Venue: Virtual Meeting via Zoom. View directions
Contact: Sam Wilcock
Link: Watch Live Webcast
Presented By: Chair
SL welcomed everyone 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
a. Apologies for absence
Apologies for absence were received from:
Cameron Shaw – Secondary Head, Bristol Metropolitan Academy
Emma Richards – Head Special Maintained, Claremont School
Rebecca Watkin – Head Special Academy, LearnMAT
Mick O’Neill-Duff – Primary Governor, Wansdyke Primary
Karen Brown - Secondary Governor Rep, St Mary Redcliffe & Temple
Councillor Asher Craig – Cabinet Member for Children Services, Education and Equalities
The Clerk confirmed the meeting was quorate.
The Clerk reported that there were no new resignations since the previous meeting.
d. Appointment of New Members
The Clerk reported that there were no new members since the previous meeting.
e. Notification of Vacancies
The following vacancies were noted:
2 Secondary Academy Governor Representatives
I Nursery Governor Representative
1 Clifton Diocese Representative
f. Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest.
(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 (within the minutes)
With reference to the action that a breakdown of costs within the Risk Protections Arrangement (RPA) DM confirmed that the contractual arrangement delivered value for money and following analysis, was considered to be the most cost-effective approach.
It was agreed that following the meeting, the Risk and Protection Officer would provide the Forum with written summarised analysis along with information from the brokers in terms of the current insurance market. Finance Officers would add commentary regarding the consequent savings contribution. Comments and suggestions would be requested which could then inform whether the action needed to return to the meeting in July.
Director of Education and Skills and Place Planning Presentations
School Forum members noted that this had been circulated after the previous meeting.
Matters Arising (not within the minutes)
Falling Numbers within Primary Schools
AH agreed to provide further information within the Directors update.
Task and Finish Groups
The Early Years and High Needs Task and Finish Groups would meet during July. They would consider their Terms of Reference and role. Anyone else interested in being involved should contact the Clerk.
Update from Director of Education and Skills
AH gave a verbal presentation which outlined the following:
1. Planning consent had been granted for an additional two sites for secondary provision on the following basis:
- Oasis Academy Temple Quarter in East Central to open permanently in 2025 with temporary accommodation for 2023.
- Oasis Academy Daventry Road in South Bristol open for 2024 with feasibility work taking place for temporary accommodation in 2023.
2. Temporary expansions of existing secondary schools had helped meet rising demand to date. IB would discuss future projections with Heads and would return to the Forum in July or September.
3. Schools and school clusters within the Primary sector had been supported to manage falling numbers on roll including consulting to reduce PANs if appropriate and develop recovery plans to mitigate impact.
4. The repurpose of underutilised space to meet wider needs in the community was part of the conversation, including as part of Family Hubs and through the Integrated Care System.
5. Capital allocations had been confirmed for the next two years. The Basic Need Grant for 2023/24 would be £14.599m, dropping to £1.776m in 2024/25. High needs provision allocations for 2022/23 would be £6.373m moving up to £8.5m the following year. A paper would go to Cabinet in the summer to outline the priorities and programmes.
6. Recent information had been received in relation to the SEND Best Value Programme. 45 Local Authorities had identified with BCC currently in wave 2 planned for Autumn 2022. Additional support from the ESFA could now be accessed including review and challenge prior to the Autumn.
In response to questions, AH confirmed:
1. With reference to the role of Early Years and the pressure on the sector, AH confirmed that BCC had been identified for funding as part of 75 Local Authorities to roll out Family Hubs throughout the city. The aim was for a network of provision and organisations working together out of different spaces in the community to support pre-birth and parenting through to post 19. A citywide steering group included a range of representations. Further information would be brought to BSF when available
2. Assurance was sought regarding clear projections and understanding of future place planning for Secondary Schools with the reduction in demand coming through the Primary sector. AH confirmed that officers were evaluating future provision through analysis. Room for choice needed to be balanced with financial risk and capacity issues. Ongoing discussions with regards to the two new developments would consider pupil projections, use for specialist provision and community spaces. SE highlighted the need to keep academies, trusts and secondary heads associations informed regarding projections.
The presentation was noted.
AL introduced the report and outlined the information contained therein.
DM and TY clarified the carry forward position with regards to the potential underspend and what could and could not be utilised as confirmed by the DfE and outlined in the report. Underspend due to school closures could be identified separately but essentially formed part of the overall Schools Block and in effect could be used within the DSG balance for the High Needs block.
In response to the report, DM clarified that the formula for the initiation of the ‘Safety Valve’ had not been specified as a deficit figure and it had been established that other elements were considered. As BCC were a part of the Delivering Better Value in SEND programme rather than the Safety Valve programme, discussions therefore focused on sustainability rather than total historical deficit. The Statutory Override was scheduled to end March 2023 and arrangements with Auditors would take place regarding the next steps along with demonstration of good progress and longer term mitigations. DM confirmed that concerns were shared by Cabinet who continued to review the risk and progress of the Transformation Programme advocating collective ownership in order to reach solutions and move forward.
RH reported that nursery school deficits were a particular risk which currently stood at £5.2m. Work was ongoing with nursery school headteachers and governors to understand the challenges and pressures. Strategic proposals had been formed and shared with those groups and discussions continued around aspects such as non-class based roles, shared resources, SEND and 2 year old funding, co-location and the integrated offer along with family hubs. It was noted that in terms of funding, nurseries had been required to absorb costs associated with COVID as they had not been funded in the same way as schools. A Terms of Reference and strategic proposals would be developed into clear plans. The proposed ring fenced carry forward would be helpful to support the Nursery Schools in the work outlined.
In response to RH, the following points were raised:
1. Following a request, TY undertook to circulate information regarding how the £5m deficit compared to the total income of nurseries.
2. Only 50-70% of children who were eligible for 2 year old places accessed them with take up reportedly lowest in the two areas of lowest deprivation. To tackle funding for 2 year olds in the City would likely have an impact on deprivation.
3. The role of nurseries in family support had continued despite funding having been removed. The family hub model could assist with that dynamic.
The Schools Forum endorsed the approach of a ring fenced allocation to support Early Years as outlined within the report and requested an update on next steps to utilise that funding as resource to form strategies and support future viability. A report would return to the Schools Forum July meeting.
TY confirmed that of the 15 schools (11 nursery schools and 4 primary schools) that started the year in deficit, 14 of those had ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Any Other Business
Following a question from the Chair, it was confirmed that funding arrangements for Ukrainian refugees was for an allocation of £4500 per child. A pool of funding to support SEN could be applied for by schools on an individual basis.