Agenda and minutes

Bristol Schools Forum - Wednesday, 13th January, 2021 5.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Zoom Committee Meeting with Public Access via YouTube. View directions

Contact: Corrina Haskins 

Link: Watch Live Webcast

Note No. Item




Presented By: Chair


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.




Forum Standing Business

(a)  Apologies for Absence

(b)  Confirmation meeting is quorate

(c)  Appointment of new members/Resignations: 

New Members:

Tracy Jones – Primary Head Academy Rep


Kris Hristakev – Special School Governor

(d)  Notification of Vacancies:

·         One Primary Academy Head;

·         One Primary Maintained Head;

·         Two Primary Academy Governors;

·         Two Secondary Academy Heads;

·         One Secondary Academy Governor;

(e)  Declarations of Interest


Presented By: Clerk


  1. Apologies for absence

Apologies for absence were received from: Kate Matheson, Maintained Primary Governor Rep, St Barnabas Primary.


  1. Quorate

The Clerk confirmed the meeting was quorate.


  1. Resignations

There were no resignations to report.


  1. Appointment of New Members

The Clerk advised of the following new members: Tracy Jones, Academy Primary Headteacher Rep, Merchants Academy.


  1. Notification of Vacancies

The Clerk advised of the following Schools Forum Vacancies:

·       One Primary Academy Head;

·       One Primary Maintained Heads;

·       Two Primary Academy Governors;

·       Two Secondary Academy Heads;

·       One Secondary Academy Governor.

  1. Declarations of Interest

There were no declarations of interest.




Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 102 KB

(a)  To confirm as a correct record

(b)  Matters arising not covered on agenda

Presented By: Chair


RESOLVED - that the minutes be confirmed as a correct record


Matters Arising


  1. Early Years and Education Transformation Programme

AH confirmed that she had not yet had an opportunity to speak to SH in relation to Early Years and Education Transformation milestones and undertook to provide SH with the information followed by a face to face meeting if he had any further questions.


  1. Self-Evaluation

The Chair reminded members to fill out the self-evaluation form as discussed at the previous meeting.




Report from Director of Education and Skills including update on Education Transformation Programme Milestones pdf icon PDF 164 KB

Presented By: AH

Additional documents:


AH thanked Forum Members for attending in view of the current lockdown and pressures on schools at the current time.  She introduced the report and drew attention to the following:

·       There had been a monitoring visit in November from the Department for Education and NHS England and that went well with confirmation that 89% of the milestones had been achieved or partly achieved, and of the 11% that had not been met the reason for delay was Covid related;

·       One of key messages from the advisors was that there was clear evidence of strengthening partnership working and this was having positive impacts on bringing provision and systems together;

·       A lot of progress made to date was in changing systems and processes and the impact of this may not be felt on the ground yet;

·       In terms of the £427,000 underspend due to Covid restrictions, consideration was being given to how this would roll forward in the future year;

·       In relation to reporting against milestones:

o   SEND First Call: a team was now fully in place and the service was proving a useful tool and portal for communication with families;

o   Citywide Workforce Development Plan; a lot of work was happening in this area and was continuing to be rolled out in a sensible way during lockdown by targeting specific training and work.  The plan aimed to bring up standards so the foundation was consistent and equitable across the city;

o   Development of the Local Offer: transparency of information had been part of this; looking at how to reach families and improve communication and there was evidence that engagement is improving;

o   Inconsistency of data had been a challenge through Covid e.g. attendance and strategies such as the Attendance and Belonging Strategy were in place to make sure children were not being lost in the system as a result of Covid;

o   Young People not in education, employment or training (NEETs): this had become a critical issue with Covid and so there was a lot of work to try and get young people secured in positive destinations;

o   Specialist provision:

o   The strategy had been adversely affected by Covid which was unfortunate;

o   the on-site feasibility studies had been completed for 49 schemes and 32 had proceeded to the detailed dialogue stage, which was the most time consuming.  There were currently 13 approved schemes which would create an additional 154 places in the city. The process would continue with setting up service level agreements after which dates could be identified for phase 1 and phase 2.


