Rachael detailed the breakdown of the financial position of the Local Area for 2018/2019 which summarises where we were and where we are going. The report will enable members to note the outturn position and the significant factors contributing towards the spend.
School Forum noted the table details in the main areas of both over and under spend.
Rachael said that:-
· The final Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) outturn position 2018/2019 for funded activities overspend is £2.165m. This is an improved position than reported in March 2019, however, it cannot be under-estimated the amount of deficit we sit with.
· The overall position of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) taking previous deficits into account at the end of 2018/2019 is an overspend of £2.655m
· The forecast outturn position for 2019/1920 of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) is forecast to overspend by £964k, this is made up of the same budget lines in EHCPs, top up allocations and special school numbers
Rachael said that there was also pressures within the Early Years Block that are demand led and remains volatile. She said that School Forum will be informed of any adjustments to figures at the next meeting.
School Forum noted the Early Years Block table which shows all early years’ offers for 2 year old, universal 15 hours and extended 30 hours against the national picture.
Rachael asked School Forum to reference Appendix 2 (tops ups) of the report which illustrates an increase in pupils numbers, EHCPs and funding above £6k allocated as a top-up per eligible pupils resulting in a significant budget pressure into 2019/2020.
School Forum asked about when the work would be completed about capping the top up payment process. Rachael informed everyone that this is a long term process because of the legal process required which will involve significant amount of consultation with schools and parents. She said that the Higher Needs Group have given a timeline to progress this work in the next academic year when schools will be given sufficient notice, parents the right to appeal any decisions and allow learning from other local authorities.
Dorothy reported that SEND Monitoring Officers when reviewing a plan will ask school to consider whether reductions can be made.
Rachael further updated School Forum that Torbay continues to have a greater number of children requiring additional support up to and including a special school place than the funds available in the higher needs block can meet. This demand pressures is driven by schools and parents requesting additional support and/or children are assessed for an EHCP. She also reported that there is a delay in diagnosis for many children, this can lead to the creation of additional bespoke packages that have a significant cost. The Local Authority is working with the CCG to escalate this concern and take action.
School Forum were concerned that although there is robust processes in place to administer an EHCP there is still an increase in funding to support and manage children.
Rachael said that she felt that this issue was actually relating to SEMH children, with an increased noted in request above the age of 10. The Local Authority recognises that unmet need in earlier years with parents and families can lead to a need for an EHCP in later years.
School Forum recognised that how to support schools earlier was a complex challenge.
Rachael asked everyone to note the information within the table on Special Schools which demonstrates the rise in Special Schools and High Needs Adjustments against the baseline figures.
School Forum noted:-
· The increase number of commissioned places so that students are not placed out of area
· There is a competition for every special school place in Torbay where places are good value for money
· Final outturn figure shows signs of concern as the number of pupils coming in is not known
Rachael requested School Forum note the financial position and continue to work with the Local Authority through the mechanism of the Higher Needs Recovery Group to enact the financial recovery.
School Forum endorsed the financial recovery plan and were happy to work with the Local Authority.
- 2019 06 27 Financial Report for School Forum, item 6. PDF 218 KB
- Special School & other HN Adjustments 18-19, item 6. PDF 28 KB
- EHCP 19-20, item 6. PDF 12 KB
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