Agenda and minutes
Venue: Committee Room 2, Watling House, High Street North, Dunstable
Contact: Martha Clampitt 0300 300 4032
Chairman's Announcements and Communications
To receive any announcements from the Chairman and any matters of communication.
The Chairman welcomed everyone to the first Schools Forum meeting of 2015.
In addition, the Chairman welcomed Sue Harrison, Director of Children’s Services and Sarah Mortimer, Post-16 Education Representative to the meeting.
The Chairman advised that he would be varying the order of business and would take items 9 and 7 before considering the remainder of the agenda in its original order.
To approve the minutes of the previous meeting 15 September 2014 and to receive an update on any matters arising from these.
That the minutes of the meeting of the Central Bedfordshire Schools Forum held on 15 September 2014 be confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
To receive from Members any declarations of interest.
To secure the future viability of The Academy of Central Bedfordshire in terms of revenue funding.
The Forum received a report seeking to secure the future viability of the Academy of Central Bedfordshire (ACB) from the Academy’s Governing Body.
The Forum noted that the Academy had launched successfully and had improved the results for students, attending the ACB. It was noted that both Ofsted and HMI had praised the arrangements and had suggested that other Authorities visit to see how it operated and see the strength of partnership between the Academy, the Council and schools.
In 2013/14 there had been 79 Group 1 students at risk of permanent exclusion or permanently excluded who accessed a full time place at the Academy, which is a rise from those who previously had accessed the Pupil Referral Unit on which the original commission was based. Schools had approached the ACB and expressed an interest of commissioning full time rather than part time Group 2 places for students who may struggle with the mainstream school and needed an alternative curriculum.
In the proposals put forward transportation costs were not included in the funding requests as transport is not currently funded by DSG. Paragraphs 24 – 26 of the report provided details of the extra funding requested. The total amount would be £383,150.
The Assistant Director, School Improvement confirmed to the Forum that this situation had been highlighted during last year’s discussions. It was further noted that the funding was now similar to Special Schools funding of £10k per pupil with a top up. The additional request has been calculated using the same mechanisms as the calculation used for special schools.
It was further noted that the governance arrangements were very thorough with both middle and upper school representatives responsible for the outcomes. It was noted that some students moved to Oak Bank due to SEN requirements if necessary.
1. That the proposed recalculated rate of top up funding for Group 1 and Group 2 students at the Academy of Central Bedfordshire that reflect the need to offer the full broad, balanced and relevant curriculum to both groups of students be noted.
2. That the request for additional allocation from the High Needs Block as proposed of £384,539 in order to ensure transparency and certainty of the revenue funding for The Academy of Central Bedfordshire be supported.
3. That a review of the provision of transport to ensure cost effective, efficient transport arrangements for both Group 1 and Group 2 students and meets with the Council’s legal obligations be supported.
To seek approval for the continuation of funding for facilities release time for Trade Unions and Professional Association. This would be through de-delegation (where appropriate) for Primary and Secondary Schools, Nursery and maintained Special Schools would be invoiced directly, subject to their agreement to release funds for this purpose.
The Forum considered a report which sought approval for the continuation of funding for facilities release time for Trade Unions and Professional Association. This would be through the de-delegation (where appropriate) for maintained Primary and Secondary Schools. Nursery and maintained Special Schools would be invoiced directly, subject to their agreement to release funds for this purpose.
The estimated annual cost would be £56,080 (£3.31 per pupil), of which £53,694 is proportioned to the Primary and Secondary phases. The sum was calculated using the actual cost per pupil rate from 2015/16 multiplied by the number of pupils, according to the October 2014 census.
Trade Union membership numbers also affects the overall costs and cost per pupil. The figures used were based on 2014/15 arrangements..
The Policy & Implementation Manager, HR Policy and Development explained that the representatives who had carried out work were working across a number of schools and the fund allows for cover arrangements to be put into place, where the teacher works. The unused fund returns to the DSG.
1. That the de-delegation of Trade Union and Professional Associations funding, at no more than £3.31 per pupil, from the Lower / Primary Phase be agreed.
2. That the de-delegation of Trade Union and Professional Associations funding, at no more than £3.31 per pupil, from the Secondary School Phase be agreed.
The voting was unanimous for the Lower / Primary Phase and the Secondary Phase.
The report proposes the transfer of the DSG funds allocated by Government for the extension of Two Year Olds to be allocated and managed by the Early Years Childcare Panel and a proportion to be allocated as capital to support the required extension.
The Forum considered a report which proposed the transfer of the DSG funds allocated by Government for the extension of Two Year Olds to be allocated and managed by the Early Years Childcare Panel and a proportion to be allocated as capital to support the required extension.
The Head of Child Poverty and Early Intervention Services informed the Forum that in September 2009, Central Bedfordshire introduced the Funding for free provision for two year olds offer of 10 hours a week, term time only, for 57 children from amongst the 15% disadvantaged two year olds.
In November 2011, Central Government announced the extension to the funding to support 20% of the disadvantaged two year olds (500) and increasing from September 2014 to 40% (1000) for 15 hours a week, term time only.
The hours of provision have increased from 22,230 (2009), 292,500 (2013) and 585,000 (September 2014).
Additional funding has been allocated to Local Authorities to support the delivery. Central Bedfordshire Council has been allocated £348,738 capital funding and £261,651 trajectory funding within the DSG. The Early Intervention Grant had been reduced by a greater amount.
The Forum were asked to agree that the trajectory funding grant to be used for capital projects to provide space for the additional children. The Childcare Funding Panel would allocate the funding as previously.
That the transfer of authority of £261,651 identified in the DSG notification as Trajectory Funding for the extension of Two Year Old places to the Early Years Childcare Panel, be agreed.
To note the update on the activity of the Early Years Reference Group and to agree the proposed funding changes.
The Forum received a report which provided an update on the activity of the Early Years Reference Group and asked for agreement to the proposed funding changes.
It was noted that the number of two year olds eligible for free places was 913 names, according to most recent data, however only 647 had taken up the offer as at the Autumn term. It was noted that most parents do not believe that this is an actual offer. A considerable publicity campaign has been launched including: posters, side of bus advertising, back of bus tickets and nationally there has been advertising on the back of Argos receipts. In addition, social media via Twitter and Facebook have been launched by Central Bedfordshire Council’s Communications Team.
The Head of Child Poverty and Early Intervention provided the Forum with an overview of the work carried out by the Early Years Reference Group over the past year. In particular the following areas were highlighted:
· Biggest 2 year old initiative
o Ensuring the original target of 20% (449) places for the most deprived 2 year olds from September 2013;
o From September 2014, this will be 40% (889) places
o Providing the places was not the difficulty but rather finding children to use the places
o Autumn 2014 approximately 647 places taken up
The Forum noted that there had been no change to the overall funding formula however minor changes in the funding level had been noted during 2013. There was a one off payment of an additional 10p per child/hour in the base rate paid, due to available carry forward. It was noted that the formula had remained static since its introduction.
From 2014/15 it was agreed that an additional 5p per child/hour be added to the base rate, which the Early Years Reference Group considered at its June meeting. It was noted that there was a funding difference between Private, Voluntary and Independent (PVI) groups and Schools, with Schools receiving a lower rate. Schools received an amount for a senior manager post and payments for rates, utilities and administration as part of a school formula, whilst PVIs received this as a lump sum. The lump sum was deem inappropriate and removed. It was proposed to increase the hourly rate, from April 2015, by 5p per child per hour for PVIs and 15p per child per hour for schools. The table in paragraph 6 of the report sets out the new rates.
The Group met and approved the local agreement in line with the new national framework for two, three and four year olds with effect from September 2014. It is anticipated that a further changes will be made in September 2015 to the EYFS in relation to Out of School clubs, ratio and qualification requirements and increasing the registration requirement to 3 hours.
The Group had received reports from the Support Strategy which provided intensive support for setting which require improvement. Central Bedfordshire had a higher level of good and outstanding outcomes compared to ... view the full minutes text for item 26.
To note the update on the DSG and Growth Fund allocations for 2014/15. To approve the 2015/16 DSG allocations for De-delegation, Growth Fund, Admissions and School Forum. To note the 2015/16 funding announcements.
The Forum received a report which provided an update on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and Growth Fund allocation for 2014/15, sought approval of the 2015/16 DSG De-delegation, Growth Fund, Admissions and Schools Forum and to note the 2015/16 funding announcement.
From 2013/14, the DSG would be split into three notional blocks: Early Year, High Needs and Schools.
The Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) was set at negative 1.5% per pupil
It was noted that the Chief Finance Officer (CFO) is no longer required to complete two statements annually instead the DfE have now requested one annual outturn statement, confirming that the DSG received by the Authority was fully deployed in support of the school budgets in accordance with the conditions of the School Regulations. In addition it will also include a Non Maintained Special School (NMSS) statement and Fraud cases reported in school statement.
DSG Outturn 2014/15
The Schools Block is based on a per pupil unit of funding of £4,144.47 multiplied by 35,148 pupils as reported on the October 2013 census.
The Early Years Block is based on a unit of funding of £3,979.80 multiplied by 2,587 full time equivalent number of pupils as reported on the January 2014 census. In April 2014, the block was updated for 7/12ths of the January 2014 pupil numbers to cover the period September 2013 to March 2014.
The High Needs Block is a single block for high needs pupils/student age 0 – 24. For 2014/15 the block is split into two parts, pre-16 and post-16 (ages 16-24). The Forum noted that since August 2013, the post-16 funding has combined three previous budgets: SEN block grant, specialist placements funding and the cost of high needs student in Further Education (FE).
The distribution of the 2013/14 DSG based on the 48 Academy conversions at December 2014 was £183,434 (£83,790 went to Academies ISB). Direct payments to Academies included Early Years = £716k and High Needs = £3.481k. Paragraph 14 of the report provided a breakdown of the centrally retained DSG of £19.3m.
A technical sub group would be set up to deal with High Needs Funding.
Growth Fund Outturn 2014/15
The Growth Fund is for significant pre-16 growth in schools. Funds are available to both maintained schools and academies. Where a school has elected to expand they are not eligible for the Growth Fund.
