Agenda, decisions and minutes

Schools Forum
Wednesday, 13th January, 2021 8.00 am

Contact: Asad Shah - 01274 432280 

Items
No. Item

533.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

The Business Advisor (Schools) will report the names of alternate Members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed Members.

 

 

Minutes:

Donna Willoughby, Emma Hamer. Michael Thorpe (observer). Councillor Imran Khan - Portfolio Holder Education, Employment and Skills.

 

 

534.

DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST

To receive disclosures of interests from Members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.

 

An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it only becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

Carol Dewhirst, Brent Fitzpatrick, Helen Williams, Nicky Kilvington and Sue Haithwaite declared interests for item 12 Document MU Appendix 1 (Growth Fund allocations for 2021/22).

 

ACTION:       City Solicitor

 

 

535.

MINUTES OF 9 DECEMBER 2020 & MATTERS ARISING pdf icon PDF 153 KB

That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2020 be signed as a correct record.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) reported on progress made on “Action” items:

 

·         Item 520 (Growth Fund) – The Business Advisor reported that a response to the request, “that further consideration is given to the processes the Authority has in place to support the allocation of SEND (EHCP) funding in response to growth without lag” will be provided to the March meeting.

 

·         Item 521 (COVID-19) - The Business Advisor reported that a response to the request, “That a letter is sent to the Children’s Commissioner from the Chair and Vice Chair of the Schools Forum” will be taken forward as soon as possible (incorporating intelligence of the impact of the January / February national lockdown and closure of schools).

 

·         Item 521 (COVID-19) Early Years Funding – The Business Advisor presented a matters arising document, which provided further information on the position of spring term Early Years entitlement funding and the estimates that are incorporated into the 2020/21 forecasted DSG spending position as a result of the DfE’s latest guidance. The Forum asked some questions for clarification relating to the retention of the forecasted £1.7m Early Years Block balance as well as to the proposal to transfer the cost of early years high needs services to be funded by the High Needs Block in 2021/22, in support of the pressure on the Early Years Block and to protect the financial position of this block for the future.

 

Resolved –

 

(1)  That progress made on “Action” items and Matters Arising be noted.

 

(2)  That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 December 2020 be signed as a correct record.

 

 

536.

MATTERS RAISED BY SCHOOLS

Members will be asked to consider any issues raised by schools.

 

 

Minutes:

No information was presented.

 

No resolutions were passed on this item.

 

 

537.

STANDING ITEM - DSG GROWTH FUND ALLOCATIONS

There are no new allocations for 2020/21 presented to this meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

No allocations were presented.

 

No resolutions were passed on this item.

 

 

538.

UPDATED 2021/22 DSG POSITION pdf icon PDF 229 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present a report, Document MO, which updates Members on the position of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for the 2021/22 financial year. This is a main reference document for this meeting.

           

Recommended –

 

The Forum is asked to note the information provided. This will inform decisions and recommendations to be made under agenda item 12.

 

         (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) presented Document MO, which updated Members on the position of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for the 2021/22 financial year. This was a main reference document for this meeting.

 

Resolved –

 

That the information presented in Document MO be noted.

 

 

539.

UPDATED 2020/21 DSG SPENDING AND BALANCES FORECAST pdf icon PDF 105 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present statements, Document MP Appendices 1 and 2, which update Members on the forecasted spending positions of each of the DSG Blocks for 2020/21, on the estimated values of balances to be carried forward into 2021/22, and on the proposed uses of these balances.

 

These statements replace the initial indicative forecasts that were presented to the Schools Forum on 9 December (in Document MH).

           

Recommended –

 

The Forum is asked to note the information provided. This will inform decisions and recommendations to be made under agenda item 12.        

 

                                                            (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) presented Document MP Appendices 1 and 2, which updated Members on the forecasted spending positions of each of the DSG Blocks for 2020/21, on the estimated values of balances to be carried forward into 2021/22, and on the proposed uses of these balances. These statements replaced the initial indicative forecasts that were presented to the Schools Forum on 9 December (in Document MH).

 

Members expressed their support for the proposed allocation / retention of DSG balances as presented. The primary phase members expressed their support for the retention of the £0.917m £GUF monies from the 2021/22 settlement in order to apply the reception uplift factor in 2022/23.

 

A Member commented on a wider basis that, because schools have been required previously by the Authority to reduce their balances, schools now have lower values of reserves available to help them manage the current exceptional circumstances.

