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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Virtual Meeting via Zoom

Contact: Claudette Campbell 

Note No. Item




Presented By: Chair


In attendance:



Aileen Morrison

St Matthias Park

Alastair Brown

Redcliffe Nursery

Albert Gardiner

Ashton Park Secondary

Cllr Asher Craig

Cabinet Member for Children’s Services, Education and Equalities

Cameron Shaw

Bristol Metropolitan Academy

Chris Pring

Whitehall Primary School

David Otlet

NEU – Teaching Union

Del Planter

St Mary Redclife & Temple Secondary School

Esther Messinger

Victoria Park Primary

Jeff Sutton

GMB – Non Teaching Union

Jo Kingston

Diocese of Clifton Dept for Schools & Colleges – Holy Cross Primary School

Lee Hannan

Brentry Primary

Louise Nevers

St Bernadette Catholic Secondary

Mandy Cheshire

St Bedes Catholic College

Melanie Bunce

Willow Primary

Merche Clarke

St John Primary

Sarah Lovell

Brunel Academy

Simon Eakins (Vice Chair)

Cathedral Primary

Simon Holmes

St Phillips Marsh Nursery

Steve Hornsby (Chair)

North Star Academy







Reena Bhogal-Welsh

Director Education & Skills

Denise Murray

Director Finance and Section 151 Officer

Travis Young

Finance Manager Education and Children

Steven Goodwin

Finance Manager Education and Children

Su Coombs

Head of Services (School Partnership Education & Skills)

Claudette Campbell

Democratic Services Clerk to School Forum

Guy Marshall




The Chair, Steve Hornsby, welcome all to the meeting.




Forum Standing Business

(a)    Apologies for Absence

(b)   Confirmation meeting is quorate

(c)    Appointment of new members/Resignations: 

(d)   Notification of Vacancies:

(e)   Declarations of Interest


Presented By: Clerk


Forum Standing Business

a)       Apologies for Absence

Apologies received from

·       Jo Grayson substitute Jo Hill

·       Tonya Hill


b)      Confirmation meeting is quorate

·       The Quorum is 40% of 25 active Forum Membership in attendance

·       Meeting met the threshold | see attendance list above


c)       Appointment of new members/resignation

The following vacant seats have been filled:

·       Secondary Maintained Governor Rep – Louise Nevers for St Bernadette Secondary

·       Secondary Academy Governor Rep – Albert Gardiner for Ashton Park Secondary part of Excalibur Trust

·       Primary Head Academy Rep – Esther Messenger rep for Victoria Park Primary for Cathedral Trust

·       Primary Governor Maintained Rep – Merche Clarke for St John Primary


·       The rep for Special Academy Jo Grayson


d)      Notification of vacancies

·       Primary Head Academy

·       Primary Governor Academy

·       Special Academy


e)      Declaration of Interest

·       Forum Members were reminded that the procedural rules set out in the council constitution directs all to declare where an item under discussion or to be put to the vote could make a material difference to that school or where they may have a personal or prejudicial interest.




Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 112 KB

(a)  To confirm as a correct record

(b)  Matters arising not covered on agenda

Presented By: Chair


a.       The Minutes of the meeting held on the 28th November 2023 was resolved as a correct record.

b.       Matters Arising/Actions

·       Officers confirmed that the meeting reports covered the actions identified in the minutes.




Director of Education & Skills Update pdf icon PDF 123 KB

Presentation by Reena Bhogal-Welsh


To include an explanation on the Inclusion Hub, report attached.


The Director Education & Skills, Renna Bhogal-Welsh shared a presentation.

·       The report will be shared following the meeting and attached to the minutes. (Action: Clerk)

The presentation outlined the following:

a)       DSG update and High Needs Deficit – summary of the schemes including the Deficit Management Plan

i           Shared the mitigated and unmitigated position with regards the deficit

ii         Gave assurances that the mitigations identified have been verified and based on improving outcomes & experiences for children, young people and families of SEND.

iii       That the plan recognised the need to ensure financial sustainability to enable better outcomes

iv       The ask is for the whole system, to input to support the plan

v         Provided a review of the workstreams currently in operation

b)      SEND Improvement and Implementation FTE conversation.

i           Provided an update and explanation of the application of automation to the SEND administrative process 

c)       Belonging in SEND

i           Updated and provide clarity on the funds allocated to the programmes; explain how the £51k was to be used; that a summary report on the learning from the wide and varied projects would be shared with Forum.

d)      Inclusion Hubs

i           A report was shared in the papers for the meeting in response to the request from Forum for a fuller explanation on the operation of the Inclusion Hubs.

ii         Confirmed that the sums allocated to support the establish the hubs, was not new money but from funds available to the service.

iii       ALP will deliver the Inclusion Hub as a free resource for schools; Support will be provided to students at the point prior to them being at risk of permanent exclusion

iv       The proposal covered the period December 2023 to March 2024 and would impact 219 children

The following was noted from the discussion that arose:

e)      The Inclusion Hub project supported students and was not intended to replace top up funding.  The issue of non-statutory top up funding was subject to an ongoing consultation; the use of such funding evidenced that need was not being met in a sustainable way and the aspiration to create a sustainable model.

f)        Confirmed that all stakeholders were consulted, on the creation and implementation of Inclusion Hub, including Bristol Association for Secondary Heads and Principles and FAP Fair Access Panel (Action: RBW) Details of when Heads and/or SENCOs were briefed about the introduction of the Inclusion Hub and what opportunities were provided for input into the creation of the project.

g)       (Action: RBW) To provide contact details of the key project leaders, to be provided to Forum in the first instance and then disseminated out to settings & leaders.

h)      The Inclusion Hub pathway did not include early years needs; the future aspiration and vision is to widen service to include early intervention.

i)        Forum sought an explanation of the 15.47FTE capacity release amidst concerns that it would result in a loss to the workforce available to support the SEND Service.

j)        RBW gave assurances that the use of robotics would allow the service  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



Dedicated Schools Grant Allocation 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 816 KB

Presented by Travis Young, Finance Business Partner: Children & Education


Report for Information & Decision




Steven Goodwin, Finance Manager, addressed the report that had been shared with members prior to the meeting.


The report provided an overview on the DSG for 2024/25; provided details of the result of the consultation on the Early Years National Funding Formula (EYNFF); it also set out the details on the proposals for Central Services spend.


The report set out LA’s recommendation at section 2.1


·       The ESFA released the allocations on the 19th December 2023 to inform the report and the final decision making

·       Forum were advised that there was a slight change in a number of unit values that were recommended in November

·       Table 1 in the report details the DSG Allocation breakdown for the sum of £491.736m

The following was noted from the discussion that arose:

a.       Clarification was sought on the Early Years hourly rate increase to £5.97 (s.4.13) but the report stated that only £5.08 (s5.3) was to be allocated to providers for 2024/25.

b.       Officers understood the position to be that the difference is the agreed 5% retention used to support core functions delivered to the early years setting.  The actual calculation on the figures reported translated into retention of 15%.  Far greater than the 5% stated.  It was explained that the variance was highly likely due to the hourly rate equivalent figures for supplements, such as Deprivation, that were not detailed on the report. For transparency the full breakdown will be provided to Forum.

c.       Agreed that Officers would provide an explanation for the 15% retention. (Action: Finance Officers)

d.       A discussion followed on the views expressed in the consultation response to the base rate allocated to 3-4 years; 66% of responders disagreed; Officers were aware of the dissatisfaction expressed in the consultation and provided an explanation at section 5.4 in the report; that the sum was set by the DfE and not by the LA.

