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Contact: James Lavender
Apologies for Absence
Declarations of Interest
Phil Willott, Special Academies Representative, declared an interest in Item 6 (Minute 33) as he represents the Raleigh Learning Trust which Denewood Academy is a part of. He did not participate in this item.
To confirm the minutes of the meeting held on 17 January 2023
The Forum agreed the minutes of the last meeting held on 17 January 2023 as a correct record and they were signed by the Chair presiding at the meeting.
To note that Robert White, secondary academy representative, has resigned from the Forum
The Forum noted the resignations of Robert White, Secondary Academy Representative, and Lisa Wilson, 14-19 Education Representative, and the appointment of Caroline Sheard as the new 14-19 representative.
Report of the Corporate Director for People
Julia Holmes and Chris Ayriss, Senior Commercial Business Partners, presented the report, which detailed the 2022/23 Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) outturn position and the updated reserve balance and associated commitments. They highlighted the following information:
(a) the 2022/23 initial schools budget, as reported at Schools Forum on 25 January 2022, was £324.535m. The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) made in-year funding adjustments to the allocation of £321,000 resulting in a final budget of £324.856m for 2022/23;
(b) a breakdown of the figures within the outturn summary of Table 2 is given to the Forum;
(c) the underspend of £598,000 on the pupil growth fund in 2022/23 is mainly due to the remaining balance of the Schools Block of £427,000 that could not be equitably allocated to all schools through the National Funding Formula (NFF) during the budget process, being allocated to the pupil growth fund. This approach was agreed by the Forum in on 7 December 2011 in the report entitled “Proposed pupil growth allocation for 2022/23;
(d) the underspend of £15,000 on the trade union cover is mainly due to the union not taking up all of its allotted allowance in 2022/23. The underspend will be taken into account when calculating the rate of trade union cover for the financial year 2024/25;
(e) there is an underspend variance of £56,000 within the Central Schools Service Block. This is mainly due to Virtual School funding being substituted by funding from the Pupil Premium Plus Grant (PPPG);
(f) in the Early Years Block spending, there is a total underspend of £347,000. There is an underspend of £142,000 in the funding for 2-year old funding for schools/providers. This is reflective of the slightly lower than expected participation rates in 2022/23 with 79% of applications being eligible with an average of 146.6 applications per month. The breakdown of applications for the year are as follows; Parents Applications – 55%, Family Information Service (FIS) – 26%, Childcare Providers – 15%, and Schools – 4%. The early learning programme for 2-year olds is the most frequent enquiry, representing 53% of all FIS activity;
(g) the final position of 3 and 4-year olds funding shows a £100,000 overspend in 2022/23 which reflects the higher than anticipated participation rate;
(h) the Early Years Pupil Premium achieved a small underspend of £4,000 which is close to the budgeted participation rate;
(i) there continues to be significantly fewer applications for early years Disability Access Funding (DAF) compared to the Department for Education (DfE) projections underpinning the funding level. The underspend of £82,000 has been ring-fenced in reserves as there is an expectation from the DfE that this will be spent to support the inclusion of pupils with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND);
(j) the underspend on the SEN Inclusion Fund (SEN IF) is anticipated and has been ring-fenced in reserves ready for distribution to settings to help support heightening speech, language and communication needs. With the revised eligibility criteria for the SEND IF, this eliminates any significant ... view the full minutes text for item 32.
Report of the Corporate Director for People
Nick Lee, Director of Educational Services, presented the report which sought consultation from the Forum to provide additional funding to the Raleigh Education Trust to increase their onsite provision at Denewood Academy from 42 places to 50 places on a temporary basis. The following information was highlighted:
(a) there is a ten-year high rate of exclusions within the LA, with total of 123 exclusions this year, 112 last year and 93 the year before;
(b) 18 of these exclusions were primary compared to 11 last year. Denewood Academy is the only Key Stage 2 facility within the LA for permanently excluded children;
(c) the cost for funding these places will be £179,500 per year for two years. This is cheaper than costs for external Alternative Providers (AP) as eight places externally would cost £212,000 per year;
(d) the funding will also allow Denewood Academy to recruit additional staff to bring stability in the face of rise of exclusions;
(e) through attending Denewood Academy, the children will have a greater chance of re-integration into mainstream education;
(f) two years’ funding is being requested due to the Council embarking on an Alternative Provision Commissions Review and they are awaiting the result of an AP Free School bid, which will create additional capacity within the primary sector;
(g) Multi-Agency Panels, Multi-Service Panels, and Children at Risk Panels have been trialled in secondary schools to identify young people at risk of exclusion and provide intervention. The Council are looking to roll this out into the wider education sector;
(h) the Council have introduced an after-school club pilot scheme called Include in higher excluding academies in order to engage with young people at risk of exclusion through a constructive approach to support them in their learning and behaviour. The actions feed into the wider Inclusion and SEND strategies;
(i) Models around support for pupils at risk of exclusion were based on pre-COVID-19 models;
During the discussion and in response to questions from the Forum, the following points were raised:
(j) the capacity is full around finding places for excluded pupils. The review of alternative providers will aim to identify what capacity there is for taking on excluded pupils;
(k) Denewood Academy is the only AP which can provide immediate places to help meet the Council’s legal obligations for providing places for excluded pupils;
(l) data around additional capacity from APs will help form a larger picture about where there is additional capacity for excluded pupils to be placed;
(m)provision for excluded pupils requires more staff, hence the need for more spending per pupil than in mainstream schools and academies;
(n) the Council is always reviewing how it best utilises its funds to provide inclusion and intervention support in schools, academies and APs. Part of this involves looking at best practice in other local authorities such as Bristol and Enfield;
(o) factors such as the cost of living crisis, the social and economic impacts of Post-COVID and an increase in the population of school-age children ... view the full minutes text for item 33.
Dates of future meetings
To agree to meet remotely via Zoom at 1:45pm on the following Tuesdays for the academic year 2023/24:
Resolved to meet remotely via Zoom video conferencing at 1:45pm on the following Tuesdays during the academic year 2023/24:
· 10 October 2023
· 5 December 2023
· 16 January 2024
· 23 April 2024
· 25 June 2024
Record of thanks
The Forum recorded their thanks to Paul Burke, Headteacher of The Fernwood School, for his work as Vice Chair of the Schools Forum.