Agenda and draft minutes

Schools' Forum - Wednesday, 19th January, 2022 10.00 am

Contact: Democratic Services  0161 342 3050 or Email: natalie.king@tameside.gov.uk

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Items
No. Item

19.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from Members of Schools’ Forum

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

There were no declarations of interest from Members of Forum.

 

20.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 278 KB

To consider the minutes of the meeting of Schools’ Forum held on 28 September 2021

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting of the School’s Forum, held on 28 September 2021.

 

RESOLVED

That, with the agreed amendment, the minutes of the meeting of Schools’ Forum held on 28 September 2021 be approved as a correct record.

 

21.

Dedicated Schools Grant Budget Update 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 311 KB

To consider the attached report of the Assistant Director, Finance and the Director, Education (Tameside and Stockport)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report from the Assistant Director of Finance and Director of Education (Tameside and Stockport), which provided an update on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) position for the financial year 2021-22 and an update on the Early Years financial outturn for 2020-21.

 

An update was provided for Members in relation to the current DSG settlement for 2021-22 and projected distribution/spend.  It was explained that there was an overall, in-year deficit of £2.032m forecast. 

 

A forecast surplus of £0.178m on the Schools Block was highlighted and Members were informed that this related to actual rates being lower than estimated and unallocated growth.  Members were reminded that, as previously agreed at Schools’ Forum, this unallocated growth would be used to support the deficit on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).

 

It was stated that the Central Schools Service Block was expected to be spent in full and that the projected in-year deficit on the High Needs Block was expected to be £3.179m, which would reduce to £2.301m following the transfer from the Schools Block.  Members were also informed that a further £0.384m of estimated in–year growth for January-March 2022  had also been included in this figure and a detailed breakdown of expected growth across all sectors was provided. 

 

In relation to the Early Years Block, Members were made aware that there would be an estimated surplus of £0.091m.

 

With regard to the High Needs Budget for 2021-22, a detailed breakdown of the budget position was provided and Members were informed that there had been an increase in the in-year deficit of £1.164m.  It was explained that this was in line with expected growth in numbers of Education Health and Care Plans (EHCP), as previously reported.  A detailed picture of this growth across all sectors was provided and Members were informed that this would continue to be monitored closely.

 

Details of the final Early Years settlement for 2020-21 were provided and it was stated that, for 2020-21, the overall settlement for Early Years had decreased by £0.287m.  As previously reported, it was estimated that there would be a reduction of £0.293m in the final settlement, which had resulted in a surplus of £0.397m rather than the estimated £0.392m.  It was confirmed that this additional surplus would be required to support the wider DSG deficit and that the variation against the actual settlement related to additional funding received from the Early Years Pupil Premium.

 

Members were also provided with a detailed breakdown of the Early Years forecast for 2021-22, which reflected the current settlement compared with the forecast distribution/spend.  It was stated that there was a forecast surplus of around £0.091m.  However, it was explained that this would be adjusted in line with data collections from the summer and autumn terms and an estimated clawback of £0.696m.

 

Members were made aware that there was an anticipated underspend on the centrally retained elements of Early Years funding in 2021-22 and that this would be required to support the deficit on the Special  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Schools' Funding Formula 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 408 KB

To consider the attached report of the Assistant Director, Finance and the Director, Education (Tameside and Stockport)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Assistant Director of Finance and Director of Education (Tameside and Stockport), which outlined the arrangements concerning the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) funding for 2022-23 and details of the supplementary grant provided to address increased costs to schools.

 

Members were informed that a provisional DSG settlement for 2022-23 of £240.507m was received on 16 December 2021, with accompanying essential data released on 20 December 2021.  A detailed breakdown of this settlement for the four blocks of DSG was provided, alongside details of supplementary funding.

 

It was noted that the Schools Block had seen an increase of £7.662m in relation to an increase in pupil numbers, uplift for RPIX on PFI and an increase in DfE rates.  It was also explained that the increase of £3.421 on the High Needs Block was in relation to an increase in pupil numbers and per head gain as a result of the National Funding Formula.

 

With regard to Early Years funding, it was noted that there had been a reduction of £0.529m in this area due to reducing numbers offset by an increase in DfE funding rates, whilst the Central Services Schools Block had seen a small increase of £0.068m, relating to an increase in pupil numbers and DfE funding rate.

 

Details were provided on how the Schools Block funding, which totalled £190,743, had been calculated by DfE,.  It was highlighted that business rates were estimated and that, in contrast to previous years, this would be removed from Tameside’s allocations and retained by the DfE, who would pay this to rating authorities on behalf of all Tameside’s schools and academies. This would leave a total allocation within the Schools Block of £188,731.

