Presented By:Graham Booth
GB introduced the report and drew attention to the following:
In response to questions about the reason for the Early Years underspend it was clarified that:
· funding was based on censuses throughout the year and income was based on 2 whereas expenditure was based on 4 and therefore falling rolls would generate a surplus;
· There would be a presentation on the Early Years block at the next meeting of the Schools Forum.
In response to a question about the emerging pressures in Out of Area Placements and Alternative Provision (AP), GB clarified that some of these pressures were starting in year e.g. the termination of the contract by provider, Catch 22. He undertook to provide Forum with additional information in relation to AP expenditure.
Concern was expressed that the surplus in Early Years did not reflect the situation on the ground and a more strategic piece of work was required relating to encouraging families to take up their free entitlement of education for two year olds which was particularly low in areas of high deprivation and for families with English as an additional language. It was noted that an increasing number of children were entering Early Years with High Needs and investment at this age, including the training of staff to meet complex needs, would take the pressure off funding in later years.
At this point in the meeting, the Chair asked AH to give an update on the strategic overview for education which addressed some of the points raised by Members.
Strategic Overview of Education
AH circulated a report which followed on from the presentation at the last meeting on the system wide transformation of Bristol’s education provision and reported that:
· There was a total ask of £2.9m, £1.7m which had been provisionally identified but was subject to approval in the Council budget;
· The proposals would not be the complete solution but would start the journey.
In response to questioning, it was clarified that:
The following comments were raised by Forum Members:
AH responded that it was important to start implementing the improvement plan as soon as possible, further work would include action planning; key performance indicators and a shared set of objectives but an immediate decision was needed on transferring funds to the High Needs block to accelerate improvement. DM advised the Forum that there was a legal timescale in relation to consulting on budget proposals in advance of a Council decision in January and that that a decision needed to be taken at this meeting to allow for consultation with schools.
On voting for the recommendations in the report to transfer funds to the High Needs Block:
(1) the transfer of £0.333m funding from School Central Block to the High Needs Block in 2020/21 was agreed (13 in favour and 0 against);
(2) the transfer of £1.300m funding from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block in 2020/21 was agreed on a conditional basis, subject to further information on how the money will be spent (12 in favour and 2 against);
(3) on voting for the possibility of transferring funding from the Early Years Block to the High Needs Block in 2020/21 this was NOT CARRIED (1 in favour and 11 against).
RESOLVED – that
(1) the potential 2020/21 indicative funding levels be noted;
(2) the proposed restrictions relating to the DSG be noted;
(3) the transfer of £0.333m funding from School Central Block to the High Needs Block in 2020/21 be agreed (13 in favour and 0 against);
(4) that the transfer of £1.300m funding from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block in 2020/21 be agreed on a conditional basis, subject to further information on how the money will be spent (12 in favour and 2 against);
(5) the possibility of transferring funding from the Early Years Block to the High Needs Block in 2020/21 be rejected.