Greenwich Council

Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Wellington Street, Woolwich SE18 6PW. View directions

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 Gary Dillon, Emma Smith, Douglas Greig, Gary Farrelly and Mohamed Serroukh.

 

Councillor Barbara Barwick gave apologies for lateness.

 

The Forum noted that Smita Bora had resigned.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Members are requested to confirm as an accurate record the Minutes of the meeting held on 5 July 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 5 July 2017 be agreed and signed as a true and accurate record.

 

3.

Matters Arising

Minutes:

A training session was convened for all Forum members on 28 September 2017.

 

A Forum member had asked for clarity as to what could be shared at briefing Sessions with Trade Unions. The Director of Children’s Services responded; items raised should be considered on a case by case basis.

 

The Forum had requested an update on funds lodged with the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The Children’s Services Finance Manager said there had been a reduction of 18%.

 

The Assistant Director Commissioning and Resources asked the Forum to note that the Service Level Agreement for charging schools for academy conversion was still being developed.

 

The School’s Forum to note that the front page title box of each agenda item showed which sectors of the Forum could vote on each item.

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.

Scheme for Financing Schools - Outcome of consultation pdf icon PDF 86 KB

To note that only one response was received from the consultation attached in Appendix A.

 

To support the amendments to the Scheme for Financing Schools (SfFS) as detailed in the consultation.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Schools Forum noted that only one response was received from the consultation and supported the amendments to the Scheme for Financing Schools (SfFS) as follows:

 

Submissions of Budget Plans (SfFS Reference 2.3)

 

Each Governing Body is required to submit a budget plan to the Royal Borough by the 30th June.  The budget plan should show the schools intentions for expenditure and income focusing on providing a balanced budget position for the “current year”, and illustrative positions for the subsequent two financial years.

 

The detail for the two subsequent years can only be considered to facilitate due diligence and longer term planning and provide a sound basis for discussion between the School/Governing body and the Royal Greenwich.  Unless a School is in a Deficit Recovery Plan when the longer term planning process is more formalised (section 4.8 for more detail).

 

The format of the budget plan will be determined by Royal Greenwich and will reflect the Consistent Financial Reporting Framework (CFR).  Detailed guidance on the completion of the budget plan will be in the Schools Finance Manual.

 

Schools must incorporate their surplus/deficit from previous years and recognise that surplus balances should only be committed towards short term expenditure needs, where short term is defined over a 2 maximum of two years. Addressing any deficits from prior years must be the first consideration.

 

The Schools annual budget plan must be approved by the Governing Body or a committee of the Governing Body.

 

Royal Greenwich may determine that a revised budget needs to be submitted during the financial year.  This should be in agreement with the school and where possible following intervals of 3 months.

 

The Royal Borough will supply schools with an annual budget statement by the 28th February in line with Department for Education (DfE) requirements.

The Royal Borough will supply schools with any expenditure information that it holds which is deemed appropriate to enable a school to set their budget.

 

Frequency of Instalments (SfFS3.1)

 

“…budget shares, estimated pupil led spend (e.g top up) and indicative grant allocations are issued as cash advance and instalments of these will be referred to as cash advances”.   

 

“Cash advances will be made as follows

 

April           Cash advance equivalent to 5 months based on the Schools Funding Statement position to cover April to August.  This statement includes some aspects of funding that are estimated for example High Needs Top up, Early Years Funding and some indicative grants e.g. Pupil Premium.       

 

September  Cash Advance equivalent to 4 Months to cover September to December, with increase or decrease to reflect actual for those areas previously funded on estimate.  Where appropriate adjustments for confirmed announcements on grants.

 

January        Cash Advance equivalent 2 Months to cover January to February, with increase or decrease to reflect actual for those areas previously funded on estimate.  Where appropriate adjustments for confirmed announcements on grants.

 

March          Cash Advance for March (Final payment) and any known adjustments.

 

Framework for Managing Deficits (SfFS4.8)

 

A Governing Body cannot plan for a year end deficit budget when  ...  view the full decision text for item 5.

