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 the next meeting of the Rotherham Schools’ Forum, to be held on 13th January, 2017, decisions shall be made in respect of:-
(a) whether the Local Authority shall fund central services, previously funded within the retained duties rate, for all schools; and
(b) the funding of services, previously funded within the retained duties rate, for maintained schools, for pupil referral units and for special schools.