Councillors and committees

Agenda item

Schools Budget Estimates and Schools Funding Formula

To recommend the Schools Budget for 2019/20.

Decision:

Resolved that the Finance and Contracts Committee is RECOMMENDED to recommend Council that –

 

1.            the Schools Budget for 2019-20 be approved in line with paragraph 17 and Annex 1 of this report;

2.            the proposals outlined for the Central School Services Block be approved including the transfer of £27k to the High Needs Block (ref. paras 26-28 of the report);

3.            the proposals outlined for the Early Years Block be approved, including the increase of the SEN Inclusion Fund to allow for high needs support for early years children (ref. paras. 29 – 35 of the report);

4.            the proposals outlined for the High Needs Block be approved (ref paras. 36-39 of the report)

5.            the proposals outlined for the Schools Block (ref. paras 20-25) and the Schools Funding Formula outlined in Annex 2 and the Schools Allocations in Annex 3 of the report be approved, including a Minimum Funding Guarantee of -1.5% per pupil (ref. paras 22-23 of the report).

Minutes:

The Council is required by the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 to set a non-schools education budget and a schools budget each year and to provide delegated funding to schools from the schools budget in accordance with the Schools and Early Years Finance Regulations and DfE Guidance.  The Dedicated Schools Grant is a specific grant under the Education Act 2002 provided to support the schools budget. The DSG is the main source of income for the schools budget.  Education funded by the High Needs Block of the DSG is provided to meet the Council’s statutory duties under section 19 of the Education Act 1996 to provide education for pupils needing alternative education and the Council’s statutory duties under the Children and Families Act 2014 to meet the needs of pupils and young people up to the age of 25 with special educational needs.

 

The Borough has been allocated £139.371m in Dedicated Schools Grant for 2019/20.  This provides an overall increase in funding for 2019/20 of £663k (+0.5%).  The Borough is facing a significant amount of financial pressure on services for high needs education.  A cumulative overspend of up to £12m is anticipated at 31st March 2019.  A draft three year transformation plan has been developed to bring annual spending back in line with Government funding through the DSG by 2021/22 whilst ensuring that the needs of pupils continue to be met.

 

The Schools Forum have agreed a Targeted High Needs Fund of £300k for 2019/20 which constitutes a transfer from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block.  No further transfers from the Schools Block are proposed.

 

A ‘minimum funding guarantee’ of -1.5% is proposed for individual schools’ budgets.  This will ensure that no school loses more than 1.5% on their per pupil funding within their general schools budget and will ensure that schools who are protected by the ‘minimum funding guarantee’ continue to transition to an allocation based on the standard local formula.

 

No change to hourly nursery rates is proposed. The rates would remain at £5.92 for two year olds and £5.21 for three and four year olds.  A high needs budget of £23m is proposed with the recognition that there remains a significant budget gap for high needs services and this gap will be addressed through the SEND Transformation Plan and a further increase in the DSG deficit carried forward at the end of the financial year.

 

Resolved that the Finance and Contracts Committee is RECOMMENDED to recommend Council that –

 

1.            the Schools Budget for 2019-20 be approved in line with paragraph 17 and Annex 1 of this report;

2.            the proposals outlined for the Central School Services Block be approved including the transfer of £27k to the High Needs Block (ref. paras 26-28 of the report);

3.            the proposals outlined for the Early Years Block be approved, including the increase of the SEN Inclusion Fund to allow for high needs support for early years children (ref. paras. 29 – 35 of the report);

4.            the proposals outlined for the High Needs Block be approved (ref paras. 36-39 of the report);

5.            the proposals outlined for the Schools Block (ref. paras. 20-25 of the report ) and the Schools Funding Formula outlined in Annex 2 of the report and the Schools Allocations in Annex 3 of the report be approved, including a Minimum Funding Guarantee of -1.5% per pupil (ref. paras 22-23 of the report ).

Voting - unanimous

Supporting documents: