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Council and Democracy

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Discovery Academy, Porlock Avenue, Hyde

Contact: Michael Garraway, Democratic Services Buisness Manager  0161 342 3178 or Email: michael.garraway@tameside.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

48.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from members of the Schools Forum

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

49.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 291 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting of the Schools’ Forum held on 26 November 2019

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting of the School’s Forum held on 26 November 2019.

 

RESOLVED

That that the minutes of the meeting of the School’s Forum held on 26 November 2019 be approved as a correct record.

 

50.

De-delegation 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 258 KB

To consider the attached report of the Assistant Director of Finance / Assistant Director of Education.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Assistant Director of Finance and Assistant Director of Education, which provided additional information to that provided in the previous School’s Forum report presented on 26 November 2019.  This report included the potential implications of the decision not to de-delegate Trade Union Support and was in response to a request made by the Secondary Sector to defer their vote on the de-delegated services to allow consultation with wider stakeholder colleagues.

 

Consideration was given to a point raised at the last meeting with regard to Special Schools and their position in the voting process for de-delegation.  It was explained that operational guidance suggests that Special Schools and the Pupil Referral Service are not part of the voting process but can buy back in the same way that Academies can.  The members of the Forum, therefore, considered whether Maintained Special Schools and the Pupil Referral Service wanted to be part of the de-delegation vote and therefore agree that their School’s Forum representatives make the annual decision and buy back on behalf of the sector, and whether the Schools’ Forum members agree to this amendment to the current voting process.

 

Following a request from members of the Forum with regard to financial efficiency and the role of Trade Unions, an overview of the roles and responsibilities of Trade Union Support was provided.  It was explained that Tameside schools have for many years had access to Trade Union Support through a Service Level Agreement arrangement that recognises the main Trade Unions and professional associations that support the various public sector employee groups across the whole school workforce.

 

Furthermore, it was made clear that this support provides schools with centrally co-ordinated Trade Union services to support schools’ and leaders’ statutory obligations. In particular, it was explained that this provides schools, school leaders and Governing Bodies with support and expertise in employment related matters, helping to resolve workplace issues early on and providing a significant and positive contribution to school leaders with their management of change and the implementation of policies and procedures.

 

It was explained that local Trade Union representatives undertake a variety of roles in collective bargaining and working with school leaders and managers, communicating with union members, liaising with relevant Trade Unions at regional and national level and greatly assisting in the handling of individual matters concerning school based employees.  The positive benefits for school leaders, employees and union members were outlined, including:

 

  • Time and resources directed solely to Tameside schools’ priorities with less competing and conflicting demands
  • Progression of employee relations issues within schools undertaken and concluded in a timely manner
  • Full knowledge and understanding of local needs and pressures
  • Progression of school employment procedure review and implementation undertaken more speedily
  • The development of effective, collaborative working relationships to enable smoother progression of school based organisational matters, such as school staffing re-organisation and health and safety matters
  • Locally based resulting in easier access and speedier responses to requests for service
  • Direct access to senior officers  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.

51.

School Block Funding 2020-21 pdf icon PDF 201 KB

To consider the attached report of the Assistant Director of Finance / Assistant Director of Education.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members of the Schools’ Forum were presented with training relating to the School Funding Formula 2020-21.  This included a detailed explanation of the Dedicated School Grant alongside Pupil and School Led Funding Factors.  In addition, the High Needs National Funding Formula was explained with regard to how this is used within Special Schools, Mainstream Schools, and Resourced Units.

 

Following this, consideration was given to a report from the Assistant Director of Finance and Assistant Director of Education on the proposed Schools Block Funding Formula for 2020-21and the principles to be applied to the formula further to receiving the final grant settlement from the Department for Education.

 

Consideration was given to the outcomes of the consultation process, details of which were noted in the minutes of the previous meeting.  Members were informed that there were a total of 40 responses to the consultation out of 98 schools.  The results were as follows:

 

 

  • Do you agree with option 3 as the proposed funding formula and proposed funding rates for 2020-21?

Yes – 60-%

No – 40%

  • Do you support, in principle, the Local Authority submitting a disapplication to the Secretary of State to transfer 1% from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block as per option 3?

