Latest from School’s Forum
Once again, thanks to Carew Reynell for the latest news from Bristol School’s Forum.
The Schools Forum’s first meeting of the 2016/17 academic year took place on 27th September. At the meeting, 2016/17 spending was reviewed, and some issues relating to 2017/18 were discussed.
Spending in 2016/17 was reported to be in line with budget, except for high needs spending. There, despite measures estimated to save £3.2m in a full year, an overspending of £1.9m is projected. This is additional to an overspending of £1.9m brought forward from 2015/16.
In relation to 2017/18:
- it was confirmed that the Government’s proposed national ‘fair funding formula’ has been postponed to 2018/19;
- changes to the EFA’s measure of deprivation have resulted in an increase in the number of students in the top bands of deprivation, reversing the change that resulted in a substantial transfer of funds from deprivation to AWPU/high needs for 2016/17. It will be necessary to decide whether to maintain the amount of finance allocated per student for 2017/18, thus transferring funding back to deprivation from AWPU;
- further action will be required to deal with the accumulating high needs overspend. Possibilities suggested for consideration were i) clawing back surplus balances from maintained schools (which provoked a lot of adverse comment) and ii) further transfers from the Schools Block.
From this, it will be seen that the AWPU may be under pressure from deprivation and high needs. At the Forum’s next meeting, it will have the opportunity to comment on the totality of the Council’s proposals for the use of the 2017/18 Schools, High Needs and Early Years blocks.
The Forum also agreed amendments to the Falling Rolls and Growth Fund policies, to clarify the circumstances in which schools are eligible for allocations.