When put to the vote:

Resolved to:

a.       Note the 2024/25 funding levels

b.       Agreed the final transfer between blocks

c.       Agreed in principle the allocation to the Early Years National Funding Formula

d.       Agreed the Central Services Block Allocation of:

                                                               i.      LA Core Functions £1.223m

                                                             ii.      School Admissions £0.592m

                                                           iii.      Schools Forum £0.023m

                                                           iv.      Combined Services £0.382m

e.       That the following comment was provided to Cabinet:

                                                               i.      that Forum was sympathetic and would agree with the responders to the consultation on the base rate allocation to 3 & 4 years

                                                             ii.      that Forum supported the transfer of funds from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block, to support the ongoing deficit and that they were fully committed to supporting the ongoing mitigations; that also applied to the funds in smaller block combined services





Schools Block Allocation 2024/25 pdf icon PDF 335 KB


Report presented by Travis Young, Finance Business Partner: Children & Education


The report seeks a decision on De-delegation 

Additional documents:


Steven Goodwin, Finance Manager, addressed the report that had been shared with members prior to the meeting.


The report sought to inform and seek agreement on the final application of the funding formula for maintained schools and academies for 2024/25.  The forum decisions will form part of the decision to be main by Cabinet during the budget discussion on the Authority Proforma Tool (APT) to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).


Forum considered the LA recommendation in the report at 2.1 to 2.3 before moving to discuss the de-delegation recommendation.

·       Forum was asked to note that the figures given in November 2023 had to be remodelled to take into account the support required for Key stage 4 secondary provision.

·       To note the sum to be distributed, of £344.3m.

·       To note the final funding settlement

The following was noted from the discussion that arose:

·       It was not known the exact numbers of schools subject to minimum funding level; finance officer agreed to report back (Action: Finance Officers)

·       The funding guarantee ensures that no school is disadvantage and that the allocation meets the directive given by the DfE.

·       The £2m Growth fund, of which £1.2m committed with £0.8m remaining; the question was asked whether the remaining balance could be used elsewhere.  Officers explained that the fund was restricted; that it was anticipated it would support those schools currently crafting growth plans;

·       Pupil Forecast is central to the decisions made by the Forum and in order to assist in assessing impact of decision-making, pupil forecast report should be brought on a regular basis. (Action: Future Agenda item RBW)

·       Support was expressed for scenario 2 that was outlined in the report, which is the LA recommended option.  The scenario outlined protected primary settings at a time that more financial assistance is needed and at the same time accomplishes the objective of moving the formula factors closer to the NFF values.  

Resolved when put to the vote:

         i.            Agreed to support the LA recommendation Option 2 formula model for 2024/25 mainstream funding formula

       ii.            Approved the arrangements set out for 2024/25 mainstream funding formula together with the sum set aside for the Growth Fund

     iii.            That Cabinet and Council are advised that Forum have concerns about the ongoing financial challenges being experienced by schools

De-Delegation to Maintained Primary and Secondary Schools


Forum Maintained members deferred this item from the November 2023 meeting with instructions to Finances Officers for further fuller explanation on the areas of De-delegation.  Email information was shared prior to the meeting and answers provided to questions posed over the ensuing weeks.


The following was noted from the discussion that arose:

a.       Trade Union Facility Time – proposed de-delegation £4.15

b.       The fund had a credit balance of £192K

c.       The discussion centred around the proposed allocation of funds to a pot with a large surplus: Officers acknowledged the surplus and proposed that members did not support the proposed de-delegation for 2024/25; no further invoices would be raised for payment from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



Dedicated Schools Grant Budget Monitor pdf icon PDF 875 KB


Report presented by Travis Young, Finance Business Partner: Children & Education


To update and inform


Steven Goodwin, Finance Manager, addressed the report that had been shared with members prior to the meeting.


The reported updated forum on the 2023/24 DSG position as at Period 07 to end of October 2023.


Forum were asked to:

a.       Note the period 07 forecast position

b.       Note that the forecast position, for maintained schools remains as reported at November 2023 School Forum

Highlighted the following:

·       Net deficit on the nursery position at table 2

·       In response to a request made at the 28th November 2023, details of the 3 Schools with approved licenced deficit plans are shown in table 3.  The table summarised the repayment profile.

The following question was addressed in the brief discussion that followed:

·       The report referenced the sum of £0.675m additional grant being provided to support LA maintained schools in difficulty but no explanation as to how this was to be applied.

·       The forum will be provided with further details on how this fund will be applied as soon as the process is known; it will be sign off against this financial period 2023/24.

The Chair moved that Schools Forum Note the report.



Chair's Final remarks and Close