Agenda and draft minutes

Schools Forum - Friday, 12th November, 2021 9.00 am

Venue: Committee Suite, Civic Centre, Poole BH15 2RU. View directions

Contact: Chris Harrod  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence

To receive any apologies for absence.


Apologies were received from Jon Chapple (substituted by Arline Sperryn-Jones), David Newman (substituted by Marie Lane), Kate Carter, Sean Preston, Jeremy Payne and Sue Johnson.


Declarations of Interest

Forum Members are requested to declare any interests on items included in this agenda. Please refer to the workflow on the preceding page for guidance.


Declarations received will be reported at the meeting.


No declarations were made.


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 141 KB

To confirm the minutes of the previous meeting, held on 14 September 2021, as a correct record.


The Minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed as an accurate record, subject to Dr Dorian Lewis being marked as present.


Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) Budget Monitoring 2021-22 and Draft High Needs Budget 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 265 KB

The report considers the projected year end position for the DSG budget 2021-22 of £1.2 million overspent against the £9.6 million budgeted funding gap. In year this adds £10.8 million to the deficit.

The cumulative deficit at 31 March 2022 is forecast to be £18.6 million.

The report then considers the projected budget gap for 2022-23 of £17.7 million.


The Assistant Chief Financial Officer presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Forum Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'A' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.


Officers responded to Forum Members’ comments and requests for clarification, details included:


  • There was originally an ambition to look at individual school budget setting earlier than historically, but there had been resourcing issues within Children’s Services and as a result, Financial Services had recently picked up this piece of work, which had ultimately delayed the process. It was therefore anticipated that a consultation would be produced over the course of the next few weeks and subsequently sent to schools to complete. No significant changes were being planned for the next year.
  • Approximately 60% of schools within the area were already on the minimal per pupil funding level on the National Funding Formula (NFF) and so many would have a good idea as to what their funding would look like, provided they had their October Census pupil figures
  • For schools not on minimal per pupil funding, it was more difficult to estimate what budgets would look like, but work was being undertaken and would be included in the consultation paper
  • The team was planning for a 0.5% (£1.1million) transfer this year, as had previously been done, although this would only be recommended if the national funding formula could be met in full, a this would not be known until December when the final data was available.
  • For 2023/24 budgets, the Government was planning for Local Authorities moving their own local funding formulas towards the national formula and would be publishing how that would need be achieved, although this would not impact BCP Council, which had already achieved this. There were also plans for the remaining local exceptional formula factors and the growth fund to be included within the NFF that year.




Capital Projects 2019 - 2021 pdf icon PDF 158 KB

This report sets out the capital programme for Children’s Services special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) strategy since the Local Government Reorganisation in 2019. It provides a brief summary of projects which have been completed or are in progress, and of projects which have not yet been initiated. A review of inclusion practice in BCP schools and a revised SEND strategy is underway, led by the Director of Education. A further programme of capital works to help deliver that strategy will be brought forward imminently.


The Director of Education presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'B' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.


There were no comments or requests for clarification on this item.



Update – Mainstream SEND Banding Review pdf icon PDF 264 KB

The review of the Mainstream SEND Bandings and Descriptors is part of the SEND transformation work that is underway.

The main purpose of the review is to work in partnership to support BCP in delivering its commitment and aspiration of BCP being an inclusive place for SEND children and young people to thrive and be educated within; resulting in the long-term reduction of the overall overspend in the High Needs Block Budget. 

Additional documents:


The Early Help Performance Manager gave a brief powerpoint presentation to accompany the published report, copies of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'C' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.


The Early Help Performance Manager detailed the concerns that led to the SEN Banding Review and set out its purpose, its objectives and where the established working group and its sub-groups sat within the Schools’ Forum hierarchy. It was also pointed out that the review fell within the SEND Transformation Programme and therefore linked in with the following areas:


  • High Needs Block deficit
  • Education Transformation Programme
  • The Written Statement of Action
  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Inclusion Strategy


She highlighted the average cost of high needs placements by provision type, which demonstrated the significant variance in cost between different provisions. Prevalent need types were also highlighted and a breakdown by percentages was also provided. Four need types had been highlighted because they were areas in which there was the highest proportion of need, three of these areas had been marked in red because there had been an increase in these figures since 2019.


An update was also provided which set out the progress to date made by the main working group and indeed its three sub-working groups, which were looking at:


  • Descriptors – revising the current band descriptors
  • Finance and Data – Financial modelling, SEND data and cost analysis
  • Processes – review and revision of current processes followed by the BCP SEND Teams, Schools and Parents/Carers


A proposed timeline was introduced to the forum, which gave a clear indication as to how the working groups would be dealing with this area of work.


Officers responded to Forum Members’ comments and requests for clarification, details included:


  • Raw data would be provided to Forum Members to accompany the percentages already provided.
  • Work on baseline figures was being undertaken to address the barriers in the form of pulling together a series of consultation groups to better understand why parents/carers weren’t necessarily applying for their children with additional needs to be educated within mainstream education. Email requests were due to be sent out to both Forum Members and other colleagues to invite them to join these consultation groups to explore any barriers and/or restrictions.
  • The SEND Banding review would take approximately a year to implement from start to finish following the annual reviews and new EHCP’s being issued. This would reduce the impact on schools’ budget processes and the actual implementation date was likely to be during the summer term or ready for the following term in September.



Forward Plan

Forum Members are asked to raise any items they wish to be considered by the Chairman for addition to the Forum’s Forward Plan.


The Chairman advised the Forum that he would work with Officers to pull together a formalised Forward Plan for the Forum and would ensure that the following item was included in addition to the standardised items:


  • Forum Membership


Additionally, the Director for Education advised a report that proposed a bulge class for The Grange School would be brought to the Forum’s meeting in January, which would also be added to the Forward Plan.




Dates of Future Meetings

·         13 January 2022

·         24 June 2022


Schools Forum Members noted the following future meeting dates:


  • 13 January 2022
  • 24 June 2022



Any Other Business

To consider any other business, which, in the opinion of the Chairman, is of sufficient urgency to warrant consideration.


The Clerk advised the Forum that David Newman, of Poole High School has left his post and therefore the Forum.


The Chairman requested that the Forum’s thanks for David’s contributions to the Forum be placed on record.