Today was the last meeting of Schools Forum for the 2015/16 school year. Some issues to note are:
- At the next (October) meeting of Schools Forum, the schools broadband service will be presenting a set of options for how to fund the service in the future. I asked them to ensure that per pupil funding for maintained schools was still an option. This was agreed, and several other members also spoke of the importance of per pupil funding for protecting small schools in Essex.
- The contingency held by the LA allowing it to fund schools who use up all (or more) of their notional SEN budget on simply servicing the £6k per EHCP contribution to high needs provision has overspent in 15/16. I reinforced how important this fund is for primary schools in Essex, especially small schools with high volatility in % EHCP. Clare Kershaw and Yannick Stupples-Whyley confirmed that this arrangement will continue into the future. Clare stated that she viewed it as the LA’s statutory duty to ensure that such funding is available. For as long as the LA holds the purse strings, this should be of some small comfort to schools.
- The change I proposed to the funding handbook detailing the Falling Rolls Fund has not yet been implemented, but is in the LA’s “to do” list.
- There has not been a substantial change in school balances rolled over from 14/15 to 15/16 in the primary sector (anecdotally, I think this is because schools are saving for 16/17 and/or 17/18 when the crunch will hit). This is unlike the secondary sector, where the crunch has already hit, with a 38% reduction in rollover.
I hope everyone has a wonderful and well earned Summer break.