 

A Member asked whether the DfE operates a control of balances mechanism at DSG level for the Authority to follow. The Business Advisor explained that there is a general threshold set by the ESFA of 10%, which if exceeded will initiate further discussion with the DfE.

 

A Member asked how many local authorities have deficit DSG accounts. The Business Advisor stated that he was not sure of the number but that the DfE’s requirement for authorities to have a DSG Management Plan is in response to a large number of authorities being in deficit as a result in particular of High Needs Block over spending.

 

A Member asked whether the Council will ensure that schools are supported for all financial implications resulting from COVID-19. The Business Advisor responded that the first point of call was to Government (and to lobby) to ensure that sufficient financial support has been provided through the national schemes. To this end, the Forum will continue to consider and to monitor the financial implications.

 

Resolved –

                

That the information presented in Document MP Appendices 1 and 2 be noted.

 

 

540.

CENTRALLY MANAGED AND DE-DELEGATED FUNDS 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present statements, Document MQ Appendices 1, 2 and 3, which set out proposed Schools Block, Central Schools Services Block and Early Years Block centrally managed and de-delegated funds for the 2021/22 financial year.

 

The statements at Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 replace the indicative information that was presented to the Schools Forum on 9 December (in Document MN).

 

Appendix 3 newly presents the contributions to be made by each maintained primary and secondary school to de-delegated funds held within the Schools Block and how these compare with the contributions made in 2020/21.

 

Recommended –

 

The Forum is asked to note the information provided. This will inform decisions and recommendations to be made under agenda item 12.         

 

         (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) presented Document MQ Appendices 1, 2 and 3, which set out proposed Schools Block, Central Schools Services Block and Early Years Block centrally managed and de-delegated funds for the 2021/22 financial year. The statements at Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 replaced the indicative information that was presented to the Schools Forum on 9 December (in Document MN).

 

Appendix 3 newly presented the contributions to be made by each maintained primary and secondary school to de-delegated funds held within the Schools Block and how these compare with the contributions made in 2020/21.

 

A Member asked for clarification on how the Falling Rolls Fund within the Schools Block is financed (it was confirmed through contribution from the non-phase specific Schools Block resources rather than through top-slicing the phase-specific £GUF resources). A Member asked for clarification on the reasons for the increase in pupil admissions spending. The Business Advisor explained that this is due to service pressure and is reflective of our lower than average spending on admissions services (evidenced in previous benchmarking reports). A Member stated that they hoped to see increased speed in the placement of new arrivals in the autumn term (and before the October Census) as a result of this additional budget.

 

Resolved –

 

That the information presented in Document MQ Appendices 1 to 3 be noted.

 

 

541.

CONSULTATION - EARLY YEARS BLOCK FUNDING ARRANGEMENT 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present a report, Document MR, which presents the Authority’s consultation on proposals for Bradford’s 2021/22 Early Years Single Funding Formula. This consultation will go live immediately following this meeting and will have a closing date for responses of 3 February 2020.

 

This consultation follows from discussions at the 9 December Schools Forum meeting about the knock on implications for our decision making timetable of the late publication by the DfE of the 2021/22 Early Years Block settlement and operational guidance. These were published by the DfE on 17 December.

 

However, as explained in the report, there are still a number of matters for the 2021/22 financial year that are uncertain and that will likely require further discussion, consultation and decisions. The key outstanding matter is the funding of maintained nursery schools from September 2021.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       The Forum is asked for its formal feedback on the proposals.     Members are asked to provide their feedback under agenda item     12. The outcomes of the consultation will be presented to the     Forum on 10 March. However, this will be after Council has taken          its final decisions on DSG arrangements for 2021/22 on 18             February.

 

(2)       Members are asked to note that the recommended allocation of             the 2021/22 Early Years Block, and Early Years Single Funding           Formula arrangements, presented to this meeting are put forward   on the basis that the Authority’s proposals are implemented. Any             variance from this in the final arrangements, as agreed by            Council, including changes as result of consultation feedback,       will be presented to the Forum on 10 March.

 

(3)       Members are also asked to note there are still a number of matters        for the 2021/22 financial year that are uncertain and that will likely require further discussion, consultation and decisions. The key            outstanding matter is the funding of maintained nursery schools             from September 2021.

 

         (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) presented Document MR, which presented the Authority’s consultation on proposals for Bradford’s 2021/22 Early Years Single Funding Formula. The Business Advisor explained that, subject to the Forum’s approval, the consultation will go live immediately following this meeting and will have a closing date for responses of 3 February 2020.

