Agenda and minutes

Kirklees Schools Forum - Friday 18th October 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 Darren Christian (Academy Heads), Hazel Danson (NEU), Paul Davies (School Governors), Carmen Gonzalez-Eslava (Post-16), Claire Minogue (Primary Heads), Cllr Carole Pattison (Portfolio Holder for Learning, Aspiration & Communities) Jo-Anne Sanders (Service Director – Learning & Early Support) and Sarah Wilson (Special Academy Heads).


Minutes of the Forum meeting held on 28th June 2019 pdf icon PDF 176 KB


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


Matters arising from the 28th June 2019


Nothing was raised.


Membership update / proportionate representation for academic year 2019/20


Taking the May 2019 pupil census, the proportion for secondary pupils in maintained schools has fallen from 14.86% of the total to 13.60% whilst the proportion of secondary pupils in academies has risen from 23.60% to 25.39%.


The balance is now 63.07% maintained and 36.93% academy – a rounded outcome of 6 maintained representatives and 4 academy representatives.

So the conclusion was that one of the maintained Secondary representatives needed to step down and there needs to be a nomination and elections process to elect a fourth academy representative from the overall academy sector.


A nomination and election process for the fourth academy representative will take place as soon as feasibly possible.


Kirklees Education & Learning Partnership Board (standing item)


There had been two main topics considered at the last KE&LPB meeting: -


Data and Outcomes – the latest set of school outcomes locally had seen positive movement across many of the key stages of the national curriculum. This was seen to be both an individual and a group effort by schools. All the relevant data is being brought together into a report. Once the data has been through a validation process the report will be shared more widely.


Recruitment & Retention – the local picture. Sarah Rawnsley has been gathering information from local schools about their recruitment and retention issues. The timing of the exercise could have been better and has had an effect upon response rates. However, it should be possible to pursue some ‘quick wins’ from what has already been learnt. A more detailed piece of work will be undertaken, gathering more information via individual conversations with schools about what is working and what isn’t with the aim of putting a strategy in place to help.


Schools funding 2020-21 - news and scoping of decisions needed for the new school funding round


The Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) has recently made a number of important announcements about Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) funding for 2020-21. The DSG has four component funding blocks:


Schools Funding Block


Within the Schools Block the finalised Primary and Secondary units of funding have been announced for Kirklees as £4,245.53 and £5,433.31 respectively. Application of these values to the October 2018 census data produces a £7.62m increase (from £293.50m to £301.13m) which is a 2.60% rise. There is an expectation that every mainstream school will see at least a 1.84% inflationary rise in their funding per pupil when compared to 2019-20 baselines. The difference between this requirement and the 2.60% overall rise is largely due to the inclusion of additional funds for a new formula-based pupil mobility factor next year and funding to support the (compulsory) increase to the minimum per pupil funding levels for 2020-21 (from £3,500 to £3,750 for primary schools and £4,800 to £5,000 for secondary schools). If the October 2019 census return contains more pupils than the previous October census does, Kirklees’ final Schools Block allocation will show a further increase above the illustrated £301.13m.


High Needs Funding Block


In terms of the High Needs Block there is some good news with increased funding being delivered for 2020-21 and a promise of a further increase after that. For funding year 2020-21 Kirklees’ High Needs Block will increase from £37.06m to £43.07m. The increase may be slightly more in the event once the latest census data is used. Kirklees will receive the maximum 17% increase per head of population compared to 2019-20. And the projected eventual outcome for our High Needs NFF has also been improved such that Kirklees is now projected to see a further increase in the funding block of £5.7m. [Funding beyond 2020-21 is still subject to confirmation by the Treasury and there is no indication about how quickly the additional money would flow through to the Council].


Another significant contextual change for our High Needs pressures is the ESFA’s consultation about changes to some DSG terms and conditions. That document proposes to remove from local authorities the ability to use their general fund to absorb or mitigate overspends within the DSG account. Kirklees has taken such action in each of the last two years to deal with its High Needs pressures but, if the proposal is adopted, will not be able to help with the 2019-20 DSG deficit. Instead, any deficit in the DSG will have to be rolled forward as a liability on the DSG balance sheet. The declared deficit will trigger further engagement with the ESFA and a requirement to agree a deficit recovery plan for the High Needs portion of the DSG.


Central Schools Services Funding Block


The 2020-21 Central Schools Services Block allocation to Kirklees will suffer an £87k decrease from its 2019-20 level. Part of this stems from the natural progression of NFF phasing protection withdrawal – Kirklees’ per pupil unit of funding drops from £33.99 to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Update re High Needs Budget pressures / actions


Kirklees’ High Needs account continues to experience significant financial pressure. As the update at item 6 above reveals Kirklees stands to receive increased High Needs funding from next year and beyond which will help to ease some of that pressure but the increase is not coming quickly enough to resolve the problem. Also it seems likely, following a consultation process, that local authorities will be prevented in future from using their own resources to bail out DSG deficits, with overspends then having to be parked as liabilities within the DSG balance sheet and a plan agreed with the ESFA to return the account at least to an in-year balance within a specified period.


The main pressure points within Kirklees’ High Needs funding account continue to be:


·         Mainstream top-ups – growing numbers of children with Education, Health and Care Plans and increasing levels of complex need within the top-up structure.

·         Special Schools – increased complexity of needs coming through replacing children leaving with lower level need by comparison. Also increased cost from creating a needed local ASD provision

·         Increased Alternative Provision costs currently being temporarily addressed by ETHOS MAT at the request of the local authority

·         Independent specialist placement costs – rising costs in terms of the number of placements and costs per place as supply exceeds demand

·         Rising numbers of high needs students in the post-16 and FE sectors as a result of the extension of high needs responsibilities to the age of 25 (without a matching increase in funding being provided)


The meeting was asked for volunteers to sit on a task and finish group with relevant officers with the aim of devising a 10-point improvement plan to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of Kirklees’ High Needs arrangements. It was suggested that one representative from each of the main school sectors would be sufficient. Paul Evans (Special Schools), Catherine Jubb (Primary academy) and Martin Ridge (Alternative Provision) put themselves forward to participate. This leaves a space for a representative from the Secondary sector – a request will be made to the Kirklees High School Heads (KHSH) group.


Any other business


No other business was raised.


Confirm minutes




Date and time of next meeting

Friday 29th November 2019 10:00am


Friday 29th November 2019, 10.00am start, Tolson Museum.