Yes – 62%

No – 38%

  • If the secretary of State will not approve a 1% transfer, do you wish to support the 0.5% transfer from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block with Schools’ Forum approval as per option 2?

Yes – 64%

No – 36%

 

It was detailed that, as a result of the consultation response, the Local Authority is planning to transfer 1% School Block funding to the High Needs Block funding with the proposed local model seeking to implement a 0.5% Minimum Funding Guarantee and a 3.4% Gains Cap, dependent on affordability.

 

The report also detailed that, as part of the consultation and in line with previous Schools’ Forum decisions, that the Local Authority wishes to remain as close as possible to the National Funding Formula, after taking account of the 1% transfer.  Therefore, if there were to be additional funding over what was required for the proposed funding formula, the Local Authority would ask Schools’ Forum to consider the following changes in the order they are presented:

 

  1. Include a Mobility Factor
  2. Increase the Basic Entitlement
  3. Reduce the Gains Cap
  4. Increase the MFG

 

Consideration was given to the Mobility Factor with the intention that this would support schools in which a high proportion of pupils first join on a non-standard date.  This funding would, therefore, be allocated on the proportion of mobile pupils in each phase above a threshold of 6% with the following rates:

 

  • £875 for each Primary mobile pupil above the threshold
  • £1,250 for each Secondary mobile pupil above the threshold

 

When modelled on this formula, and based on data from October 2018, a total of 21 Primary Schools and 2 secondary Schools would attract mobility funding, allocating a total of £155K to the eligible schools.  In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

Schools Balances pdf icon PDF 148 KB

To consider the attached report of the Assistant Director of Finance / Assistant Director of Education.

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report reviewing potential changes that could be made in an approach to managing school balances.  This was following on from a previous report dated October 2019.

 

In the Schools’ Funding Group, consideration had been given to the reasons as to why excess school balances had previously occurred and the purpose for which schools were holding these.  In response, the report outlined a number of potential changes to the current scheme of balances, including:

 

  • Increasing the threshold of permitted balances from 8% and 5% retrospectively to 12% in Primary schools and 12% in Secondary Schools
  • Setting up a Capital Fund held by the Local Authority for specific capital schemes
  • Schools’ Forum to use its powers of clawback if balances are held in excess of 2 years (either in full or at 50%)
  • Allocating any clawback to the High Needs Budget, subject to compliance with regulations

 

It was explained that the group had discussed the possibility of Capital Reserve to be established, for schools and the Local Authority to hold balances for Capital Schemes with an account looking to attract interest, but with restrictions that, if the scheme does not progress, the balance is not to return to the school.  In these cases, the balance would be treated as a surplus balance, subject to clawback.

 

As previously discussed in Schools’ Forum, invoking the clawback provision could only be applied to Maintained Schools and does not apply to the Academy Sector.  The regulations state that funds clawed back would be shared with all Schools and Academies.

 

Consideration was given to whether, in exceptional circumstances, there may be instances where there would be an agreement to an exemption of a clawback being invoked and whether there should be a right of appeal for schools in relation to clawback.

 

Consideration was also given as to whether the decision to clawback would be one that could be brought to Schools’ Forum. However, it was agreed that responsibility for this would lie with the Local Authority and that there would be a clear focus on transparency of process and policy.

 

RESOLVED

(i)   That the Schools’ Forum agrees to increase the limit from 8% and 5% to 12% and 9% and would like an option to contribute to a Capital Reserve

(ii)  School Forum agrees to establishing an interest bearing Capital reserve for Schools with the Local Authority

(iii)That the Schools’ Forum agrees to invoke a clawback clause for surplus school balances from 2019-20

(iv)         That the level of the clawback balance be agreed at 50%

(v)          That exceptional circumstances may be considered with regard to clawback

(vi) That the clawback agreement should be reviewed annually

(vii)                That the Schools’ Forum agrees that any clawback should be allocated to High Needs and that this be clearly identified within the policy.

 

53.

Date of Next Meeting

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the date of the next meeting of the Schools Forum will be held on Tuesday 11 February 2020 at 10.00am, Discovery Academy, Porlock Avenue, Hyde.