Attendees

Members present

School members 

Robert Hardy (RH) (Chair)
Special Schools Governor, Hill Park Special School 

Patricia Wood (PW)
Primary Governor, Coombe Road Primary School 

Diana Boyd (DB)
Primary Governor, Elm Grove Primary School 

Chris Taylor (CT)
Primary Headteacher, Patcham Infant School 

Rachel Kershaw (RK)
Primary Headteacher, St Margaret’s CoE Primary School 

Damien Jordan (DJ)
Primary Headteacher, Fairlight Primary School 

Linda Newman (LN)
Secondary Governor, Longhill High School 

Claire Jarman (CJ)
Secondary Headteacher, Cardinal Newman Catholic School 

Rachel Burstow (RBu)
Special Schools Headteacher, Hill Park Special School 

Julie Plumstead (JP)
Nursery Headteacher, Tarnerland Nursery 

Amanda Meier (AM)
PRU Headteacher, Connected Hub 

Paul Barber (PB)
Head teacher, Our Lady and Lourdes  

Matt Hillier (MH)
Secondary Headteacher, Dorothy Stringer School 

Mel Fane (MF)
Secondary Governor, Cardinal Newman Catholic School 

Academies members 

Aaron Barnard (AB)
Aldridge Education Trust 

Non-school members 

Liz Ritson (LR)
Teachers’ Union, NEU 

Local authority attendees 

Richard Barker (RB)
Head of School Organisation 

Georgina Clarke-Green (GCG)
Assistant Director Health, SEN and Disabilities 

Alison McManamon (AM)
Director Human Resources & Organisational Development 

Louise Hoten (LH)
Head of Finance, Children’s Services 

Jo Lyons (JL)
Assistant Director Families and Schools 

Steve Williams (SW)
Principal Accountant, Children’s Services 

Nigel Manvell (NM)
Chief Finance Officer, Finance 

Ashley Seymour-Williams (ASW)
Senior Advisor Education Partnerships 

Sam Wilson (SaW)
Virtual School Lead, Education and Skills 

Mark Storey (MS)
Head of Education Standards and Achievement 

Nicola Gardner (NG)
Clerk to the Forum 

Other attendees 

Jo Viner (JV)
GMB representative observer 

Viv Warren (VW)
Early Years representative 

Apologies 

Paul Riley (PR)
Principal of Brighton Met 

Item 1. Welcome and apologies

RH ensured introductions were made and welcomed everybody to the meeting.  

Items for any other business to be stated - None. 

Item 2. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising

The last meetings minutes circulated June 2022 were agreed as a true record. 

No corrections or changes reported. 

Item 3. Financial Issues and Challenges (recent letter from Jo Lyons)

3.1

RH explained that the Forum should consider the very significant financial issues and challenges facing schools and the wider local authority. RH reported on the degree of shock felt by governors and school staff that the national pay award had not being funded fully through the DSG. JL was invited to outline her recent communication and went on to acknowledge the immense challenges and pressures that schools are under and explained that NM and AM were here to respond to any questions and contribute to the discussion.

3.2

NM outlined the Council’s own expected deficit in the next financial year of approximately £21m and the uncertainty in central government regarding the financial settlements that will be made to Council’s as well as the DSG.  

3.3

DJ explained that this is a political matter and schools need to be standing up for the children of Brighton and Hove. The financial pressures will affect the amount of staff in schools and impact the support that can be given to children. 

3.4

LR agreed with what had been said and noted schools had been under-resourced for several years and noted that the low pay means people were paid more in other sectors.  

3.5

AB Noted the current level of vacancies for business managers in Brighton and Hove and discussed the difficulties of recruitment leading to the use of recruitment agencies for some positions.  

3.6

DB echoed the points raised and highlighted the impact on children that require additional support.

3.7

RH asked how the council will stay in communication and work together with schools? 

3.8

AM acknowledged the difficulties that people have had in relation to implementing the low pay award and apologises for those difficulties. AM reiterates the Council’s commitment to work together with schools to resolve some of those issues going forward. 

3.9

JL asked that financial challenges and related issues to be on the agenda of all Chairs’ forums as well as head teacher groups. 

3.10

NM explained that the Council has gaps in staffing in places such as payroll which have caused some quality issues. NM apologises if schools have been affected by this. NM reiterates that LH and SW are here to support with school’s budget planning as soon as more is known.

Item 4. Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) Surplus Balances report 2021/22 (late paper) 

4.1

RB introduced the report and explained that there are complexities to the reasons why some of the schools find themselves in the position of having an excessive carry forward such as funding that carries over through academic and financial years, interruptions that come from not being able to implement plans in a timely fashion, or the timing of funding allocations to schools.  

