Agenda, decisions and minutes

Schools Forum
Wednesday, 10th March, 2021 8.00 am

Contact: Asad Shah - 01274 432280 

Items
No. Item

547.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

The City Solicitir will report the names of alternate Members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed Members.

 

 

Minutes:

Alison Kaye, Ian Morrel

 

 

548.

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:

No declarations of interests were received.

 

ACTION:       City Solicitor

 

 

 

549.

MINUTES OF 13 JANUARY 2021 & MATTERS ARISING pdf icon PDF 237 KB

That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2021  be signed as a correct record.

 

 

Minutes:

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

 

·         Item 539 (Early Years Consultation): This is picked up under agenda item 8.

 

·         Item 542 (DSG recommendations): The recommendations on the allocation of the 2021/22 DSG were approved un-amended by Council on 18 February and are now being rolled out. An update on DSG matters is provided under agenda item 8.

 

·         Previous Meeting Action: The minutes of the 9 December 2020 record, “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”. This was a matter raised by the Vice Chair. The Business Advisor reported that he has discussed this matter directly with the Vice Chair, who clarified that this request relates to the management and resolution of inaccuracies and disputes in EHCP funding decisions, especially where there are changes in EHCPs during the year. The Authority has now published a simple ‘protocol’, which explains how the Authority publishes EHCP information monthly for settings to check and then how the Authority approaches the resolution of EHCP data inaccuracies and disputes. This protocol has been published on Bradford Schools Online.

 

·         Previous Meeting Action: The minutes of the 9 December 2020 record, “that a letter is sent to the Children’s Commissioner from the Chair and Vice Chair of the Schools Forum”, regarding the financial impact of COVID-19 on schools. The Business Advisor explained that, due to the fluidity of the position in spring term and also due to the transition in the Children’s Commissioner, it is felt that this letter’s value will be increased where it can include information regarding spring term lockdown implications and also where it can be addressed to the new rather than to the outgoing Commissioner. 

 

Resolved –

 

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

 

(2)       That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2021 be signed as a correct record.

 

 

550.

MATTERS RAISED BY SCHOOLS

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

 

 

Minutes:

The matter raised by a Forum Member (concerning early years entitlement funding for schools in the spring term 2021) was considered and is recorded under agenda item 8 (Matters Concerning the Dedicated Schools Grant).

 

 

551.

STANDING ITEM - DSG GROWTH FUND ALLOCATIONS (a)

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

 

 

Minutes:

No allocations were presented.

                                                 

No resolutions were passed on this item.

 

 

552.

SCHOOLS BLOCK FALLING ROLLS FUND ALLOCATIONS 2020/21 (a) pdf icon PDF 109 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present a report, Document MV, which provides an update for the Schools Forum on the application in the 2020/21 financial year of the Schools Block Falling Rolls Fund for mainstream primary phase maintained schools and mainstream primary phase academies.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       The Schools Forum is asked to note that, as set out in Document         MV, and following the agreed established criteria, there are no         allocations to be made from the Schools Block Falling Rolls Fund   in 2020/21.

 

(2)       The Forum is asked to note that the sum of £500,000 is unspent            within the Schools Block and is carried forward into 2021/22 as a          ring-fenced sum.

                                                                         (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Principal Finance Officer presented Document MV, which provided an update for the Schools Forum on the application in the 2020/21 financial year of the Schools Block Falling Rolls Fund (FRF) for mainstream primary phase maintained schools and mainstream primary phase academies.

                                       
The Principal Finance Officer explained that 36 primary schools / academies are eligible for FRF under trigger 2 (where their number on roll at October 2019 was not at least 90% of their Published Admission Number (PAN) capacity). However, all of these 36 schools / academies do not comply with trigger 4, meaning that the Authority’s latest pupil numbers forecast does not show that their surplus capacities are needed within 3 years. A number of the 36 are also ineligible following the application of other triggers. As a result, there are no allocations from the FRF in 2020/21 and the full balance of £0.50m within the Schools Block is carried forward into 2021/22 as a ring-fenced sum.

 

Two Forum Members asked whether primary schools / academies will ever be eligible for FRF monies going forward, recognising the limited circumstances in which this fund can be allocated. A Member questioned whether the £0.50m now held within the Schools Block should be recycled for other purposes. The Business Advisor responded that the FRF is in place for 2021/22 (as it was one of the recommendations made by the Schools Forum on 13 January) but he agreed that it would be helpful for the Forum’s subgroup to meet to discuss the on-going position of this fund and to make recommendations back to the Forum for the 2022/23 financial year. The Forum agreed this, adding that the sub group should also look at the implications for the secondary phase as the reduction in pupil numbers currently moving through the primary phase will impact on secondary schools / academies in the future.

