Agenda and minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

No. Item




Apologies for absence were received from Mrs Karen Raven, Ms Izabela Lecybyl and Mr David Wilcox.


The Director of Education also sent apologies for absence.


The Chairman welcomed Tracey Davies to the meeting and introductions took place.




The minutes of the meeting held on 20th June 2019 were approved, and signed as a correct record.


Matters Arising:


Place Planning/Falling Rolls Fund:


The Head of Strategic Place Planning reported that the overall position in Bromley with regards school rolls was pupil numbers were increasing and forecasts demonstrated that school population would continue to increase until 2026.  It was projected that school places would increase from approximately 49,000 places in 2017 to 54,000 in 2026, before falling back to 53,441 in 2032.  More applicants were getting a school of their choice with Bromley out-performing all its London neighbours in terms of applicants being offered 1 of their top 3 secondary preferences.  Over 6,500 school places had been added through school expansion and Free Schools.  Bromley remained a  net importer of pupils.  The focus of the Local Authority (LA) was now moving from mainstream education to SEN places.


In terms of Primary need, growth had stalled with future projections indicated a need for between 3,800 and 4,000 Year R places each year.  This was slightly below the peak of 4,050 but significantly above  3,400 in 2010.  The LA planned for 5% surplus for contingency and choice, although the current surplus was marginally above this at 7%.  The National Audit Office recommend a 0 to 10% surplus.  The surplus tended to be concentrated in a small number of schools and there was a particular issue in Biggin Hill where there was a need to provide 5 FE of reception places in Biggin Hill to comply with class size legislation.  Demographic issues had a significant influence over demand.  Whilst the birth rate remained quite high with over 4,000 live births each year, it had been reported that the Office for National Statistics had over projected the fertility of women.  Migration had reduced, although there was still net migration into the Borough. Demographic issues impacted in different Planning Areas in different ways.  In North West Bromley rolls fell during primary age, whereas in West Wickham and Shortlands numbers rose.  Growth was still a factor in some areas, such as West Wickham and Central Bromley.


The Head of Strategic Place Planning reported that there were no further plans to expand primary schools once the Stewart Fleming expansion had been completed.  However there were some options for bulge classes should they be required and the Head of Strategic Place Planning stressed that it was also important not to take capacity out of the system at the moment.  The position had to be carefully monitored.  The LA had no control over the Admissions Policies of Academies and therefore capacity issues had to be influenced through discussions with individual academies and trusts.  In response to a question, the Head of Strategic Place Planning reported that there was churn in the system with a high number of in-year admissions, this impacted different areas.


The Head of Schools’ Finance Support Team reported that five schools had met the criteria for the Falling Rolls Fund and these schools had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.


ECF OUTTURN 2018/19 pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:


Report CEF19005


The Schools’ Forum considered a report providing the financial information reported to the Children, Education and Families PDS Committee on 9th July 2019.


The Head of Education and Children’s Services Finance reported that in 2018/19 Education had been cost neutral and Children’s Services had recorded an overspend in the region of £3m.  This overspend had been the result of a number of uncontrollable pressures such as placements and unaccompanied asylum seeking children.


In response to a question from the Chairman, the Head of Education and Children’s Services Finance confirmed that the budget for bulge classes was not underspent.


RESOLVED: That the report be noted.



Additional documents:


Report CEF19006


The Schools’ Forum considered an outline of the Local Authority’s draft response to the DfE consultation entitled: Financial Transparency of Local Authority Maintained Schools and Academy Trusts.


The Head of Schools’ Finance Support Team provided an overview of the consultation explaining that following a review of the consultation the Schools’ Finance Team had concluded that there would be no significant impact to the LA’s Maintained School as many of the proposals were already a requirement placed on schools by the LA.


The Primary Maintained Headteacher Representative noted that additional resources should be in place to mitigate against any additional burden.  In response, the Head of Schools’ Finance Support Team explained that it would be difficult to quantify any additional burden but if schools were able to quantify any additional burdens arising from the proposals they were encouraged to respond to the consultation on an individual basis.


RESOLVED: That the Local Authority Response to the DfE consultation into Financial Transparency of Local Authority Maintained Schools and Academy Trusts be endorsed.




The Head of Education and Children’s Services Finance provided the Schools’ Forum with an update concerning the recent Government announcements around additional funding for schools.  The Head of Education and Children’s Services Finance explained that as with all funding announcements, the devil would be in the detail.  An additional £14bn funding for schools had been announced but this headline figure had been somewhat misleading as it represented an accumulation of funding, spread over three years and included inflationary increases.  Operational guidance had been issued alongside the announcement of additional funding.


The additional funding equated to a minimum of £5k per pupil in the Secondary sector, and a minimum of £4k per pupil in the Primary sector.  It was important to emphasise however that this was not AWPU.  In any event, all schools in Bromley were already receiving above this figure.  The additional funding would have varying degrees of impact on schools across the Borough and this would need to be run through formula before any concrete conclusions could be drawn.


There had also been an announcement of an additional £700m for SEN, this equated to roughly £4m funding for the High Needs Block in Bromley.  Whilst this funding was welcome, it was important to recognise that the cost of High Needs in Bromley was increasing and the impact of this announcement would need to be monitored as the High Needs Budget would grow as funding grew.


There were still some issues around funding being taken out of the Schools’ Budget to fund new Free Schools and lobbying around this issue continued.


Members of the Schools Forum noted that the Pay Award and Pension Costs would be coming through a grant outside of the funding formula and this would continue for two years.  Details of the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG)  were outline in the Operational Guidance and whilst it was hoped that the announced funding amounted to a real time increase in funding the detail would need to be further scrutinised.


The Schools’ Forum noted that further information would need to be provided around funding for Special Schools and Alternative Provision as there had been no guidance from the Government to direct a MFG increase for special schools.


The Head of Schools’ Finance reported that the Government had also issued a further two consultations:



Links to both the consultations would be included in the circular sent to schools.


The Head of Schools’ Finance Support Team reported that a review of the Early Years Block was being undertaken and an update would be provided to the next meeting of the Schools’ Forum.


In conclusion, the Head of Education and Children’s Services Finance confirmed that benchmarking across London had shown that with no structural deficit, Bromley was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.




There was no other business.



All meetings are at Bromley College unless otherwise stated.


20th September 2018

29th November 2018

17th January 2019



The next meeting would be held on 7th November 2019.


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