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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Rockingham Professional Development Centre

Contact: Hannah Etheridge 

Items
No. Item

13.

Minutes of the previous meeting held on 14th October 2016 pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Minutes:

Agreed:- That the minutes of the previous meeting of the Rotherham Schools Forum, held on 14th October, 2016, be approved as a correct record.

14.

Matters Arising from Previous Minutes

Minutes:

Discussion took place on the following items from the minutes of the previous meeting:-

 

(1) (Minute 3 – Learning Community and Stakeholder Representatives) – the Schools’ Forum will continue to review this matter at each meeting.

 

(2) (Minute 10 - High Needs – Update) – the membership of the High Needs Block Budget Sub-Group is listed within Minute No. 10 and it was confirmed that any additional representation would have to be agreed by the Schools’ Forum.  It was also noted that the Chair of this Sub-Group must be someone appointed from among its membership, but should not be an officer of the Local Authority. The Sub-Group will report on its deliberations to a future meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum.

15.

High Needs - update

Presentation to be made at the meeting

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 10 of the meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum held on 14th October, 2016, Members of the Schools’ Forum received a presentation from the Assistant Director of Education and Skills concerning the High Needs Block of the Total Schools Budget. The presentation and the subsequent discussion highlighted the following salient issues:-

 

: the population of the Rotherham Borough area does not remain static and has recently seen a growth of the pupil population in schools of some 13% from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2;

 

: the number of pupils will continue to increase as more homes are built within the Rotherham Borough area, as projected by the Local Plan (currently under consideration by the Local Authority);

 

: Rotherham is a net importer of school pupils (ie: pupils living outside the Rotherham Borough area) and this number of pupils is also increasing, as well as the proportion of those pupils who have some form of special educational need; this increase is especially apparent at Key Stage 3 and at Key Stage 4, which have the largest cohort of pupils with some form of special educational need;

 

: the baseline allocation of the High Needs Block reveals that Rotherham is under-funded in comparison to other similar local authorities, even though this budget is currently over-spent;

 

: as at November, 2016, the forecast is that the High Needs Block will be over-spent during the 2016/17 financial year by £5,504,998;

 

: a proportion of Rotherham-origin pupils who have special educational needs are subject to out-of-authority placements; although these placements are of good quality, the high cost is acknowledged; the Local Authority has the intention of providing residential placements within the Rotherham Borough, thus minimising the reliance upon out-of-authority placements (and the costs);

 

: another objective is to provide pupils who have special educational needs with opportunities for learning in a mainstream school setting, as these circumstances are very often beneficial for the individual;  schools receive top-up funding for such pupils;

 

: the changing nature of special schools was acknowledged; special schools are better-resourced in terms of numbers of staff, but have to cope with an increasing number of pupils, some with very complex needs (eg: pupils may have emotional, mental and physical difficulties);

 

: the Government-imposed improvement process for the Local Authority had initiated partnership work with Lincolnshire County Council, including a peer review and a “star chamber” analysis of the Education Service;  the “star chamber” analysis of Education funding and budgets had been extremely rigorous and worthwhile; the Local Authority had been praised for its strategic management of the special education service; there were significant challenges ahead, including the desirability of pupils who have special educational needs being able to access and to benefit from a broad curriculum in mainstream schools;  there has been some questioning of past decision-making regarding the use of the Dedicated Schools Grant and also of the requirement for additional funding from Health services; care should be taken to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Early Years - Additional Budget pdf icon PDF 17 KB

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 35 of the meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum held on 22nd April, 2016, consideration was given to a report, presented by the Head of Finance (CYPS), concerning the proposal to increase the centrally retained proportion of the Early Years Block, up to a maximum of 5% in 2016/17.  The report stated that, in the first instance, the funding would be from any surpluses within the Early Year Block.  In the event that there is no surplus available, the proposal was to accelerate (ie: bring forward) funding from the centrally retained funds available from 2017/18 (7% in 2017/18 and 5% in 2018/19 and in future years).

 

The Schools’ Forum was informed that the Early Years Block currently amounted £13 millions approximately. Head Teachers of schools have already been informed by the Local Authority of the proposal to retain the full 5% to fund central services.

 

The Schools’ Forum expressed concern about the reducing Early Years budget and also about the possible continuing effect of bringing forward the centrally retained funds, year after year, to finance any budget shortfall or increased expenditure. However, it was clarified that this proposal would affect only one financial year, with the Local Authority funding part of the Early Years retained funding in 2017/18. The proposal intended to achieve the flexibility of permitting centrally retained funds to be brought forward (if necessary) from 2018/19 into the 2017/18 financial year.

 

It was noted that this matter would also be considered in detail by the Early Years Budget Working Group.

 

Agreed:- (1) That the submitted report be received and its contents noted.

 

(2) That, at the next meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum, to be held on 13th January, 2017, further reports shall be submitted:-

 

(a) on a detailed analysis (taking place at the Early Years Working Group meeting) of the proposed use of the centrally retained funds, including any priorities;  and

 

(b) on the deliberations of the Early Years Budget Working Group, enabling the Rotherham Schools’ Forum to reach a decision on this proposal.

17.

Education Services Grant - update pdf icon PDF 24 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report, presented by the Principal Finance Officer, describing the Education Services Grant, which comprised:-

 

:: The retained duties rate (£15), held by local authorities to fund services they provide to all schools, including academies; and

 

:: The general duties rate, held by both local authorities and by academies, to fund services which local authorities provide to maintained schools, but which academies must provide themselves.

 

The amounts of the general duties rate were listed within the submitted report.

