Agenda and minutes

Rotherham Schools' Forum - Friday 13 January 2023 8.30 a.m.

Venue: Rockingham Professional Development Centre

Contact: Debbie Pons , Governance Adviser 

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


Welcome by the Chair and introductions by all Forum Members present.


The Chair welcomed everyone to today’s meeting and introductions were made.


Declarations of Interest


To invite Forum Members to declare any interests they may have on agenda items to be considered at this meeting, to confirm the nature of those interests and whether they intend to leave the meeting for the consideration of the item.


There were no Declarations of Interest reported.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 163 KB


Recommendation:-  To receive and approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on Friday, 18th November, 2022.


Consideration was given to the minutes from the previous meeting held on 18th November, 2022.


Agreed:- That the minutes be approved.


Matters Arising from Previous Minutes


To consider and report on any matters arising from the previous minutes.


There were no matters arising.


Membership and Constitution of the Rotherham Schools Forum (Standing Item)


Based on the School Sector Breakdown to include:-


·              Dr. Sipra Deb as Private, Voluntary and Independent Sector Nursery Representative (filling the vacancy).


Recommendation:-  To consider and approve the amendments/updates to the membership of the Rotherham Schools Forum.


Consideration was given to the membership and constitution of the Schools Forum and the suggested changes for approval.


Agreed:-  That Dr. Spira. Deb, inclusion as a Private, Voluntary and Independent Sector Nursery Representative, be approved for a period of four years.


2023/2024 Early Years Funding Formula pdf icon PDF 426 KB


Aileen Chambers and Neil Hardwick to report.


Recommendation:-  (1)  That Option 1 is agreed.


(2)  That the local funding formula is maintained with the TPPG additional element added to the base rate and distributed across all provider types.


Consideration was given to the report presented by Aileen Chambers and Neil Hardwick which detailed the statutory guidance in place for the allocation of early education funding; the current position and proposals for the 2023/24 allocation.


The Department for Education (DfE) had consulted on changes to the National Funding Formula for 2023/24.  The outcome of the consultation was published on 16th December 2022 and included some changes to the National Funding Formula.


Local Authorities were, therefore, required to allocate the funding to early education providers based on a local funding formula made up of a single base rate and a mandatory deprivation supplement (for 3/4 year old early education).  Local Authorities could retain 5% of the 3/4 year old early years funding allocation to fund central services.


Local Authorities were also required to consult providers on annual changes to their local formula, including the Schools Forum, on changes to local early years funding formulas, including agreeing central spend by 28th February, 2023 whilst noting the final decision rested with the Local Authority. 


Details were shared on the options available, single funding formulae, benefits and risks for consideration and agreement and were detailed as:-


Option 1:-


Retain the current local funding formula in 2023/24 as set out in detail as part of the report with the TPPG added to the base rate to be distributed to all providers.


Option 2:-


Change the current Single Funding Formula to include a supplement to passport the TPPG element to schools with a proposal to introduce a Quality Supplement for schools/providers who employ a QTS to directly deliver their Foundation 1 class. 


The DfE have allocated an amount of 13p /hour for all 3/4 year olds taking up a place at January, 2022 census to passport the appropriate amount of TPPG into the budget. 


The equivalent amount of TPPG received by schools in 2022/23 ranged from 13p to 36p/h with the average rate being 20p/hour.  Maintaining the average rate of 20p/hour for the schools who would be eligible to receive TPPG would enable the base rate to be enhanced by 18p/hour for all providers. 


The appendix attached to the report detailed the extracts from the DfE Early Years Funding Operational Guidance 2023/24 which outlined expectations.


Historically schools have received TPPG based on the total number of 2,3 and 4 year olds on roll at January census.  The TPPG element mainstreamed into the Early Years Block had been calculated based on all 3 and 4 year olds accessing early education across the school and PVI sector at January census.


It was highly likely that an extra-ordinary meeting of the Schools Forum may be required in March, 2023 for a formal decision following consultation.


Discussion ensued on the implications for the PVI sector in the context of pressures and how Option 1 could place some nurseries in jeopardy.  In addition the sector were experiencing difficulty in sustaining and recruiting relevant staff. 


Alternatively the view was some schools believed they would lose out under Option 2 and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 93.


2023/2024 Dedicated Schools Grant School Block Funding Formula pdf icon PDF 161 KB


Vera Njegic and Neil Hardwick to report.


Recommendation:-  To receive the report and note the contents.



Consideration was given to the report presented by Vera Njegic, Principal Officer (Schools Finance), which provided an update as to the 2023/2024 Dedicated Schools Grant funding for Rotherham.


On 16th December 2022, the Department for Education issued the indicative DSG allocations for the 2023/2024 financial year (detailed within the report).


In terms of the Schools Block the final allocation was mainly based on funding rates of £4,915.14 for primary children (£4,658.05 in 2022/2023)  and £6,426.61 for secondary children (£6,138.15 in 2022/2023) as at the October 2022 pupil census counts plus actual amounts for premises related costs and historic pupil growth.


The October 2022 census count showed that there were a total number of pupils across the borough of 40,023; this was an increase of 147 (+18 in primary & +129 in secondary) pupils from the October, 2021 census count.


Details were provided on overall school block funding allocation which had increased from £218.36m in 2022/2023 to £230.617m in 2023/2024.


In accordance with Minute 83 of the meeting held on 18th November, 2022, the request to transfer 1.5% from the school block to the high needs block was submitted to the Secretary of State. If this request did not gain approval 0.5% would only be transferred.


A further report providing details of the rates applied to the individual formula funding rates would  be presented the next meeting in April 2023. The rates applied would continue to be in line with the previous decisions reached in respect of the gradual transition to the national funding formula


Details on the Central Services Schools Block and rates for pupil premium in 2023 to 2024 were announced on 16th December 2022 were referred to as detailed in the report submitted.


