Agenda and minutes

BCP Schools Forum
Wednesday, 31st October, 2018 4.30 pm

Venue: Main Hall, Bournemouth Learning Centre, Ensbury Ave, Bournemouth BH10 4HG

Contact: Marilyn Scofield-Marlowe  Email: marilyn.scofield-marlowe@poole.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

1.

Election of Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Phil Keen (Head Teacher – Corfe Hills School) be elected Chairman of the BCP Shadow Schools Forum.

2.

Election of Vice-Chairman

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Patrick Earnshaw (Head Teacher – Highcliffe School) be elected Vice Chairman of the BCP Shadow Schools Forum.

3.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for Absence were received from Jan Thurgood (Strategic Director, People Theme, Poole).  Councillor Trish Jamieson (Christchurch Borough Council) attended the Induction but was unable to attend the meeting proper.

4.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests of Forum Members/Officers in matters on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests.

 

5.

Terms of Reference pdf icon PDF 59 KB

To agree the Terms of Reference.

Minutes:

The Shadow School Forum noted that paragraph 1.2 of the Terms of Reference recognises the time limited remit of the Shadow Forum; the new Forum will come into effect after Council elections and no later than July 2019. 

 

It was noted that membership contained no Governor representation, due to lack of volunteers but that, as a Shadow Forum, the DfE had agreed there could be some discretion regarding membership.

 

Paragraph 6.4 states that the Chair is expected to represent the Shadow Schools Forum at other events.  It was confirmed that this is a legacy item within the Terms of Reference and rarely used.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

(i)   The lack of any Governor Representatives was deemed acceptable for the Shadow Schools Forum; this will need to be re-visited when forming the Forum proper after Council elections and no later than July 2019. 

(ii)  The Terms of Reference be adopted by unanimous agreement.

6.

Budget Reference Group pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To consider if the Budget Reference Group is to continue to support the Shadow Schools Forum.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Shadow Forum noted that 9 members of the Shadow Forum were members of the Budget Reference Group. 

 

RESOLVED that the Budget Reference Group ceases; the remit of the work being carried out by the Budget Reference Group to be transferred to the Shadow Schools Forum.

 

7.

Draft Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) Budget 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To consider the information report.

Minutes:

Nicola Webb presented an overview of the key points in respect of the Draft Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) Budget 2019/20.

 

Key Points raised:

 

  • Funding was estimated; this has always been the case at this point, but more so than usual due to the formation of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP).
  • There is uncertainty over the Growth Fund; figures had not been released by the Government.  Expectation was that BCP would be in the protected range.
  • No confirmation from the Government in respect of mainstream funding formula rates for primary and secondary across BCP had been received.  The exact figures for funding will also depend on the October 2018 school census.
  • The Central Services Block figures were considered to be an accurate representation but will change slightly also from the census.
  • High Needs figures were estimated at this stage.  Adjustments will be made following the December settlement announcements and January 2019 census.
  • Early Years funding rates are the same across the 3 Local Authority areas and will be the same for BCP.  Adjustments to funding levels will be made following the census in January 2019 and January 2020.
  • Despite the level of uncertainly, the budget needs to be progressed for completion in December 2018; there may be residual issues that need to be looked at after the December settlement as on occasions DfE have made late changes to the national arrangements. 
  • The Early Years paper had not been presented for this meeting but a lot of work had been completed at this stage and it will come to the meeting on 13 November 2018.
  • The High Needs Block was confirmed to be a major issue; there is a £5.7 million shortfall in the annual budget as currently presented.
  • There has been no guidance yet from Government regarding how the Local Authorities should deal with deficits (£4.5 million estimated for Bournemouth and Christchurch coming into BCP from 1 April).  The DSG shortfall for 2019/20 needs to be addressed prior to the deficit being considered.  The timescale for Government guidance was queried and it was confirmed that this was to be expected within 2 weeks. 

 

Questions were invited from those present and responses were provided as follows:

 

·         A transfer of 1% has been proposed from the Early Years block; it considered this was disproportionally high. The Early Years Sub-Group has requested that this transfer was reduced to 0.5% due to the lack of deficit in Poole.  It was confirmed that the transfer was required to support 2019/20 in-year needs, not the deficit.

·         Local Authorities can retain up to 5%.   Even with a 1% transfer, the BCP planned overall retention is lower than this.

·         The final decision is for the Shadow Council.

·         It was confirmed that Christchurch Early Years providers had been included in the discussions.

·         High needs pressures in 2018-19 were listed as £1.7 – 2 million, with little of it included within the estimated £4.5 million deficit by the end of the year.  It was confirmed that the forecast deficit figure took  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

High Needs Budget Strategies pdf icon PDF 97 KB

To consider the information report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Vicky Wales presented the report provided, which looked at the detail and background to the work surrounding High Needs.  This included the ISOS reviews for both Bournemouth and Poole, which were commissioned by both Local Authorities to look at the pressures on the High Needs Block (HNB).  ISOS have worked with Local Authorities nationally and are a key independent group working with the DfE.

