Agenda and draft minutes

Schools Forum - Thursday, 9 December 2021 4.30 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams Meeting. View directions

Contact: Derek Morgan  01344 352044

Media

Items
No. Item

209.

Apologies for Absence/Substitute Members

To receive apologies for absence and to note the attendance of any substitute members.

Minutes:

There were no substitute members.

210.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary or affected interests in respect of any matter to be considered at this meeting.

 

Any Member with a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in a matter should withdraw from the meeting when the matter is under consideration and should notify the Democratic Services Officer in attendance that they are withdrawing as they have such an interest. If the Disclosable Pecuniary Interest is not entered on the register of Members interests the Monitoring Officer must be notified of the interest within 28 days.

 

Any Member with an affected Interest in a matter must disclose the interest to the meeting.  There is no requirement to withdraw from the meeting when the interest is only an affected interest, but the Monitoring Officer should be notified of the interest, if not previously notified of it, within 28 days of the meeting.

Minutes:

Richard Stok declared an affected interest regarding Item 4 (Education Capital Strategy) as a member of the “Save Jealott’s Hill” campaign.

 

Councillor Barnard declared an affected interest as a governor of Warfield Primary School regarding Item 6 (2022-23 Budget Proposals for the Schools Budget: Schools and Central School Services Block Elements) in relation to recommendation 3.1 (3) for an additional £0.050m funding for Warfield Primary.

211.

Minutes and Matters Arising pdf icon PDF 170 KB

To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Forum on 18 November 2021 be approved as a correct record.

 

Arising from minute 203, Cherry Hall would report on the proposed funding formula under Item 5 (Initial proposals for the 2022-23 Early Years Block Budget and Funding Formula).

 

Arising from minute 204, Paul Clark would report on the de-delegation model under Item 6 (2022-23 Budget Proposals for the Schools Budget: Schools and Central School Services Block Elements).

 

Arising from minute 206, Jenny Baker updated that the High Needs Block (HNB) subgroup had been working on two main projects.  The first was around banding descriptors and this work started in Spring / Summer 2021.  This was supported by a consultant who presented the subgroup with four models.  The subgroup chose to pilot two of those models after refining some of the descriptors.  The pilot involved Garth Hill College, The Rise at Garth Hill College, Owlsmoor Primary School, Jennett’s Park CE Primary School, Kennel Lane School, and Whitegrove Primary School.  After the consultant left, the subgroup took ownership of the project from September and subsequent work identified the Windsor & Maidenhead model as the preferred option.  It was felt that this gave a better clarity and understanding of the descriptors of the needs of the children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) within the Borough, what provision might entail for a child with those needs, and the type of placement that the child may need.  This was presented by KLS staff to Nichola Jones and other members of the SEN Service last month, discussing how the points could transfer to the different scales within that model.  This was due to come back to the subgroup for further discussion but was postponed due to the Ofsted SEND inspection.  The subgroup decided from an early stage that the descriptors should not have any monetary value attached to them as it should be about the needs of the child.  The second piece of work was to review the Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and Jenny Baker believed that those were all agreed and completed, and discussions were now taking place with the individual schools.  Jenny Baker added that, at the start of the academic year, the terms of reference were updated to ensure it was clear that the key aim of the subgroup was to save money and reduce the deficit of the HNB. 

212.

Education Capital Strategy pdf icon PDF 177 KB

To note and feedback on the proposed capital strategy for Education & Learning.

Minutes:

The Forum considered a report which presented the proposed capital strategy for Education & Learning.  The Forum was encouraged to provide feedback on the proposals.

 

Chris Hilliard advised that the duty to provide sufficient school places was for all age ranges in both maintained and academy schools.  Whilst the government had not defined what “sufficient” meant, the Department for Education (DfE) recognised that an excess of 5% surplus places would need to be addressed.  Likewise, a deficit of places in excess of 5% would also need to be addressed.