 

The report stated that the general duties rate would terminate at the end of the 2016/17 financial year (31st March 2017). Local authorities will receive transitional funding at a rate of £50 per pupil (equating to £20 per maintained pupil) during the five months’ period April to August, 2017. Maintained Schools in all sectors and Pupil Referral Units may agree to de-delegate additional funding from September 2017 onwards, from their delegated budgets.

 

The general duties rate of the Education Services Grant for academies would cease at 31st March 2020, with amounts reducing gradually in each successive financial year up to that date.

 

Also, at the end of the 2016/17 financial year, the funding previously allocated through the Education Services Grant retained duties rate (£15) would be transferred into the Schools Block (an indicative amount of £646,264).

 

With the agreement of the Schools’ Forum, local authorities will be able to continue funding central services previously funded within the retained duties rate (for all schools).

 

The report included lists of the Education Services Grant duties and responsibilities (central services) which local authorities hold for schools, with separate list showing such duties and responsibilities : (i) for all schools;  and (ii) for maintained and special schools only.

 

The Schools’ Forum learned that agreements on the retention of the former retained duties rate and on the former general rate from September 2017 would require a specific decision, to be made at the next meeting to be held on 13th January, 2017.

 

It was suggested that the Head Teachers of the Special Schools may wish to consider and decide on this matter separately.

 

Members of the Schools’ Forum raised questions about the following issues:-

 

: the future funding of the duties, responsibilities and services, as listed in the submitted report and whether they would be ‘purchased’ by schools, from the local authority, on a trading basis;

 

: a request for details about the intended future use of the retained duties rate, to be held within the Schools Block;

 

: the proposed future use of the retained duties rate in the context of other similar funding streams;

 

: a request for additional information about the issues which require voting and decision, such detail to include the amount per pupil.

 

The report to the next meeting should clarify the specific voting rights (eg: maintained schools to vote in respect of issues affecting only those schools).

 

Agreed:- (1) That the submitted report be received and its contents noted.

 

(2) That, at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

2017/2018 De-delegated Services - guidance pdf icon PDF 18 KB

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report, presented by the Principal Finance Officer, describing the guidance for funding in respect of de-delegated services, as follows:-

 

- Funding for de-delegated services must be allocated through the formula, but can be passed back, or ‘de-delegated’, for maintained mainstream primary and secondary schools with the approval of the Schools’ Forum. De-delegation is not an option for special schools, nursery schools, nor pupil referral units;

 

- Any decisions to de-delegate in 2016 to 2017 related only to that year; consequently, new decisions will be required for any service to be de-delegated in 2017 to 2018;

 

- from 2017 to 2018, Schools’ Forums may agree to de-delegate further funding for additional school improvement provision for maintained schools. This provision would exist alongside the new school improvement grant for statutory local authority intervention functions. The school improvement grant will commence from September 2017.

 

The report stated that the Schools’ Forum members for primary maintained schools and secondary maintained schools must decide separately for each phase whether the service should be provided centrally. The resulting decision will apply to all maintained mainstream schools in that phase. As a consequence, funding for these services will be removed from the formula before school budgets are issued. There may be different decisions for each phase. The services which may be de-delegated were listed within the report.

 

It was also noted that, from the permissible services only, the Schools in Financial Difficulty Fund (a budget of £75,000) had been de-delegated in 2016/17.

 

Prior to making a decision on this matter, the Rotherham Schools’ Forum requested further information about the existence of any specific direction as to the annual consideration of funding for the various services (as listed within the submitted report) which may be de-delegated.

 

Agreed:- (1) That the submitted report be received and its contents noted.

 

(2) That further consideration be given to this matter at the next meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum, to be held on 13th January, 2017.

19.

2017/2018 Schools Block Services pdf icon PDF 27 KB

Minutes:

Further to Minute No. 21 of the meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum held on 15th January, 2016, consideration was given to a report, presented by the Principal Finance Officer, concerning the funding of specific services from the Schools Block (Dedicated Schools Grant) during the 2016/17.

 

Agreed:- (1) That the submitted report be received and its contents noted.

 

(2) That the following funding amounts allocated within the Schools Block (Dedicated Schools Grant) for 2017/18 be approved:-

 

- Central Licences (copyright licensing) negotiated by the Secretary of State for Education : (nb: £237,089 had been approved in 2016/17) : the Local Authority had not yet been notified of the confirmed amount for 2017/18;

 

- administration and servicing of meetings of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum : £3,000;

 

- funding for significant pre-16 pupil growth, including new schools set up to meet basic need, whether maintained school or academy : (nb: £800,000 had been approved for 2016/17).

 

(3) That it be noted that a report is to be submitted to the next meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum, to be held on 13th January, 2017, concerning the transitional funding required in the 2017/18 financial year, to support the creation of additional school places in the Rotherham Borough area until school census funding generates the income for new pupils (ie: funding from the Pupil Growth element within the Schools Block).

20.

Date of the next meeting

 

Future meetings of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum shall take place at the Rockingham Professional Development Centre, commencing at 8.30 a.m. on the following dates:-

 

·         Friday 13th January, 2017

·         Friday 10th March, 2017

·         Friday 28th April, 2017

·         Friday 16th June, 2017

Minutes:

Agreed:- (1) That the next meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum take place on Friday 13th January, 2017, at the Rockingham Professional Development Centre, commencing at 8.30 a.m.

 

(2) That future meetings of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum shall take place at the Rockingham Professional Development Centre, commencing at 8.30 a.m. on the following dates:-

 

·         Friday 10th March, 2017

·         Friday 28th April, 2017

·         Friday 16th June, 2017