The Chair asked members for a steer for the Schools Block/funding formula for 2021/22 in advance of final decisions being taken at the Forum meeting in January.
GB outlined the following:
· The final DfE allocations would be available in January and the data in the report and appendices was provisional based on October 2019 data;
· The rules were largely similar to previous years with a few minor amendments;
· There was still a wish to move to a hard national funding formula, but for 2021/22 there was still discretion for a local funding formula;
· There had been a change to the basis for assigning IDACI bands;
· The teachers’ pay and pension grants had been subsumed into the DSG and tweaks had been made to ensure schools would get an additional amount per pupil;
· The view of Forum was sought on a block transfer to High Needs of 0.5%;
· The Minimum Funding Guarantee could be set between +0.5% and 2% and last year an MFG of 0.5% had been agreed;
· A proposed block transfer of 0.5% was proposed to the High Needs Block to fund education transformation work;
· It was proposed to keep the lump sum at £125k;
· Members were asked to support a disapplication for Avanti Gardens. Avanti Gardens used to be an all through school (Steiner School) and was now primary only and so without the disapplication the school would be protected at a higher level rather than being based only on primary factors;
· There had been a consultation with schools in the beginning of November and a summary of the responses was included in Appendix B;
· There was no proposal to re-establish the falling rolls fund as very few schools would be eligible.
In response to a question about how the schools block subtotal of £280m for 2021/22 compared with the 2020/21 allocation and the overall percentage increase, members were advised that it was difficult to compare, but taking off the £2m allocated for the Growth Fund, the block had increased by 3.1%.
In response to a question about whether some of the gains that schools may get for additional funding may be lost from IDACI re-bandings, it was confirmed that the rebasing would result in less money being given out through the formula but the minimum funding guarantee was still positive and so schools would not lose out.
It was clarified that the extra capacity planned for Year 7 in East Bristol was not included in the growth fund table as this was a future proposal rather than a known commitment.
(1) the changes in the formula methodology for 2021/22 be noted;
(2) the following proposed arrangements for the 2021/22 mainstream funding formula be AGREED subject to a final decision in January 2021:
a. transfer 0.5% to High Needs Block;
b. set MFG at 0.5%;
c. retain lump sum at current level (£125k);
d. allocate any spare funding (after mandated items) to AEN;
e. allocate £2m to Growth Fund;
(3) the submission of the disapplication of the present MFG and use of a recalculated MFG for Avanti Gardens in 2021/22 be agreed.