To consider the attached report of the Assistant Director of Finance / Assistant Director of Education.
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:
Yes – 60-%
No – 40%
Yes – 62%
No – 38%
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:
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:
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 order for this to be affordable, the Gains Cap would need to be increased to 3.2%, resulting in gaining schools receiving up to 3.2% gains rather than 3.4%.
The report also stated that, dependent on the final settlement, the Local Authority would look to increase the Basic Entitlement to bring it more closely to the National Funding Formula rate. The Gains Cap has needed to remain in the local formula as this 1% transfer is unaffordable without the cap in place. In addition, the National Funding Formula currently allows the Local Authority to apply a Minimum Funding Guarantee. With this in mind, the report made clear that the Local Authority would need to assess the formula to ensure that the overall budget balances within the final allocation of the Department for Education and would seek to balance the overall budget in a way that provides maximum benefit to all schools.
That the principles of the Funding Formula for 2020-21 be agreed in line with the details included in the report