4.2

LR asked for careful consideration to be given to the legitimate reason for surpluses being due to vacant posts. 

4.3

DJ enquired if there was a swing in the amount of money in school balances at different points in the year as this may influence decisions on recruitment and other expenditure.  

4.4

SW explained the paper seeks to present the data in such a way that we don't focus on the carry forward for just one year, but over a 2-year period and show the movement over this time. It was agreed that next year’s report should look to present a three year picture. 

Item 5. Dedicated Schools Grant 2022 to 2023 Update

LH provided an update on the DSG including an increase of £286k taking us to 182.361m. Of this, there is a £228k increase to the high needs block and an increase of £58k that relates to the early years census numbers in January 2022. There were no questions or clarifications.  

Item 6. Dedicated Schools Grant 2023/24 – Overview and Requests for De-Delegation and Central Retention of CSSB Funding 

6.1

SW introduced the paper and outlined what decisions were required. He confirmed that the schools block of funding for primary and secondary schools is likely to increase by 1.9% nationally for next financial year compared to 2022 to 2023.  

The high needs block is going to rise by 6.3% next year which is a significant increase compared to previous years.  

There is a reduction in the central services school’s block for the funding of local authority functions.  

There is no formal announcement on the early years block for next year at this stage. 

6.2

SW The Council has written to the government expressing its concern about that provisional settlement. A letter from the leader of the Council was sent to the Secretary of State last month. We are waiting on a response and any further announcement from the government on the local government finance settlement. 

6.3

When considering the elements of de-delegation, questions were asked about the value for money of services such as insurance. SW explained that the 2022/23 de-delegation rate for primary schools for insurance is £19 per pupil and secondary schools £22 per pupil. The DfE insurance scheme rate is £21 per pupil. The LA scheme is thought to be competitive in terms of price and more comprehensive in its cover. 

6.4

RK asked for clarification as to why the school improvement monitoring de-delegation figure had doubled compared to last year.  

MS confirmed that the DfE part funded this last year but will withdraw the support in 2023/24. MS offered to bring more information on its use to the next meeting of the Forum. 

6.5

MS was asked about the stakeholder group of Headteachers that came together to consider how best to allocate the funding and it was confirmed the group met for one function.  

It was suggested that the June 2022 report was recirculated to the group and the stakeholder group reconvene to co-construct and lead on and how the grant is being spent and to monitor and report on its impact. 

6.6

The Forum agreed to defer a decision on the de-delegation of the Schools Improvement service until December’s meeting. 

6.7

SW asked the Forum members to approve agreement of the central retention items of the CSSB as set out in section 6 of the report. These items total £1.472m. Forum members agreed to this. 

6.8

Item 

Primary reps 

Secondary Reps 

Schools Contingency 

Yes 

Yes 

EMAS 

Yes 

N/A 

Free School Meals administration 

Yes  

Yes 

Insurance 

Yes 

Yes 

Staff costs  

Yes 

Yes 

Schools Improvement Service 

deferred 

deferred 

Item 8. Virtual School – Use of Pupil Premium Plus Grant 2021 to 2022

8.1

SaW presented the paper giving an outline of the statutory guidance that stipulates the conditions of the grant and how it is to be used. The Forum were reminded that the impact of support for each child and young person is monitored through the PEP.  

8.2

RH thanked SaW for the report and requested that it was made an annual paper. 

Items 7 and 9

Item 7. Schools Block 2023 to 2024 – Formula Proposals 

Item 9. LA Response to Government School Funding Consultation 

SW introduced the remaining items together and outlined the key elements and changes. 

9.1

The School supplementary grant that was allocated as additional funding issue is being rolled into the core funding for next year. 

It is now a mandatory requirement for local authorities to move their individual formula factors 10% closer to the rates used in the national funding formula. With a focus on the DfE intention to introduce a full national funding formula by 2027 to 2028. 

9.2

We have compared our current local funding formula with the local funding formulas which operate nationally, and with the DfE national funding formula. We are comparable to these as shown in appendix. There is an appendix which shows a lot more comparative data between other local authorities and there is a second appendix that shows what the impact would have been had we put that 10% closer adjustment in for this year. SW confirmed that the modelling of a further shift would have meant schools would have seen a budget variation of less than £1000 on their annual budget. SW clarified that the modelling suggests schools with higher rates of pupil premium eligible children would be most negatively affected by the change. 

9.3

The Forum considered whether a faster pace of alignment to the National Funding Formula would be appropriate and RH requested that in modelling after 2023/24 the report presents options on moving towards the national funding formula more quickly than the incremental 10% per annum movement. 

10. Any Other Business

No items were discussed. RH thanked everyone for their time and patience and confirmed the next meeting would be on 5 December 2022.