Agenda item

CONSULTATION - PRIMARY AND SECONDARY MAINSTREAM FORMULAE & SCHOOLS BLOCK MATTERS 2022/23

The Principal Finance Officer (Schools) will present a report, Document NK, which asks the Schools Forum to consider the consultation document, which outlines the proposals for the Schools Block, the funding formula to be used to calculate allocations for mainstream Primary and Secondary schools and academies for the 2022/23 financial year, and the criteria that will form the basis of the allocation of additional funding to maintained schools (and academies where appropriate) from Schools Block centrally managed funds.

 

The Authority would like now to consult on these proposals. The feedback from this consultation will be presented to the Schools Forum on 8 December. The Forum will then be asked to gives it final views (its recommendations) on 12 January 2022.

           

Recommended –

 

The Schools Forum is asked to agree that the consultation (Document NK Appendix 1) is published.

 

(Jonty Holden – 01274 431927)

 

 

Minutes:

The Principal Finance Officer (Schools) presented a report, Document NK, which asked the Schools Forum to consider the consultation document, which outlines the Authority’s proposals for the Schools Block, the funding formula to be used to calculate allocations for mainstream Primary and Secondary schools and academies for the 2022/23 financial year, and the criteria that will form the basis of the allocation of additional funding to maintained schools (and academies where appropriate) from Schools Block centrally managed funds.

 

The Principal Officer explained that the Authority would like now to consult on these proposals, with feedback being presented to the Schools Forum on 8 December. The Forum will then be asked to give it final views (its recommendations) on 12 January 2022.

 

The Principal Officer introduced the context in which the proposals are now presented and provided a summary of the 7 decisions that are required for 2022/23. In particular, the Principal Officer presented the 2 new decisions, relating to the use of the Reception Uplift factor (decision 3) and the approach to ensuring affordability (decision 6).

 

In the discussion that followed the presentation of the report, Forum members asked the following questions and made the following comments:

 

·         A member representing maintained primary school headteachers asked whether there are any negative financial consequences for the primary-phase from the proposal to use a proportion of the £0.917m earmarked balance for the Reception Uplift factor. The Business Advisor (Schools) responded to explain that this is a factor that would allocate additional funding to the primary phase, without ‘top-slicing’ from elsewhere. As such, there aren’t any direct ‘negative’ consequences. However, primary-phase members should consider closely whether the Reception Uplift factor is the right mechanism to use to allocate the earmarked balance. We also warn at this time that, subject to further consideration of the issues explained under decision 6, the Forum may feel that the £0.917m could be used in a different way in 2022/23 in support of the primary phase.

·         Following a query from the Chair, the Business Advisor (Schools) explained how the £0.917m balance has accrued over the last 2 financial years (relating to the change in cost of formula funding from changes in data recorded in the October censuses).

·         The member representing the Teaching Trades Unions stated that it will be helpful for the Forum to see the numbers of pupils that would be funded by the Reception Uplift factor in 2022/23 compared against the numbers in previous years. The Business Advisor responded that this comparison can be provided. He added that the total number (102) is not significantly different from the numbers in previous years, but we may see changes in the distribution of these numbers across primary schools and academies, as the distribution appears to be related to under-subscription.

·         Following a query from an Academies Member, the Business Advisor clarified that the Low Prior Attainment factor looks backwards, meaning that schools and academies are funded on attainment results that have already been recorded and that they are not funded on projections of what attainment might be in future years.

·         A member representing maintained primary school headteachers asked whether the eligibility position of primary schools and academies for the Falling Rolls Fund has changed (i.e. due to the tight criteria that the DfE applies there are few, in any, schools and academies that are eligible). The Business Advisor responded that the general position has not changed. The primary reason for lack of eligibility is that the reduction in pupil numbers in primary schools and academies is the result of longer-term demographic trends, rather than short term ‘blips’. The Business Advisor added that, whilst we propose to continue to include our FRF in our Schools Block approach in 2022/23, we do not expect to have any significant calls on this and, as such, we will wish to discuss with the Forum what to do with the £0.50m ring-fenced balance that is currently held within the Schools Block.

·         An Academies Member asked whether a short summary of the consultation proposals could be provided for school and academy colleagues. The Chair responded, whilst accepting that formula funding is complicated, that colleagues really do need to read the document in full in order to form their own views about the proposals.

 

Resolved –

 

(1)       That the consultation, as presented in Document NK (Appendix 1), be published.

 

(2)       To aid the Forum’s understanding of Decision 3, that further information be presented, which compares the number of additional pupils that will be funded via the Reception Uplift factor (for autumn 2020 to spring 2021), and the distribution of these numbers across schools and academies, with the numbers that would been funded in previous years had the Reception Uplift factor been applied.

 

ACTION:       PRINCIPAL FINANCE OFFICER (SCHOOLS)

 

 

Supporting documents: