Agenda item

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 what they would like to do with the surplus and gave the following examples; to contribute to the High Needs Block transfer, to add it to the lump sum factor to go back to schools or retain it for a central fund for future growth.

SP sought confirmation within the APT is the MFG set at 2% in the modelling. NP confirmed it was.


SP noted regarding the IDACI, that his analysis shows the change from the 2015 to 2019 data set for IDACI will have a negative impact on schools and asked NP from the modelling he had done to explain what the changes mean in financial terms going to schools. NP did not have the information to hand, and noted he had not reviewed the IDACI before and after and will take it away as a query.

ACTION. NP to report the proportion of pupils captured in each IDACI band.


JD noted that the vote under Item 6 had been delayed until members had heard this information. When the consultation around the potential transfer of 0.5% from the schools block to the High Needs block to elevate pressure was opened, the assumption was funding could be reduced to schools to provide that money. Now, even when the NFF is allocated there is a surplus of around £445K. This is a third option that was not originally available when the consultation. There are various ways in which the surplus could be spent, such as to transfer the surplus to the High Needs Block rather than taking it from the schools block.  The surplus is subject to final validation and may alter if any final adjustments are required.


SP noted that there are 2 decisions; the transfer from the schools block to the High Needs Block that was consulted on resulting in the 60% / 40% split against a transfer. If the vote is not agreed then SP’s view was that the balance of £445K over and above schools receiving their full NFF, could be transferred to the High Needs Block to alleviate the pressure there. The feedback from the consultation showed an appetite to support the deficit and this is a way to do it whilst ensuring that every schools receives their NFF in full. SP would support this, PH agreed and MB thought it was a sensible proposition.


As part of the consultation response members should vote on whether they agree or disagree to a 0.5% transfer from the schools bock to the High Needs Block. SP clarified that a vote of yes to the transfer would mean that schools would not receive their full NFF for 2021/22.


NP agreed with SP and continued by saying that if the 0.5% was approved the surplus of £445K would contribute towards the overall £750K, so the balance of £300K+ would need to come from the schools block funding and that could only be done by reducing the factors below the NFF.


JD asked members eligible to vote; all mainstream school and academies to move to the voting room to cast their votes. On their return JD updated all members of the outcome of the votes.


Vote: To a 0.5% transfer to the High Needs Block

For = 0

Against = 9

Abstain = 0


Vote: To transfer left over surplus to the High Needs Block to alleviate pressure

For = 9

Against = 0

Abstain = 0

Vote carried


JD informed the members that the vote to transfer 0.5% to the High Needs Block was unanimously rejected. The vote to transfer the surplus to the High Needs Block was unanimously approved and carried.


NFF Factors

NP reported that there were a few factors that went into setting up the schools tables for the schools block funding and some of these were compulsory and others optional. 

Pupil Led Factors were compulsorily. This was based on pupil numbers from the autumn 2020 census, funding is allocated according to AWPU, the rates have increased due to the inclusion of the TPG and TPECG and the IDACI has been increased. The minimum per pupil levels in the modelling are primary £4,180, KS3 is £5,215 and KS4 is £5,715. In a school if the funding was to dip below those figures the model will rebalance to ensure the school has those minimum per pupil funding levels within their calculations.


Additional Needs Factors

Deprivation is a compulsory factor that allocates funding based on the additional needs of a specific child. LA’s can use the free school meals factor, the IDACI or both to calculate the overall deprivation factor. As in previous years the LA have used both in their modelling.


Low Prior Attainment is an optional factor; there are 55 primary schools and 12 secondary schools that qualify for this and the factor has been applied in the modelling.


English as an additional language is optional; 52 primary schools have this factor with £6.3M to support them and 12 secondary schools with £150K where the factor has been applied giving a total factor value of £790K. EAL has dropped significantly from previous years.


Mobility is an optional factor; this allocates funding to schools with a high proportion of pupils who first joined on a non-standard date in the last three years. There are 6 primary schools with this factor which has applied £35,414 as the modelling to support those schools.


Schools Led Funding Factors

The lump sum is optional. The NFF rate is £119,458 including the area cost adjustment as used in the modelling.


Split site is a flat rate of £28,452 the LA have 3 primary schools with split sites who are having the flat rate applied to their funding.


Business rates have been frozen for next year.


PFI schools, the funding factor would normally be subject to MFG capped ceiling. In November this was discussed and as in previous years it was agreed to protect this funding so that the PFI schools do not suffer a loss of the PFI commitment through their funding allocation. The modelling currently uses the MFG rate of 2% that is the NFF percentage.



Growth fund

NP together with the admissions team is analysing all the schools for the growth fund the results have been banded into three tables.


In Table 1 only Cantell School shows an increase above PAN and becoming eligible for additional funding through the growth formula. In 2019 they had a PAN of 244, last autumn it went up to 251, an increase of 7, the PAN was 230 and last year they were funded for 244 as they were already operating over PAN. There are 21 pupils above PAN with a Net increase of 7. This places Cantell School in Band 1 with a value of £10,600.


Table 2 shows the number of schools that had an increase in numbers although they were below PAN and are therefore not eligible for growth funding.


Table 3 shows the schools with a decrease in pupil numbers and are not eligible for growth funding.


Next year the LA are expecting a larger increase in the number of schools qualifying for growth funding.


MMc noted that if the numbers in a primary school dropped significantly or staffing changed significantly whether they would be eligible for additional funding.

NP confirmed that there is no funding for this. The LA could create a falling rolls numbers fund, if this was felt necessary. There have been no discussions around this at the moment. 


SP noted that he would be concerned if there was an appetite to put aside funding for falling numbers due to the way the funding works; growth funding is lagged and the school is funded on the previous year’s numbers. SP explained that when the numbers are falling the school is overfunded and financially the school is in a better position.


JR noted that the detail of NP’s reports was very helpful and sought clarity on whether NP was comparing last year’s year 7’s to this year’s year 7’s, NP confirmed he was. JR followed on by a question around lagged funding in terms of the number of children on site and gave the following example; if the year 11’s and year 7’s were both 210 then the number remains the same. However, if 200 year 11’s leave and 210 year 7’s come in to a school, the school would have to provide unfunded education for an additional 10 students. NP acknowledged JR’s point and noted that the PAN admission number is around year 7’s. This is not part of the growth funding model; the funding for schools is calculated from April to March, if a school in September has more children than funded for in the previous round there will not be money for those children.


JD noted that the methodology for this is a national rather than local one.

SP followed on by saying that the growth funding is for inherent growth coming into the school, rather than Net growth with children leaving as that would unfairly punish schools that had full capacity over the past 5 years.

JD highlighted that the funding follows a financial year rather than an academic year.



De-Delegated Budgets

NP advised that a de-delegated fund has been set up for Trade Union staff cover. In previous years primary schools have opted into this and secondary schools have opted out.  The rates are set at £3.60 per pupil (the same as last year) and currently the LA have £42,350K being funded back to primary schools for Trade Union supply cover.


NP screen shared the results of the recent consultation and noted that this applied to maintained primary and secondary. 34% of primary schools responded of which 82% were in favour of de-delegation. 86% of secondary schools responded of whom 100% were against de-delegation. Schools Forum was asked to vote by phase whether or not to apply de-delegation.


JD advised members that this is used to release union reps who work in schools to conduct union business. Historically, there was a grant available for this work although that was discontinued 7 years ago. Since then primary schools have agreed to de-delegation and secondary schools have voted against.


JD noted that the vote was open only to maintained schools and not academy. The primary schools vote and secondary schools votes would be taken separately.


PH sought clarity that this vote was to provide supply cover for the representatives of professional associations and unions and not to pay for the professional association representatives and asked the number of days bought in the past 12 months and was there anything left over? NP responded by saying that he did not have the number of days released to hand and noted the trade union costs are calculated over the academic year and the funding is over a financial year with a disconnect between the funding and the period it covers. There is a contingency of £50K in the budget, a lot is used to cover the lagged funding situation. The benefits of buying into this is wider than the supply costs as it gives the school access to the SCC Trade Union reps.


JD suggested that Katie Cope was invited to the next meeting to give members an update on how the money is spent and whether there was a surplus this year. A wider range of unions now have access to this. NP understood that a Trade Union person was to attend tonight’s meeting to explain the benefits, but none was present. PH noted that there are benefits to members that need support and would like to know how that support is being used in the year.

ACTION NP to provide a detailed breakdown of how the Trade Union support is being used in year.


Vote: To approve the de-delegation for Primary School staff costs covering Trade Union duties

Primary School vote

For = 2

Against = 1

Abstain = 2 (Chair used casting vote to carry the motion)

Vote carried


Secondary School vote

For = 0

Against = 1

Abstain = 0


JD summarised by saying the primary schools agreed to the de-delegation and secondary schools voted against it.


NP brought the members attention to the NFF rates table comparing last year to this year on page 5 for information. The Schools Block breakdown table including academies on page 6 shows a total value of £162,890K against the DSG funding of £163,335 giving the surplus of £445K. This was voted on earlier to transfer to the High Needs Block.


JR questioned the large surplus in the block funding. NP advised that the model is not transparent and cannot be drilled down into to gain a full picture of the figures. The DfE make adjustments for changes in growth funding, premises funding etc. and come up with the figure, although it was noted that this figure is after setting schools budgets at full NFF.


NP referred to the Individual Schools Budget table on page 7 for members information noted the total of £162,921,098 related to the total in the previous table of £162,890K, the difference being the growth funding. NP advised that on 21st January 2021 he will submit the APT model to the DfE and based on the decisions made this evening they will check the figures used and suggest necessary changes otherwise the figures shown or a similar figure will be presented at the end of February in line with the DfE timetable.


JR was conscious that St Anne’s Catholic School and Bitterne Park have sixth forms and have funding attached sixth form students and sought clarity whether the table included that. NP advised that the table was for pre 16 only. 


