Agenda item

Dedicated Schools Grant Schools Budget and Mainstream Funding Formula 2018/19

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.

 

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 2019/20. Mr Ward responded that the local authorities will set the Mainstream Funding Formula for 2018/19 and 2019/20, and the government had set out plans to fully implement a National Formula for 2020/21. This would however require primary legislation. Reallocating resources between blocks is possible, but any significant moves of more than 0.5% required the approval of the Secretary of State. In response to a statement that this was the second year of a tight Mainstream Funding Formula, Brian Grady said it would be sensible to start planning for the following year’s formula early so preparation would commence soon.

 

The Schools Forum commented that inflationary pressures had had an impact on providers and their ability to deliver placements as the value of their allocations had decreased over time. Furthermore, pupil numbers and the minimum funding guarantee (MFG) would have the biggest impact on the amount of funding allocated to a particular school. As no significant changes in the MFG were expected, fluctuations of pupil numbers would have the biggest impacts on the amount of money a school received. However, schools would be aware of these circumstances and they would be expected to plan their budgets accordingly. 

 

In response to a question about the EAL measure, Mr Ward explained that this component attracted funding for one year and noted that typically primary schools would benefit from it as data was linked to individual pupil reference numbers and captured those with English as an additional language for one year from the point this had been first recorded, usually when a child had entered the education system.

 

The Schools Forum agreed that the percentage of funding gained or lost by each school would be provided at the next meeting of the Schools Forum. Furthermore, by 28 February 2018 each school would receive their individual funding formula that would outline their funding.

 

RESOLVED:

(i)            The Contents of the Dedicated Schools Grant Schools Budget and Mainstream Funding Formula 2018/19 report, be noted;

 

(ii)          The mainstream funding formula, as outlined in the report, be recommended for adoption by the Council for 2018/19;

 

(iii)         DSG Schools Budget, as set out in the report, be recommended for adoption by the Council for 2018/19;

 

(iv)         Pupil growth budgets be presented at the next meeting of the Schools Forum; and

 

(v)          Feedback from the work of the High Needs Task and Finish Group be presented at the next meeting of the Schools Forum.

 

Supporting documents: