Venue: Bromley Civic Centre
Contact: Philippa Gibbs 020 8461 7638
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
Apologies for absence were received from Mr Andrew Rees.
MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 19 SEPTEMBER 2019 PDF 92 KB
The minutes of the meeting held on 19 September 2019, were approved and signed as a correct record.
REVIEW OF EARLY YEARS FUNDING FORMULA PDF 66 KB
The Schools’ Forum considered a report which provided an outline of the Local Authority’s (LAs) proposed review of the Early Years Funding Formula. In July 2019 Bromley received notification of an increase to the Early Years funding block within the Dedicated Schools Grant of £2.3m which consisted of £1.45m relating to 2019/20 and a retrospective adjustment of £0.87m relating to 2018/19. Unlike the other blocks, Early Years funding was adjusted in year, either upwards or downwards, based on the January pupil numbers. If pupil numbers and take up increased this would result in additional funding however if numbers/take up decreased then funding would be clawed back. This could vary across the three main elements within the Block i.e. 2 year old numbers may be decreasing but universal funding for 3 and 4 year olds and additional 15 hours numbers increasing - if this was the case the funding adjustment would be “netted off”.
The current pattern in Bromley was that 2 year old numbers/take up was decreasing but 3 and 4 year old numbers/take up was increasing for both the universal entitlement and the additional 15 hours. As a result of this Bromley was seeing a net increase in overall funding.
This adjustment had prompted a full review of the current EY funding formula by LA Finance and Early Years Officers to understand why the funding was increasing and to look at possible adjustments to the Bromley EY funding formula for 2020/21 to ensure that the increased funding was passed on to the EY providers to support EY education in Bromley.
The Schools’ Forum noted that at this stage the LA was proposing to increase the base rate which would mean an increase to all providers. The Head of Schools Finance Support reported that the DfE settlement had been received the previous week and as a result an additional 8p would be added to base rate funding across all three elements in 2020/21 (bring the total increase in funding to 58p). Members of the Schools’ Forum also noted that the review of EY Funding had also allowed for an increase of £0.5m to the funding that was held centrally to support Early Years pupils with SEND which was currently held in the EY Block with the LA continuing to meet the DfE’s required “pass-through” rate for the block.
In response to a question from the Vice-Chairman, the Head of Schools’ Finance Support confirmed that the funding that had been allocated to Early Years was being directed at Early Years provision and that there was no impact on other funding blocks within the DSG. The Head of Schools’ Finance Support also confirmed that income would be adjusted upwards if it became apparent that pupil numbers were increasing. The proposed review for 2021 would not be seeking significant adjustments but any changes would be presented to the Schools’ Forum for review.
In response to a question from the Vice-Chairman, the Head of Education and Children’s Services Finance explained that the ... view the full minutes text for item 16.
2020/21 DEDICATED SCHOOLS GRANT PDF 66 KB
The Schools’ Forum considered an outline of the estimated Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) allowance for 2020/21 and an overview of how it would be spent. The indicative Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) funding for 2020/21 had been provided to all Local Authorities – this was based on October 2018 pupil numbers so would be uplifted in December to reflect the October 2019 census data. The DSG for 2020/21 was divided into four blocks – High Needs, Early Years, Schools and Schools Central. The expected income set out below
The LA had looked at each of the blocks and had forecast the related expenditure for 2020/21 based on information that was currently available.
Schools Central Block
The Schools Central Block was showing an overspend of £360k which was proposed would be met by a contribution of £360k from the Council to offset the deficit. The Head of Schools’ Finance Support noted that there had been a reduction in the funding received and suggested that this was indicative of the direction being taken by the Government in this respect.
The Schools’ Forum noted that the proposed additional contribution from the LA would need to be considered and agreed as part of the overall Council budget setting process.
Early Years Block
The Early Years Block income had been estimated as part of the separate review carried out by the LA. Income had been estimated as the DfE had not yet released any funding information relating to 2020/21. Although this block was showing a small overspend this would be accounted for as an accrual at the end of the financial year based on the estimated retrospective adjustment expected in July 2021. The funding calculation also allowed for £500k to be transferred from the EY block to the HN Block to support EY pupils with SEND.
The Schools Block funding had been calculated using the October 2018 census pupil numbers and the per pupil units of funding which had been calculated for 2020/21. Based on the published figures the Primary unit of funding had increased from £4,200 to £4,282 which was an increase of around 1.95% and the Secondary unit of funding had increased from £5,183 to £5,408 which was an increase of around 4.34%.
In response to a question, the Head of Schools’ Finance Support confirmed that unit funding was the total funding that was received by the LA and was therefore different to AWPU.
In response to a question concerning growth funding, the Director of Education explained that there was a forecast increase in demand for places within the secondary sector which may in future necessitate further growth with proposals for two new Free Schools – one in Central Bromley and one in North West Bromley.
A Secondary Representative on the Schools’ Forum sought ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
16th January 2020
It was noted that the next meeting would be held on 16th January 2020.