Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: 4th Floor South, Tor Hill House

Contact: Mike Freeman 

No. Item


Apologies/Changes to Membership


Apologies were received from Clive Star. The Forum welcomed Hannah Spencer, Senior SEN Officer, to her first meeting.


Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 217 KB


Members read through the minutes from the meeting held 31st October, and agreed them as a true record. It was noted that the action of Item 4 of the minutes has not been actioned, as Plymouth colleagues are currently in a Joint Targeted Area Inspection and are unavailable for comment.


Matters arising




Standing Items


Financial Report pdf icon PDF 203 KB


Rachael Williams, Assistant Director of Education, Learning and Skills, presented an updated financial report to members. The current Outturn position has increased by £93k since October’s meeting. Pressures in the system remain as before, in particular the Higher Needs block. Rachael informed members that figures for the EY block will be available once the census returns have been compiled in January. There has been no significant change to the Element Three top up funding, although it was noted that there is an improvement to the previous position of £7k. Rachael thanked the SEN team and the newly appointed EHCP monitoring officers for their hard work on this.


Recovery of funding from schools for excluded pupils, Medical Tuition Service and Elective Home Educated has been less than anticipated, however members were asked to note that this can be explained by less children coming out of the system, meaning the recharging mechanisms that the LA enacts have been reduced.


Members queried whether the current outturn position includes the provision of last year’s virement. The report does include the £1.048m agreed.


Members note the findings of the report.


Rachael has written to the EFSA/DfE to request a meeting in order to support the DSG deficit recovery plan. It was felt that members of Schools Forum should be included in this meeting, and representatives were sought from each of the sectors (i.e. 1 Primary, 1 Secondary, 1 Early Years and 1 Special School representative). The following members volunteered to attend the meeting:


Tim Stephens / Adam Morris (Primary)

Sally Timmins (Secondary)

Jayne Jones (Early Years)

Mike Lock (Special Schools)


Provisional dates for this meeting are 22nd-24th January, Rachael will confirm this with the EFSA/DfE and update colleagues. Members requested that feedback from this meeting be shared at the next Forum on 25th January.


Action – Rachael to provide feedback from meeting with EFSA/DfE in January.



Funding Allocations for 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:


Rob Parr, Principal Accountant, shared with members the updated funding models for 2020/21 allocations, as requested at Octobers Schools Forum. Officers have used principles agreed by Schools Forum to model 4 options, with the aim of getting to the minimum pupil guarantees.


Members asked what the minimum per pupil amounts are, Rob explained that these figures are formula driven and are included in the individual tables modelled for each option.


As Forum have previously decided to agree to a virement of funds (from the Schools block to the Higher Needs block) the first model presented, based on no virement of funds, was not an option, therefore a decision on the three remaining options was then required.  Votes were as follows:


Option 1, assuming a minimum funding guarantee of 1.84% per pupil and a minimum per pupil amount of £3,750 for Primary and £5,000 for Secondary. AWPU remains at NFF values, all other units values have a 2.70% reduction from NFF levels:


2 votes


Option 2, assuming a minimum funding guarantee of 1.84% per pupil and a minimum per pupil amount of £3,750 for Primary and £5,000 for Secondary. All unit values have a 0.75% reduction from NFF values, apart from the lump sum which has a 0.20% reduction:


6 votes


Option 3, assuming a minimum funding guarantee of 1.84% per pupil and a minimum per pupil amount of £3,750 for Primary and £5,000 for Secondary. AWPU remains at NFF values, as does lump sum, all other unit values have had a 3.10% reduction from NFF levels:


0 votes


There were 4 abstentions.


Option 2 was approved by Forum.


Special Schools models were then shown to members, with Rob explaining that any increase to special schools budgets has to go through Pupil top up. 6 options were presented, with increments ranging from 2% up to 9.39%.


Mike Lock met with Special School heads on prior to this meeting, and circulated to Forum members a benchmarking report from EFSA, comparing Special Schools in Torbay with other schools of a similar type and highlighting the lack of funding when compared to neigbouring authorities.  It was agreed by all that Special Schools do require more funding, and that bringing funding more in line with that received by mainstream schools is fair for everyone.


Members asked whether the LA has a view on these, it was explained whilst it is recognised that Special Schools incur the same costs as Primary and Secondary and do require an upshift in funding to meet these, It has been indicated by the EFSA that  the £1.5m Higher Needs block be used against our deficit position. Preference would be for an increase of 4% (Option B), as this is in line the virement already agreed. Votes were as follows:


Option A, 2% increase from 19/20, 13.31% of £1.5m growth: 1 Vote

Option B, 4% increase from 19/20, 26.63% of £1.5m growth: 7 votes

Option C, 5% increase from 19/20, 33.28% of £1.5m growth: 4 votes.

There were no abstentions.



Option  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


De-Delegation and Centrally Retained Items pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Additional documents:


Rachael explained to members that each year a decision needs to be taken on money that is de-delegated back to the local authority to conduct activities for our maintained schools. Two votes are required, firstly for maintained schools only, with the second vote open to all members.


De-delegations are the same as last year, for Free Schools Meals, Insurance, ELA children, Travellers Education and Rates. At the request of Schools Forum last year, Rachael explained that the Education functions are now available to schools to purchase individually, rather than having to de-delegate these back to the Local Authority.


Members asked what the Insurance element of the tables actually mean, Clarification is being sought from Insurance colleagues and members will be emailed an explanation once we have a response.


Votes were as follows:


For Maintained schools to de-delegate services for 2020/21 to the LA:


Primary: 2

Secondary: 1


Maintained members voted unanimously in favour of de-delegation.


The second part of the item was a vote on de-delegating centrally retained services for 19/20, and was open to all schools. Votes were taken separately on each of the Centrally Retained Services:


Item 1, Planned Pupil Growth, including the provision of a new Primary School in Paignton from September 2020:


For: 11

Against: 0

Abstain: 0




Item 2, Schools Admission Services, including the provision of one new admissions officer:


For: 11

Against: 0

Abstain: 0




Item 3, Servicing the Schools Forum:


For: 11

Against: 0

Abstain: 0



Item 4, Central Early Years Block provision, (5% retained):


For: 11

Against: 0

Abstain: 0






Value for money - Post 16 report

Report to follow


Dorothy Hadleigh, Head of SEN, presented an update on the work of the SEN team in providing value for money with Post 16 providers.


It was noted that providers are now being subject to greater scrutiny, with greater evidence of the outcomes of young people now being provided. Issues around attendance are now being monitored more closely, with the SEN team able to cease funding if young people are not attending. New contracts with providers now include a list of all the expectations required of them to ensure these are being met.


Members were in agreement that this has been a really useful exercise, having bought a level of challenge that providers have not had before. It was noted that it is Dorothy’s intention to extend these principles into mainstream provisions moving forward, with pathway plans beginning next year.


The Forum thanked Dorothy for the ongoing work of her and her team, and request that an update on this project in 2020.


Action – Dorothy to present an update to Schools Forum in 6 months’ time.


Items for next meeting

·         Financial Report

·         Meeting Dates for 2020/21



·         Update from meeting with EFSA.

·         Meeting dates from the year 2020/21


Future meeting dates

·         Thursday 23rd January 2020, 09:00, 4th Floor South, Tor Hill House

·         Thursday 12th March 2020, 09:00, Mezzanine Room 4, Tor Hill House


·         Thursday 23rd January 2020, 09:00, 4th Floor South, Tor Hill House

·         Thursday 12th March 2020, 09:00, Mezzanine Room 4, Tor Hill House