 2020]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Debra Boniface, Finance Manager presented the Dedicated Schools Grant and Schools Funding 2019 – 2020 report. The report outlined that, on 19 December 2018, the Department for Education had made announcements which covered the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) 2019 – 2020 and information on the indicative Pupil Premium allocations for 2019 – 2020.

It was noted that some of the information contained within paragraph 4.3 was factually incorrect and a revised version would be circulated following the meeting.

 

The report considered the anticipated DSG settlement for 2019 – 2020 and the makeup of the overall allocation as well as the overspend on the DSG in 2018 – 2019 that will need to be treated as the first call on the 2019 – 2020 allocation.

 

It was noted that further reports would be submitted to a future Schools’ Forum meeting detailing the breakdown of High Needs, Early Years and Central Services Blocks budgets as recorded on the City of Wolverhampton Schools’ Forum Forward Plan 2018 - 2019.

 

Focus was drawn to the 1.5% funding cap which had been consulted on with schools and approved at the last Schools’ Forum meeting.  Appendix 2 outlined the predicted adjustments to financial outcomes. Schools’ Forum members were asked to consider and agree to a proposed revision to the funding cap from 1.5% to 2.92%

 

Schools’ Forum members were asked to note the anticipated settlement for 2019 – 2020 and the makeup of the overall allocation.

 

Schools’ Forum members then agreed to the following as set out in the report:

 

·         The items of overspend that will be treated as first call from the 2019-2020 allocation.

·         The proposed rates for de-delegation from maintained schools for 2019-2020.

·         The proposed rates for maintained schools’ contribution to Education Functions for 2019-2020.

·         That the funding cap rate be revised from 1.5% to 2.92%

 

Resolved:

1.    That the anticipated settlement for 2019 – 2020 and the makeup of the overall allocation be noted.

2.    That the items of overspend to be treated as first call from the 2019-2020 allocation be agreed.

3.    That the proposed rates for de-delegation from maintained schools for 2019-2020 be agreed.

  1. That the proposed rates for maintained schools’ contribution to Education Functions for 2019-2020 be agreed.
  2. That the funding cap rate be revised from 1.5% to 2.92%
  3. That the High Needs, Early Years and Central Services Blocks Budget Breakdown reports be provided at the Schools’ Forum meeting on 25 February 2019.

 

9.

High Needs Sub Group Update

[To receive a verbal update on the High Needs Sub Group]

Minutes:

It was reported that the last scheduled meeting of the High Needs Funding Subgroup had been postponed therefore no update was available. Schools’ Forum members were advised that the next meeting of the Sub-Group had been scheduled for 7 March 2019, therefore it was agreed that the update would be provided at the Schools’ Forum meeting on 4 July 2019.

 

Schools’ Forum members were provided with an update on the High Needs Matrix Group, which had met to consider the special educational need; what was already in place and what was required. It was reported that a timeline had been established and a model had been put in place for September 2020. A phased implementation had been agreed. Scope for children with SEN, pre-Education, Health and Care Plans and out of City children had been included.

 

It was advised to be mindful that the funding calendar began in April.

 

Resolved:

That a High Needs Funding Sub-Group Update be provided at the Schools’ Forum meeting after 7 March 2019.

 

10.

Private Funding Initiative and Unitary Charge pdf icon PDF 39 KB

[To receive an update on PFI and Unitary Charge – To follow]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Bill Hague, Head of School Organisation presented the Private Funding Initiative (PFI) and Unitary Charge report. The report was tabled and it was highlighted that the letter and attached report at Appendix 1 had been sent to schools to offer an explanation to PFI arrangements in respect of the schools within the City. The report also outlined how the contract operated around the Unitary Charges and what was included.

 

It was highlighted that the two PFI schemes in Wolverhampton were:

 

·         Highfields and Penn Fields (special) co-located in a single building on the Highfields site. The agreement was signed between Council and inspiredspaces Wolverhampton (ProjectCo1) Ltd in 2010.

 

·         Heath Park and St. Matthias (formerly Deansfield) as separate schools on their original sites. The agreement was signed between Council and inspiredspaces Wolverhampton (ProjectCo2) Ltd in 2012.

 

It was noted that the Unitary Charges had an impact on a school’s budget. It was highlighted that it was now understood that the school itself was not the client but the local Authority and members of Schools’ Forum agreed that the report had offered a helpful explanation of a previously misunderstood subject.

 

It was requested that an annual update report be provided to Schools’ Forum, which would be considered following a conversation with the schools currently involved.

 

Resolved:

That the PFI arrangements in place around the City be noted.

 

11.

School Representation in the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) pdf icon PDF 218 KB

[To receive the report on School Representation in the MASH]

Minutes:

Bill Hague, Head of School Organisation presented the School Representation in the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).  The report outlined that an educational professional was being proposed to take up a position in the MASH, which was intended to provide valuable understanding and insight into school and educational operating procedures. It was highlighted that the highest number of referrals were made by schools and this appointment was intended to ensure the accuracy and quality of referrals to MASH.

 

The report also outlined the operation and responsibility of the MASH screening officers and the current referral procedure. It was explained that the high level of referrals being rejected had indicated that greater understanding was required. A 12-month secondment opportunity was being offered which would be subject to a six-month and 12-month review. It was reported that this trial period would establish whether there was need for a permanent education role within the MASH.

 

It was proposed that the position would be funded through the Central Services Block of the Dedicated Services Grant.

 

In response to a query about whether one person was sufficient, it was clarified that it was funding for more than one position was an issue and it was hoped that one person would make a significant impact within the 12-month trial period.

 

In reply to a question about whether the appointed officer would have any power to do anything, it was clarified that the intention had been more focused on resolving the issues surrounding the rejected referrals.

 

Members of Schools’ Forum agreed to the trial-basis appointment and to the proposed funding.

 

Resolved:

1.    That the proposal to establish an Education Professional within the MASH be agreed.

2.    That the proposal to fund the post through the Central Services Block of the Dedicated Services Grant be agreed. 

 

 

12.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

Transition from Primary to Secondary School

A member of Schools’ Forum raised a concern around difficulties experienced by children in making the transition from primary to secondary school. Meredith Teasdale, Director of Education offered reassurance that this issue was being explored. It was reported that the ConnectEd Partnership had been looking into addressing the problem through Teaching Schools. A letter was to be sent to ConnectEd to clarify what work was being carried out. It was also explained that she and Councillor Lynne Moran had made visits to maintained primary schools to investigate how to improve the communication between the primary and secondary schools and ensure a smoother process. 

 

Achievements

It was highlighted that Key Stage Two (KS2) attainment had been above the national average and that it was important to build on these successes for Key Stages Three and Four. Councillor Lynne Moran stated that these achievements were to celebrated and commended Wolverhampton schools, headteachers, pupils and parents for all the hard work contributed.

 

 

13.

Dates for future meetings

·         25 February 2019

·         04 July 2019

 

 

Minutes:

Next Meeting Date

It was highlighted that the next meeting of Schools’ Forum was to be on Monday 25 February 2019. The reason for the unusual meeting day was that approvals for important procedures and funding were required before 28 February 2019 when figures would be passed for the Designated Funding Formula.

 

The meeting closed at 17:03.