Agenda and minutes

Kirklees Schools Forum - Friday 28th June 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Tolson Museum, Ravensknowle Park, Wakefield Road, Moldgreen,Huddersfield, HD5 8DJ

Contact: David Gearing  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence


Apologies had been received from Karen Colligan (High School Heads), Kath Duffy (Pre-School Learning Alliance), Carmen Gonzalez (Post-16 sector), Catherine Jubbs (Academy Heads), Claire Minogue (Primary Heads), Marcus Newby (Primary Heads), Cllr Carole Pattison (the new portfolio holder for Learning, Aspiration and Communities), Martin Ridge (Pupil Referral Units), Diana Wilson (Primary Heads) and Sarah Wilson (Special Academy Heads).



Minutes of the Forum meeting held on 8th March 2019 pdf icon PDF 186 KB


The minutes were agreed to be a true record of the meeting.


Matters arising from the 8th March 2019


Nothing was raised.



Kirklees Education & Learning Partnership Board (standing item)

KELPB members


Topics covered at the latest Board meeting included…


Local schools recruitment strategy – Harkireet Sohel and Natalie McSheffrey are working with Human Resources to devise the strategy. The initial work will research the current picture in Kirklees, including identified skills gaps and subject area shortages. Sarah Rawnsley will be doing the initial piece of work with a view to feeding back to officers in August and to the Partnership Board at their meeting in September.


The last board meeting received a briefing on School Transport and Travel Assistance which will be shared more widely via Heads Up in the next couple of weeks. Travel assistance entails a different and more flexible approach to the transport to school of children with high needs. Rather than an automatic assumption of use of a bus or a taxi more will be done to examine what can be done to support the families with travel issues. An example was given of supporting the cost of driving lessons for a parent with a longer term aim of the family handling travel arrangements for themselves.


Safeguarding issues were also covered, including a briefing on Social Care. This sparked a conversation at Forum about schools not being allowed to make contact with Care services without first getting the consent of the parent(s) to make the approach. A view was expressed that because schools are part of “children’s services” it is only right that they should be allowed to contact other services/agencies about their pupils’ needs. The routes to pursue are no longer clear. It is also not clear what has changed – is the restricted contact a result of GDPR compliance or simply a staff capacity issue?


2018-19 Dedicated Schools Grant Outturn pdf icon PDF 30 KB

  • Closedown summary
  • ‘Reorganisation’ pressures
  • Roll-over decisions


David Gearing


  • Closedown summary


The 2018-19 DSG outturn summary position was considered. On the bottom line of the 2018-19 account is overspend of £8,435,700. In terms of the component funding blocks of the DSG this breaks down as follows: -


High Needs funding block                                      £8,057,100    over

Early Years funding block                                      £   566,000    under

Schools funding block                                             £   944,600    over

Total                                                                          £8,435,700


The High Needs funding block continues to experience increasing pressure due to rising numbers of children having education, health and care plans and the rising complexity of identified needs. Although the Council’s own budget position also continues to be extremely challenging, there is some acceptance that no real purpose would be served by rolling forward the High Needs deficit into financial year 2019-20 to increase the scale of the problem next year. The Council’s general fund is in a position, as last year, to be able to absorb the 2018-19 high needs overspend and not roll it forward into next financial year. It is very unlikely that the Council will be in a position to do something similar at the end of FY 2019-20. It is imperative that every effort is made to turn the situation round via a combination of increased grant funding and a sustained effort to ensure that high needs children are placed in provision appropriate to their level of need. This will entail the creation of more local specialist places which will take time to make available. The Forum wished to record its thanks to the Council for the action it has taken once again to ‘vent’ the building high needs pressure.


Given that the 2018-19 High Needs pressure has already been dealt with, the focus of the discussions today needs to be on the schools block deficit and whether any of the Early Years underspend is available to help.


  • ‘Reorganisation’ pressures


There will be a number of “reorganisation” pressures to address within financial year 2019-20. It is helpful that Kirklees has benefited from the new method of allocating growth provision within the DSG with the Forum having previously agreed to the retention centrally of the additional sum of £698,500 for 2019-20. The new funding will mitigate the effect of any remaining deficit to be rolled forward within the school reorganisation account.


The main demands upon the 2019-20 reorganisation account are expected to fall under the headings of diseconomies support (for new schools still growing by one year group a year – Beaumont, Brambles and Luck Lane); demand pressures for additional school places – a number of secondary providers have agreed to admit beyond their normal planned admission number this coming Autumn and there will be a need to help them with the cost implications of new class arrangements; and the first effects of the Almondbury area reorganisation and transitional arrangements could begin to impact in 2019-20 (still subject to relevant Council decision-making processes).It would be prudent for any ‘spare’ 2018-19 DSG funds to be directed towards the reorganisation account if possible.


  • The Early Years account


Martin  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Any other business


No other business was raised.


Date and time of next meeting

To be confirmed.


Friday 18th October 2019    10:00am         Tolson Museum