 

The Business Advisor explained that this consultation follows from discussions at the 9 December Schools Forum meeting about the knock on implications for our decision making timetable of the late publication by the DfE of the 2021/22 Early Years Block settlement and operational guidance. These were published by the DfE on 17 December.

 

As explained in the report, the Business Advisor emphasised that there are still a number of matters for the 2021/22 financial year that are uncertain and that will likely require further discussion, consultation and decisions. The key outstanding matter is the funding of maintained nursery schools from September 2021.

 

The Forum supported the proposals as presented. A Member specifically stated his support for the proposal to pause further reduction in the proportion of 3&4 year old budget allocated through the Deprivation and SEND Supplement in the light of the impact of COVID-19. A Member asked whether the transfer of the early years high needs activities to be funded from the High Needs Block in 2021/22 is affordable. The Business Advisor responded that this transfer is affordable within the 2021/22 settlement and is anticipated to be for one year only but will be reviewed for 2022/23.

 

Resolved –

 

(1)  The Forum fully supports the Early Years Single Funding Formula for 2021/22 as proposed in Document MR Appendix 1.

 

(2)  That the consultation document be published.

 

(3)  Forum Members noted that the recommended allocation of the 2021/22 Early Years Block, and Early Years Single Funding Formula arrangements, presented in Document MU are put forward on the basis that the Authority’s proposals are implemented. Any variance from this in the final arrangements, as agreed by Council, including changes as result of consultation feedback, will be presented to the Forum on 10 March.

 

(4)  Forum Members noted that there are still a number of matters for the 2021/22 financial year that are uncertain and that will likely require further discussion, consultation and decisions. The key outstanding matter is the funding of maintained nursery schools from September 2021.

 

LEAD:            Business Advisor, Schools

 

 

542.

INDICATIVE BUDGETS, FUNDING RATES & PRO-FORMAS 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 111 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present a report, Document MS, with Appendices 1-5.

 

Appendices 1a, 1b and 1c show the indicative values of allocations to be delegated to individual maintained primary and secondary schools and academies within the Schools Block.

 

Appendix 1d provides an analysis of the change in cost of Schools Block formula funding following the use of the data collected in / based on the October 2020 Census. Modelling previously presented to the Forum has been based on October 2019 Census data.

 

Appendices 2a, 2b and 2c show the proposed indicative rates of funding for early years settings for the 2021/22 financial year. Please note that the rates of funding for maintained nursery schools, shown in Appendix 2a, are for the period April to August 2021 only at this stage.

 

Appendix 3 provides a more detailed analysis of how the High Needs Block planned budget has been constructed at individual setting level. Please note however, that Appendix 3 does not show the values of allocations that high needs providers will actually receive in 2021/22 (as these will be based on monthly occupancy during the year).

 

Appendices 4 and 5 show the draft Primary and Secondary and Early Years pro-formas, which summarise the Authority’s proposed formula funding arrangements. Please note that these pro-formas are subject to the final decisions and recommendations to be made by the Schools Forum under agenda item 12 as well as to the finalisation of our early years arrangements, as explained in agenda item 9.

 

Recommended –

 

The Forum is asked to note the information provided. This will inform decisions and recommendations to be made under agenda item 12. 

 

         (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) presented Document MS, with Appendices 1-5.

 

The Business Advisor focused on Appendix 1d, which presented the cost of change by factor for the Schools Block funding formula when the October 2020 Census data has been used. The Business Advisor highlighted key themes, especially the increased spending through the flat ‘here and now’ FSM factor and the continued reduction in spending through the SEND prior attainment factor. A Member asked why flat FSM is significantly increasing at the same time that Ever 6 FSM is reducing. The Business Advisor explained that this is related to how Ever 6 looks back in time, especially to the period from the 2008 financial ‘crash’ onwards and that we will likely see Ever 6 beginning to increase as Flat FSM has now also been steadily increasing in recent years.

 

Resolved –

 

That the information presented in Document MS and Appendices 1 to 5 be noted.

 

 

543.

DSG MANAGEMENT PLAN pdf icon PDF 123 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present a report, Document MT, which sets out the Authority’s Management Plan for the DSG. This plan explains the general management principles that guide our decision making and then focuses on High Needs Block matters. Alongside this plan is presented a list of specialist places to be commissioned in 2021/22 and a future year forecast of the High Needs Block.

