Agenda item

2023-24 Budget Preparations for the Schools Budget and other related matters

To provide an update to the Forum on the information currently available in respect of the 2023-24 Schools Budget for mainstream schools together with other relevant finance related matters.


The Forum considered a report which provided an update to the Schools Forum from the information currently available in respect of the 2023-24 Schools Budget for mainstream schools together with other relevant finance related matters. Whilst the DfE had yet to provide the final data that must be used to calculate individual school budgets.  information was emerging that allowed for updates to be provided on some key matters and some early decisions to be taken which would aid the finalisation of the budget which must be presented to the DfE by the statutory deadline of 20 January 2023.


Paul Clark advised that the DfE was mandating all LAs to move closer to the National Funding Formula (NFF) from 2023-24. BFC was already within 2.5% of the NFF so no new specific actions were required.


The new School Supplementary Grant which was received this year to cover the Health and Social Care Levy was due to be rolled into the schools NFF from 2023-24 and would no longer be paid separately.


Across England.  the average increase in per pupil funding was expected to be 1.9% (the increase for BFC had been estimated at 2.0% for 2023-24). This was not expected to be sufficient to cover the rising costs.  and there was no indication of any additional funding.


This year’s financial consultation with schools had commenced.  covering de-delegation.  contribution by maintained schools to LA statutory duties.  and rate of the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG). Responses to the consultation were expected to be reported at the next meeting of the Forum on 17 November 2022.


The Forum expressed significant concern at the national increase of only 1.9% which was expected to lead to severe cuts. Councillor Barnard confirmed that he would express this view on behalf of the Council.



1.     to AGREE

1.1   that subject to consideration of school responses to the annual financial consultation and general affordability.  the approach to setting the 2023-24 budget should remain broadly the same as for 2022-23.  and in particular:

i.        that there should be no change to the current budget strategy of:

a.      as far as possible.  replicating the NFF;

b.      setting minimum per pupil funding increases between financial years at the highest amount permitted by the DfE; and

c.       meeting the diseconomy costs at new and expanding schools in a measured way from a combination of Schools Budget reserves and funding allocated for the relevant year from the DfE; and

ii.       that a centrally managed Growth Fund should be maintained for in-year allocation to qualifying schools (Table 2 of the report);

iii.      on-going central retention by the Council of the existing Central School Services Block items (Annex 2 of the report); and

iv.      to prevent over funding.  that the DfE be requested to approve that the council continues to disapply the requirement for minimum per pupil funding increases where schools are funded on the Start-up and Diseconomy funding policy for new and expanding schools; and

1.2   the proposed clarification to the Start-up and Diseconomy Funding Policy for New and expanding schools (Annex 1 of the report); and

2.     to NOTE

2.1   the areas where schools are being asked to comment on through the annual financial consultation.  to inform later decision making; and

2.2   the current estimated funding gaps at Table 3 of the report of:

i.        £0.077m on the Schools Block; and

ii.       £0.027m for the Central School Services Block.

Supporting documents: