Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Bromley College of Further and Higher Education, Rookery Lane, Bromley, BR2 8HE

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Izabela Lecybyl and Andrew Rees.


The Chairman welcomed Ben Greene (Secondary Head Teacher Representative) and Jared Nehra (Director of Education, LBB) to the meeting.




Matthew Apsley declared that the introduction of a Falling Rolls Fund would affect his school.




The minutes of the meeting held on 8th November 2018, were approved and signed as a correct record.


Under matters arising; a Secondary Head Teacher representative sought an update on the representations that had been made concerning funding for new Free Schools being top sliced from the Schools’ Block.  In response, the Head of Schools’ Finance Support confirmed that the issue had been raised with colleagues in other London Boroughs as well as the DfE.  The Head of Schools’ Finance Support reported that whilst other London Boroughs were experiencing similar issues it appeared that they were not as concerned about the issue as Bromley.  Representatives from the DfE had suggested that the issues within Bromley could be overcome through accounting with lagged funding each year.  Whilst the suggestion was understandable the view of LBB Officers was that this was not a viable solution to the problem and therefore should not be implemented.  The Head of ECHS Finance reported that he, the former Interim Director of Education, the Portfolio Holder for Children, Education and Families, and a representative from schools had met with local MP Bob Neill to discuss concerns.  The Local MP had agreed to write to the Minister responsible to raise the issue and outline concerns.  Once a response from the Minister had been received it would be circulated to the Schools’ Forum.  A Secondary School representative further reported that she had raised the issue with a union who had not been aware of the figures involved and had also agreed to take up the issue.


The Vice-Chairman raised the issue of declarations of interest at meetings.  During the ensuing discussion it was noted that whilst all Members of the Forum technically had a pecuniary interest, unlike school governing bodies the Schools’ Forum was a consultation forum with no formal decision making powers.  It was noted that Members of the Forum were appointed to represent their respective sectors and there was an expectation that Members would be representing the interests of their sectors as a whole, not their individual schools.  In view of this it was agreed that that ‘Declarations of Interest’ item on the agenda would be removed.


The Head of ECHS Finance confirmed that work was underway to fill the vacancies on the Schools’ Forum.




Additional documents:


Report ED18085


The Schools’ Forum considered a report providing an outline of the final DSG allocation for 2019/20 and the budgeted expenditure across the four separate blocks.  The final Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) funding for 2019/20, updated to reflect October 2018 pupil numbers, had now been provided to all LAs. The final allocation included the additional funding for SEND announced by the Secretary of State which for Bromley was £788,032 for both 2018/19 and 2019/20. 


The DSG for 2019/20 was divided into four blocks – High Needs, Early Years, Schools and Schools Central, with expected grant income detailed below:

2019/20 Dedicated Schools Grant


High Needs Block

Early Years Block

Schools Block

Schools Central Block


Gross Grant Funding






Recoupment adjustment







Net Grant  Allocation







Central Schools Block


There were a number of pressures within the block due to certain items of expenditure over which the Local Authority had no control such as the costs of licenses (from which all schools benefitted).


It was proposed that a financial contribution would be made by the Council in order to balance the block.  On behalf of the Schools’ Forum, in anticipation of the Council’s Executive approving the additional funding, the Chairman thanked the Council for the very necessary financial contribution.


Early Years Block


It was noted that the Local Authority provided higher rates of funding for 2 year olds than the grant received from government.  This was done at the expense of 3 year old funding and this position had not been reviewed for a couple of years.  The Early Years Representative highlighted there was a higher staff ration for two year olds than for 3 & 4 year olds and it was suggested that this may explain the higher levels of funding.


Schools Block and High Needs Block


Falling Rolls Fund:


A Secondary Head Teacher representative noted that there had been no agreement or recommendation from the Schools’ Forum concerning whether specific funding for a falling rolls fund should be earmarked.  It was noted that the report demonstrated that there were 306 surplus places in the primary sector within Bromley that were being nominally funded.  Members of the Schools’ Forum suggested that this was symptomatic of the way in which Bromley had evolved over time with primary schools now feeling the impact of the lack of strategy.  There was now a pool of schools experiencing falling rolls and as a result these schools would be facing serious financial difficulties. 


It was noted that at a previous meeting the Schools’ Forum had requested information on trends and this had not yet been provided.  The Forum had also requested that the Head of Strategic Place Planning attend a meeting of the Forum to advise Members.  Members agreed that they could not commit to any long-term decisions until this happened.


The Head of Schools’ Finance Support highlighted the strict requirements and criteria in place surrounding eligibility for Falling Rolls Funding.  In summary, the following eligibility  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.




There was no other business.



The Programme of meetings for 2019/20 has not yet been finalised. Members of the Schools’ Forum will be notified as soon as dates for future meetings are available.


Details of meeting dates for 2019/20 would be circulated when they were available.



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