Agenda item

Schools Outurn Statement


NP reported that the schools outturn statement for 2019-2020 provided in the paper shows maintained schools only and does not include the Academies. The movement in balances shows an overall reduction of £678K from the previous academic year.

·  Primary schools balances are reduced by £727K

·  Secondary schools balances are increased by £156K

·  Special schools balances are reduced by £107K

NP confirmed that the finance team are retaining a schools support person to continue working with the schools in 2020-2020 to support with the deficit recovery plans.


NP advised that regarding the deficit policy the LA are sending out notices of concerns to schools. It was confirmed that three schools have been identified at present and another school is under review. Schools with the highest balances are also a focus. The LA are determining the cause of deficits although, this is aimed at the schools who are not managing their finances very well and need to improve. However, each school is being looked at independently and if they have been faced with circumstances beyond their control it may not be appropriate to send out a notice.


JD asked about progress with the excess surplus policy to see if it can be implemented to help schools in deficit. NP noted that the LA will be reclaiming these surpluses, and the plans for the surplus will be discussed with Schools Forum and with DW. JD questioned if the LA has the legislative power to make that happen. NP advised that there would be clear guidance given, to follow the process and a consultation would follow. HK noted that there was a need to not just look at one single year but to take into account the growing surpluses year on year. NP advised that when a school presents a surplus the LA question it and look into the reasons why the surplus has become so large. It was noted that each case has different reasons.


RH referred to the slight overspend at Moorlands School and noted the untimely passing of Karen Potter who they all miss. JD wished to record the condolences of Schools Forum to family, friends and colleagues.


With reference to the plans for the excess surplus policy, NP advised that it is taking longer, there will be something although all targets and deadlines have been put back due to Covid 19.


MS suggested looking at the correlation of mainstream schools and the percentage of high needs students. NP confirmed that one of the key factors are those with high number of ECHP’s contributing to the deficit. TM noted that it is not necessarily the number of EHCP but how the resources are being used. Those in deficit are working on a very tight 1:1 LSA currency model. There are often conversations with schools regarding the funding following child that meet the needs of the plans.  It was suggested that there was support for the head teachers to move away from the old model and meet the needs of the children. It was noted that some parents use the EHCP’s to hold the schools to account. TM advised they cannot hold the schools to account. There are plans to move away from the use of 1:1 hours. Schools will receive a certain amount of money to ensure the delivery of the provision in the plan. It was noted that recently the quality of the EHCP’s have improved significantly and within the next academic year the LA are looking into moving it to a banded system.


SP reported that it is not just EHCP’s that cause financial pressure, it is also the children in infant school with significant needs without EHCP’s entering the schools. SP was pleased to hear the LA recognise that. TM advised that there is a need to look at the proactive support that was taken out of early years needs in terms of what schools are receiving. To be mindful of and support the progress in the early years and the level of complexity of needs. To identify what can be done proactively rather than going for a reactive EHCP.