Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms, Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Philippa Gibbs  020 8461 7638

Items
No. Item

23.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Gareth Walters, Claire Grainger and Patrick Foley.  Mrs Sally Weekes attended as alternate for Patrick Foley.

 

Richard Baldwin, Director of Children, Education and Families also sent apologies for the meeting.

24.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 4 NOVEMBER 2021 pdf icon PDF 222 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4th November 2021 were approved, and signed as a correct record, subject to a minor amendment.

 

Matters Arising

 

In response to a question the Head of Children, Education and Families Finance confirmed that predictions indicated that by the end of the financial year there would be a £3-4m deficit in the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), primarily in the High Needs Block.  The Local Authority would be asked by the DfE to set up a deficit recovery plans.

 

25.

2022/23 DEDICATED SCHOOLS GRANT pdf icon PDF 318 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report CEF22009 

 

The report provided an outline of the final DSG allocation for 2022/23 and an overview of how this would be spent. 

 

The overall position of the DSG was summarised as follows:

Strict guidelines were in place concerning how the DSG was spent.

2022/23 Dedicated Schools Grant

 

High Needs Block

Early Years Block

Schools Block

Schools Central Block

Total

Gross Grant Funding

£67,378,913

£21,748,109

£245,142,018

£2,090,559

£336,359,599 

Recoupment adjustment

-£10,272,000

 

-£1,742,295

 

-£12,014,295

Net Grant  Allocation

£57,106,913

£21,748,109

£243,399,723

£2,090,559

£324,345,304

 

Schools’ Central Block

 

There had been a reduction of 2.5% in this block.  There would continue to be a year-on-year reduction of 2.5% until the block reached the level considered to be appropriate by DfE.  The reduction had been slightly compensated by pupil numbers although overall there had been a reduction of £43,000. 

 

The Council continued to provide funding to address the gap between expenditure and grant received.  Expenditure had been reviewed with some changes in the amounts allocated through the DSG, but broadly expenditure remained the same.

 

In response to a question, the Head of Children, Education and Families Finance confirmed that the contribution made by the Council in 2021/22 was £410,000 with the contribution increasing by £50,000 for 2022/23.

 

The Forum noted that expenditure in the Schools’ Central Block related to areas within the Education Department such as access and admissions, licenses and pupil support.

 

Early Years Block

 

Funding for Early Years had reduced by £1.6m year-on-year due to a reduction in pupil numbers.  Pupil numbers had dropped considerably and there were various reasons for this.  The risk regarding the way the block was funded was that if pupil levels began to increase between January and April 2022, the increases would not be funded for the first five or six months of the year and this could lead to a further deficit in the DSG.

 

The DfE had increased rates for 2022/23 by 21p for 2-year-olds and 17p for 3- and 4-year-olds.  LBB was proposing to increase rates by 6p for 2-year-olds and 12p for 3- and 4-year-olds.  Consequently, grant funding for 2-year-olds would be approximately £6.03 per hour with the funding provided by LBB being £6.64 per hour.  The grant funding for 3- and 4-year-olds would be £5.22 per hour with the funding provided by LBB being £5.10 per hour.  This would be reviewed later in the year when it was hoped numbers would stabilise.  The Local Authority was required to pass through 95% of the grant funding and continued to more than meet these requirements set by DfE.

 

The Schools’ Forum noted that there was the potential that low numbers in Early Years Setting could feed through and impact funding for the Schools’ Block in future years.  It was agreed that further information would be circulated following the meeting.  The Director of Education reported that it was still too early to analyse the impact on future Reception rolls.  The September 2021 intake had been slightly down, and the position was being closely monitored.  More  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

VERBAL UPDATE: SCHOOL IMPROVEMENT GRANT

Minutes:

The Schools’ Forum noted that in October 2021 the DfE conducted a consultation on the provision of school improvement and monitoring grants issued to Local Authorities.  Proposals were to remove the grant entirely, phased over a two-year period.  Despite receiving significant opposition through the responses received, the DfE had taken the decision to go ahead with the proposals.  For the financial year 2022/23, 50% of the normal grant would be received and from 2023/24 onwards no separate grant for school improvement activity would be received.  This would mean that local authorities would be required to go to Schools’ Forums to request de-delegation to ensure sufficient funds were available to carry out school improvement duties.  A new definition of the activities considered by the DfE to be ‘core school improvement monitoring duties’ was awaited as well as a new definition of ‘schools causing concern’.

 

Bromley expected to be able to manage the reduction in the grant for the next financial year, although it would mean slightly less activities.  A further update would be provided when the DfE released more information about the new definitions and the core school improvement activities to be delivered that may require de-delegated funding.

27.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Minutes:

Training

 

The Chairman thanked the Head of Children, Education and Families Finance for the training that had been provided following the last meeting.  It was likely that further training would be provided when the current vacancies on the Schools’ Forum were filled.

28.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

To be confirmed

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting would be confirmed in the coming weeks.

 

Original Text: