Agenda and minutes

Schools' Forum
Thursday, 4th October, 2018 4.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 5, Ground Floor - Civic Centre. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Introductions

Minutes:

The Democratic Services Officer opened the meeting and there were round table introductions.

2.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Jeremy Parkes, Jon Dovey and Amarjit Cheema.

3.

Declaration of Interest or Confidentiality

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest or confidentiality.

4.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting - to be approved pdf icon PDF 94 KB

Minutes:

Before the meeting proceeded, the Forum were advised of member resignation

confirmations and invited to elect a new Chair and Vice Chair of Schools’ Forum.

Following nominations and elections, it was agreed that Mr Barry Bond and Mr

Stephen Smith be elected as Chair and Vice Chair respectively. All Forum members

agreed to this election.

Following the election of the Chair and Vice-Chair, the minutes were agreed as a

correct record, subject to an amendment to the wording of Minute 11 in relation to

Northern House.

It was agreed that Adrian Leach, Head of Special Educational Needs and Disability

(SEND) present the briefing note on the Update on Clawed Back Balances at this

point. The briefing note informed Schools’ Forum on the allocation of Arbitration

Panel underspends and asked the Forum to support the use of the funding to ensure

pupils with special educational needs remained within local provision.

He advised the Forum that this money offered the opportunity to complete work this

year rather than having to wait for next year.

Resolved:

1. That Barry Bond and Stephen Smith continue as Chair and Vice Chair

respectively.

2. That the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 5 July 2018, be approved

as a correct record and signed by the Chair subject to the amendment of the

closing line in Minute 11 to read as ‘…it was considered an Education and

Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) issue rather than a Schools’ Forum issue.’

3. That the Forum support the use of the Arbitration Panel underspend monies to

ensure pupils with special educational needs remained within local provision.

 

5.

Election of Chair and Vice Chair

[Introduced by Democratic Services Officer]

6.

Forum Constitution and Membership Update

[Chair / Bill Hague]

Minutes:

The Chair went through the revised Constitution highlighting the updated

membership breakdown figures. He advised that the changes made were based on

pupil numbers.

When compared with guidance from the Department for Education (DfE), it was

noted that the content of the Constitution showed good practice was already being

followed so no further alterations were made.

There had been an increase in Academy membership and there was a call for

nominations being co-ordinated by ConnectEd.

It was clarified that academies were able to appoint anyone as a representative as

long as they had been nominated by the Academy Sector.

The revised Membership of the Forum was discussed and copies of the current

appointments and remaining vacancies were circulated. It was noted that Alberto

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Otero wished to continue as a member for another term. It was requested that the

revised membership list be emailed to Forum members.

Resolved:

1. That the Constitution be noted and endorsed.

2. That a copy of the Membership be forwarded to Schools’ Forum members.

7.

Devolved Formula Capital Balances pdf icon PDF 64 KB

[Debra Boniface, Finance Manager to present report]

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Debra Boniface, Finance Manager presented the report on Devolved Formula Capital

(DFC) Balances and highlighted key points. The report informed the Forum that each

school received an allocation of funding driven by a formula. Information on the

balances still held by schools as at August 2018 was contained within the report and

the new requirement that schools report on their underspends was explained.

In addition to the information contained within the report, the following points were

raised:

It was highlighted that the DFC monies needed to be spent within a three-year

timeframe.

It was noted that secondary schools found it easier to spend the money,

spending on ICT programmes and equipment for example, which masked the

unspent balances for other schools.

Any schools with unspent balances of greater than £1,000 due to expire had

been contacted to identify what plans were in place to spend this money. It

was noted that responses showed that there were sufficient plans in place to

satisfy the ESFA. It was noted that if there was evidence of plans to spend the

money, it did not need to be recorded as an underspend.

It was highlighted for the Forum that only the ESFA were able to claw back

any unspent money, not the Local Authority.

It was noted that this information would be included in Headteacher Induction

and Governor Training Packages and the Forum requested that these points

be highlighted in a letter to headteachers to ensure greater understanding and

clarity.

Resolved:

1. That the report be received.

2. That the new reporting procedures be endorsed.

3. That information explaining the DFC changes be cascaded to schools in the

form of a letter.

8.

Scheme for Financing Schools pdf icon PDF 64 KB

[Steven Hurdley, Finance Officer to present report ]

Minutes:

Steven Hurdley, Finance Officer presented the Scheme for Financing Schools report

and highlighted key points. It was clarified that any proposed changes to the local

scheme for financing schools were subject to a consultation and approval by

members of the Forum representing maintained schools and the report summarised

the planned consultation and proposed revisions to the scheme for financing schools.