AH responded to questions raised by Forum Members as follows:

  • Additional SEND places is what will make a difference, can you give any indications on figures for September 2021?
    It was hoped that some of the 13 approved schemes could be fast tracked to get them up and running, although it was not possible to give exact figures for September and this information would be reported back at a future meeting as well as publishing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.



Pupil Places and Sufficiency pdf icon PDF 138 KB

Presented By: IB

Additional documents:


IB introduced the report and drew attention to the following:

·       Birth rates had fallen in recent years and this had an impact on schools;

·       The current pressure for school places was in the secondary system while numbers were dropping in primary provision;

·       At the same time there was an increased demand for SEND provision;

·       Bristol City Council identified the need for 3 additional secondary schools:

o   Trinity Academy which was now open and would move to full size in September 2021;

o   Oasis Temple Quarter the construction of which had been delayed due to the planning application being called in and so would probably not be open by September 2022;

o   Oasis South Bristol which was scheduled for 2023 but may need to be brought forward to ease pressure;

·       In terms of east Bristol and the pressure caused by the delay of Oasis Temple Quarter, Bristol City Council had engaged with Cabot Learning Federation to offer more Y7 places by relocating Post-16 provision;

·       In terms of managing down primary numbers, there was a reduced Published Admission Number (PAN) at several schools; although it was important in future planning to be mindful that the population would start to increase again;

·       Place planning also considered the large-scale plans for housing in certain areas;

·       Priority for SEND places was another consideration;

·       There were also 3 primary schools where numbers had been consistently small for a number of years which were proposed for closure, St Pius; St Michael’s on the Mount and St George. In the case of St Michael’s and St George’s there would be a new school built on the current site of St George’s and priority would be given to children currently attending the two schools.  St Pius was proposed to be a straight closure.

·       The rise in secondary numbers would soon start to have an impact on Post-16 places;

·       September 2021 would see a pressure on school places in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 and this would have a knock-on effect on behaviour/attendance;

·       There would also be a pressure on the growth fund as a result of the delay to the opening of Oasis Temple Quarter.


IB responded to questions raised by Forum Members as follows:

·       Does the Local Authority have a statutory obligation to provide Post-16 Education?

The LA does need to ensure sufficiency and that there is a range of provision available as it has a statutory obligation to ensure that young people were either in education, employment or training;

·       Should the falling rolls fund be revisited in view of school numbers reducing in primary schools and the housing developments planned in certain areas which will increase demand in the future?
Future developments e.g. Hengrove Park had been taken into consideration in place planning and it was not likely that any of the schools would meet the current criteria for falling rolls fund.

·       Consideration should be given to doing things differently to address the inequalities across the city e.g. allowing smaller class sizes in areas of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



Dedicated School Grant (DSG) 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Presented By: GB


GB introduced the report and drew attention to the following:

·       The principles were discussed at the previous meeting and Forum now needed to take a formal decision;

·       The final DSG allocations were published on 17th December and were generally in line with expectations, but had been updated to reflect the pupil figures in the October census, with a slight reduction in primary school numbers and increase in secondary school numbers;

·       The teachers’ pay and pensions grant would now be subsumed into the DSG and there were different rules about how this would apply to the different settings with mainstream schools covered as part of the schools block; special needs settings would receive a separate payment based on pupil numbers and early years settings would receive a separate grant;

·       Central Services Block had reduced slightly to claw back historic commitments such as prudential borrowing;

·       Schools Block had slightly increased to reflect the increase in government funding;

·       Early Years Block had slightly increase to reflect the rate increase for 2 year olds;

·       Formal ratification was required for the transfer of movement between blocks as discussed at the previous meeting with 0.5% being transferred from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block but keeping the money separate to fund the second year of the High Needs Transformation programme and the £147k left over in the Central Schools Block being transferred to the High Needs Block as this was no longer needed;

·       A decision was also required in relation to the Early Years National Funding Formula (EYNFF);

·       There was an update on the EYNFF consultation as 116 responses had now been received and there was a slight changes in percentages with 83% agreed with passing any increase in base rate on to the provider; 90% agreed with keeping the deprivation supplement at the current rate; 86% agreed with using System Leadership for the quality supplement and 97% with SEN supplement as the higher rate. 