 

There were no current issues regarding Early Years childcare capacity across the Borough.  However, for mainstream primary schools in the Borough, forecasts indicated a surplus of places significantly exceeding the 5% target over the next five years.  There was no immediate concern for the secondary sector, and it was broadly manageable but needed to be kept under review.  Regarding Post-16 education, whilst there was no statutory duty to ensure sufficiency, the Council had identified a need to look at the balance of Post-16 provision and the courses available. 

 

There was currently a deficit of SEND places within the Borough, meaning that a third of children with complex needs were being educated outside of the Borough.  Therefore, the Council had proposed to consult with Headteachers, Governors and Trustees whether any surplus mainstream accommodation could be used for SEND.  The intention was to consult on both of those issues (surplus mainstream places and the deficit of SEND places) and then bring any proposals back to feature as part of the Council’s capital programme.

 

Chris Hilliard, Chris Taylor and Nichola Jones had met with the three geographical clusters within the Borough (North Bracknell, South Bracknell, and Sandhurst and Crowthorne) and had engaging discussions with those colleagues.  They had invited feedback to be made by 10th January 2022.  The SEN sufficiency document would also be prepared by that date, which would feed through to the Capital Strategy. 

 

The Forum expressed that some incorrect information had been included in the presentation shared with the Headteachers; slide 11 referred to an older version of the Local Plan.  Chris Taylor agreed to review, correct and reissue as necessary. 

 

Action: Chris Taylor

 

The Forum noted that Kings Academy Binfield had published their intention to increase their Primary phase Planned Admission Numbers (PAN) from 1FE (Forms of Entry) to 2FE.  This was felt to disadvantage other local primary schools, and the Forum asked why this was happening now, especially in light of the Council being in a process of gathering information.  Chris Taylor replied that Kings Academy Binfield had not increased their PAN yet and the proposal was to increase from September 2022.  Chris Taylor acknowledged that this expansion would add to the problem of surplus primary places in North Bracknell, but the agreement to do so was reached between the Council and the academy some time ago.  However, following discussions between the Council and Kings Academy Binfield, in acknowledgment of the Council’s concerns about surplus places, the academy had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 212.

213.

Initial proposals for the 2022-23 Early Years Block Budget and Funding Formula pdf icon PDF 269 KB

To seek agreement for changes to the Early Years Funding Formula from April 2022, the principles to be adopted for allocating the announced increases to the Early Years Block Budget and to consider if appropriate arrangements are in place for administration of the early years free entitlements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Forum considered a report which sought agreement for changes to the Early Years Funding Formula from April 2022, the principles to be adopted for allocating the announced increases to the Early Years Block Budget, and to consider if appropriate arrangements were in place for administration of the early years’ free entitlements.

 

Cherry Hall explained that the focus was on the formula itself rather than the monetary values which would be presented to the Forum in January 2022 on receipt of indicative figures.

 

The Early Years National Funding Formula (EYNFF) had key requirements that Local Authorities needed to meet.  The Council consulted with providers and the Early Years Forum around the proposed changes to the EYNFF.  There were limited responses from the providers, so the proposals had been agreed by the Early Years Forum based on the feedback from the wider provider groups.  One procedural correction was required as the deprivation supplements should apply to both the universal and extended entitlements for 3- and 4-year-olds with the current formula relating only to the universal entitlement.  Also, the formula factor referencing the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) was subject to annual update, and providers preferred more stability and predictability to plan ahead for more than one year. 

 

The Chair asked why the recommendations were to the Leader of the Council and not the Executive Member.  Paul Clark explained that it was due to the conflict of interest that Councillor Barnard had declared on the Schools Budget, with the Executive Member decision having already been set to consider both of these budget matters at the same time. 

