Agenda and minutes

Schools Forum - Wednesday, 20th November, 2019 4.00 pm

Venue: St Anne’s Catholic School, Carlton Rd, Southampton SO15 2WZ

Contact: Schools Forum Administration  Email:

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions

Welcome and introductions by Chair, John Draper


Apologies and Changes in Membership (if any)

Any apologies and changes in membership (if any) to be noted



Apologies were noted as follows:

Amanda Talbot-Jones

Chair of Southampton Primary Head Teacher Conference

Cllr Paffey

Councillor, Cabinet Minister Aspiration, School and Lifelong learning

Phil Humphries

Governor, Oasis Academy

Cllr Lisa Mitchell

Councillor, Portswood Ward



Minutes of the Previous Meeting - 25th September 2019 pdf icon PDF 489 KB

To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 25th September 2019


The minutes were reviewed for accuracy.


·  Minor word changes made to previous minutes on pages, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10.

Action review from the previous meeting

·  NP to update finance for schools.

·  DW to raise query regarding union representation at Schools Forum. Historically, there has been a TLP place. No word from the Unions to date.



Declarations of Interest

In accordance with the Localism Act 2011, and the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members to disclose any personal or pecuniary interests in any matter included on the agenda for this meeting.


NOTE:  Members are reminded that, where applicable, they must complete the appropriate form recording details of any such interests and hand it to the Meeting Support Officer


In accordance with the Localism Act 2011, and the Council’s Code of Conduct, Members to disclose any personal or pecuniary interests in any matter included on the agenda for this meeting.

(Action, carried forward from the previous meeting) Members to complete both the Register of Members Interest and Declaration


NOTE:  Members are reminded that, where applicable, they must complete the appropriate form recording details of any such interests and hand it to the Meeting Support Officer.



High Needs Funding

Tammy Marks to provide update on High Needs funding 



·  Information / Decision: High Needs Funding papers


TM outlined the impact the 2014 reforms have had. Southampton has experienced a significant climb in pupils with needs requiring additional support and special school placement but the funds are not sufficient to addressing the high needs. TM shared an additional High Needs Block Budget Pressure Briefing paper, illustrating the actions taken by the Southampton SEND Service to reduce pressures in the High Needs Block budget. Since the reforms, the number  of pupils with EHC plans has increased from 802, 2.1% of the school age population, pupils to 1552, 3.5% of the school aged population, in January 2019, with approximately 50% of pupils with EHC Plans in Southampton going on to require a placement at a special school. The SEND Code of Practice extended the educational support for 0 to 25 years for those assessed to require it. In theory, this meant that there was a 9 year child-age extension with limited additional funding. This is a national issue that has led to numerous tribunals and high court hearings.


The Local Authority strategy for reducing and avoiding costs is to make local provision for SEND and reduce the number of placements in independent specialist placements. Southampton was labelled as a pathfinder by the government which meant that new assessments from the government were trailed on Southampton schools. To cater for the growing needs there are plans for a major reconfiguration of special schools in the city which includes, expansion, new builds and re-designation to ensure that our local offer is fit for purpose for the future complexity of needs.


Table 2 of the spreadsheet shows Southampton has had a big climb in number of EHCPs allocated to children in mainstream schools. The figures illustrate more support for pupils with high needs and progress on the ‘in education’ measure. Based on the number of pupils who have been placed in special school over the past 2 years, the paper illustrates that if expansion had not have taken place in Southampton Special schools, and on the assumption that half would have been placed in mainstream and the other half in independent (170 % 2 = 85 independent special school places)  it shows the cost to the Local Authority for the expansion has been £2,125,000 for the whole 170 places, whereas for just half of these placements in independent specialist schools the cost would have amounted to approx. £5,950,000. This represents a total cost avoidance of £3,825,000. There would also be additional costs to the other placements in mainstream schools for top up funding, as well as increased pressures on mainstreams schools to place the most complex children in the city in their settings.


SP asked if there is any intelligence that supports the increase in places such as where the children have gone had they not gone to these out-of-area provisions. TM estimated approximately 50% go to an out-of-area placement and 50% of pupils were in mainstream education. TM explained that 100% of the plans  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Update on Proposed 2020/21 Schools Funding Formula

Nick Persson to provide update on proposed 2020/21 SCC Schools Funding Formula



·  Paper for discussion - Summary of APT options for 2020/21 schools budget


NP provided paperwork and information on the provisional APT for 2020/21 modelling various scenarios. The Local Authority has a deadline to submit its final agreed APT model to the ESFA in January 2020.

Model 1:

Full NFF. This creates a £1M overspend believed to be mainly due to adding protection for PFI Premises costs, adjustment to rates values and addition of split site funding. Because the provisional Full NFF is unaffordable various other models were created as shown below.

Model 2:

Reduce NFF AWPU by 2%. This is an affordable model and would affect 40 schools.

Model 3:

Reduce the MFG to 0.5% with no cap. This model is not a balanced model but is intended to show which schools are affected using the lowest MFG factor with no cap to see the effects on the schools individual funding. This model affects 23 schools.

