Agenda and minutes
Schools Forum - Monday, 14th January, 2019 4.00 pm
Venue: Council Ante Chamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension
Contact: Donna Barnes
To agree as a correct record the minutes of the last meeting.
Elizabeth Fritchley and Saeeda Ishfaq stated that their apologies for the previous meeting had not been recorded.
In considering minute SF/18/11, there was a discussion about actions that had taken place since the matter was formally considered. The Chair reiterated the predicament posed by the retention of uncommitted excess balances when seeking to lobby central government about what was described as the continued underfunding of schools. It was then explained that officers had been asked to review the Local Authority’s existing clawback mechanism for maintained schools with a view to improving equity and fairness in the process. This would be brought back to a future meeting of the Forum for comment with a view to formal endorsement prior to consultation with schools.
To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 19 November 2018 as a correct subject to the amendments concerning attendance above.
The report is enclosed.
The Forum considered a report of the Directorate Finance Lead – Children and Schools which confirmed the city’s Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) funding 2019/20 allocation which had been announced by the Department for Education (DfE) on 16 December 2018.
The Directorate Finance Lead – Children and Schools introduced the report across its main themes. She advised that Manchester’s DSG settlement for 2019/20 was £530.06M with the Schools Block receiving £409.07M, the Central Schools Services Block (CSSB) receiving £3.657M, the High Needs Block (HMB) receiving £76.498M and the Early Years Block (EYB) receiving £76.498M. An overview of the purpose of each block and an explanation of how the associated amounts had been calculated was also provided. It was explained that the settlement had increased by approximately £11.5M due to pupil number increases, predominantly in the secondary sector. There had been a reduction in the Central Schools Block allocation due to the transfer of PFI funding so that the funding was no longer centrally retained.
An increase of £3.12M in HNB was reported, the majority of which was attributable to an increased number of pupils in the city. £1.28M of that figure was described as additional money for the block. The increased amount would be allocated to the HNB for the next two consecutive financial years to offset ongoing pressures.
There was a discussion about the growth in pupil numbers and whether there had been any analysis with regard to the implication on budgets. The Director of Education said that whilst there had been a recent reduction in the number of Reception pupils but there had been no slowdown in the number of in-year arrivals. Discussions turned to the impact of the building of new homes in the city. It was explained that this was a complex and ongoing area of work which involved input from colleagues in numerous areas of the Council. Officers were seeking to determine phased completion dates and expectations on yield of new families. Additionally, other factors (such as Brexit) were also being taken into consideration to determine likely negative impacts on pupil numbers. The Forum was asked to note that the funding for the two, three and four year old offer would not be disclosed until June 2019 and June 2020
The Forum was asked to note that EYB funding was adjusted in-year based on January census figures but current indications were that the figure to be receive will be just under £41M. This was slightly less than the previous financial year because of the lower than anticipated take up of the 15 hours for three and four year old offer, by the DfE. Additionally, the allocation had been realigned for the next financial based on current levels of take up. A further update on this would be brought to the Forum early in the next financial year when the figure is finalised. It was emphasised that it could lead to further reductions if the codes from parents were not received.