Members present

School members

Peter Freeman (PF) (Chair)
Primary Governor, Coombe Road Primary School

Belle Howard (BH)
Primary Governor, St Margaret’s CoE Primary School

Oli Sharpe (OS)
Primary Governor, Middle Street Primary School

Linda Newman (LN)
Secondary Governor, Longhill High School

Matt Hillier (MH)
Secondary Headteacher, Dorothy Stringer School

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

Julie Plumstead (JP)
Nursery Headteacher, Tarnerland Nursery

Robert Hardy (RH)
Special Schools Governor, Hillview Special School

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

Academies members

Aaron Barnard (AB)
Aldridge Education Trust

Non-school members

Helena Thomas (HT)
16 to 19 Provision, GBMC

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

Jon Gilbert (JG)
Diocese of Chichester (Anglican)

Liz Ritson (LR)
Teachers’ Union, NEU

Members apologies

School members

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

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

Damien Jordan (DJ)
Primary Headteacher, Fairlight Primary School

Chris Taylor (CT)
Primary Headteacher, Patcham Infant School

Louise Cook (LC)
Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) Headteacher, Central Hub

Non-school members

Sarah Clayton (SC)
Diocese of Arundel and Brighton (Catholic)

Local authority attendees

Richard Barker (RBa)
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

Jane Moodey (JM)
Accountant, Children’s Services

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

Other attendees

Ruth Ali
Clerk to the forum

Sarah Booker-Lewis
Brighton & Hove News

1. Welcome, apologies and membership including election of vice-chair


The chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Apologies were received as listed above.


There were no nominations for the role of vice-chair, and it was agreed that this matter would be addressed outside of the meeting.


The chair highlighted that all Primary Headteachers had submitted their apologies for this meeting, which may have implications for discussions under agenda item 7. 


No items for any other business were stated.

2. Minutes of last meeting (21 June 2021) and matters arising

2.1 - Accuracy

The minutes were agreed as a true record.

2.2 - Matters arising:

All action points are covered through agenda items either at this meeting or a future meeting.


For December meeting

  • GCG to give presentation on the pressures and implications for the HNB going forward
  • GCG to include in her next report (in June 2022) more clarity around ASC unit at West Blatchington Primary School and funding tied into Hill Park
  • GCG to provide a breakdown of post 16 provision for the 85 children and young people placed in independent schools (increase from 65)

3. Any updates from Phase Groups


The LA has been looking for new ways of working with Headteacher groups, and leaders of these groups were given the opportunity to provide updates/feedback.

3.2 - Early Years

Nothing to report.

3.3 - Primary

Primary Headteachers were not represented at this meeting. RBa explained that he had offered to meet with the Primary Headteachers’ group to discuss the papers for this meeting. This offer was not taken up. However, there had been some email exchange with DJ (Primary Headteacher member).

3.4 - Secondary 

MH reported that SW and RBa attended the Secondary Headteachers’ meeting. All Headteachers had appreciated the opportunity for discussion. 

3.5 - Special Schools

No updates; RBu did not have opportunity to discuss the papers with the other Special Schools Headteacher. 

4. Surplus Balances 2020 to 2021 update


RBa introduced his report, explaining that the local authority (LA) will always communicate with schools holding balances above the threshold to exercise a level of oversight. Details of the summaries of responses are outlined in the report.

The LA is mindful of the pressures on schools and the impact of Covid, and it is therefore not the intention of the council to take back surplus balances.

However, in future it is the intention to communicate with schools after 9 months to ascertain what progress they have made with their intended spending, with a view to providing more accountability to the Schools Forum.

The schools’ financial positions will thus be maintained at the moment.


It was suggested that it has been a challenge for schools with surpluses over the permitted limit to remain uncertain until now whether any money would be taken back.

They were therefore reluctant to commission any work over the summer, and the question was raised how the LA would approach this in future years.

RBa highlighted that there would be fewer practical difficulties carrying out work from this year onwards and encouraged individual dialogue between schools and the LA to ascertain the in-year position in order to avoid delays after the year-end. He will also check with Schools Finance whether time scales can be changed.


SW added that the LA recognises that schools sometimes have cohesive plans which would justify the carryforward and these are documented in governors meeting minutes or detailed in school improvement plans.


The chair thanked RBa and SW for their report and contributions. 


The forum noted the council’s actions, agreed to leave the decision to carry out a 9 month review to the discretion of the LA and noted that final checks on planned expenditure can only take place after the end of the financial year.

5. COVID-19 – Verbal update – new grants from September 2021


SW informed the forum that the Department for Education (DfE) has introduced 2 new funding grants for this academic year and expressed his dissatisfaction with the late notification given. 


Covid Recovery Premium is worth £1.1m to Brighton & Hove schools and academies in 2021 to 2022 and is linked with supporting disadvantaged pupils.

Any underspend is permitted to be carried forward at the end of the academic year. 


The School Led Tutoring Grant is funding of £0.9m to be used for tutoring interventions for disadvantaged pupils and pupils with Special Educational Needs and/or Disabilities (SEND).