 

RESOLVED

1.    to RECOMMEND to the Leader of the Council:

          i.        that taking account of comments from providers to the consultation on the Council’s proposed changes to the Early Years Funding Formula from April 2022:

a.   the deprivation supplement will apply to the universal and extended entitlements for 3- and 4-year-olds;

b.   funding bands for the IDACI measure of the deprivation supplement are reduced from three to two;

c.    calculation of the IDACI measure of the deprivation supplement is changed to a three-year rolling average score;

d.   the revised process for allocating providers to the IDACI measure of the deprivation supplement, as set out in paragraph 5.15 of the report;

e.   eligibility for the quality supplement will be limited to the setting in which the person with the relevant early years qualification at level 5 or above is based; and

f.     there are appropriate arrangements in place for administration of the early years free entitlements; and

         ii.        initial proposals for the 2022-23 Early Years Block Budget as set out in the supporting information in paragraphs 5.34 to 5.36 of the report; and

2.    to NOTE the final 2022-23 Early Years Block Budget proposals and funding rates to be allocated to the Early Years Funding Formula will be presented to the Forum for comment in January.

 

Councillor Barnard left the meeting at this point due to needing to attend another meeting.

214.

2022-23 Budget Proposals for the Schools Budget: Schools and Central School Services Block Elements pdf icon PDF 360 KB

To consider proposals for the Schools Block and Central Schools Services Block to ensure that final 2022-23 budget decisions can be made at the meeting on 13 January 2022 in order to meet the 21 January 2022 statutory deadline.  

Minutes:

The Forum considered a report which sought to ensure that final 2022-23 budget decisions could be made at the 13 January Forum meeting in order to meet the 21 January 2022 statutory deadline.  Therefore, updated proposals for the Schools Block (SB) and Central Schools Services Block (CSSB) elements of the Schools Budget were presented.

 

The report presentation reflected the specific membership voting requirements of the required decisions.

 

Regarding the proposed de-delegation of School Improvement Services, Paul Clark reminded the Forum that they had wanted to hear views from the Headteachers before making a decision.  Primary Headteachers were asked to respond to Liz Cole if they did not support the proposal, and 2 replies were received.  By default, the vast majority of primary headteachers were content with the proposal.  The feedback from secondary Headteachers had not been received in time for sharing in the published report.  Therefore, Debbie Smith provided a verbal update that two Headteachers had agreed with the proposal whereas one was not in agreement.

 

Items for Maintained Primary School representatives only

 

RESOLVED to AGREE

1.    that the per pupil deduction amounts for existing de-delegated services be increased by 2.6%, the average increase in per pupil funding expected to be received by schools (paragraph 6.25 of the report); and

2.    the de-delegation of School Improvement Service, to be funded by the remaining School Improvement Monitoring and Brokerage Grant with no deduction from schools (paragraph 6.26 of the report). 

 

Items for Maintained Secondary representatives only

 

RESOLVED to AGREE

1.    that the per pupil deduction amounts for existing de-delegated services be increased by 2.6%, the average increase in per pupil funding expected to be received by schools (paragraph 6.25 of the report); and

2.    the de-delegation of School Improvement Service, to be funded by the remaining School Improvement Monitoring and Brokerage Grant with no deduction from schools (paragraph 6.26 of the report).

 

Paul Clark updated on the rest of the budget and highlighted the executive summary of the report.  The DfE had released provisional data from the October 2021 school census update, but this needed to be verified by the DfE.  From the data available, pupil numbers had increased by 0.8%.  Therefore, there was an increase in funding from the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and an increase in the growth fund.  Paul Clark reminded the Forum about the extra costs of the Warfield split site and the request for an additional £0.050m funding allocation; the DfE had given their consent for that, and a proposal to agree this was included in the report. 

 

Regarding the £0.050m funding cut on the Central School Services Block, Paul Clark explained that the budget proposals which the Council had published confirmed the intention for the Council to finance the shortfall. 

 

Taking account of the new data, it was expected that there would be a funding gap of £0.346m.  The report set out three options to manage the shortfall, which were the same three options that the Council considered every year.  The Forum were  ...  view the full minutes text for item 214.

215.

Dates of Future Meetings

The next meeting of the Forum will be held at 4.30pm on Thursday 13 January 2022.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Forum would be held at 4.30pm on Thursday 13 January 2022.