Agenda and minutes

Schools Forum - Wednesday, 20th January, 2021 4.00 pm

Venue: Microsoft Teams

Contact: Schools Forum Administration  Email:

No. Item



Welcome and introductions by Chair, John Draper



The Chair welcomed both the representatives and external viewers to the January Schools Forum meeting. 


Apologies and Changes in Membership (if any)


Apologies were noted as follows:

Cllr Paffey

Councillor, Cabinet Member Aspiration, School and Lifelong learning

Harry Kutty (Vice Chair)

Headteacher, Cantell School

To note apologies and changes in membership

JD welcomed Roger Peplow who is joining Schools Forum as a secondary school governor rep from March 2021. RP is observing tonight.


MINUTES OF PREVIOUS MEETING - 9th December 2020 pdf icon PDF 810 KB


The minutes were generally noted as an accurate reflection of the previous meeting.

·  To be amended; SP sent his apologies

Action review from the previous meeting

·  PC to benchmark the £10.98 per hour payment for staff supporting SEN pupils against other LA’s. Action Completed. Other LA’s Responses on Hourly Rates emailed to Schools Forum on Monday 18.1.21. PH noted on page 6 of the minutes it was thought that it was £10.98 per hour for payment of staff supporting SEN students and the spreadsheet shows £10.49 for Southampton. ACTION: TM thought the hourly payment of staff supporting SEN students was £10.98, TM will double check and get back to SF.

·  TM to send out Consolation on Proposal for 0.5% transfer from the schools block to the high needs block 2021/2021 to head teachers. Action Complete. On the Agenda.

·  NP to provide information around schools with reserves in the January meeting. Action Complete.On the Agenda.




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 Democratic 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.


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.



JD noted that the first vote for the 0.5% transfer to the High Needs Block under Item 6 would be differed until after hearing the beginning of Item 7.





·  Papers for Information and discussion


The first item on the LA update is an Action from the last Schools Forum meeting to provide information around schools with reserves. NP referred to the paper distributed prior to the meeting and the table showing the balances for primary schools and the balances for secondary schools separately. The table includes the movement from 2019/20 to the forecast for this year;

·  Primary schools had a Net surplus of £1,688,840 at the end of the last financial year and the forecast outturn is now expected to show a surplus of £909,978 showing an adverse movement of £778,862.

·  Secondary schools had a Net deficit of £175,749 last year rising to £307,389 forecast for this year showing an adverse movement of £131,640.

There were 30 schools in surplus last year and that has dropped to 27 schools this year. The LA are expecting that the schools in deficit will increase from 9 to 12 with an overall movement on reserves of £910,502 adverse.


When asked NP clarified that the LA are expecting to see a surplus of £602,589 at the end of this financial year.


The second item on the update is the Covid-19 Government Assistance Programme. Schools were asked to submit claims for 3 additional costs incurred. To date the LA have received £200K back from the government and the approved claims have been distributed to the schools. It was thought there were still some claims being reviewed, once the money is received it will be passed on to the schools. The LA understands that the schools are experiencing exceptional costs this year where the claims are not covering all their costs. Should schools find themselves in financial difficulty, then the requirement for a 3 year deficit recovery timetable maybe extended to 5 years, especially where there are significant Covid-19 pressures.


No further questions were asked and JD thanked NP for his update.





·  Paper for Information, discussion and vote


Before handing over to TM, JD noted that there was a very good response to the consultation.

TM thanked those who responded to the consultation and acknowledged that it has been an incredibly busy period for schools. 38 responses were received from schools. Referring to the consultation feedback document, TM summarised the responses; primary schools were 38% in favour with 62% not in favour and a 50, 50 split with the secondary schools.


JD acknowledged the quality of the information provided by the LA and noted it has given a clear understanding to schools and members as to what they are voting on and to know how to respond. JD opened up the discussion.


PH stated that the 0.5% is just in excess of £750K that is roughly the same amount of money within an approx. £10K of the variants with regards to the out of city (MARP) placements. Looking at the strategic review document from 2018, the table shows that in 2017/18 there were 62 children in out of city provision, the conclusion was that those would reduce over 7 years and by this point there would be 30 children. It was thought that once those children left the provision that those numbers would naturally drop and the recent spreadsheet still shows approx. 62 children.


