Agenda item

Schools Block 2020/21

Presented By:Graham Booth

Minutes:

TY introduced the report and confirmed that these were was not the final data; the position would be made clearer by the ESFA in December/January which would allow Schools Forum to take a decision at the January meeting.   

 

Funding Formula Proposals

The Forum noted that the Finance Sub-Group had looked at different options in detail and recommended:

(1)   a Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) of +0.5% to allow all schools/academies to gain to some degree, whilst allowing the greatest amount to be targeted to local priorities;

(2)   the proportion of funding allocated on AEN factors should increase, either by using the NFF or by changing the weightings in the local formula.

 

The following comments were raised by Forum Members:

·         Concern was expressed about the presentation of the information; there had been an error in the original report which stated that the lump sum was included (subsequently clarified by an updated report) and a large number of spreadsheets which were difficult to read.  It was noted that the Finance Sub-Group had looked into the options in great detail and it was not possible to do that at the wider Forum meetings;

·         The financial information needed to be accessible to educational professionals;

·         If agreed, would the Council need to submit a disapplication?  As the proposal was to meet set a positive MFG of 0.5%, there would not be a need to submit a disapplication.

 

There was a vote on the following funding formula proposals to go out to consultation with schools/academies before a final decision in January:

(1)   a Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) of +0.5% to allow all schools to gain to some degree, whilst allowing the greatest amount to be targeted to local priorities; (10 in favour, 0 against - CARRIED)

(2)   consulting on both the below options with the preferred option being either:

(a)   to uplift only the 2019/20 AEN per-pupil factor unit values, preserving the AWPU and Lump Sum as they are (1 in favour -  NOT CARRIED) or

(b)   use all the NFF unit values as a starting point and uplifting all to use the available funding (7 in favour - CARRIED)

 

It was agreed that further guidance was required on what members could vote on what issues and changes to the constitution made if necessary.

 

RESOLVED that schools/academies be consulted on the following proposals:

(1)   a Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) of +0.5% to allow all schools to gain to some degree, whilst allowing the greatest amount to be targeted to local priorities;

(2)   the following options:

(a)   uplift only the 2019/20 AEN per-pupil factor unit values, preserving the AWPU and Lump Sum as they are;

(b)   use all the NFF unit values as a starting point and uplifting all to use the available funding;

(3)   Schools/Academies be advised that the initial view of the Forum was that 2 (b) “use all the NFF unit values as a starting point and uplifting all to use the available funding” was the preferred option.

 

Growth Fund

The Chair advised Forum Members that the position in relation to the Growth Fund was moving from a position where it had been relatively generous in Bristol to where there may be a shortfall.  He advised that this had been discussed in the Finance Sub Group and two options had been identified, either the shortfall coming out of the schools block or revisiting growth fund payments. 

 

TY confirmed that this had not been included in the report as the unit values would not be known until January and a recommendation on the size of the growth fund would be included in the papers for the January meeting.  It was noted that this would not give the opportunity for consultation with schools and there may also need to be advice for schools in the January report.

 

Disapplication

The Forum was also asked to express a view on Disapplication in relation to the following schools:

Steiner Academy: The School was currently consulting on changing from a 4-16 school to a 4-11 Primary School and if agreed, the Council would submit a disapplication of the MFG so the school would not be protected at a Secondary funding level.

 

In response to a question about where students from the Steiner School would go if the school were to close its secondary facility and if other schools would be requested to increase their PAN, Council Officers did not have any information at the current time as the closure had not been confirmed.

 

In response to a question about how through schools were funded, TY advised that the funding would take into account that the school was part primary and part secondary and the whole school cohort would get averaged out.

 

Trinity School: the Council had submitted a disapplication request in respect of Trinity School to disapply the MFG due to the fact that as a new school, proxy pupil characteristics were used in 2019/20 to establish their formula share and, if approved; actual pupil characteristics could be used.

 

A comment was raised that it may be better to have proxy pupil characteristics based on the Bristol average, rather than base data on one year group.

 

A concern was raised that all schools should be reassessed to see if the pupil characteristics reflected the current cohort.  It was noted that 25 schools had been continuously funded on legacy MFG levels for the last three iterations of the formula, and that this could be considered at a future meeting of the Finance Sub-Group.

Actions:Clerk Finance Sub-Group

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