Greenwich Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW

Contact: Denise Kevern  Email: denise.kevern@royalgreenwich.gov.uk or tel: 020 8921 5145

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence from Members of the Forum.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Holly Broughton, Jane Warren, Carrie Gowen, Markus Ryan, Mark Dale-Emberton and Councillor Peter Brooks.

 

Councillors Barbara Barwick and Alan McCarthy gave apologies for leaving the meeting at 7.00pm (Item 6).

 

Tracy Ofeosi gave apologies for leaving the meeting early.

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 18 January 2017.

 

No motion or discussion may take place upon the Minutes except as to their accuracy, and any question on this point will be determined by a majority of the Members of the body attending who were present when the matter in question was decided.  Once confirmed, with or without amendment, the person presiding will sign the Minutes.

Minutes:

Resolved -

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Schools Forum held on 18 January 2017 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

 

3.

Matters Arising

Minutes:

There were no matters arising.

4.

Declarations of Interest

Members to declare any personal and financial interests in items on the agenda.  Attention is drawn to the Council’s Constitution; the Council’s Code of Conduct and associated advice.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

5.

Early Years Funding 201718- Changes to funding for three and four year olds pdf icon PDF 396 KB

Schools Forum is asked to note the contents of this report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.         Noted the contents of the report in particular;

·     Department for Education requirement for Local Authorities (LA) to implement the Early Years National Funding Formula for the first 15 hours from, the 1 of April 2017.

·     Department for Education requirement to implement the additional 15 hours policy (to facilitate 30 hours) from 1 September 2017.

·     Recognition of equity and parity across all phases for both funding and process.

·     Requirement for the Local Authority to identify an Inclusion Fund, which must be published as the “Local Offer”.

·     Establishment of a Disability Access Fund (Department for Education funding of £61k)

·     Recognition that Maintained Nursery Schools i.e Nursery Schools, will continue to have a difference in requirements -e.g Leadership/Best Practice sharing. To support this variation, the Department for Education will provide ringfenced funding to Local Authority to passport to Nursery’s.

·     Note that specific engagement with Nursery Schools has been undertaken by the Director of Children’s Services.

·     Note that the Royal Borough of Greenwich hourly rate is £5.97 from 2017/18.  Royal Borough of Greenwich rate is higher than at present (£4.86). Many Local Authorities have faced reduction in their hourly rates.

·     Note the Department for Education requirement for Local Authorities to passport 93% of each hourly rate (2017/18), this increases to 95% from 2018/19.

·     The 93% can include Hourly rate, targeted funding for supplements, contribution towards the Inclusion Fund.

 

2.         Supported the proposed application of funding from 1 April 2017, in compliance with Department for Education guidance.

 

3.         Supported the expansion of the IDACI (Index of Deprivation Area Cost Indicator), from top 15% to top 30%.

 

4.         Supported the distribution of the Maintained Nursery Schools (provisional) lump sum in 2017/18 in line with funding allocated in 2016/17 to support a financially sustainable position for 2017/18.

 

5.         Noted and supported the operation of the Inclusion Fund and Access Fund as follows:

·     All providers will have access to additional funds for pupils based on targeted need based on an application process;

·     The process will incorporate a framework to monitor outcomes and progress for pupils;

·     Royal Borough of Greenwich will publish details of the process in advance of April 2017;

·     Supported the allocation of 15p per hour towards the inclusion fund for 2017/18;

·     Any uncommitted funding from either the deprivation supplement or contingency may be redirected towards the inclusion fund subject to demand. The 15p funding is estimated to generate approximately £500k for the inclusion fund subject to fluctuations in actual pupil numbers.

 

6.    Supported Royal Borough of Greenwich’s view that initially only Deprivation should be used as a supplement.

Minutes:

The Early Years Funding 2017/18 – changes to funding for three and four year olds report was presented by the Children Service Finance Manager. She gave an overview of the key findings of the Early Years Funding consultation response published by the Department for Education on 2 December 2016 which Local Authorities must work towards and the proposed implementation from April 2017.

 

She highlighted that the per pupil hourly rate would be £5.97 for 2017/18 which was an increase from £4.86 in 2016/17. She also asked that the Forum noted that the distribution of the Maintained Nursery Schools lump sum figures for 2017/18 were provisional.

 

In response to a question from the Forum the Children’s Services Finance Manager explained that the 15p Inclusion Fund allocation was an additional requirement and would check if this had previously been part of the High Needs Block.

Action: Children’s Services Finance Manager

 

A Forum member requested that an explanation be provided on Appendix A lines 8 and 9 Anticipated budget for 3 and 4 year olds contingency. The Children’s Services Finance Manager responded that the two levels of 15 hours were split between Early Years National Funding Formula (EYNFF) for the first 15 hours from 1 April 2017 (line 8) and the Department for Education requirement to implement the additional 15 hours policy (to facilitate 30 hours) from 1 September 2017 (line 9).

Action: Children’s Services Finance Manager

 

The Children’s Services Finance Manager explained in response to questions regarding the Index of Deprivation Area Cost Indicator that; the move from 15% to 30% was a model that proposed a position that was consistent with the current one, the actual figures were not known and this would allow for more children to come back in to scope. The postcodes used to determine the IDACI were actual and were not based on the previous year’s figures.

 

She also explained that she had to demonstrate that 93% of funding was ring-fenced to providers. From 2017/18 Local Authority funding would be based on a National Funding Formula, the majority of which was based on take up. The figures were therefore provisional. She said that she would need to come back to Schools Forum if the position changed.  

 

The Schools Forum thanked the Children’s Services Finance Manager for all her efforts in the tight timescales she had to work to.

 

Resolved:

 

1.         That the contents of the Early Years Funding 2017/18 – changes to funding for three and four year olds report were noted in particular;

·     Department for Education requirement for Local Authorities (LA) to implement the Early Years National Funding Formula for the first 15 hours from, the 1 of April 2017.

·     Department for Education requirement to implement the additional 15 hours policy (to facilitate 30 hours) from 1 September 2017.

·     Recognition of equity and parity across all phases for both funding and process.

·     Requirement for the Local Authority to identify an Inclusion Fund, which must be published as the “Local Offer”.

·     Establishment of a Disability Access Fund  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

National Funding Formula -Schools and High Needs National Funding Formula pdf icon PDF 291 KB

To provide an update in relation to the main Schools and High Needs Funding based on the proposals contained in the stage 2 consultation documents.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.         Noted :-

·     That the Department for Education has released stage 2 consultations for both Schools (Block) Funding and High Needs Block Funding.

·     The closing date for the consultations is 22 March 2017.

·     That Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) will submit a return for each consultation following engagement with the Department for Education and London Council’s.  A final will be circulated to School’ Forum for information.

·     Members of the Schools Forum may also submit responses.

 

2.         Discussion was held with the Schools Forum to consider options for cascading and disseminating implementation once the outcome of the consultation is advised by the Department for Education.

 

Options included;

 

·          Establishing a forum working group

·          Workshop sessions with all schools

·          Use of e-bulletin

Agreed that the Director of Children’s Services will update Schools (Schools Forum depending on timing of update from Department for Education) once the outcomes are confirmed.

 

Minutes:

The National Funding Formula – Schools and High Needs National Funding Formula report was presented by the Children Services Finance Manager who provided an update on the main proposals contained in the stage 2 consultation documents. Under the new proposals the Dedicated Schools Grant would change from 3 to 4 blocks as follows; Schools, Central School Services, High Needs and Early Years. In 2018/19 the Schools Block would have to be fully passported to schools which would mean that the Local Authority would have limited ability to move funding from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block and only with permission from the Schools Forum and in agreement with the majority of schools by consultation.

 

The proposal assumed that the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) protection would continue at minus 1.5%. It was unknown what the actual position would be if MFG was removed.

 

In regard to local National Non Domestic Rates (NNDR); the Borough faced a potential unfunded pressure due to significant levels of growth. This pressure was anticipated to increase year on year due to the future need for more secondary places, which would also impact the Growth Fund. The 2016/17 cycle for NNDR has been met.

 

The Children Services Finance Manager continued that the Department for Education wanted local authorities to review their High Needs Block and had provided one-off funding of £123,586 to enable a strategic review of high needs provision to be undertaken between 2016/17 and 2017/18.

 

Resolved:

 

1.         That it was noted:-

·     The Department for Education had released stage 2 consultations for both Schools (Block) Funding and High Needs Block Funding.

·     The closing date for the consultations was 22 March 2017.

·     That Royal Borough of Greenwich (RBG) would submit a return for each consultation following engagement with the Department for Education and London Council’s.  A final would be circulated to Schools Forum for information.

·     Members of the Schools Forum could also submit responses.

 

2.         That discussion was held with the Schools Forum to consider options for cascading and disseminating implementation once the outcome of the consultation was advised by the Department for Education.

 

Options included;

 

·          Establishing a forum working group

·          Workshop sessions with all schools

·          Use of e-bulletin

 

3.         That it was agreed that the Director of Children’s Services will update Schools (Schools Forum depending on timing of update from Department for Education) once the outcomes were confirmed.

 

Councillors Barwick and McCarthy left the meeting (7.00pm).

 

7.

Governing Body Approved 3 Year Budget Plans For Schools pdf icon PDF 318 KB

To outline the need for 3 year Governing Body approved budgets from 2017/18.

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.         Supported the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s strategic direction for schools to submit a Governing Body Approved three-year budget by the 30 June of each year.

 

2.         Agreed the amendment of the return from May of each year to June.

 

3.         Noted that training will be offered by Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Finance Services on 27 February 2017, there will be three sessions and the times are yet to be agreed.

 

4.         Noted that a formal amendment will be required to the Scheme for Financing Schools.

Minutes:

The Children’s Services Finance Manager presented the report and said that Schools had supported the move to a three-year budgeting process which would assist with the early identification of any issues and improved financial management. Appendix 1 of the report gave a template of the budget return proposed and she asked that any comments be forwarded to her.