The amount for 2014/15 was set at £1m and has been overspent by £428,470. The Forum noted that any overspend would be the first call against the 2015/16 allocation for Growth Fund. An adjustment is due from the EFA of £248k in respect of a Growth Fund payment to Academies. The adjustment will be included in the 2015/16 Growth Fund.
The Forum noted that funding for de-delegation services must be allocated through the formula but can be de-delegated for maintained mainstream primary and secondary schools with School Forum approval. The de-delegation does not apply to academies, special schools, nurseries or PRUs. The decision to de-delegate is ... view the full minutes text for item 27.
The report outlines how the centrally retained DSG has been used in 2014/15 and identifies required use of centrally retained High Needs Block for 2015/2016.
The Forum received a report which outlined how the centrally retained DSG had been used in 2014/15 and identified required use of centrally retained High Needs Block for 2015/16. The Assistant Director, School Improvement highlighted the changes between the 2014/15 budget and the 2015/16 expected spend.
The Forum requested that a technical sub group be formed to consider the High Needs paper and convened during the summer term. The following Forum members volunteered:
Shirley Ann Crosbie OBE
Sue Howley MBE
1. The centrally retained High Needs Block has been used in 2014/2015 to support high needs provision, be noted.
2. That the allocation of High Needs Block for 2015/16 be agreed.
3. That the distribution of unspent DSG in 2014/15 be agreed.
4. That the transfer of the balance of unspent High Needs Block DSG to support capital development in specialist provisions in ... view the full minutes text for item 28.
To provide an update on the use of the School Contingency Budgets for 2014/15.
The Forum considered a report which provided an update on the use of the School Contingency Budgets, as at 31 December 2014, which had been split into three notional blocks: Schools, High Needs and Early Years with each block holding its own contingency budget.
It was agreed at the Schools Forum meeting on the 14 October 2013 that the de-delegated contingency budget for 2014/15 would remain at the 2013/14 per pupil level of £5.63.
The balance as at 31 December 2014 for the Schools Contingency is £206,904.
High Needs Contingency
It was agreed at the Schools Forum meeting of the 20 January 2014 that unallocated 2014/15 High Needs Block funding would be held in contingencies until funding issues resolved, unspent funding will be redistributed to schools in 2015/16.
The balance as at 31 December 2014 for the High Needs Contingency is £1,284,495.
Early Years Contingency
The balance of unspent funds of £117,746 from 2013/14 had been carried forward to 2014/15. The balance, as at 31 December 2014, for the Early Years Contingency is £1,021,371.
That the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) Contingency spend to 31 December 2014 be noted.
To provide an update on the use of the School Forum Budget for 2014/15.
The Forum received and considered a report which provided an update on the Schools Forum Budget for 2014/15.
The Senior Finance Officer confirmed that at the date of the meeting the remaining balance for the year was £3,316 of which £1,444 had been carried forward from 2013/14. It was noted that any unspent budget would be carried forward to the next year. It was noted that the budget for 2014/15 would be £3,000, with the continued membership of F40.
Members of the Forum were reminded that they could submit travel claims for attending the Forum meetings.
That the Schools Forum Budget position statement as at 31 December 2014 be noted.
This report advises of the changes to membership of Schools Forums as identified in the Schools Revenue Funding 2015 to 2016.
The Forum received a report which advised of changes to the membership of the Schools Forum as identified in the Schools Revenue Funding 2015 to 2016.
The Forum at its meeting held on 23 June 2014 (minute CBSF/14/9 refers) agreed to increase the Lower and Middle Academy representation. The Forum is now being asked to note that in December 2014, the new regulations required that two additional representatives be added to the membership. An AP representative and a special academy representative. The increase to the Forum membership means that the quorum level must also be increased from 7 to 10.
In addition the new regulations required that additional consultation processes be given to the Forum. The details are attached at Appendix A to these minutes.
1. That the change of membership to the Schools Forum required by the Department for Education as detailed in their report, titled Schools Revenue Funding 2015 to 2016 be noted.
2. That the additional consultation responsibilities regarding special spaces and AP places commissioning be noted.
3. That the adjustment to the quorum for the Schools Forum from 7 to 10 be noted.
To consider the work programme for the Central Bedfordshire Schools Forum
The Schools Forum Forward programme was reviewed and noted.
Forward Programme, requests would be emailed to the Committee Clerk for inclusion for the next meeting.
That the Outline Forward Programme be noted.
Future Meeting Dates
The proposed dates are as follows:
15 June 2015 at Priory House
07 September 2015 at Priory House
19 October 2015 at Priory House
18 January 2015 at Watling House
The Forum noted that the dates of future meetings were as follows:
Monday 9 March 2015 at Priory House at 6.00pm (5.30pm for technical questions)
Monday 15 June 2015 at Priory House at 6.00pm (5.30pm for technical questions)
Monday 07 September 2015 at Priory House at 6.00pm (5.30pm for technical questions)
Monday 19 October 2015 at Priory House at 6.00pm (5.30pm for technical questions)
Monday 18 January 2016 at