Venue: To be held remotely
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Apologies for Absence
Apologies were received from Thalia Bell (sub sent) and Karl Landrum.
The minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2022 were agreed as a correct record.
The Schools Forum received a report of the Operational Director – Finance, which presented the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) funding for 2023-24.
The DSG settlement, announced on 16 December 2022, allocated Halton a total of £143.393m, which was broken down as follows:
The report presented detailed commentary on each of the schools blocks’ funding allocations and the National Funding Formula methods used. It was noted that the High Needs Block budgets and the Early Years hourly rates and supplements would be presented at the February meeting.
In addition to the DSG allocation stated above, Halton had received £4.796m as part of the recent £2 billion commitment for Education from the Autumn 2022 budget announcements. The indicative school funding allocations including this Mainstream Schools Additional Grant (MSAG) was presented in Appendix B.
Officers’ sought approval from Representatives on the continuation of the National Funding Formula methods, principles and rules for mainstream primary and secondary school funding allocations; and from maintained schools Representatives, to agree the de-delegation for 2023-24. The Schools Block Funding Formula Factors were presented in Appendix A to the report. The Forum agreed these and the maintained Representatives approved the de-delegation, as presented in the table in paragraph 3.7.
Officers requested a decision on the level of Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) to be applied to the Schools Block funding formula for 2023-24. As described in the report, the Local Authority recommendation was that the Forum applied the maximum MFG protection of 0.5% to the 2023-24 funding formula – the rationale for this was explained. The Forum agreed with the recommendation, so the maximum MFG protection of 0.5% would be applied to the Schools Block Funding Formula for 2023-24.
Schools Forum were also asked to agree the preferred option from (a), (b) or (c) on the allocation of the surplus DSG for 2023-24; details of these were outlined in paragraph 3.5. It was noted that the reason for the surplus funding was due to un-allocated growth funding that was included within the Schools Block allocation. The three options were discussed and Officers provided responses to questions from Representatives. The Forum’s consensus was that the surplus should be transferred to the High Needs Block (option B); which was supported by the recommendation from Financial Management. Representatives recognised the continuing pressures on High Needs budgets, which was forecast to continue into next year with the demand for places at special schools increasing.
In response to questions on how the surplus would be allocated, this would be in consultation with Schools Forum. It was agreed by Representatives that there should be value for money and careful consideration on how it was spent and this would be monitored by the Forum. The Forum agreed that Option (b) be used to allocate the surplus DSG funding of £200,000.
The following additional information was provided on the DSG funding, following questions from Representatives:
· The Early Years ... view the full minutes text for item 15.