Model 4:

MFG 1.84% MFG capped at 3%. This model is not a balanced model but is intended to show which schools are affected using just the MFG factor with a cap to see the effects on the schools individual funding. This model affects 35 schools.


Model 5:

Reduce MFG to 0.5% and cap at 3.24%. This model shows 57 schools contributing to the shortfall and would provide a balanced budget.

Model 6:

Combination of factors model:  This model provides a balanced budget using, NFF AWPU less 1%, MFG 3% and capped at 60%; this would see the greatest number of schools contribution to the over spend. With this option 63 schools would share the funding shortfall.

Model 7:

This model looks at the effect of reducing the Minimum Per Pupil Funding Level (MPPFL) in Primary and Secondary schools as a means of providing a balanced budget. The APT model did not allow for this factor to be amended (other than a reduction for Primary school MPPFL reduction by 5%). Guidance received is that this is a mandatory factor and can only be adjusted following a successful disapplication request. A disapplication request has been submitted and currently waiting for a response.


SP and MS expressed an interest in exploring Model 7 further following a successful disapplication request. JD clarified that there needs to be a decision made around the £1M funding shortfall that is reasonable to roll out to schools, if the national funding formula is unaffordable. The above models have been distributed to schools as part of a consultation exercise and the results will be presented back to the next schools forum to help agree which model to pursue in the event of an unaffordable budget situation.


MS raised a concern that the least deprived schools appeared to be those getting the most and the most deprived schools are getting the lowest increases. A pupil premium child is 22 months behind an average child not on pupil premium. SP stated that the government is very clear that the Local Authority will be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Standing Item: LA Update on DFE/EFA Funding Announcements

LA to provide update, if applicable, on DFE/EFA funding announcements



·  Paper for Information: SF Update - Finance Updates

·  Paper for Information - NOR Census data Oct 2018 v Oct 2019


NP reported on the changes to funding for next year, the following are the highlights 

·  Introduction of a compulsory minimum per pupil funding level factor (MPPFL)

·  Compulsory MPPFL for Primary schools will rise from £3,750 in 2020/21 to £4,000 in 2021/22. Secondary schools MPPFL is £5,000 in 2020/21

·  MFG has been increased to the range 0.5% to 1.84%.

·  There is no NFF Gains Capping so all schools should receive their full allocations using the NFF factors.

·  In the Central Services Block funding, the historic commitment funding amount has been reduced by 20% and will continue to fall in future years as these agreements come to an end. 

·  Early Years hourly funding rates are increased by 8p per hour in 2020/21.

·  High Needs Block funding allocation to Southampton has increased by 16.5%

·  The schools pay awards and pension increases are now built into the schools block funding allocations.



Growth Funding

Nick Persson to provide update on Growth Funding



·  Paper for Information / Decision: Growth Funding


JD commented that growth funding for secondary schools is required as the demographic has changed and the number of pupils in secondary schools has increased. The band for 0 to 7 pupils over PAN was discussed with the option to provide additional funding for this range.  If a school is asked to go over PAN by the Local Authority then it is not a voluntary increase and growth funding is offered to support the increase. It was suggested that the Local Authority could provide funds from the next census to cover the shortfall. The panel voted on 0-7 additional pupils band being funded by £10,575. The increase would take a school’s Operational PAN as a baseline when calculating if the increase applies.


Vote on whether 0 to 7 band funded

For 9

Against 1

Abstain 0


Result: Vote Carried



High Needs Block - Schools Funding Issue

Mark Sheehan to provide update in relation to schools funding issue, as continuation from AOB item from September meeting



Discussion around the affordability gap to meet the shortfall of the higher SEND needs and the assumption that the High Needs Block funding will receive an increase of 16.5%. There was a concern that schools who had budgeted prudently, but were in deficit would be subject to a transfer of their funding if a 0.5% Block transfer was agreed. This might be hard to justify when following the 16.5% High Needs uplift, the High Needs budget has an in year surplus. It was requested that the Local Authority takes that into consideration. The Local Authority could not have foreseen the impact of the reforms made to High Needs and subsequent increases in demand for these services. It was recognised that more and more young people with high needs are coming through the schools. It was thought that the SEND budget would be balanced by 2024 on the assumption that the increased funding continues and outweighs the additional needs presenting each year.


Scenario 1

Agree to transfer 0.5% to the high needs block if the NFF is affordable.


For 1

Against 4

Abstain 3


Scenario 2

If the NFF is not affordable and the APT model has to be amended to become affordable, do we agree to a transfer to the higher needs block.



For 2

Against 3

Abstain 3




Closing Remarks and Date of Next Meeting

15 January 2020

3:30pm for 4:00pm start

Venue: TBC



·  Business World System update: It was noted that Business World are keen to engage and address the concerns. RW and JD are happy to consult with the business manager. SP noted that he did not think it was a schools forum issue.

·  Future Schools Forum meeting dates

o  17th  December, Swaythling Primary School 

o  15th January, Cantell School

o  25th March, St Anne’s Catholic School

o  24th June, Cedar School



Next Meeting:


Tuesday 15th January 2020

3:30pm for 4:00pm start

Venue: Cantell School