The criteria for its use are complicated and the finance team has communicated with all School Business Managers (SBMs) outlining provisional allocations.

The first tranche was received at the end of September and has been passed on to schools in October.

The School Led Tutoring Grant is required to be spent  by the end of the academic year, with any unspent funding likely to be clawed back by the DfE. 


RH asked whether it would be advisable for schools to collaborate and purchase resources as groups of schools.

SW suggested that, if schools can evidence that spending is in line with regulations, this should be a reasonable approach.

Governors should familiarise themselves with the conditions of the grant and liaise with their SBM and Headteacher. 


AB confirmed academies have received notification of grant allocations directly from the Education and Skills Funding Agency.

The chair thanked SW for the update.

6. Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) 2021 to 2022 update report


LH summarised her report, updating the Schools Forum on the latest Department for Education (DfE) adjustment to the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) allocation for 2021 to 2022. 

She highlighted the tables outlining the updated size of blocks and recoupment figures for Academies and Free Schools.

6.2 - Noted

The forum noted the updated DSG for 2021 to 2022 of £199.537m (before Academy recoupment of £17.726m).

7. DSG 2022 to 2023 Overview and Agreement of Exceptions


SW presented his paper, explaining that this consists of 2 parts, in other words an overview of DSG in terms of funding coming into the LA, and areas requiring forum approval.


SW summarised section 3 (Background), in other words that this will be the last year of a 3 year funding settlement. A spending review for funding allocations beyond next year is awaited.


The Schools Block nationally will see an increase of c. 3% in the next financial year; this does not include other funding such as grants for education recovery or Pupil Premium.

While it has not been confirmed, it is expected that there would be an additional recognition of the National Insurance increase, or at least a contribution towards it.


The High Needs Block will be subject to a further increase in 2022 to 2023 estimated at between 8% and 10%.

Local authorities across the country are reporting significant pressures on their high needs block budgets and the government has still not published the outcome of the SEND review.

7.5 - Early Years Block

No funding announcements have been received yet.

All figures at this stage are indicative and dependent on pupil numbers. Final allocations will be received in mid-December. 

7.6 - Noted

The forum noted the estimated gross DSG of £205.121m for 2022 to 2023 and indicative values as well as the provisional 2022 to 2023 DSG allocations and potential increases to the Schools and High Needs Blocks and the reduction in the Central School Services Block.


The second part of the paper dealt with the de-delegation of the Schools Block, all requests for de-delegation being in line with what was agreed in previous years. The individual amounts also remain exactly the same. 


To agree the de-delegation of the items within Exception 1 for the primary phase of the schools block of £0.911m as per paragraph 4.1 of the paper.

The chair asked RBa to summarise an email exchange with DJ, representing Primary School Headteachers, as none were represented at this meeting. 

Oli Sharpe (Primary School Governor) joined the meeting.

RBa reported that the email exchange did not express any reason to disagree with the proposals. However, concerns were highlighted about the timings of these decisions, and that decisions about de-delegation have to be taken long before schools know their own budgets.

However, DJ did not feel that this concern should stand in the way of progressing with these matters and advised RBa that if Primary headteachers were present at this meeting they would vote in favour.


BH asked whether it is known that other headteachers share the view expressed in the email correspondence.

RBa explained that other Headteachers were copied into the correspondence and were therefore given opportunity for input.

DJ is also chair of the Primary Representatives Group and would have shared his thoughts on that forum. It can therefore be assumed that all agreed.


BH was concerned that the concerns raised should not be lost. However, it was highlighted that the local authority (LA) and the forum follow prescribed timetables and that school budget calculations are reliant on receiving the final DSG allocations.

The biggest delay is caused by all figures being based on the October census; details are therefore not known until much later.


A further update is due to be given at the December meeting, followed by agreement of the DSG in January prior to submission to the DfE. 

7.12 - Agreed

Primary Representatives agreed to the de-delegation of items as outlined in the paper.


To agree the de-delegation of the items within Exception 1 for the secondary phase of the schools block of £0.419m as per paragraph 4.1 of the paper.

Secondary heads had been consulted and were in agreement with the de-delegation of funding.

7.14 - Agreed

Secondary Representatives agreed to the de-delegation of items as outlined in the paper.


To agree the growth fund of £0.278m as per paragraph 5 of the paper.

The forum was asked to retain the growth fund in recognition of the fact that this will be the last year of a pupil bulge in Secondary schools. 

7.16 - Agreed

The forum agreed to centrally retain the growth fund of £0.278m for 2022 ro 2023.


To agree the items within the Central Services Schools Block (CSSB) of £1.442m as per paragraph 6 of the paper.

SW explained that this last section seeks Forum approval for the central retention of funding for the LA’s statutory and regulatory duties, access for education and asset management. There has been no change from previous years.

There is a remaining balance in the CSSB allocation for 2022 to 2023 of £840,000 which will be transferred to the Schools Block for delegation to primary and secondary schools and academies.

RBa gave further information on admissions.

The LA continues to take responsibility for coordinating in-year admissions, and the service has not increased its charges. However, the cost of living for the staffing element has increased. 

7.18 - Agreed

The Forum agreed the items within the CSSB of £1.442m.

8. Schools Block 2022 to 2023 and Analysis of 2021 to 2022 Formula Against Comparators


SW explained that this paper concentrates on the Schools Block as a resource that is directly for Primary and Secondary schools, using the local funding formula.

While the government is still keen to introduce the new National Funding Formula (NFF), the Local Funding Formula will remain in place for 2022 to 2023 and 2023 to 2024, but moving on a gradual basis towards the NFF.

Some areas of closer alignment to the NFF are to be considered; appendix 8.1 sets out how the local funding formula compares with the NFF and other local formulas.


SW highlighted some areas where it would be prudent to make a change, outlined in section 4 of his paper.

These are in relation to the KS3 and KS4 Age Weighted Pupil Units (AWPUs), Low Prior Attainment (LPA) and Deprivation. 


AB explained that, although the illustration indicates that the changes would overall be to the detriment of academies, academies still support the approach of moving towards the NFF, especially in regard to LPA.

However, he noted that premises is not included in per pupil funding for the purpose of the Minimum Funding Per Pupil Levels (MPPL).

AB also observed that the proportion of funding allocated through the premises factor is relatively high in Brighton & Hove and asked whether this would be reconsidered in the following year.

SW explained that some schools have a Private Finance Initiative (PFI) requirement which needs to be reflected through the funding system, which is why Brighton & Hove is slightly different.

The government is considering how a formulaic approach to premises needs could be identified in a future national funding formula, but this is difficult as this is driven by local arrangements. This will be a significant focus going forward.


PF asked why, in paper 8.1, the percentage allocated to the lump sum is lower than the national average, although the lump sum figure is high.

SW was not certain but assumed that this could be due to the characteristics of each LA, for example how urban it is.

Brighton & Hove for example has a large number of schools in a small geographical area. Schools in more rural areas will be smaller and the lump sum will constitute a higher proportion of budgets.

PF highlighted that this should be borne in mind when the LA takes decisions on the lump sum, and SW confirmed that this is being done, and the LA sees the financial pressure on small schools, in particular one form entry schools.


OS noted that this occasion was the first time that he noted different figures for primary and secondary schools and asked whether they have to be in sync.

SW explained that Brighton & Hove had always had the same lump sum for primaries and secondaries. For primary schools this represents a greater proportion of overall budget and mitigates diseconomies of scales.


AB asked whether the proposal for the basic entitlement would be to transition straight to the NFF or whether there would be a transitional phase – which would be a considerable jump for KS3.

SW suggested there would be considerations around affordability when the final figures from the DfE are received.

The KS4 rate is slightly higher than the NFF rate, and the final distribution would be guided by the principles outlined in these papers.


AB asked whether all establishments would be protected by the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) and was advised that, after formula budget allocations had been calculated, all schools will see an increase in funding per pupil of at least the rate of the MFG. 

8.8 - Agreed

The forum recognised that they had been consulted on the recommendations and agreed to give their consent.

9. Schools Forum terms of reference


RBa explained that the disbanding of the Schools Block Working Group (SBWG) necessitated a review of the terms of reference; other terminology also needed to be updated.

No fundamental changes to the membership or procedures in relation to voting or quorum are being proposed.


Paper 9.1 answers to the requirement to provide regular updates on pupil numbers and how these relate to the distribution of the membership on the forum.

The paper is based on the May 2021 census and outlines how pupil numbers correlate to the voting membership of the forum, taking account of the requirements for categories of membership. 


Representation of school membership still shows that there is more representation from primary schools than secondary.  RBa hopes that this should provide reassurance to forum members that the balance is correctly outlined.

A further update on numbers will be brought before a future meeting, after the October census. 


BH asked why the quorum is 40%, as this is low compared to the 50% quorum required in school governance.

The forum noted that the 40% quorum is prescribed in the Department for Education's (DfE) Operational and Good Practice Guide. 


OS asked why, although there is a bulge going through the system, there are still many more pupils in primary schools than in secondaries.

This is because primary school covers 7 years and secondary only 5. 


There is uncertainty over the role and function of the forum when the allocation of funding in the schools block is decided nationally.

It is expected that there will be further guidance from central government at the time.

The city wide approach to education would need to consider the opportunities for dialogue as well, and what the function of this body would be. However, it would be some time before this is articulated. 


Forum members referred to the recent DfE consultation they were asked to contribute to and are interested to find out what the government’s response would be to the question of the role of the schools forum in the future.

Forum members felt it would be shame to lose these meetings as they felt there is a lot of value in these discussions.


The chair explained that governor representatives had met prior to this meeting to discuss the papers, how the forum could be used, the value it held and how it could be improved.

Governor representatives will continue with these sessions and feed back in future meetings. 

9.9 - Approved/noted:

The forum unanimously approved the revised terms of reference and noted the distribution of the different elements of the forum membership.

10. Any other business


No other business was discussed. The Chair thanked everyone for their contributions. 

The meeting closed at 5:20pm.

Next meeting

Monday 6 December 2021, 4pm to 6pm.