·       The proposal was to pass on any increase in 3 and 4 year old rate to the provider but there was no increase; and also to pass on any increase in the 2 year old rate which amounted to 8p per child; 

·       Forum ratification was also required on Central School Services Block proposals.


Forum were asked to raise any comments which would be drawn to the attention of the upcoming Cabinet and Council meetings determining the Council’s Budget and the following comments were raised:


  • Concern that Early Years settings remained open during lockdown, but would only be funded for the children attending and this was not financially sustainable as many parents were choosing not to send their children to nursery during lockdown due to concerns about Covid 19.  AH confirmed that the funding was ambiguous in relation to Early Years and reassured Forum that the Council was working with the Regional Schools Commission and other Local Authorities to look at how this could be fed back to government as well as getting clarity on the guidance.  She  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.



Schools Block 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 169 KB

Presented By: GB

Additional documents:


CT asked SL to take over as Chair for the remainder of the meeting.


GB introduced the report and drew attention to the following:

·       The final agreement of Forum was needed on the formula;

·       The Minimum Funding Guarantee had been set at the lowest level;

·       Preserve the lump sum;

·       £2m would be allocated to the Growth Fund, as current commitments amounted to £1.5m and it was usual to set the fund higher than known commitments;

·       Any spare money would go to Additional Educational Needs and these had been inflated by 8%;

·       16 schools would receive less money in absolute terms and 33 when the Teachers’ Pay and Pensions Grant was taken into account, but in all cases the reduction was due to falling numbers of pupils on roll rather than the funding formula.


The following questions/comments were raised:

·       Has the decision to allocate more funding to Additional Educational Needs achieved the aim of addressing deprivation?

GB/TY confirmed that although some of the Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index (IDACI) figures had gone up and others gone down as a result of a new index, overall more money had been allocated for deprivation.

·       Why did the Education and Skills Funding Agency decide that Pupil Premium would be defined by the October 2020 census rather than the January 2021 census and did Bristol City Council know this was going to happen?

·       Approaches by Forum Members to the ESFA to explain the decision had not been successful.

GB confirmed that the Council did not receive any notice about the change and the reasoning was unclear.  DM undertook to follow this up by writing to the EFSA and liaising with other schools. 




1)      that the proposed arrangements for the 2021/22 mainstream funding formula, including the amount set aside for the Growth Fund be approved; AGREED

2)      that the following feedback is passed on to Cabinet and Council, for their consideration in making final decisions on the Schools Budget for 2021/22:

·       request for representations to be made to the EFSA to explain the reasoning for the changes to Pupil Premium to be based on the October 2020 census rather than January 2021 census.




Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) Budget Monitor pdf icon PDF 83 KB

Presented By: GB


GB reported that the DSG Budget Monitor for period 8 was similar to the position reported at the previous meeting, but there had been a slight increase in the High Needs Block deficit to £8.5m.


RESOLVED that the in-year 2020/21 position for the overall DSG be noted.



Any Other Business

1.      Department for Education Free School Meals Notice


  1. Composition

The Chair advised that the report on the Schools Forum composition would be deferred until the next meeting in March.


  1. UNISON Letter

The Chair reported that union colleagues had submitted a statement in relation to prioritising education workers for a vaccine against COVID.  She advised that this issue was not within the remit of Schools Forum but suggested that CH circulate to members for information if there were no objections and this was agreed.


  1. Alternative Provision

A concern was raised about the financial impact on Alternative Provision caused by the drop in referrals due to the Covid pandemic and asked that Bristol City Council continue to review funding arrangements.