Venue: Rivermead Primary School, Loddon Bridge Road, Woodley, RG5 4BS
Contact: Luciane Bowker Democratic Services Officer
Election of Chairman
To elect a Chairman of the Forum for the 2016/2017 academic year.
Paul Miller was appointed Chairman of the Schools Forum for the 2016/2017 academic year in his absence.
Election of Vice-Chairman
To elect a Vice-Chairman for the 2016/2017 academic year.
John Bayes was appointed Vice-Chairman for the 2016/2017 academic year.
In the absence of the Chairman the Vice-Chairman took the chair.
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were submitted from Linda Orr, Mary Davies, Helen Ball, Paul Miller, James Taylor, Janet Perry, Ginny Rhodes, Ian Head and Maggie Seagrove.
Declaration of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest submitted.
The Forum to consider Wokingham Borough Council’s response to the Government’s consultation on the changes to funding for three and four year olds.
Alan Stubbersfield, Interim Head of Learning and Achievement presented the report which contained Wokingham Borough Council’s proposed response to the Early Years Government consultation on funding. Alan went through the report highlighting the following points:
· Most questions in the consultation required ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers, however Alan felt that some issues were too complex for a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer;
· The way that Early Years was funded was changing and the Government was seeking responses to the consultation by 22 September 2016;
· More clarity was needed as to how the future free entitlement to 30 hours for working families was going to be administered. The provision for Early Years would have to expand to meet demand. There would be changes to the local funding formulae; each local authority would have to distribute the funding to their providers. Alan predicted financial pressures in the system as a whole;
· Alan stated that it was not yet known how the new Early Years funding would impact Wokingham, therefore he advised caution;
· Alan pointed out that the Government consultation proposed to limit the size of supplements to 10% as well as limiting the type of supplement that could be used. The current supplements made up 18% of the total amount providers received so this was a significant reduction;
· Alan stated that it was important to incentivise providers to expand to meet the predicted demand of free 30 hours for working families. However, Wokingham was a high cost area and there may be a cost issue for providers considering increasing places;
· Alan reminded Members that Wokingham was historically low funded and urged caution with regards to expectations of increased funding. It was difficult to know what every Early Years providers would actually receive;
· Alison Pugh, Early Years Team Manager explained that a briefing with providers regarding this consultation and its proposals had already taken place.
Alan went through Appendix 1 which was a summary of the Early Years consultations and the challenges faced by Wokingham. The main points of discussion are listed below:
· Alan stated that in the past, when a universal base rate was first introduced, it had initially been thought to be advantageous for Wokingham; however this had proved not to be the case in practice;
· Wokingham had only one maintained nursery school;
· The numbers of new eligible families in September 2017 were not yet known;
· The Disability Living Allowance (DLA) did not equal Special Educational Needs (SEN); a child could have a low cost high incidence special educational need which required support but did not attract DLA;
· WBC did not currently passport monies from its High Needs Block (HNB) to 3 and 4 year olds unless the setting requested the money via the moderation panel.
Alan suggested the Forum analysed appendix 2 in detail, this contained the draft response to the consultation. The Forum went through each question, with some question being discussed in more details as listed below:
Question 9 – Should there be an early years national funding formula ... view the full minutes text for item 5.