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In addition to the information contained within the report, the following points were

highlighted:

The end date for the consultation referred to in the report was highlighted as 9

November 2018, therefore any comments must reach the Authority by this

deadline date.

A concern was expressed with regard to the early retirement costs and its

potential to be a long-term financial commitment. It was noted that this already

formed part of the current scheme, however it was being brought to forefront

more recently. It was added that there was a central ringfenced amount set

aside for this.

It was noted that the authority bears some cost for pensions top-ups and that

the new agreement took effect from 2018 onwards.

It was suggested that a paper be brought to a future Forum meeting on the

implications of pensions for Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

Resolved:

1. That the consultation period be noted.

2. That a follow-up report be delivered to a future Forum meeting following the

consultation to consider the publication and implementation of the revised

Scheme.

3. That a paper be received at a future Forum meeting on the implications of

pensions for Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

9.

National Funding Formula Update

[Debra Boniface, Finance Manager to deliver presentation]

Minutes:

Debra Boniface, Finance Manager delivered a presentation on the National Funding

Formula Update and highlighted the following points:

Some background was given on the changes made since last year and it was

noted that the main focus was growth.

The gains cap had increased by 6.09% per pupil.

Impact on schools and potential figures formed part of the presentation,

however it was stressed that the figures represented were an illustration only

and not actual figures.

The central services budgets will impact on pressures faced within the high

needs block and work was being done with colleague to bring an update back

to the Schools’ Forum.

Conversations were being entered into with HM Treasury and DfE on schools’

costs rather than prevention and lobbying of the Government to keep money

in education for the future was taking place.

The formula was described as transitional and it was stated that there was

currently no commitment beyond 2021.

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The Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) bands had changed,

meaning a block of schools should have gained but didn’t.

It was stated that local authorities apply Section 106 and claws back from

developers to pay for growth and development. It was clarified that Section

106 goes towards capital cost and not revenue monies.

Following the presentation, the recommendations made were for the Schools’ Forum

to:

Agree to introduce National Funding Formula Rates from 2019-2020

Agree to move 0.5% from Schools Block to High Needs Block

Agree to consult with all schools

Resolved:

1. That the National Funding Formula Rates be introduced from 2019-2020

following the consultation

2. That the 0.5% be moved from the schools’ block to the high needs block

3. That the Forum approve the consultation for the Funding Formula

4. That results of the consultation be brought to the Forum at the December

meeting

5. That an update on pressures faced within the high needs block be added as a

future agenda item

6. That an impact on growth in Schools’ Fund be added as a future agenda item

 

10.

Update on School Improvement Projects

[Amanda Newbold, Head of School Improvement to present report]

Minutes:

Amanda Newbold, Head of School Improvement presented the briefing note and

highlighted key points. In addition to information contained in the briefing note, it was

added that:

Positive outcomes had resulted from all projects.

Outreach Engagement profiling was currently under pilot. Employees were

being trained to roll this out to mainstream schools.

Resolved:

That the report be noted.

11.

Update on Clawed Back Finances pdf icon PDF 484 KB

[Adrian Leach, Head of Special Educational Needs and Disability to present report]

Minutes:

It was agreed that this item had been had already been covered during agenda item 4.

12.

High Needs Funding Sub-group Update

[Adrian Leach, Head of Special Educational Needs and Disability to deliver verbal update]

Minutes:

Adrian Leach, Head of Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) provided

the group with a verbal update highlighting key areas:

There had been a meeting of the High Needs Sub-group on 13 September.

It was noted that a better understanding was being developed of how high

need were funded.

Work on budget codes was being done for Schools’ Forum and a review of the

funding matrix for Educational Health Care Plans and Outreach was

underway. Top-up funding was currently sitting in the same budget code for

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autistic children in mainstream schools. Outreach provision was being taken

into mainstream schools to prevent exclusion.

Rob Hart was working with special schools to gain understanding on what the

funding was spent on.

Tom Knott was responsible for working on commissioning 2019 - 2020 places

and would be outlining information and commissioning in a document.

Work was being done on updating and reviewing models used in other local

authorities.

A Matrix review was being pulled together and anticipated for the end of

November.

Resolved:

That the update be noted.

 

13.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

It was requested that the meeting be returned to a Committee Room on the third floor and that microphones be used.

 

Resolved:

That Democratic Services return the meeting to a Committee Room on the third floor and supply microphones.

 

The Chair thanked all for coming and closed the meeting at 17:20.