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Children’s Services Finance Manager who told the Forum that only one response had been received to the consultation ‘Scheme for Financing Schools Revision 2017’. As a result, Submission of Budget plans (SFS ref 2.3), the wording of paragraph 4 was revised as follows: Schools must incorporate their surplus/deficit from previous years and recognise that surplus balances should only be committed towards short term expenditure needs, where short term is defined over a maximum of two years. Addressing any deficits from prior years must be the first consideration.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Schools Forum supported the amendments to the Scheme for Financing Schools (SfFS) as follows:

 

1.           Submissions of Budget Plans (SfFS Reference 2.3)

 

Each Governing Body is required to submit a budget plan to the Royal Borough by the 30th June.  The budget plan should show the schools intentions for expenditure and income focusing on providing a balanced budget position for the “current year”, and illustrative positions for the subsequent two financial years.

 

The detail for the two subsequent years can only be considered to facilitate due diligence and longer term planning and provide a sound basis for discussion between the School/Governing body and the Royal Greenwich.  Unless a School is in a Deficit Recovery Plan when the longer term planning process is more formalised (section 4.8 for more detail).

 

The format of the budget plan will be determined by Royal Greenwich and will reflect the Consistent Financial Reporting Framework (CFR).  Detailed guidance on the completion of the budget plan will be in the Schools Finance Manual.

 

Schools must incorporate their surplus/deficit from previous years and recognise that surplus balances should only be committed towards short term expenditure needs, where short term is defined over a 2 maximum of two years. Addressing any deficits from prior years must be the first consideration.

 

The Schools annual budget plan must be approved by the Governing Body or a committee of the Governing Body.

 

Royal Greenwich may determine that a revised budget needs to be submitted during the financial year.  This should be in agreement with the school and where possible following intervals of 3 months.

 

The Royal Borough will supply schools with an annual budget statement by the 28th February in line with Department for Education (DfE) requirements.

 

The Royal Borough will supply schools with any expenditure information that it holds which is deemed appropriate to enable a school to set their budget.

 

2.           Frequency of Instalments (SfFS3.1)

 

“…budget shares, estimated pupil led spend (e.g top up) and indicative grant allocations are issued as cash advance and instalments of these will be referred to as cash advances”.   

 

“Cash advances will be made as follows

 

April           Cash advance equivalent to 5 months based on the Schools Funding Statement position to cover April to August.  This statement includes some aspects of funding that are estimated for example High Needs Top up, Early Years Funding and some indicative grants e.g. Pupil Premium.       

 

September  Cash  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

2017/18 Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) Projected Outturn Position pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To note the updated Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) 2017/18 position and the projected outturn position using 5 months of data.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Schools Forum noted:

 

·                    The updated Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) 2017/18 position and the projected outturn position using 5 months of data.

 

·                    That the DSG for 2017/18 has been reduced by £638k to reflect the changes in Early Years numbers for the 2017 January Count.

 

·                    That the DSG would continue to be adjusted for on-going Academisation which in the main would have a net neutral effect; however, there would be a pressure on central services arising from the reduced de-delegation holdback. The DSG would however benefit from the change in status of those schools converting to Academy in the form of charitable rate relief against Non Domestic Rates.

 

·                    That the overall DSG position at this stage was forecast to be circa £500k underspend.

 

·                    That a further report would be made to Schools Forum in February 2018 to provide an updated position.

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Children’s Services Finance Manager who advised that for the first five months of the year, the Dedicated Schools Grant 2017/18 was reduced by £638k. this was due to the Early Years figure being provisional because of the Early Years count taking place in January, so there was always going to be some disparity. The January count was lower for 2017. The aim was to manage the deficit using contingency and deprivation funding. She concluded that the Non-Domestic Rates overspend should be within the level expected.

 

In response to questions; the Children’s Services Finance Manager explained that the difference between the gross and net position was the academy recoupment, and there was no cash impact on the Borough. At the January count for Early Years Block the actual roll was lower than the forecast, the movement was 100 children. This was a small number but the sensitivity was quite small as one child equated to £5,500.

 

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum noted:

 

1.         The updated Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) 2017/18 position and the projected outturn position using 5 months of data.

 

2.         That the DSG for 2017/18 had been reduced by £638k to reflect the changes in Early Years numbers for the 2017 January Count.

 

3.         That the DSG would continue to be adjusted for on-going Academisation which in the main would have a net neutral effect; however, there would be a pressure on central services arising from the reduced de-delegation holdback. The DSG would however benefit from the change in status of those schools converting to Academy in the form of charitable rate relief against Non Domestic Rates.

 

4.         That the overall DSG position at this stage was forecast to be circa £500k underspend.

 

5.         That a further report would be made to Schools Forum in February 2018 to provide an updated position.

7.

2018 -2019 National Funding Formula -Overview pdf icon PDF 337 KB

To note this report as an overview of the changes to Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

Additional documents:

Decision:

Schools Forum noted:

 

·                    That the report was an overview of the changes to Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and a report elsewhere on the agenda detailed the necessary actions required to progress the National Funding Formula implementation for the Schools Block.

 

·                    That at present insufficient information was available on the High Needs Block or the Central Block and more detailed information would become available through the Autumn period.

 

·                    That information from the Department for Education (DfE) continued to trickle through which impacted on the Council’s ability to update Schools Forum and stakeholders.

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Children’s Services Finance Manager who gave an overview of the National Funding formula 2018/19. She explained that from 2018/19 the Dedicated Schools Grant would consist of 4 funding blocks. The school by school funding would still be calculated locally.

 

The Schools Block would split to become the Schools Block and the Central Block. The expectation was that Schools Block may receive an extra £2m over two years. The Central Block would remain the same. The Children’s Services Finance Manager advised the Schools Forum that of the £8.9m, a significant proportion related to a building related project. Including £3.5m for PFI/BSF. This was not consistent with how funding formula works in a local authority. The Department for Education has a factor ‘PFI’ which should be explored with them for 2018/19. This should simply put spend in the correct place. Based on the Borough’s current demographic, £3m would be required. Prior attainment and Free School Meals would not assist the Council’s position and this would have implications. The NDR was included in the Schools Block and the school expansions had not been factored in yet.

 

The DfE has calculated a transfer of £1.23m from the High Needs Block to the Schools Block for High Needs Places. Designated Specialist Provisions would be funded on actual pupil numbers which was currently £10k per pupil. All future DSP would be at £6000 plus top up, this was being queried with the DfE. A more detailed exercise would be undertaken to understand the needs and strategy required over the next five years.

 

The historic lump sum would continue at a maximum of £175k. The allocation for National Funding Formula would be £110k plus area cost adjustment. For the next two years RBG would be allowed to keep the lump sum, but this was local and not a national position. This was good news for RBG as it would enable the Council to protect smaller schools. The lump sum is excluded from the Minimum Funding Guarantee.

 

In response to a question regarding Free School Meal take up, the Children’s Services Finance Manager highlighted that schools must ensure that parents apply if needed and that schools ensured their data was complete and accurate.

 

School by school data analysis was due to be released by the Department for Education shortly. Feedback would be provided at a future meeting.

Action: Children’s Services Finance Manager

 

 

Resolved:

 

Schools Forum noted:

 

1.         That the report was an overview of the changes to Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) and a report elsewhere on the agenda detailed the necessary actions required to progress the National Funding Formula implementation for the Schools Block.

 

2.     That at present insufficient information was available on the High Needs Block or the Central Block and more detailed information would become available through the Autumn period.

 

3.     That information from the Department for Education (DfE) continued to trickle through which impacted on the Council’s ability to update Schools Forum and stakeholders.

8.

2018 -2019 National Funding Formula - Schools Block pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To note that National Funding Formula (NFF) will come into operation from 2018/19 as originally advised by the Department for Education (DfE).

 

To agree the next steps that will be required to enable an agreed Local Schools Funding Formula to the DfE by the19th January 2018.

Decision:

Schools Forum noted:

 

·                    That National Funding Formula (NFF) would come into operation from 2018/19 as originally advised by the Department for Education (DfE). Local authorities would receive their Schools Block Allocation on the basis of the Schools Aggregate National Funding Formula. The final allocation would not be announced until late December 2017 for 2018/19. School by school information was notional.

 

·                    That Local authorities would continue to set a local formula to distribute funding to schools in their area.

 

·                    That a report elsewhere on the agenda provided an overview of the new Dedicated Schools Grant including detail relating to the Schools Block.

 

·                    That at the time of writing very little information had been received, however the DfE expected local authorities to engage with Schools and undertake a full consultation.

 

Schools Forum agreed:

 

·                    The timeline and engagement with Schools as outlined, in the amended timetable tabled at the meeting, to enable the successful submission of the Local Schools Funding Formula (APT tool) to the Department for Education by 19 January 2018.

 

·                    To establish a small working group to work effectively with Royal Greenwich to progress the detailed work and consultation with Stakeholders.

 

·                    An extraordinary meeting of the Schools Forum would take place 14 December 2017 and noted that due to the tight timelines and difficulty in determining when Department for Education information would be available – it may be necessary for reports to breach the 5 clear working day rule.

Minutes:

The report was presented by the Children’s Services Finance Manager who stated that the Council had to consult with stakeholders on the National Funding Formula, but were only able to do so on principles, as figures were not expected from the Department for Education until December 2017.

 

The Children’s Services Finance Manager circulated a revised timeline to Schools Forum.

 

5th October 2017

Schools Forum Main meeting

 

18th October 2017

First Meeting of the Working Group

Review initial work and provide guidance on consultation- include role of the group.

13th November 2017

Second Meeting of the working Group

Agree Consultation Paper and supporting documents

20th November 2017 to 1st December 2017

Consultation period commences

Will include 2 slots for briefing –one for primary schools one for secondary schools.

7th December 2017

Third Meeting of the Working Group

Consider outcomes of the consultation and make recommendations to Schools Forum.

14th December 2018

Meeting of the Schools Forum

Consider findings of working group and agree the principles on which the 2018/19 funding will be allocated.

18th December (estimate )

Release of final APT tool and funding Data

 

18th January 2018

Schools Forum Meeting to agree APT

Consider the 2018/19 Funding Formula, based on the principles agreed and any updates from the DFE (including funding model and funding levels) 

19th January 2018

Submission of APT to DfE

 

28th February 2018

Allocation of Budgets to Schools

 

 

The Children’s Services Finance Manager advised the Forum that the Working Group has no powers, these remain with the Schools Forum.

 

The Children’s Services Finance Manager had identified the following to sit on the Working Group, and the Headteachers s of both Windrush and Discovery Primary Schools volunteered.

 

NAME

SCHOOL

Claire Harrison

St Mary Magdalene

Victoria Wainwright

St Mary Magdalene

Ann Jefferson

Alderwood

Jane Perry

Discovery

Steven Connors

Heronsgate

Jo Marchant

Windrush

Marie Corbett

Invicta

Jo Graham

Meridian

Melissa Carpenter

Woodhill

Steve Harris

James Wolfe

Luigi Leccacorvi

Christ Church Shooters Hill

Mohamed Serroukh

Eltham Hill

Douglas Grieg

Plumstead Manor

Gary Farrelly

St Thomas More RC

 

The first meeting would take place from 4:00pm-6:00pm on Wednesday 18 October 2017.

 

Resolved:

 

Schools Forum noted:

 

1.         That National Funding Formula (NFF) would come into operation from 2018/19 as originally advised by the Department for Education (DfE). Local authorities would receive their Schools Block Allocation on the basis of the Schools Aggregate National Funding Formula. The final allocation would not be announced until late December 2017 for 2018/19. School by school information was notional.

 

2.         That Local authorities would continue to set a local formula to distribute funding to schools in their area.

 

3.         That a report elsewhere on the agenda provided an overview of the new Dedicated Schools Grant including detail relating to the Schools Block.

 

4.         That at the time of writing very little information had been received, however the DfE expected local authorities to engage with Schools and undertake a full consultation.

 

Schools Forum agreed:

 

5.         The timeline and engagement with Schools as outlined, in the amended timetable  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

School Place Planning and Capital Programme Update pdf icon PDF 160 KB

To note a presentation providing an update on School Place Planning and the Capital Programme.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Schools Forum noted:

 

·                    The decisions taken by Royal Greenwich Cabinet on 18 January 2017 to allocate capital funding to deliver additional childcare places for 3 and 4 year olds eligible for 30 hours a week from September 2017.

 

·                    The decisions taken by Royal Greenwich Cabinet on 21 June 2017 to allocate capital funding to deliver additional school places to meet projected demand to 2019/20.

 

·                    The progress made against the Early years and School capital programmes to date.

 

·                    The next steps for agreeing proposals for allocation of capital funding to create additional special needs places or to improve existing facilities for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), as agreed by Cabinet on 21 June 2017.

Minutes:

A presentation was made by the Assistant Director, Commissioning and Resources.

 

In response to a question, she explained that all children with Special Educational Needs would have an Education Health and Care Plan (EHCP) by 2018, and that there were approximately 1500 children in the Borough with an EHCP or Statement of Special Educational Needs.

 

Resolved:

 

Schools Forum noted:

 

1.         The decisions taken by Royal Greenwich Cabinet on 18 January 2017 to allocate capital funding to deliver additional childcare places for 3 and 4 year olds eligible for 30 hours a week from September 2017.

 

2.         The decisions taken by Royal Greenwich Cabinet on 21 June 2017 to allocate capital funding to deliver additional school places to meet projected demand to 2019/20.

 

3.         The progress made against the Early Years and School Capital Programmes to date.

 

4.         The next steps for agreeing proposals for allocation of capital funding to create additional special needs places or to improve existing facilities for children with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND), as agreed by Cabinet on 21 June 2017.

10.

Schools Forum reconstitution 2017-19 pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To note and agree the changes to the Schools Forum Constitution following the conversion of nine primary maintained schools to academies and one maintained special school to academy.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Schools Forum noted:

 

·                    Changes to the Schools Forum Constitution following the conversion of nine primary maintained schools to academies and one maintained special school to academy.

 

·                    That an election process would be undertaken with maintained primary governing bodies to determine the four Governor members from the current representatives for Maintained Primary Schools, if one of the five current members did not volunteer to stand down.

 

·                    That the Governor representative of Halstow Primary School (now an academy) was stood down as a Primary Maintained Governor representative.

 

·                    That an election process would be undertaken with the relevant Academy governing bodies to determine who should represent the Primary Academy sector as a governor.

 

·                    That an election process would be undertaken with the relevant Academy governing bodies to determine who should represent the Secondary Academy sector as a governor.

 

·                    That Headteachers would be asked to nominate the members for the following sectors; four representatives for Maintained Primary Schools, unless one of the current Headteachers chose to stand down, and one Primary Academy member and one Secondary Academy member via the Schools Partnership.

 

·                    The Schools Forum agreed that Special Schools would be represented as follows; one Headteacher and one Governor for maintained schools and one Headteacher and one Governor for special academies.

 

The Schools Forum agreed that the vacancy for 14-19 Partnership under non-school members be removed from the Constitution as the Borough did not currently have any facilities under this category.

 

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum noted:

 

1.         Changes to the Schools Forum Constitution following the conversion of nine primary maintained schools to academies and one maintained special school to academy. The Constitution would now be as follows:

 

Reconstitution

Sector

Headteachers

Governors

Totals

Primary Community

4

4

8

Primary VA

1

1

2

Secondary Community

1

1

2

Secondary VA

1

1

2

Primary Academy

2

2

4

Secondary Academy

2

2

4

Nursery

1

1

2

Special

1

1

2

Special Academy

1

1

2

PRU

1

0

1

School Members Totals

15

14

29

Non School Members

 

 

 

Non-Executive Councillors

 

 

5

Early Years, Private & Independent Providers

 

 

1

Non –School Members total

 

 

6

Total All

 

 

35

 

2.         That an election process would be undertaken with maintained primary governing bodies to determine the four Governor members from the current representatives for Maintained Primary Schools, if one of the five current members did not volunteer to stand down.

 

3.         That the Governor representative of Halstow Primary School (now an academy) was stood down as a Primary Maintained Governor representative.

 

4.         That an election process would be undertaken with the relevant Academy governing bodies to determine who should represent the Primary Academy sector as a governor.

 

5.         That an election process would be undertaken with the relevant Academy governing bodies to determine who should represent the Secondary Academy sector as a governor.

 

6.         That Headteachers would be asked to nominate the members for the following sectors; four representatives for Maintained Primary Schools, unless one of the current Headteachers chose to stand down, and one Primary Academy member and one Secondary Academy member via the Schools Partnership.

 

7.         The Schools Forum agreed that Special Schools would be represented as follows; one Headteacher and one Governor for maintained schools and one Headteacher and one Governor for special academies.

 

8.         The Schools Forum agreed that the vacancy for 14-19 Partnership under non-school members be removed from the Constitution as the Borough did not currently have any facilities under this category.

 

11.

Attendance Record pdf icon PDF 58 KB

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

Additional documents:

Decision:

Schools Forum noted the Forum attendance detailed in Appendix A.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That Schools Forum noted the Forum attendance detailed in Appendix A.