 

It was noted that there are very similar pressures across both areas.

 

Key points raised:

 

  • There has been growth in EHCPs across all ages, including Post 19.
  • There are more SEND pupils in specialist provision across the area than is the case nationally.
  • Local special schools are at capacity.
  • There have been large rises in permanent exclusions, with pupils not returning to mainstream education.
  • Spend on alternative provision and bespoke provision has increased.

 

Both Local Authorities set up targeted groups to look at High Need pressures, as recommended by ISOS;

 

  • Bournemouth developed outreach services; Poole has reviewed existing outreach services.
  • Systems of supporting SEND pupils to remain in mainstream have been explored with schools, such as a Mainstream Plus offer.
  • Working with special schools to explore satellite special school provision.
  • Post 16 provision, extending the collaboration between Winchelsea School and Bournemouth and Poole College.
  • In Poole, the Positive Re-integration Protocol has been developed to encourage a return to mainstream education for excluded pupils; this has been shown to have had an impact.
  • Both Local Authorities have introduced a graduated response toolkit.
  • High cost placements have been reviewed.

 

The targeted group in Poole had met that morning and expressed an interest in combining the 2 groups. 

 

All present discussed the report, the benefits of working together and initiatives to reduce high needs costs would need to be built into the budget. Key points were as follows:

 

·         It was confirmed that figures provided included figures for the Christchurch area, as well as Bournemouth and Poole and used estimates based on current levels of provision and expected future trends.  The remit of the combined group would be pragmatic, collaborative work to look at solutions together for schools and the Local Authority.

·         It was confirmed that ultimately accountability remains with the Local Authorities and officers are held to account by Elected Members.  The responsibility for finding solutions is a partnership between schools and the Local Authority, and a single HNB group would need to ensure a single financial strategy.

·         Place numbers were queried as there were more places than outlined in the paper.  It was confirmed that all special schools are currently over numbers and this has been built into budgets for next year alongside a reduction in the budget for independent schools. It was felt that a meeting between the Local Authority and special schools would be beneficial, as all were keen to look at provision; the intention is to move more pupils into more affordable provision. 

·         It was raised that the approach to outreach varies between Bournemouth and Poole.  Strategies need to be aligned, whilst addressing differences  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Mainstream Schools Funding Formula pdf icon PDF 128 KB

To consider options to include in the Mainstream Schools Funding Formula Consultation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Jack Cutler presented in detail the reports provided in relation to the Mainstream Schools Funding Formula and alternative options for Shadow Forum to consider if a transfer to high needs is to be made.  The report was based on 2018-2019 pupil characteristics, from the October 2017 census and looked at ways to release funding from the NFF should a transfer to high needs be agreed.

 

If all schools received the full NFF, there would be little funding available to transfer to the HNB.

 

The report provided a way to categorise the impact of options for the various formula positions of schools (e.g. on formula, capped, minimum per pupil funding level etc.).   

 

The funding model adopted would be set across BCP.

 

It was noted that the models provided showed extreme ranges available, to give a full insight into the options available.

 

It was clarified that any of the models of transfers to the High Needs Block would not be applied to clear the deficit; this funding will be used by schools to support pupils in 2019-20.

 

It was discussed that the complexities of the options presented would need a working group to consider fully.

 

The Chair thanked Jack Cutler for presenting the detailed information.

 

RESOLVED that a working group be formed to look at funding options in detail to model impact to schools, consisting of:

 

 

·         David Newman

·         Andy Baker

·         David Todd

·         Patrick Earnshaw

·         Dave Simpson

·         Jeremy Payne

 

10.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To consider the Forward Plan.

Minutes:

The Chair confirmed that all were clear on the actions required ahead of the next meeting and that the hope would be that Nicola Webb would have received updated guidance from the DfE regarding to the deficit to feedback at that point.

 

The Chair requested that a number of the papers should be moved to a future meeting where possible, in order to keep the meeting focused on the key issues and within the timescale required of 2 hours for the meeting.

 

RESOLVED that the Forward Plan be noted.

11.

Dates of Future Meetings

It is proposed that the following dates be confirmed for future meetings of the Shadow Schools Forum:

 

·         Tuesday 13 November 2018 at 12:30pm

·         Thursday 6 December 2018 at 1:30pm

 

Dates for Meetings of the Forum in 2019 will be proposed and confirmed in the near future.

Minutes:

All were reminded by the Chair to reserve the date of the next meeting in their calendars.  No revision to timing was suggested.

 

Tuesday 13 November 2018 at 12.30pm