 

Resolved –

                

(1)       The Schools Forum notes that there are no allocations from the            Schools Block Falling Rolls Fund for the 2020/21 financial year.

 

(2)       The sum of £500,000 unspent within the Schools Block be carried        forward into 2021/22 as a ring-fenced sum.

 

(3)       The Forum’s sub-group be re-convened to consider further the             on-going position of the Falling Rolls Fund.

 

 

553.

SEND - 2019/20 EXCLUSIONS REPORT (i) pdf icon PDF 93 KB

The 2019/20 Exclusions Report will be presented, Document MW.

 

This report is presented as per the High Needs Block schedule of information agreed with the Schools Forum on 14 October 2020.

 

Recommended –

 

The Schools Forum is asked to consider and to note the information provided in the report.

 

                                                                        (Marium Haque – 01274 431078)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic Manager, Integrated Assessment, presented Document MW, which was the 2019/20 academic year Exclusions Report. This report was presented as per the High Needs Block schedule of information agreed with the Schools Forum on 14 October 2020.

 

In response to the report, a Forum Member asked for confirmation on the position of 90 places at Park PRU, recognising that occupancy is currently 54. The Deputy Director, Education and Learning, explained that 90 is a planned expanded number, currently in development.

 

A Member asked how the Authority analyses the exclusions data, to identify what factors are driving the current increase in permanent exclusions, and what actions are being taken in response to this analysis. Supporting this question, the Chair asked where this report is published and which groups scrutinise it. The Strategic Manager confirmed that the report will be published on Bradford Schools Online and that it is scrutinised by the Children’s Services Scrutiny Committee. It was agreed that the Behaviour Provision Group is well placed to scrutinise the report and to further analyse the exclusions data. The Chair asked if this report could be presented to this group’s meeting next week. The Deputy Director responded that the agenda for this meeting is already quite full but she will seek to add it.

 

Resolved –

 

That the information provided in the report be noted.

 

 

554.

MATTERS CONCERNING THE DEDICATED SCHOOLS GRANT (a) pdf icon PDF 151 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present a report, Document MX, which provides an update on a number of matters relating to the Dedicated Schools Grant, including on the financial implications of COVID-19 on the DSG and on early years entitlement funding arrangements and the position of maintained nursery schools for 2021/22.

 

Within its consideration of this report, the Schools Forum is asked for its view on the DfE’s consultation on proposed amendments to the High Needs Block National Funding Formula for 2022/23 and on the signalling of further changes to come. The Forum is asked to consider whether it wishes to support the Authority’s response or to submit its own response to this consultation.

 

Recommended –

 

(1)       The Schools Forum is asked to consider and to note the information provided in the report.

 

(2)       The Forum is asked to consider whether it wishes to support the          Authority’s response or to submit its own response to the DfE’s     consultation on proposed amendments to the High Needs Block            National Funding Formula for 2022/23.

 

(Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) presented Document MX, which provided an update on a number of matters relating to the Dedicated Schools Grant.

 

The Business Advisor updated the Forum quickly on a number of smaller matters recorded in the report and then drew the Forum’s attention to significant updates in 3 areas.

 

The DfE’s Consultation on the High Needs Block NFF

The Schools Forum was asked for its view on the DfE’s consultation on proposed amendments to the High Needs Block National Funding Formula for 2022/23 and on the signalling of further changes to come. The Forum was asked to consider whether it wishes to support the Authority’s response or to submit its own response to this consultation. The Authority’s response was presented at Appendix 3. Forum Members resolved to agreed and to support the Authority’s response.

 

Spring Term 2021 EYSFF

Document MX included an explanation of the current position, and difficulties, regarding the application of the Early Years Single Funding Formula for the spring term 2021 and the completion of the January Census with reference to the DfE’s guidance.

 

Following the Business Advisor’s introduction, the Member representing maintained primary schools was invited to raise his question, which was submitted to the Chair prior to the meeting. The Member asked whether the Local Authority will financially support any shortfalls in funding that might be incurred by those schools who only partially opened their nursery provision in the spring term to ensure safe operating procedures and to reduce risk. The Member stated that the Authority has said that it will do all it can to support schools manage the COVID-19 situation. The Authority, with the Schools Forum, in previous years has supported schools financially in different ways in different circumstances. The Member requested that the Authority now provides financial support in this circumstance.

 

In response, the Business Advisor recognised that this is a matter that the Authority expects the Forum to monitor and to consider. He explained that there are number of complicated considerations, including those related to fairness and equity, and that he would expect that the Authority, with the Schools Forum, would form its view on this request having had sight of the full financial impact on schools and with a full understanding of the knock-on consequences. The Business Advisor suggested that the Forum resolves at this meeting to schedule this matter for further detailed consideration in May or in July (the timing being dependent on when the data is available to enable full consideration).

 

DfE’s High Needs Block Operational Guidance – Annex 3

The Business Advisor reported that a new Annex 3 was published in February 2021, which updates the DfE’s national High Needs Block Operational Guidance for local authorities. This Annex 3 provides a clear statement, for the first time within finance guidance, of the responsibilities that are placed on the High Needs Block, limited to education. He reminded the Forum that the funding of continuing care health services for children and young people with EHCPs in schools,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 554.

555.

MATTERS CONCERNING SCHOOL AND ACADEMY BUDGETS (i) pdf icon PDF 160 KB

The Business Advisor (Schools) will present a report, Document MY, which provides an update on matters concerning school and academy budgets. This includes an update on the position of the conversion of maintained schools to academy status and on the general forecasted position of school and academy budgets over the 2021-2024 3 year period.

 

The report also includes continued consideration of the financial impact of COVID-19 on education budgets.

 

Recommended –

 

The Schools Forum is asked to consider and to note the information provided in the report.

        

(Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Minutes:

The Business Advisor (Schools) presented Document MY, which provided an update on matters concerning school and academy budgets. This included an update on the position of the conversion of maintained schools to academy status and on the general forecasted position of school and academy budgets over the 2021-2024 period.

 

In responding to the report, the Chair asked whether the change in the calculation of the Pupil Premium Grant, from data sourced from the January Census to data sourced from the October Census, was a permanent change. The Business Advisor confirmed this to be the case. The Chair stated that this is a matter that the Bradford Primary Improvement Partnership (BPIP) wishes to consider more closely.

 

A Member asked about the relationship between the teachers’ pay award and projected future year formula funding increases for schools. The Business Advisor offered the view that formula funding increases will likely be related to national decisions about pay awards (e.g. if teachers’ pay continues to be ‘paused’ then formula funding settlements for schools will likely be at lower levels from April 2023).

 

A Member asked for clarification on whether schools will continue to receive separate funding for the Teacher Pay Grant and Teacher Pensions Grant in respect of early years and post 16 pupils. The Business Advisor responded that continued separate funding has been confirmed for early years pupils but that he is not sure about the position for post 16 pupils as he has so far not been able to clarify this in reading published guidance.

 

Resolved –

 

That the information provided in the report be noted.

 

 

556.

SCHOOLS FORUM STANDING ITEMS (i)

Updates on the following Forum standing items will be provided verbally where these have not been covered within other agenda items:

·         Schools Forum membership

·         Update from the High Needs Block Steering Group

·         Update from the Schools Financial Performance Group (SFPG)

·         Update on School / Academy Budgets

·         Update from the Early Years Working Group (EYWG)

·         Update from the Formula Funding Working Group (FFWG)

·         Update on Primary School Places

·         Update on Academies & Free Schools

 

The Forum is asked to note the information provided.

 

       (Andrew Redding – 01274 432678)

 

 

Minutes:

No further updates were provided.

 

No resolutions were passed on this item.

 

 

557.

AOB / FUTURE AGENDA ITEMS

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

 

 

Minutes:

The Chair informed Forum Members that today is Sue Haithwaite’s final Forum meeting. On behalf of the Forum, the Chair expressed her thanks to Sue for her commitment to, and involvement in, the Forum over many years and for the very significant contributions she has made, not just to Forum meetings, but also to the review work that has taken place in sub-groups behind the scenes (such as the development of the new EHCP Banded Model). Sue expressed her thanks to Forum Members in response.

 

No resolutions were passed on this item.

 

 

558.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

The next Forum meeting is planned for Wednesday 19 May 2021.

 

The Regulations permitting the Schools Forum to meet remotely expire on 31 March 2021. We assume at this time, pending further announcements, that the DfE will extend     this facility into 2021/22 and that the 19 May meeting will be held remotely.

 

We will confirm arrangements as soon as we can.

 

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 2020, “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 planned for Wednesday 19 May 2021.

 

The Regulations permitting the Schools Forum to meet remotely expire on 31 March 2021. It was explained that we assume at this time, pending further announcements, that the DfE will extend this facility (possibly at least up to the end of July) and so the 19 May meeting will be held remotely. The Authority will confirm arrangements as soon as we can.

 

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

 

 

            FROM:

Parveen Akhtar

City Solicitor

 

City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council

 

            Committee Secretariat Contact: Asad Shah - 01274 432280