Breadcrumb Content

Agenda item

DSG Budget Monitor Update


AL presented the report for information which outlined the forecast financial position for the DSG overall as at Period 10 (P10 to end of January 2023 extrapolated). 


In response to the report the following themes were discussed:

  1. At the end of last year, the Maintained Schools forecast had shown a surplus position of over £4.4m which was now a forecast deficit of £3.1m.  Officers were aware of the pressures faced by schools and nurseries within the current financial climate in terms of inflation and utility costs as well as falling primary numbers of pupils on roll. 
  2. It was suggested that a contributing factor to the £2.5m increase in the maintained Primary Schools deficit had been the removal of schools with surplus balances from the end of year position when they switched to Academy status.  Although, it was also highlighted that those schools would also remove their incremental costs.
  3. The draft mitigation plan for the High Needs Block would be released for consultation with the sector and wider public before consideration by the Bristol City Council Cabinet for decision.
  4. It was positive news that the mainstream schools additional grant for 2023/24 had been confirmed which would become part of the baseline funding going forward for primary and secondary schools.   However, the Nurseries funding formula rates were still behind the market rates, and it was hoped there would be future changes to the formula as announced by Government (currently not reflected within the report).
  5. The significant proportion of 85% of schools now an in-year deficit which was of high concern.  Although extra funding had been announced, costs continued to rise.  It was important to keep the support in place to help advise and assist schools going forward.  Action: AL to provide further information regarding the proportion of schools with an in-year deficit forecast that also had a cumulative deficit.
  6. With reference to sufficiency planning in the longer term as the population changes evident within primary schools moved through the system, AG highlighted an organisation that supported the Sheffield Schools Forum who could assist Bristol Schools Forum with proactive work in this area. ACTION: Officers to arrange contact.
  7. It was unclear how the Government announcement regarding increased nursery places for 2 year olds would impact on current workstreams.  Under the proposals, by 2025/26 there would need to be double the number of places being offered at a time where settings were at risk of closing.  Strategic direction was requested around funding and support for the strategic role of nurseries in Bristol in terms of early intervention and also as part of Family Hubs.
  8. With primary schools sliding into deficit this year, it was requested that the carried forward resource for ‘schools in financial difficulty’ be accessed.  Officers were asked to revisit the reasons for the original agreement to ensure consideration of the remit before any alternative use for the money was considered.  Action: Officers to confirm back to the BSF.


It was AGREED that the in-year 2022/23 position for the overall DSG was noted.


Supporting documents: