Essex Small Schools

Essex Schools Funding Formula Review

Archive for the month “October, 2014”

Funding Formula: 2nd Meeting

The second meeting of the funding formula review group for the year was held on Wednesday the 15th in Chelmsford. This meeting was well attended, in contrast to the first.

The first major item on the agenda was the funding of special schools. This is an area about which I know little, but it appears there are some real concerns about the way Essex funds its special schools and the number of (expensive) out-of-county placements that arise from this funding. It seems that the current method is to provide a designation of “type of need” to each school, which is then funded at a specific rate per pupil; this doesn’t seem to take account of the needs of particular pupils, or that not all pupils in a given school will have that type of need. There seems to be a desire to invest in special school provision in the county in order to increase capacity and save in the future. This all seems sensible, but there does not appear to be a well defined process, and there are at least two parallel committees looking at funding decisions that affect special schools. It was therefore resolved to ask the LA officers involved to attend the next meeting to clarify process.

The second item related to the secondary : primary funding ratio. Currently in Essex this is 1.31, i.e. secondary schools receive, on average, 1.31 times the funding per pupil of primary schools. The figure Mr Stupples-Whyley has been given by the DfE as a national average is 1.27. In order to understand the potential impact of changing this figure, the previous meeting had requested a summary of the total spend per pupil broken down by LA across the primary and secondary sector. In Essex we spend £3,767 per primary pupil, which is the median spend of our statistical neighbours (Essex, Central Beds, Hampshire, Kent, West Sussex, Worcs, Warwickshire, Swindon, Staffs, North Somerset and Leics). We spend £5,027 per secondary pupil, which is slightly higher than the median. Thus our spends generally are not out of line with these authorities on either primary or secondary. Nevertheless, we requested the LA to run a model to judge the impact on schools of a change from 1.31 to 1.27, which will be discussed at a future meeting.

The third item related to the ever-important Lump Sum element. The LA had been asked by Richard Thomas at the previous meeting to model the “theoretical” scenario of decreasing the lump sum to zero and by me to balance this by modelling an increase of the lump sum to £175k. The impact on primaries of eliminating lump sum was drastic, as one would expect, with our smallest primaries receiving a budget of c.£200k, of which c.£100k was propped up in the short term by the minimum funding guarantee!  I am pleased to report that all present viewed this scenario as completely untenable. Nobody was able to offer a clear argument why we should have a different lump sum for primaries and secondaries. We therefore resolved to keep the lump sum at its present value, with the proviso that we will revisit the lump sum when sparsity factor is discussed at a future meeting.

The next meeting will be in late November, and will cover low-cost high-incidence SEN funding, EAL, notional SEN funding and special schools top-up funding. I would encourage readers with views on these issues to get in touch.

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Votes Cast in Schools Forum Election

I have been given the go-ahead by Mr Stupples-Whyley to release the vote count for Schools Forum representatives in the recent election. Once again I’d like to thank schools for their support. I will report shortly on the most recent meeting of the formula review group this week.

Name School Votes Elected
Prof G Constantinides Langham Primary 21 Yes
Joyce Woodham Danbury Park Primary 1 No
John Hunter Merrylands Primary 4 Yes
Ann Engle Engaines Primary 3 No
David Knight Oakfield Primary 0 No
Michael Klym Oaklands Infant School 2 No
David Faulkner Oakfield Primary 0 No
Stephen Walker Richard de Clare 1 No
Joanna Johnson Chappel CE Primary 1 No
Judith Forster Debden CE Primary 2 No
Richard McIntosh Barnes Farm Infant 1 No
Linda Oliffe South Green Junior School 6 Yes
Robert Smith Harlowbury Primary 2 No
Mike Gee St Andrew’s Primary, Halstead 2 No
Nigel Rowe St George’s Gt Bromley 2 No
Brian Markham Holland Haven 3 No

Schools Forum – Election Results

Readers of this blog will be interested to hear that – with your support – I have been elected to Schools Forum. See the Schools Forum Page for the new membership. I asked for the full election count, which the LA has provided, but asked me not to share until all candidates are aware of the results. However, I am sure it will not be a problem to share that I was elected by a large margin. Thanks very much to everyone; I promise to do my best and to keep people informed via this blog.

The first meeting of Schools Forum is very soon, 22nd October. I hope the full papers of schools forum will go up soon here in time for schools to discuss issues with their representatives, but in the mean time, if schools have any comments on the following items on the agenda sent to me today, please let me know.

Colour Author Voting / Relevance
1. Apologies for Absence (and substitute notices) Chair

Discussion/Decision Papers

2. Second Quarter Budget Update Blue Yannick Stupples-Whyley All Schools
3. Increasing Place Provision for Pupils with High Need, Low Incidence SEN Green Chris Kiernan All Schools
4. Home to School Transport Yellow Graham Ranby All Schools
5. PRU Split Site Funding Lilac Ralph Holloway All Schools
6. School Funding 2015/16 Peach Yannick Stupples-Whyley All Schools
7. Schools in Financial Difficulty Fund Pink Chris Kiernan All Schools
8. Falling Rolls Fund Blue Chris Kiernan All Schools
9. Significant Increase in Pupil Numbers Contingency – Academies Green Yannick Stupples-Whyley All Schools

Forum Business

10. Any other business and feedback from schools through Associations

Feedback from Schools Forum representatives on other Bodies

Minutes of SEN Sub Group

Yellow

Chair All schools
11. Minutes of 9 July 2014 White Chair All schools

Information Papers:

12. Schools Broadband VFM Lilac Tracey Kelsbie All Schools
13. Early Intervention Commissioning, Family Intervention Fund Peach Clare Burrell All Schools
14. Implementation of the Childrens and Families Act Pink Anne-Marie Blackshaw All Schools
15. School Balances 2013/14 Blue Yannick Stupples-Whyley All Schools
16. Independent Special Schools Expenditure Green Yannick Stupples-Whyley All Schools
17. External Funding Opportunities Yellow Rochelle Mathieson All Schools

Continued overleaf

Colour Author Voting / Relevance
18. Forward Plan Lilac Yannick Stupples-Whyley All Schools
19. Closing Comments Chair

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