Further in the 2023 to 2024 financial year, mainstream schools would be allocated additional funding through the mainstream schools additional grant (MSAG) 2023 to 2024.This was in addition to schools’ allocations through the schools national funding formula. 


The grant would be allocated based on various elements and rates using data from the October 2022 census and school level allocations and the conditions of grant would be published in May 2023


Agreed:-  That the report be received and the contents noted.


Safety Valve

Nathan Heath and Neil Hardwick to report.


Recommendation:-  To receive an update and note the contents.


Consideration was given to an update from Nathan Heath, Assistant Director for Education, on the High Needs Safety Valve Quarter 3 arrangements aligned to the Local Authority’s trajectory.


With the Government’s announcement about additional funding it could be that the in future years the arrangements move off plan.  Once the position was clear a further update would be provided in detail to the High Needs Sub-Group and to the Schools Forum in due course.


Agreed:-  That the update be received and the contents noted.


Rotherham's Notional SEN Additional Funding Eligibility Criteria - Mainstream Schools and Academies (Deferred from previous meeting) pdf icon PDF 306 KB


Neil Hardwick to report.


Recommendation:-  To receive the report and note how Notional SEN budgets are calculated and when it might be appropriate to seek additional resources and how.


Further to Minute No. 84 of the previous meeting held on 18th November, 2022 consideration was given to the report presented by Neil Hardwick, Head of Schools Finance, which highlighted the process schools should follow when requesting additional funding.


In response to queries about the percentage splits, the mismatch between notional SEN budget and actual costs of SEN support and how this linked to exclusions, it was noted that Rotherham’s schools’ notional SEN budget was calculated and passported out from a separate fund as:-


·             a small part of the basic entitlement funding; 5%.

·             a larger part of deprivation funding, reflecting the higher prevalence of lower-level SEN amongst disadvantaged pupils 50%, and

·             the majority or whole of the low prior attainment factor funding, as this is the best proxy we currently have for pupils with low-cost, high-incidence SEN 100%.


It was shown as a single figure and denoted the element of a school budget share which was notionally intended to support both existing SEN pupils with Low Cost / High Incidence         SEN, and the first £6,000 of support for high-cost pupils.


It is important to note that the notional SEN budget was not intended to provide £6,000 for every pupil with SEN, as most such pupils’ support would cost less than that. Nor was the notional SEN budget intended to provide a specific amount per pupil for those with lower additional support costs, even though the Local Authority may make reasonable assumptions about what those costs might be for the purpose of ensuring that their schools’ notional SEN budget calculation was realistic. 


To assist schools with the calculation, the service have notionally assumed that approximately:-


·              25% of the notional SEN will be used to support low cost / high incidence SEN

·              75% of the notional SEN budget will be used to support the first £6,000 of high cost pupils.


It was then estimated that 75% of the notional figure should meet the ‘high cost’ pupil numbers, at a rate of £6,000 per pupil.


In some cases, however, a mismatch between the notional SEN budget and actual costs of SEN support may be because the school had a disproportionate number of ‘high cost’ pupils with SEN in relation to its size.


In this instance the Local Authority could provide targeted funding from its High Needs budget to schools in such exceptional circumstances. This would be where the ‘high cost’ pupils were higher than the number outlined in the notional assumptions.


Forum Members acknowledged the struggles some schools were facing with pupils with high needs and the risks of potential exclusions and it was suggested that these issues be considered in more detail at the High Needs Sub-Group.


It was also noted that the long awaited Green Paper was in response to the widespread recognition that the system was failing to deliver for children, young people and their families and that a national SEND delivery plan would be published setting out the Government’s response to the consultation and how  ...  view the full minutes text for item 96.


Additional Capital Funding for Schools to Improve Energy Efficiency in Schools in 2022-2023


Neil Hardwick to report.


Recommendation:-  To receive an update and note the contents.


Consideration was given to an update by Neil Hardwick, Head of Schools Finance, on the additional capital funding for schools to improve energy efficiency in 2022-23 and how eligible schools and sixth-form colleges would receive an allocation from an additional £447 million in capital funding in 2022-23 for capital improvements to buildings and facilities, prioritising works to improve energy efficiency. This was part of an additional £500 million in capital funding for schools and further education institutions in England.


The funding would be made available to institutions already eligible for Devolved Formula Capital (DFC) allocations in the financial year 2022-23. This included eligible maintained nursery, primary, secondary, and special schools, academies and free schools, pupil referral units, non-maintained special schools, sixth form colleges and specialist post-16 institutions with eligible students.


Schools could decide how best to invest the capital funding on energy efficiency measures.


Agreed:-  That the information be received and noted.


Any Other Business


Recommendation:-  To receive any other items of urgent business.


The Chair invited Forum Members to share any other items for business.


(a)        Early Education Funding Proposals


That further to Minute No. 93 of this meeting consideration be given to an extraordinary virtual meeting of the Schools Forum to agree the recommended option in March, 2023.  Details will be confirmed.


Date of Next Meeting


Recommendation:-  (1)  To consider and agree the date and time of the next meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum on Friday, 28th April, 2023 at 8.30 a.m. – venue to be confirmed.


(2)  To note the forthcoming dates of future meetings for 2023:-


Friday, 23rd June, 2023

Friday, 22nd  September, 2023

Friday, 17th November, 2023

Friday, 12th January, 2024

Friday, 26th April, 2024


Agreed:- That the next meeting of the Schools’ Forum take place on Friday, 28th April, 2023 at 8.30 a.m. at Rockingham Professional Development Centre.