TM advised that it was important to recognise that the strategic review proposal referred to was based on taking all the recommendations and having them in place by this point in time. One of the major recommendations was the reconfiguration for the special schools; if the LA had reconfigured and built the new special schools that are needed by now then the numbers would have reduced significantly. However that is a massive piece of work that has been in development for 2 years, they are close to making a request for money although it would be a multimillion pound investment from the LA. The revenue savings will not be seen without a capital investment and this takes time. Once they have had the opportunity to reconfigure they can start to make a meaningful dent in that budget. However, they have gone above and beyond to prevent the number increasing.


One of the challenges with the paper is it assumes that all the recommendations will be in place by a certain date and therefore the savings are achieved. Many of the recommendations on the paper will take a 5 to 10 year plan. The LA are expanding the local special school places as an interim measure to prevent the increase of out of city placements.  Another challenge from a SEN perspective is the number of children taken into care, often they are not placed locally and without sufficient school places elsewhere they need to attend independent settings elsewhere. They are working closely with the placements team on this to reduce the spend.  It was not possible to reconfigure and expand the special schools in a way that was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


DSG FUNDING 2021 / 22


·  Papers for Information and discussion


NP referred to the report distributed prior to the meeting, it was shared it on the screen and NP noted that there was a need for various members to vote during the paper presentation. The DSG report shows the funding for the next financial year and is broken down as follows.

·  £215.7M DSG allocation for Southampton

·  APT schools block funding

·  de-delegation for primary schools and secondary schools, should they wish to de-delegate funding for trade union duties to cover supply costs for staff

·  Central Schools Services Block allocations

NP advised that having gone through the schools block APT model there is a sizable surplus on the funding, applying the NFF factors at full value there is a surplus of £400K. The £445 quoted in the paper may go up or down, although there is a need to know what to do with the surplus.


NP referred to the DSG funding block that shows the movement from 2021 to 2022. Schools have gone up by 3.5% year on year with an actual increase of 8%. Next year the teacher pay grant and pension contributions award have been added in and the 8% is artificially high as these had not been included before. High Needs has gone up by 12.5% and by 13% once the adjustment is made for pay grant and pension contributions.  This is also a big increase. Part of the Central Services Block is for historical commitment they are being reduced by 20% per annum. The DFE are keen to phase these out as they are perceived as old commitments.  NP read the notes;

·  2021/2022 DSG allocations above are before Academy recoupment and deductions for direct funding of high needs places by Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA)

·  APT Model at full NFF has a surplus of £445k, shown on Page 6.

·  Central Services funding reduction is due to a 20% reduction in historical commitments which are expected to be unwound.

·  The DSG funding allocation may change during the year as and when schools convert to academy status, as they will receive their funding directly from the ESFA.

Schools convert to academy each year and as a result of that the figures look different at the end of the year.


NP reported that under the Key Changes, that the IDACI have changed, these were last reviewed in 2015 and have been brought up to date using 2019 information in the calculation factor. The teacher pay grant and teachers’ pension and employer contribution grants are now incorporated into the NFF and the DSG. It is based on pupil numbers for the schools block, with £180 per pupil for primary and £265 for secondary. The NFF support for small and remote schools has increased, the maximum sparsity value from £26,000 to £45,000 for primary schools, and from £67,600 to £70,000 for secondary schools.

1.  Schools Block
There is a surplus in the schools block calculation that has been modeled at full NFF. NP asked the members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.




Dates for academic year 2020/21

·  Wednesday 24th March 2021

·  Wednesday 23rd June 2021




JD concluded by thanking members for their attendance and contributions to the meeting. In the past Schools Forum has at times felt like a contest between members and the LA. Today it feels like a partnership. The quality of the information presented by officers is clear and transparent, and the spirit of partnership with the LA has never been more evident. Although the decisions are no easier, everyone is working together to the same end: the best possible outcomes for the children of the city. A particular thank you to the LA colleagues for the work that has gone into providing a good understanding of complex issues, and the high quality information needed to make difficult decisions.




Day and Date:  Wednesday 24th March 2021

Time:  3:45pm to check connectivity before going live for a

  4:00pm meeting start

Venue:  Microsoft Teams meeting and live streamed