Agenda and minutes

Schools Forum
Wednesday 17 January 2018 6.00 pm

Venue: Queens Park Community School, Aylestone Avenue, NW6 7BQ. View directions

Contact: Nikolay Manov, Governance Officer  Email:  nikolay.manov@brent.gov.uk; Tel: 0208 937 1348

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence and Membership

Minutes:

Governors                                                    Narinder Nathan

UmeshRaichada

Martin Beard

 

Head Teachers                                           Martine Clark

Melissa Loosemore

Jayne Jardine

 

There was one vacancy on the Forum - a Secondary Academy Head.

 

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Karen Zajdel declared that she was part of the Early Years Under 5’s specialist nursery panel.

 

3.

Deputations (if Any)

Minutes:

None.

4.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 112 KB

To follow

 

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

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 6 December 2017, be approved as an accurate record of the meeting, subject to making the proofing corrections requested.

 

5.

Matters arising (if any)

To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

None.

6.

Early Years National Funding Formula - Year 2 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To follow

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sue Gates introduced the report which provided an update on the Brent’s Single Early Years Funding Formula which had been agreed at the January 2017 Schools Forum meeting. Ms Gates said that the base rate funding rate remained £4.46 which had been made up 90% of allocated funding, with the remaining 10% covered by the deprivation factor. Funding full time nursery places for children meeting free school meals criteria at some schools had been approved until March 2018 and further arrangements had been put in place until the 2018 summer term. However, as no further disapplication arrangements were permitted by the Department for Education (DfE), reserve funding had been identified to cover the gap. Ms Gates highlighted that it had been decided to set the percentage of early years funding retained centrally by the local authority at 5% which was the maximum that could be retained. In addition, supplementary funding from the DfE for the nursery schools had been reduced and the initial allocation for additional resources for maintained nursery schools for 2018/19 was £797,000. Ms Gates said that the Early Years Task and Finish Group met to discuss options for the distribution of the amount no longer used to fund full time nursery places using Free School Meals criteria (section 3.7 of the report on page 13 to the Supplementary Agenda pack) and informed the Forum that option 3 was preferred.

 

Ms Gates commented that the 30 hour take up in Brent was good and the Borough ranked 15th in London. However, a primary governor challenged this statement as the 839 children who had taken up places constituted only 54% of the DfE’s estimated number of eligible children and accounted for 85% of the places planned for in the budget. In response, Ms Gates explained that the take up was 85% because some children did not meet the criteria until a certain time in the year. As this was this first year in which the entitlement was available, parents who were working might have made alternative arrangements – for example, they could rely on family care and the proportion of such families was higher in Brent compared to other boroughs. Furthermore, Ms Gates said that as parents’ circumstances changed, this impacted their eligibility so it would not be possible to reach 100% take up.

 

Members of the Forum discussed that there had been difficulties with the online system, including problems with eligibility codes, and these had made some parents give up. A Member of the Forum referred to an article, according to which, 40% of private nurseries were not taking up the 30-hour offer because it did not fully fund their expenses which meant that nurseries were either working at a loss (the funding was less than what providers charged for that additional time) or had to reduce their opening hours. Moreover, the change in the regulations for receiving the 30-hour entitlement meant that the most vulnerable children who used to qualify under the old criteria based on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Dedicated Schools Grant Financial Forecast - 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 89 KB

The report provides the Schools Forum with a forecast of DSG spend against the budget set for 2017/18. It is an updated position to that reported in the December 2017 Schools Forum.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Andrew Ward introduced the report which provided an updated position to that reported at the December 2017 Schools Forum. He noted that underspend had increased to £2.5 million, mainly due to revised pupil growth forecasts. Furthermore, an underspend of £250,000 on out of borough placements and capital charges was expected. Mr Ward directed the Forum’s attention to the Early Years Block section in Appendix A (page 5 to the Agenda pack) and noted that there was a low take up of Early Years Pupil Premiums, along with an underspend on Early Years Central Spend.  

 

Members of the Schools Forum commented that the Dedicated Schools Grant reserves would reach £8.5 million prior to the planned drawdown of £2.5 million and it was noted that a part of this reserve was earmarked to the High Needs and Early Years blocks. An academy headteacher raised a question about the School Admissions budget and the way the money was spent. Mr Ward reminded the Forum that this request had been recorded in the Forum’s Action Log and an update would be provided at a future meeting.

 

RESOLVED that the contents of the Dedicated Schools Grant Financial Forecast – 2017/18 report, be noted.

 

8.

Dedicated Schools Grant Schools Budget and Mainstream Funding Formula 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 107 KB

The report details the mainstream funding formula for 2018/19 which has been calculated in line with previous Schools Forum recommendations and is presented for confirmation.

 

The paper also sets out the confirmed block funding and use of Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) reserves which form the total DSG Schools Budget for 2018/19.

 

Appendix 3 was updated on Friday 19th January to correct the individual school figured once the funding allocations for National Non-Domestic Rates had been updated.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Andrew Ward introduced the paper which provided information about the mainstream funding formula for 2018/19 which had been calculated in line with previous Schools Forum recommendations. The Forum heard that the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) had been announced at a total of £311.8 million across all four blocks for 2018/19 which was an increase of £3.7 million compared to the 2017/18 allocation. Mr Ward reminded members that it had been agreed to use reserves to compensate inflationary pressures as the school block increase of 0.5% per pupil by the Department for Education (DfE) had been considered to be insufficient. Mr Ward highlighted for the Forum’s attention section 4 of the report (page 8 to the Agenda pack) which outlined data and pupil changes in the October 2017 Census. It was noted that the total number of students in mainstream schools remained stable as there was a fall of just 14 pupils compared to the previous year - secondary pupil numbers had risen by 217, while primary numbers had fallen by 231. Moreover, there had been an approximately 10% drop in the number of pupils who qualified for the English as an Additional Language (EAL) measure which was only partly explained by the decreasing numbers of pupils in reception and year 1.

 

In relation to the secondary low attainment factor, Mr Ward said that it remained at 23% (the same as in October 2016) and he informed members that further details were provided in Appendix 1 to the report. The Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) methodology had not changed which meant that there were not the same funding fluctuations that had been experienced in Brent in previous years.

 

Following a consideration of the DSG reserves at previous meetings of the Schools Forum, it had been recommended to use £2.5 million in the mainstream funding formula to protect schools from inflationary pressures, which included utilising the reserves to sustain the resulting funding formula in 2019/20. Moreover, the Forum had not recommended any fundamental changes to the local funding formula for mainstream schools so the additional £1.7 million from the DfE and £2.5 million of reserves would be allocated proportionately across the current mix of pupil funding factors (for more detail, please see section 6 of the report and  Appendices 2 and 3). Mr Ward reminded members that the ratio between primary and secondary provision would be the same as the national average.

 

Referring to Appendix 3 (page 17 to the Agenda Pack), Mr Ward said that it contained information about individual school allocations prior to any changes in funding levels, which would depend on individual circumstances. He noted that allocations reflected the fluctuation in primary and secondary pupil numbers, i.e. most secondary schools allocations were increasing, while the reduction in the number of primary school children had greater impact on some schools than others.

 

A Member of the Schools Forum asked questions about the ability to allocate funding from one block to another and the position on this in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Proposed dates for Schools Forum meetings in 2018/2019

Please note the following proposed dates for Schools Forum meetings in the 2018/2019 Municipal Year:

 

 

Date

Venue

Time

Wednesday 20 June 2018

 

The Village School

5:30 pm

Wednesday 10 October 2018

 

Queens Park Community School

5:30 pm

Wednesday 12 December 2018

 

The Village School

5:30 pm

Wednesday 16 January 2019

 

Queens Park Community School

5:30 pm

Wednesday 27 February 2019

 

The Village School

5:30 pm

 

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that meetings of the Schools Forum be scheduled on the following dates:

 

Date

Venue

Time

Wednesday 20 June 2018

The Village School

6:00 pm

Wednesday 10 October 2018

Queens Park Community School

6:00 pm

Wednesday 12 December  2018

The Village School

6:00 pm

Wednesday 16 January 2019 

Queens Park Community School

6:00 pm

Wednesday 27 February   2019

The Village School

6:00 pm

 

 

10.

Any Other Urgent Business

Minutes:

None.