Agenda item

Clarifications requested at the previous meeting


Page 6 – what services maintained schools received from Early Years that academies did not

Derren Gray, Piggott Headteacher confirmed that he had received the information from Alison Pugh, Early Years Team Manager.


Page 7 – contingencies breakdown

Hawa Bedwa, Schools Finance Manager explained that due to transaction changes received in the morning, the document containing the breakdown that she had intended to circulate to Forum was irrelevant as the position had now changed.  Hawa proposed to update the document and circulate it with the minutes, Forum accepted this proposal.


The Chairman stated that as contingencies represented large amounts of money, the Forum would like to receive regular reports going forward.


Hawa stated that in relation to the 340K de-delegated items, a number of transactions had been identified to date totalling 222K, making the difference unspent 117K, however there were transactions still to be posted because the system had not been available to use.  It was possible that once all adjustments were taken into account there would be an underspent of 84K, it was anticipated that this would be fully spent by year end.


Hawa informed the items related to:


·           music for Looked After Children (LAC) £9.3K

·           school funding for additional pupils £19K

·           safeguarding for children £25K


As there was uncertainty over the figures for music for LAC Hawa stated she would double check and report back to Forum. 


Subsequently Hawa informed that the music for LAC amounted to £7K.  The contingencies breakdown is attached to the minutes.


Hawa was confident that from April, with the new system, the figures would be worked out from actuals and therefore would be more accurate.


In response to a question, Hawa explained that safeguarding related to a subscription to the Local Safeguarding Children’s Board (LSCB).  Hawa stated that this had been agreed by Schools Forum in the past.  John Bayes, Vice-Chairman confirmed that to be the case.


Hawa stated that the bulk of the spent was £163K approximately and consisted of a variance on business rates. The cost had changed considerably and therefore had to be considered under contingencies. Janet Perry, Holt School Business Manager stated that she believed this related to council tax and questioned if this should have been budgeted for.  Hawa explained that this had been budgeted for; however the rates were received late, so there was variance in the rates.  John Bayes believed this related to uniform business rates and he understood this money was recouped from the government; therefore it did not make any difference to Schools Forum.  After discussions, the Chairman asked for further clarification on the following:


·           whether this money was recouped or not

·           whether this should be budgeted for

·           what to do if there were changes during the year, and

·           what to do with any differences


Hawa agreed to investigate and report back with more details, including a full breakdown of contingencies, to be circulated with the minutes.


Page 7 – Detailed analysis for all costs for 2018/19

The Chairman stated that a detailed analysis of all WBC costs in each line was asked at the December meeting.  Hawa stated that that analysis would be undertaken at year end and reported back to Schools Forum.


Page 8 – Pupil Growth Fund

Hawa stated that due to the re-structure that was currently taking place she had only been able to visit two schools.  She was hopeful that she would in the near future be able to visit the other schools and meet with the relevant people to calculate the costs to date and make sure the budget had been spent.  If not, the budget would be revised.


Hawa explained that the budget had to be revised in order to reduce the budget from 1.5million to 1.3million, all projects would be revised.


Alan Stubbersfield, Interim Head of Learning and Achievement explained some of the principles behind pupil growth fund.  Firstly, if a school recruited up to its planned admission number of 30, there would be no cost to growth fund.  Secondly, a new school always incurred establishment costs before it opened to pupils.


Carole Simpson, Colleton School Business Manager pointed out that it was important to consider that there were two scenarios in this situation: i) maintained schools that agreed to take on new classes and ii) new schools, and it was not possible to compare them.


The Chairman was seeking to have reassurance that there was control over the spend in new build.  He asked that the report be split to show pupil related issues and non-pupil related issues in order to clarify the questions around the pupil growth fund.  Hawa agreed to provide this information in future reports.


Corrina Gillard, Emmbrook Infant School Headteacher expressed concern that schools had not been consulted on the expansion programme and asked who had made the decision as to which schools were selected for expansion.  She believed that there were two schools within her cluster that could have been expanded at half the cost of the current programme.  She was concerned that there had been no transparency in the process.


Alan Stubbersfield explained that the decision involved a complex analysis of the pupil pressure areas in the borough, talking to headteachers and other factors.  Piers Brunning, Service Manager, Policy, Strategy and Partnerships had been involved in the planning of the expansion project.


Councillor Richard Dolinski stated that it was the Council that made that decision, based on the information provided by Officers.


The Chairman suggested that Officers should consider implementing a mechanism to consult schools about future expansion plans.  Alan believed that there was consultation with schools, but perhaps this should be extended.  Alan agreed to provide a clarification as to how senior leaders in schools would be consulted in the future.


Page 8 – whether there was an overspend against redundancy costs

Alan reported that there was no significant overspend this year.  Alan did not have the figures available; this would be circulated with the minutes.


Page 9 – consultation with schools

There was a general consensus that this was no longer required going forward.


Page 10 – the inclusion of Just Around the Corner as a placement provider

There was no update, clarification would follow with the minutes.


Page 10 – SEN transport

There was no update, clarification would follow with the minutes.