 

In line with previous consultation, Members were informed that the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) had been set at 0.5%, whilst the Gains Cap had been set at 4.61%.  It was noted that, any gain above this, would be used to partly offset the MFG and allow a balanced Schools Block budget to be set.

 

Members were advised that the Growth Policy had been agreed by School’s Forum in 2019 and this continued to be the method used for allocating explicit growth.  It was explained that the estimated Growth Fund required in 2022-23 would be £1.3m and a detailed breakdown both implicit and explicit growth was provided for Members.

 

Members were requested to support safeguarding in the borough by agreeing to provide a contribution of £2.99 per pupil towards the cost of Tameside Safeguarding Children Partnership (TSCP) for 2022-23, which would equate to approximately £0.105m.

 

Members were made aware that, in addition to the Schools Block DSG settlement, DfE had announced a supplementary grant for mainstream school in order to support the cost of the Health and Social care Levy alongside wider costs.  It was explained that this would be paid as a separate grant for 2022-23 and that it was the DfE’s intention for this to be included in the DSG allocation from 2023-24.  However,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

School De-delegation 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 271 KB

To consider the attached report of the Director, Education (Tameside and Stockport), Assistant Director, Finance and Assistant Director, People and Workforce Development

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Assistant Director of Finance, Assistant Director of People and Workforce development and Director of Education (Tameside and Stockport).  The report provided information for Members on the de-delegation of services and Risk Protection Arrangement (RPA) for 2022-23.

 

Members were advised that, historically, the Council had offered Tameside schools access to the services of recognised local trade union and professional association officials, through the annual purchase of a Trade Union Support Service Level Agreement (SLA).  It was explained that maintained schools, initially, had access to this offer funded through de-delegation but that this offer was also available on a buy-back basis to all academies and special schools.

 

The trade unions presently recognised, which form part of this offer, were outlined, including:

Teaching staff:

·       ASCL

·       NAHT

·       NASUWT

·      NEU

Support staff:

·       GMB

·       UNISON

·       UNITE

 

Members were advised that purchase of this trade union support would enable the delivery of statutory obligations and a number of benefits that could be achieved through effective collaboration between school leaders/governors and local trade union representatives were outlined.  These included:

·       achieving smooth, speedy and effective management of change;

·       support with school reorganisation plans and implementation of employment related policies and procedures for school-based staff; 

·       support for staff wellbeing and;

·       support and expertise in employment related matters at a local level.

 

It was stated that take up of this service in recent years had reduced and for 2020-21 there had been 37 of 98 Tameside schools.  Concerns, which had been previously raised by school leaders in relation to this service were outlined as follows:

·         its value for money, within the context of school leaders being aware of lower ‘per pupil rates’ across other Councils;

·         the transparency of actual trade union duties being delivered directly to schools and staff;

·         the difference of service provision from a local full time official versus a school based shop steward;

·         how the SLA offer aligns to the DfE document ‘Advice on trade union facility time’, January 2014, more specifically the statement that ‘All union representatives who receive facility time to represent members employed in schools should spend the majority of their working hours carrying out their main duties as school employees’    and;

·         whether the existing Facilities Agreements remain fit for purpose due to their longevity.

 

In response to these concerns, Members were informed that much discussion and work had been undertaken, throughout the year, with the aim of seeking a resolution and increasing support, value and buy-in from schools.  A brief outline actions, which the Council had taken to try and alleviate these concerns was provided, which  included:

·       A review of the existing Facilities Agreements with regional trade unions officials, ensuring clearer transparency and accountability of facilities time and activities undertaken on behalf of schools.  The revised agreements are to be implemented by the Council from January 2022.

 

·       A change to the methodology of the charging regime for schools in relation to non-teaching staff local trade union representatives, resulting in a reduced ‘per pupil’ cost for schools.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Schools' Forum Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 123 KB

To consider the attached report from the Assistant Director, Finance and Director, Education (Tameside and Stockport)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Consideration was given to a report of the Assistant Director of Finance and the Director of Education (Tameside and Stockport), which provided Members of Schools’ Forum with a forward plan of reports and meeting dates for the financial year 2022-23.

 

Meeting dates were confirmed as follows:

 

Date                                                                Venue

Tuesday 15 March 2022                                 Zoom

Tuesday 21 June 2022                                   Zoom

Tuesday 27 September 2022                         Zoom

Tuesday 29 November 2022                          Zoom

Thursday 19 January 2023                             Zoom

 

RESOLVED

That the contents of the report be noted.

 

25.

Date of Next Meeting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED

That the next meeting of The Schools Forum be held on Tuesday 15 March 2022 at 10am.

 

CHAIR