School Budget Consultation 2022/23
To receive the above report.
The Schools Forum noted the contents of the School Budget Consultation 2022/23.
The Head of Finance for Achieving for Children referred to the proposed reduction in the school improvement monitoring and brokerage grant by 50% for next year and 100% the year after that.
The Head of Finance for Achieving for Children said that currently the borough was seeing a 15% to 16% increase to volume and costs, with funding increases only addressing around 50% of the pressure that was expected in the following year.
The Head of Finance for Achieving for Children said that from 2024/25, the borough expected all authorities to be moving to the National Funding Formula. He noted that this had not yet been confirmed by the EFSA.
He then addressed some notable changes as being:
· The core factors had gone up by 2%.
· The minimum per pupil funding levels had gone up by 2%.
· The minimum per pupil level funding values for primary school children at £4,265 and secondary school children at £5,525.
The Head of Finance for Achieving for Children said that there were funding guarantees that now had to be met as stated in section 4.4 of the report. He said that the borough was currently running at a 0.5% year on year pupil protection funding.
The Head of Finance for Achieving for Children summarised by stating that the formula was very similar to that of last year and that there was a focus on closing remaining gaps on funding. He added that the borough was below the National Funding Formula on the lump sum allowance. He noted that further headroom would potentially lead to all schools regardless of size receiving a lump sum of around £129,000.
The Head of Finance for Achieving for Children said that the School Improvement Grant was proposed to be reduced by 50% from April 2022 and potentially 100% in 2023. He noted that the view of the borough was that this was an area that the government should be continuing to fund.
The Chairman asked where this money had been found by the Department for Education (DfE). The Director of Children’s Service paraphrased the DfE by saying that academies had led the way during COVID and that maintained schools should also be able to make their choices of services.
The Chairman asked for clarity over the £129,000 lump sum. The Head of Finance for Achieving for Children clarified this by stating that the current lump sum allowance was approximately £122,000, so the potential extra finance would be around £7,000.
The Director of Children’s Services said that if the Schools Forum wished to transfer some funds from the schools’ block to the high needs block, then this would be acceptable as long as the forum members voted unanimously in favour. He added that the Secretary of State would also need to ratify this.
The Head of Finance for Achieving for Children said due to the low level of change in the formula, there would be no need in sharing the data from induvial schools at the current stage, unlike in previous years. Consultation on the Schools Forum would run from 22nd November to 6th December 2021, with aggregated results being shared at the next Schools Forum.
The Chairman thanked all forum members and officers for their attendance.