Attendees

Members present

School members 

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

Jan Paine (JP)
Early Years Representative, Kipling Lions Pre-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 

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 

Ashley Seymour-Williams (ASW)
Senior Advisor Education Partnerships 

Mark Storey (MS)
Head of Education Standards and Achievement 

Nicola Gardner (NG)
Clerk to the Forum 

Other attendees 

Viv Warren (VW)
Early Years representative 

Observers

Patrick Grant (PG)
DfE 

Apologies 

Paul Riley (PR)
Principal of Brighton Met 

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

Jon Gilbert(JG)
C of E Diocese, Diocese of Chichester 

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 declared 

Item 2. Minutes of last meeting and matters arising

Action

Item 6.5 of October’s Forum minutes, School Improvement Monitoring Grant (brighton-hove.gov.uk) 

The last meeting’s minutes circulated in November 2022 were agreed as a true record. 

No corrections or changes reported. 

Item 3. Any updates from Phase Groups Head teacher representatives

RH asked if NG had received any updates from the phase groups. 

None were declared nor sent in advance. 

Item 4. Homes for Ukraine education and childcare grant

4.1

The paper was introduced as providing an update on a grant that the DfE has put in place this financial year to support with the cost of the education of pupils from Ukraine. It is only for pupils that have been admitted through the Homes for Ukraine Visa route and relates to their education and/or childcare.  

It was confirmed that the local authority is now able to distribute the grant to schools and early years providers within the city. Schools were asked to complete a survey about admission to the school to assist the council in distributing the grant.  

The paper outlines how much funding schools will receive depending on which phase the school falls within and when the pupil was admitted into the school. The direct funding allocation per pupil to schools is 90% of the total grant allocation with 10% being held by the LA for any additional need requirements. If a balance remains at the end of the grant period, it is expected that the surplus will be distributed to the schools who have been recipients of the grant. 

Clarification was sought about pupils attending a B&H school but living in neighbouring authorities and it was confirmed that B&H schools are providing us with all details of those pupils who are attending their school, regardless of where they live. It was agreed that the grant criteria will be checked and communicated to the Forum.

4.2

Post-meeting clarification – grant guidance advises ‘If a local authority receives a funding allocation for a child living in their area, but being educated in another area, DfE expects the local authority to passport an appropriate amount to the local authority in which the maintained school or academy trust is providing the school place’

Item 5. Dedicated Schools Grant 2022 to 2023 Update

The Forum were presented with an update on the latest position of the 2022-23 DSG. 

Since the last report, the DfE have made an adjustment to the high needs block (HNB) and it has been reduced by £132,000. It's possible that there will be further adjustments made by the DfE later in the year. 

There were no comments, questions or clarifications made. 

Item 6. School Improvement 2023 to 2024 De-Delegation Request (For Forum Decision)

6.1

The background to the paper and the requirement for a decision by relevant Forum members was summarised and it was hoped that the Forum recognised the response made by the council following previous feedback. The work of the steering group and the associated discussions have hopefully emphasised the commitment to enhance partnership working without losing any of the benefits of the old systems. 

6.2

The difference in how the use of this funding affected primary schools compared to secondary school was emphasised and primary headteachers were keen to ensure that things will be in place for September 2023, albeit it impacts on the financial year from April 2023. It was confirmed that this would be the case.  

6.3

The relevant parties undertook the vote on de-delegation and both the secondary representatives and primary representatives agreed to the de-delegation of funding as outlined in the paper.  

6.4  

The Chair thanked everyone for the healthy debate and reminded the Forum members that whilst the vote on de-delegation is needed annually, it may not always lead to the same amount of discussion each year.  

6.5

Decision to approve grant was unanimously agreed by attendees eligible to vote. 

Item 7. Disapplication Request – Exceptional Premises Factor (For Forum Decision)

7.1

The purpose of the paper was outlined and it was emphasised that this was an unusual request which only affects one school, St. Peter's Primary School in Portslade. Relating to one factor within the mainstream schools funding formula, the exceptional circumstances premises factor, the local authority has to make a disapplication request to the DfE and seek Forum’s approval to do so. The factor will allow the school to pay the annual rent for part of the school building following its expansion when pupil numbers were rising.  

7.2

Clarification was sought as to whether other schools would qualify for the exceptional premises factor and it was confirmed that 6 other schools in the city have additional maintenance costs because of having listed buildings. However, this exceeds the 5% threshold that the DfE use for allowing local authorities to use this exceptional premises criterion, so currently the only incidence of the exceptional premises factor relates to St Peter’s 

7.3

Concern was expressed as to why space was being rented at a time of falling pupil numbers and whether the funding could be better utilised elsewhere.  

7.4

It was agreed that consideration of this factor needed to be a feature of the ongoing discussion about addressing the reduction in pupil numbers and whilst the request must be made every 5 years it would be good to have a progress update at shorter intervals. 

7.5

Decision to approve the use of the factor for the 2023/24 financial year was unanimously agreed by attendees but that consideration needs to be given to the concerns raised in the longer term. 

Item 8. Services to Schools 2023 to 2024

8.1

The report was introduced in the context of the recent discussions with both head teachers and school business managers to address concerns that have been raised with the impact of rising costs and the quality and charging of council services. This has included the extension of the deadline for schools to opt out from traded services until Feb 2023 (with services ceasing in May 2023) when schools are better informed about their own budget positions. Governors will also receive a briefing on this in January 2023.  

A discussion followed in which the role of the council in providing services, its approach to setting charges and the need to improve the service descriptions, opting out process and on-going commitments were raised. The council was also asked to consider if schools would benefit from it sourcing services from the private sector.  

8.2

In addition, it was asked if it was possible to obtain equivalent costings from neighbouring or comparative authorities. It was explained that it can be difficult to draw direct comparisons without knowing the level of services provided in different LAs but this will be looked into by the services to schools manager. 

Item 9. Any Other Business

There were no AOB items to report. 

The Chair thanked everyone for their time and closed the meeting.