 

The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) now expects that every authority will present to their Forums, and will regularly update, a Management Plan, which explains their DSG‘s financial position, the risks of overspending and deficit, and the actions that an authority is taking for deficit avoidance or for deficit recovery, as appropriate. The Plan should also include benchmarking and demand-led data, to provide context to the financial picture and which enables a focus to be retained on value for money. A plan is specifically required where an authority’s DSG account is in deficit. In these circumstances, an authority is required to submit its plan to the ESFA. This is not the case in Bradford as our DSG account is in surplus.

 

A Management Plan template has been provided by the ESFA. We expect to move to use this template in presenting our plan to the Forum in the future.

 

Recommended –

 

The Forum is asked to note the information provided. This will inform decisions and recommendations to be made under agenda item 12. 

 

         (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) presented Document MT, which sets out the Authority’s Management Plan for the DSG. This plan explains the general management principles that guide our decision making and then focuses on High Needs Block matters. Alongside this plan was presented a list of specialist places to be commissioned in 2021/22 and a future year forecast of the High Needs Block.

 

It was explained that the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) now expects that every authority will present to their Forums, and will regularly update, a Management Plan, which explains their DSG‘s financial position, the risks of overspending and deficit, and the actions that an authority is taking for deficit avoidance or for deficit recovery, as appropriate. The Plan should also include benchmarking and demand-led data, to provide context to the financial picture and which enables a focus to be retained on value for money. A plan is specifically required where an authority’s DSG account is in deficit. In these circumstances, an authority is required to submit its plan to the ESFA. This is not the case in Bradford as our DSG account is in surplus. A Management Plan template has been provided by the ESFA. We expect to move to use this template in presenting our plan to the Forum in the future.

 

The Chair stated that support for behaviour and SEMH continues to be an area of concern for school colleagues. She emphasised the importance of developing the District’s strategy (through the established groups). The Chair also asked for continued discussion about how the DSG (the High Needs Block) could financially support behaviour provision if at all possible.

 

Resolved –

 

That the Management Plan presented in Document MT Appendices 1 to 3 be noted.

 

 

544.

FINAL DECISIONS AND FORMAL RECOMMENDATIONS 2021/22 DSG pdf icon PDF 165 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present Document MU, which summarises the decisions and recommendations that the Schools Forum is asked to make in supporting the Local Authority to set the allocation of the DSG and formula funding arrangements for the 2021/22 financial year. The Forum is asked to take decisions (as required by the Regulations), and to make its final formal recommendations, on the Authority’s proposals under the following main headings:

 

·         Schools Block Centrally Managed Funds

·         Early Years Block Centrally Managed Funds

·         The Central Schools Services Block

·         The High Needs Block (including high needs formula funding models)

·         The Allocation & Retention of forecasted Balances Brought Forward

·         Early Years Block Early Years Single Funding Formula and Pro-Forma

·         Schools Block Primary & Secondary Formula Funding and Pro-Forma

 

Recommended -

 

(1)       The Forum is asked for its final decisions on identified items as             required by the Regulations.

 

(2)       The Forum is asked to give its final formal recommendations on            the Authority’s proposals for the allocation of the 2021/22 DSG,      2021/22 formula funding arrangements, and the treatment of             balances forecasted to be carried forward from 2020/21. The      Forum’s recommendations will be presented to the Council’s          Executive on 16 February, and then, subject to the Executive’s           resolution, to full Council on 18 February, as part of the Council’s             final decision making process.

 

         (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) presented Document MU, which summarised the decisions and recommendations that the Schools Forum is asked to make in supporting the Local Authority to set the allocation of the DSG and formula funding arrangements for the 2021/22 financial year.

 

The Forum was asked to take decisions (as required by the Regulations), and to make its final formal recommendations, on the Authority’s proposals under the following main headings:

 

·         Schools Block Centrally Managed Funds

·         Early Years Block Centrally Managed Funds

·         The Central Schools Services Block

·         The High Needs Block (including high needs formula funding models)

·         The Allocation & Retention of forecasted Balances Brought Forward

·         Early Years Block Early Years Single Funding Formula and Pro-Forma

·         Schools Block Primary & Secondary Formula Funding and Pro-Forma

 

Resolved –

 

These are the decisions and recommendations the Schools Forum has made in supporting the Local Authority to establish the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) planned budget and formula funding arrangements for the 2021/22 financial year. The Forum has taken decisions (as required by the Regulations), and has made final formal recommendations, will be go forward for presentation to the Executive on 16 February 2021.

 

Important points of note (which help explain the rationale for decisions / recommendations) are also recorded.

 

1.         Schools Block Centrally Managed Funds 2021/22 (DECISION)

 

Schools Block De-Delegated Funds 2021/22 (DECISION)

 

Document MQ (and Appendices 1 – 3).

 

1.1 Schools Members representing maintained primary & secondary schoolsagreed the values of de-delegated funds, and the contributions to be taken from the 2021/22 formula funding allocations of maintained primary & secondary schools, as per Document MQ and its appendices.

 

a)    School Re-Organisation Costs (Safeguarded Salaries) (Primary & Secondary): agreed to continue de-delegation from both the primary and secondary phases for the actual cost of continuing safeguarded salaries in maintained primary and secondary schools.

 

b)   School Re-Organisation Costs (Sponsored academy conversions budget deficits) (Primary only): agreed to continue to ‘pause’ de-delegation from the primary phase, meaning that no new contribution is taken in 2021/22. Review again for 2022/23. The Schools Forum will be provided with monitoring reports where this fund’s brought forward balance is used in 2021/22 for this purpose.

 

c)    Exceptional Costs & Schools in Financial Difficulty (Primary only): agreed to continue de-delegation from the primary phase at the 2020/21 per pupil value.

 

d)   Costs of FSM Eligibility Assessments (Primary & Secondary): agreed to continue de-delegation from both the primary and secondary phases at the 2020/21 per FSM6 values, with contributions continuing to be taken using FSM Ever 6 data.

 

e)    Fisher Family Trust (Primary only): agreed to continue de-delegation from the primary phase, recovering the cash value to match the actual cost. The secondary phase and all primary academies will continue to be invited to subscribe through the Local Authority (paying for this from their own delegated budgets via invoice). Please note that the Schools Members representing maintained primary schools decided on 14 October 2020 to continue de-delegation in 2021/22 for the purposes of subscribing to FFT. As such, this decision is repeated here only for reference and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 544.

545.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS / FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS

Members will be asked for any additional items of business, for consideration at a future meeting.

 

 

Minutes:

No AOB items were raised.

 

No resolutions were passed on this item.

 

 

546.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

A provisional meeting has been planned (subject to this being needed to complete agenda item 11) to take place on Wednesday 20 January.

 

The next substantive Forum meeting is planned for Wednesday 10 March 2021.

 

Please note that the provisional dates of meetings for the 2021/22 academic year are as follows:

 

·         Wednesday 15 September 2021, 8am

·         Wednesday 13 October 2021, 8am

·         Wednesday 8 December 2021, 8am

·         Wednesday 12 January 2022, 8am

·         Wednesday 19 January 2022, 8am  PROVISIONAL MEETING

·         Wednesday 9 March 2022, 8am

·         Wednesday 18 May 2022, 8am

·         Wednesday 6 July 2022, 8am

 

 

(a) Denotes an item for action (including where a formal view or recommendation is required).

 

(i)  Denotes an item for information.

 

Signposting of High Needs Information

 

As per the schedule presented on 14 October, “Forum members are expected to access ‘outside of the Forum meetings’ wider SEND information that is presented to other groups and that is already published, including information presented to the SEND Partnership. The Authority will signpost this information (webpage links) for Forum members at the bottom of agendas.”

 

 

·         SEND Partnership Board (minutes of meetings):

https://localoffer.bradford.gov.uk/coproduction--feedback/send-strategic-partnership-board-

 

 

Minutes:

Please see the published schedule of meetings – the next Forum meeting is scheduled for Wednesday 10 March 2021. Please note that the provisional meeting scheduled for 20 January 2021 is not required and is cancelled. The provisional dates of meetings for the 2021/22 academic year are as follows:

 

·         Wednesday 15 September 2021, 8am

·         Wednesday 13 October 2021, 8am

·         Wednesday 8 December 2021, 8am

·         Wednesday 12 January 2022, 8am

·         Wednesday 19 January 2022, 8am  PROVISIONAL MEETING

·         Wednesday 9 March 2022, 8am

·         Wednesday 18 May 2022, 8am

·         Wednesday 6 July 2022, 8am

 

Note:      These minutes are subject to approval as a correct record at the next meeting of the Forum.

 

minutes\sf13jJan21

 

THESE MINUTES HAVE BEEN PRODUCED, WHEREVER POSSIBLE, ON RECYCLED PAPER