Agenda and minutes

Online Meeting, Schools Forum
Tuesday 29 June 2021 7:00 pm

You can view the individual reports for this meeting by selecting the headings from the numbered list of items at the bottom of this page. Alternatively you can view the entire agenda by selecting 'Agenda Reports Pack' below.

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Venue: An online meeting that can be viewed at

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No. Item


Introductions & Apologies


The Chair welcomed and introduced all attendees at the meeting.


It was noted that apologies had been received from Sean Maher (Head Teacher, Richard Challoner School Academy) and Councillor Diane White





Declarations of Interest


There were no declarations of interest.


Minutes of Last Meeting pdf icon PDF 86 KB


The Minutes of the meeting held on 19 January 2021 were agreed as a correct record and would be signed by the Chair at a later date.


SEND Futures Plan - Briefing on Updated Plan and Progress Update pdf icon PDF 56 KB

Additional documents:


The Forum received a comprehensive update on the SEND Futures Plan and the terms of the “Safety Valve” Agreement between Kingston Council and the Department for Education (DfE).


The Plan was first endorsed by the Council’s Children’s and Adults Care and Education Committee in February 2019 and substantially updated in November 2020 with further minor updates in May 2021.


The report highlighted areas in which the plan had been progressing well, for example the Parent Carer Forum was now well established in Kingston and adding value to the improvement work being undertaken and new Joint Children’s Commission post shared across South West London CCG and AfC had been created focussing on jointly commissioned services such as emotional wellbeing and mental health services and some of the speech and language and occupational and physiotherapy services. In addition, the Early Help Resilience Networks launched at the start of 2021 had received excellent feedback from professionals regarding effectiveness in signposting relevant interventions at an early stage.


The report also highlighted some examples of areas were progress had been less successful and had been identified as priorities for improvements in coming months. In particular, it was highlighted that although the review into therapy provision had taken place and was in the process of being implemented, these had yet to be realised in terms of improved outcomes on the front line, particularly in relation to waiting times. The business case for a proposed 16 to 25 year old SEND campus was in the process of being developed and progress needed to continue to be made in using improvements in SEND information technology systems to better plan and deliver EHC plan annual reviews.


It was noted that Annex 1 to the plan was added in May this year and was essentially the financial deficit management plan for the DSG for the next 5 years. It included forecasts and projections in terms of growth in the number of Education and Healthcare plans, forecast income and expenditure with a summary of where it was considered changes could be made to the system to make it more financially sustainable with the objective of achieving over the coming years a balanced in-year budget. The figures quoted were those used in discussions with DfE through December last year to March this year when the “safety valve” agreement was reached.


The “safety valve” agreement reached with the DfE In March 2021 aimed to address Kingston’s Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) funding gap over the course of the next five years. In total it brought a potential benefit of up to £30m to the Council by 2024/25. £12m of that benefit had already been realised in the last financial year, made up of £9m in funding and the write off of £3m in debt – the amount advanced to the Council in 2018. It was stressed that further payments were subject to meeting the terms set out in the agreement.


One of the terms of the agreement was the commissioning of a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


2020/21 Financial Outturn pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Additional documents:


A report was presented to the Forum which updated members on the final 2020/21 DSG grant allocation and its application to the Schools Budget in 2020/21 and the final DSG outturn for the 20/21 financial year.


In total £153.193m had been spent on DSG funded educational services in the last financial year, which meant that there had been an overspend of £5.150m. As at 31 March 2021, allowing for the DSG advance that had been received in 2018/19 but before receipt of the £12m “safety valve” funding there had been a cumulative overspend on the fund of £24.401m. The receipt of the first instalment of the High Needs Education “safety valve” grant funding meant that the cumulative position had improved by £12m and reduced the cumulative deficit to £12.401m.


RESOLVED that the Forum:


Agreed the final DSG expenditure for the 2020/21 financial year and the carry forward of the deficit, via the ring-fenced DSG fund, to future years.


2021/22 Finance Update and 2022/23 Budget Setting Timetable pdf icon PDF 140 KB


The Forum received a report which updated members on the current DSG allocation and its application to the Schools Budget in 2021/22, the projected DSG position for the 2021/22 financial year and the proposed budget setting process for 2021/22.


The Forum discussed whether a one off change to the methodology for Targeted High Needs should be agreed to allow for an exceptional situation in Alexandra School which would see the school lose out on funding due to the timing of a change in high needs delivery model. The Forum agreed to have an in principal vote which would be ratified by the Chair in 10 working days time following further engagement with all schools that might be impacted.



RESOLVED that the Forum:


·         Noted the latest DSG allocation for the 2021/22 financial year;


·         Noted the projected DSG outturn position for the 2021/22 financial year;


·         Noted the proposed budget setting timetable for 2022/23


·         Approved the consultation with schools in advance of the September Forum meeting regarding central DSG budgets


·         Agreed to change the THN methodology to option 2 for this year only, subject to further engagement with schools over the next 10 days.


Scheme for Financing Schools pdf icon PDF 76 KB


The Forum received and considered a report which sought an update to the current Scheme for Financing Schools.


The representatives of maintained schools at the Forum voted on the proposed updated and unanimously




The wording of the Scheme for Financing Schools be amended from “the Authority does not operate a licensed deficit scheme” to “the Authority does operate a licensed deficit scheme” together with the associated details regarding its operation.


Dates of Next Meetings

14 September 2021

16 November 2021

18 January 2022


All meetings 19:00 – 21:00


Members noted the proposed dates of the next meetings at 7.00pm:


·         14 September 2021

·         16 November 2021

·         18 January 2021


Meetings were currently being held online in light of the public health situation.