2.  High Needs Block

NP reported that this is the second of the four blocks and brought members attention to the changes in 2020/21 to 2021/22 on page 8. The funding floor factor in the high needs national funding formula for 2021 to 2022 provides for every LA to receive an underlying increase of at least 8% per head of 2 to 18 population. This is based on what local authorities received in high needs funding in 2020 to 2021. These increases are not calculated on elements of the formula that are subject to later updates and are in proportion to estimated population changes (so a projected decrease in population will result in a lower overall cash percentage increase).


The limit on gains is set at 12%, allowing local authorities to see up to this percentage increase under the formula and the LA are at the top end of the formula, again calculated based on per head of population, and using the 2020 to 2021 funding baseline.


Teachers’ pay and pensions funding have also incorporated the High Needs DSG Block money.  These grants have been incorporated by increasing the basic entitlement factor of the high needs formula that pays out based on the number of pupils in special schools, from £4,000 to £4,660 to include funding currently paid for TPG and TPECG.

There will be an additional DSG condition of grant requiring LA’s to pass on to special schools, special academies, pupil referral units, AP academies and hospital schools amounts of funding per place no less than the amounts of TPG, TPECG and supplementary fund paid in 2020 to 2021. We therefore expect this high needs funding to be additional to any place funding or top-up funding and for it to be paid directly to all maintained schools and academies, and to independent special schools, in line with the arrangements for payment of the separate TPG, TPECG and pensions supplementary fund allocations in 2020 to 2021. None of this funding will be recouped for payment by the ESFA to academies. The ESFA will make the payments of this funding directly to non-maintained special schools.

High Needs Block consultation has now been completed.

Special School Banding Rates review is presently taking place the service is working with the Special School headteachers on a more levelled banding of rates between schools. An update on this will provided at the next Schools Forum and there will be further discussions in the High Needs working group and they will make presentations.

High needs Deficit Recovery Group now have a working group comprising stakeholders from the LA and schools reps that regularly meet to look at all aspects of the service to identify and implement more effective ways of working and opportunities to reduce expenditure. As TM mentioned earlier the focus is to increase the local capacity, this is around capital building to increase capacity within Southampton to reduce the number of pupils being placed in more expensive out of city placements. The group are also looking at the number of EHCPs issued through early prevention strategies and to reduce the number of exclusions. The working group will provide periodic updates on budget allocations from the High Needs Block, other progress and regular updates will be presented at Schools Forum.

NP referred to the DSG allocation table on page 9. The DSG High Needs Block funding for 2021/22 is £34M of which the academies recoupment value is £4,449K leaving a Net of Southampton maintained DSG of £29,578K. NP brought members’ attention to the provisional breakdown of expenditure and noted that the LA is aiming in 2021/22 to have an in year balanced budget and no longer adding to the accumulated deficit. The DfE want LA’s to get to in year balanced positions, and then look at work on historical debt deduction. Block transfers into the High Needs block will be ring fenced to offset the historical deficit, rather than provide funding for new activity.


3.  Early Year Block

The Early Years NFF has been in place since April 2017 sets the hourly funding rates that each LA is paid to deliver the universal and additional entitlements for 3 and 4 year olds. There is a separate formula that sets the hourly funding rates for 2 year olds. The funding streams are noted on page 10. The LA have one maintained nursery school and LA’s with MNS will continue to receive supplementary funding for the 2021 to 2022 financial year. This funding is provided in order to enable LA’s to protect their 2016-17 funding rates for the universal 15-hour entitlement for MNS (that is, the rates that existed before the EYNFF). Indicative/conditional supplementary funding allocation for maintained nursery schools is £65,744.


NP brought members attention to Table 1 – the summary of the Early Years 2021/22 funding allocation which shows how the components of the funding make up the £16,542,032 in the final column.


Table 2 shows the hourly rates from last year to this year. 2 year olds have an increase of 8 pence giving 1.45% increase and 3 and 4 year olds have an increase of 6 pence giving 1.16% increase.



4.  Central Schools Services Block

This provides funding for LA’s to carry out central functions on behalf of maintained schools and academies, comprising two distinct elements; a historic commitments element and ongoing responsibilities. The LA have a historic commitment within the funding block that is linked as joint funding to the MASH service that helps preventative social care work.

The DfE’s view is that LA’s nationally should unwind these historic agreements and to encourage this they have reduced funding by 20% each year. As a result Southampton LA’s funding has reduced from £501,440 in 2020/21 to £401,152 in 2021/22 and going forward further decreases are expected. In terms of allocation there is £401,151 for the historic commitments and £1,445,350 for the ongoing responsibilities, this includes the admissions team, the national copyright licences and the statutory and regulatory duties. 

NP brought members attention to the breakdown in the table on page 11 and the statutory and regulatory duties on page 12. Part of the DSG guidance is to ask for instructions from Schools Forum through a vote to approve the use of the Central Schools Services block.

JD confirmed that members eligible to vote on this were maintained schools, academies and special schools.

Vote: To approve Central School Services Block Allocations

For = 10

Against = 0

Abstain = 0

Vote carried


JD advised members that the vote was agreed unanimously to approve the central schools services block as presented.