 

In response to a question asking if schools would be able to carry any surplus in to the following the year; the Children’s Services Finance Manager replied that it could be built in to an individual school’s plan as long as reserves were not being generated year on year.

 

Resolved:

 

1.         That the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s strategic direction for schools to submit a Governing Body Approved three-year budget by the 30 June of each year was supported.

 

2.         That the amendment of the return from May of each year to June was agreed.

 

3.         That training would be offered by Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Finance Services on 27 February 2017, there will be three sessions and the times are yet to be agreed.

 

4.         That a formal amendment would be required to the Scheme for Financing Schools be noted.

8.

Changes to Profiled Payments to Schools from 20171/8 pdf icon PDF 134 KB

Schools Forum to note and support the changes proposed in the allocation of funding to schools as outline in this report. 

Decision:

1.         Supported the changes proposed in the allocation of funding to schools as outlined in the report. In particular the move towards a 4 payment process instead of the current 10 payment process.

 

2.         Noted the required change in the Scheme for Financing Schools as necessitated by the change in process.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

1.         That the changes proposed in the allocation of funding to schools as outlined in the report was supported; in particular; the move towards a 4 payment process instead of the current 10 payment process.

 

2.         That the required change in the Scheme for Financing Schools as necessitated by the change in process was noted.

9.

Growth Funding for Schools -Clarification of Policy and confirmation of 2017/18 funding level pdf icon PDF 159 KB

Schools Forum is asked to:-

      Note the contents of this report, recognising the need for clarity on the operation of the Growth Fund.

      Note the policy as stated in this report will be effective from the 1April 2017.

      Recognise that there will be a need to honour existing commitments where there is clear agreed commitment from the RBG.

      Note that a further report will be submitted to Schools Forum in Summer 2017, to clarify the set up costs for new Secondary schools.

Decision:

1.         Noted the report and the need for clarity on the operation of the Growth Fund.

 

2.     Noted that the policy will be effective from 1 April 2017.

 

3.     Recognised that there will be a need to honour existing commitments where there is a clear agreed commitment from the Royal Borough of Greenwich.

 

4.     Noted that a further report will be submitted to the Schools Forum in Summer 2017 which will clarify the set up costs for new Secondary schools.

Minutes:

The Children’s Services Finance Manager explained that the borough used the Growth Fund to finance planned school growth, where a schools has been asked by the local authority to increase their Form of Entry or provide a bulge class. The 2017/18 funding levels would be calculated on the annual school’s census for October 2016 and academies was based on October 2015 figures.

 

In addition to the planned growth the borough supported £40k towards costs that a school may incur, this was a one-off payment from the Growth Fund.

 

The Schools Forum requested that a document be provided to provide a simple explanation and summarise the Growth Fund, and this should be distributed to schools.

Action: Children’s Services Finance Manager

Resolved:

 

1.         That the Growth Funding for Schools report and the need for clarity on the operation of the Growth Fund be noted.

 

2.     That the policy will be effective from 1 April 2017 be noted.

 

3.     That there would be a need to honour existing commitments where there is a clear agreed commitment from the Royal Borough of Greenwich be recognised.

 

4.     That a further report would be submitted to the Schools Forum in Summer 2017 which would clarify the set up costs for new Secondary schools.

10.

Schools Forum reconstitution 2017-19 pdf icon PDF 98 KB

The Schools Forum is asked to note that:

 

The constitution of the Schools Forum will retain its current status.

Decision:

1.         Noted that the constitution of the Schools Forum will retain its current status.

 

2.         Noted that a report will be brought to the next meeting for 2017/18 municipal year if further schools convert to academy status in the interim.

Minutes:

It was noted that the venue for the Schools Forum meetings would be reviewed.

 

Resolved:

 

1.         That the constitution of the Schools Forum would retain its current status be noted.

 

2.         That a report would be brought to the next meeting for 2017/18 municipal year if further schools convert to academy status in the interim be noted.

11.

Schools Forum electoral and communication arrangements pdf icon PDF 60 KB

The Schools Forum is asked to note:

 

        the electoral arrangements set out in appendix A.

        the communications arrangements set out in appendix B.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The decisions agreed by the Schools Forum will be circulated via the Schools E-Bulletin and Schools Forum members will share this and any information provided via the Schools Forum with their constituencies.

Minutes:

The Committee Officer agreed that a short description of the role would be added to the request for nominations for Governors.

 

Resolved:

 

1.         That the electoral and communication arrangements for the Schools Forum be noted.

 

2.         That the decisions agreed by the Schools Forum would be circulated via the Schools E-Bulletin and Schools Forum members would share this and any information provided via the Schools Forum with their constituencies.

12.

Attendance Record pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To advise the Forum of attendance at the meetings of the Forum

Additional documents:

Decision:

Agreed that any member who does not attend for three consecutive meetings will be stood down and a replacement sought.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

1.         That the report advising the Forum of attendance at the meetings was noted.

 

2.         That any member who did not attend for three consecutive meetings would be stood down and a replacement sought.