Agenda and minutes

Virtual Meeting, Kirklees Schools Forum - Friday 16th October 2020 10.30 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting - online. View directions

Contact: David Gearing  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for absence



Apologies had been received from Darren Christian (Academy Heads), Hazel Danson (NEU), Kath Duffy (Early Years Learning Alliance), Carmen Gonzalez-Eslava (Post-16), Laura Flynn (Special Academy Heads) and Ronnie Hartley (Head of Education Safeguarding & Inclusion).



Minutes of the Forum meeting held on 6th March 2020 pdf icon PDF 266 KB

[The public meeting on 26th June was cancelled due to the health emergency]


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


Matters arising from the 6th March 2020 meeting



No matters were raised.


Membership update for 20/21 academic year pdf icon PDF 431 KB



Representation to the Forum from the mainstream schools sector has to be proportionate to the numbers of children [Reception to Year 11] attending schools in each of the sectors. Normally this would be derived from an analysis of the May pupil census but due to the pandemic that return was cancelled this year. Instead officers have used the October 2019 census to determine the Forum membership numbers for this new academic year, taking care to reflect recent academy conversions in the analysis. The updated numbers confirm that there isn’t a need to change the proportionate representation from the existing 5 maintained primary, 1 maintained secondary and 4 mainstream academy reps. In the academy sector there is no requirement in regulation for the representation to be sector proportionate – the pupil numbers would indicate there should be one primary academy rep and three from secondary academies. At the moment the Forum has two representatives from each phase.


Maintained Primary pupils

Maintained Secondary pupils

Primary Academy pupils

Secondary Academy pupils












5 reps

1 rep

1 rep

3 reps



The onlyrepresentation vacancy going into the new academic year was in the maintained primary sector. Following a ballot process organised through Kirklees Primary Heads (KPH) Helen Pearson, head teacher of Moldgreen Community Primary School, was duly elected to the vacant maintained Primary school slot. Today is Helen’s first Forum meeting. Introductions were made and welcome given.



Kirklees Education & Learning Partnership Board (standing item)

KELPB Members



A verbal report was given to the meeting about the Board meeting held on 7th October 2020.


Chris Taylor and Ann Fell, the interim School Improvement leadership were introduced to the Board.


A number of SEND topics were covered. Ronnie Hartley briefed on the SEND improvement plan. The challenges surrounding SEND children returning to school settings were discussed – social distancing is not easy to maintain, but there is acknowledgement that health and safety considerations are paramount. Requests for new EHCP assessments tailed off somewhat during the lockdown period but are now building back up – the assessment panel processes continued throughout. Compliance with statutory assessment timescales is being achieved in 80% of cases.


The Board also looked at the current mix of blended learning models operating in the local post-16 sector, at a rise in the numbers of electively home-educated children in comparison to last year and the latest on patterns of attendance and the issuing of penalty notices to parents. An update was also given about the Summer Activity programme. There will be other such activities offered over the October half-term period.


The Education & Improvement sub-committee also fed back on the Challenge and Support strategy and working with those schools which are due for an Ofsted inspection in the near future.


The Next KE&LPB meeting is due to take place on 4th November.



High Needs Budget (standing item)



Ronnie Hartley was unable to attend today’s meeting but had sent through an update note.


Ronnie and Andrew Bentley had delivered a webinar on 6th October about the SEND mainstream funding proposals. Attendance at the webinar was disappointing but the session was recorded and subsequently has been made available to schools via a hyperlink. The proposals were also presented to the SENCO network meeting yesterday where 150 ‘delegates’ attended.


Interim arrangements have been made to cover the Head of Education Safeguarding & Inclusion role when Ronnie moves on to pastures new next week. Judith Nash will be working 4 days per week to cover the main responsibilities. Pat Bullen will be covering 1 day per week to support with the capital delivery programme with particular regard to the special sector and any related issues arising from the specialist and alternative provisions review which Jane Friswell is leading on. Both are highly experienced in the field of SEND issues. The recruitment process for a permanent substantive replacement for Ronnie starts next week.



Ongoing (financial) implications for schools arising from the Covid-19 health emergency



It is understood that the ESFA will be making the next tranche of additional Covid-19 costs payments to schools at the end of this month. So far they have only paid claims which were limited to the three specified headings. No claims have so far been paid to schools which had claimed in the ‘other costs’ section. However, the ESFA will now release funding to those schools in respect of amounts claimed under the three specified headings. There is no word yet about when the outcome of the other costs claims will become clear. To give the above some financial context, the total claim from the maintained school sector amounted to £1.39m. The first payment reimbursed £0.29m, the second should reimburse £0.48m leaving £0.62m tied up in the ESFA’s consideration of the other costs.


The Forum wrote to the Education Department last month to express concerns that schools would be left to meet some significant Covid-19 related costs from their own already stretched budgets. It was decided that a second letter is now merited and this should also mention the additional costs schools have been bearing since the September return to education. To support that officers agreed to collect information from schools and academies about the costs they included in the ‘other’ section of the July claim form and about the scale of additional costs incurred from the start of this term. Sixth form and FE Colleges should be included within the trawl for information as that sector is particularly impacted currently. The NASUWT have pulled together a briefing note on related issues which expresses concerns that schools’ worries about overspending their budgets might compromise the safety of children and school staff members. Head teachers should not be placed in a position of having to decide between safety and affordability. 


Other issues were raised. The increasing incidence of support staff absence due to Covid-19 circumstances is presenting a real issue for many schools for continued delivery of education. Kirklees’ absence insurance schemes have been adapted to cover such circumstances faced within insured staff groups but there is no insurance scheme for classroom support staff other than in the specialist sector. The special school representative has already raised the problem of supply costs mounting up because the absence insurance doesn’t cover the first two working days of an absence. A further need for supply cover arises when staff members’ own children get sent home from their school and no childcare can be put in place. The academy reps confirmed that their private staff absence insurers are increasingly not covering all Covid-related circumstances. Academies that have organised their own in-house catering provision are suffering badly from restricted meals income from parents.


The Nursery School rep spoke about how nursery schools (and nursery units) had been excluded from the Covid-19 additional cost claims route.



ESFA-directed revisions to the Scheme for Financing Schools

David Gearing



This item was deferred to be considered at the next Schools Forum briefing. 


2019-20 DSG Outturn summary and decisions arising therefrom pdf icon PDF 627 KB

David Gearing

Additional documents:



A summary table detailing the 2019-20 outturn position for all the ‘central’ Dedicated Schools Grant budgets was made available to the meeting. On the bottom line the account shows an overspend of £14.40m. This breaks down across the DSG funding blocks as follows: -


High Needs Block                £12.88m        overspend

Early Years Block             - (£0.98)m        underspend

Schools Block / CSSB        £ 0.32m          overspend

Schools Block                       £2.18m           (technical overspend)


Total                                      £14.40m


High Needs Block


The overspend within the High Needs funding block is wholly attributable to 2019-20 activity. In each of the two preceding financial years the Council’s general fund has been deployed to mop up the increasing overspends in the High Needs account. Such action is no longer permitted with the ESFA now instructing that any DSG overspends must instead be shown against the DSG balance sheet – Councils are no longer allowed to use their own funds to mitigate DSG budget problems. Once the balance sheet deficit becomes apparent within government returns the ESFA will engage with the Council about a deficit recovery plan (although the Council will want to focus upon the delayed allocation of Kirklees’ full entitlement to its High Needs National Funding Formula outcome).


Early Years Block


A significant factor in the build-up of the balance in the account is the DfE’s use of the January census as an average for distribution of funding – seasonal variations in numbers of children attending early years provision means there is often a divergence between funding received and actual payments to providers. In-year adjustments by the ESFA to the Early Years funding block can also compound the divergence and are not easy to anticipate. Part of the £982.2k balance relates to a decision made a year ago to use some of the 2018-19 balance to increase the hourly rate to providers by 6p through to the end of the Summer term 2020.  


A report considered by the Early Years Reference Group proposed the following usage of the Early Years balance during FY 2020-21…



Estimated cost

Double-funding of some children of key workers / vulnerable children


Provision for bad debts


Commitment to temp 6p increase to hourly rates for Summer term 2020


Continued risks associated with deprivation supplement funding


Balance available to increase hourly rates Autumn 20 and Spring 21







Double-funding situations arose during the lockdown for a number of reasons such as the closure (temporary or otherwise) of a provider or the need for a child to attend just one provision to comply with guidance where previously they might have attended one provider for part of the week and another provider for the remainder of the week. It is now anticipated that the cost of double-funding will be much lower than the figure in the above table unless the virus resurfaces to spark a second period of lockdown. Given the uncertainty for many private, voluntary and independent (PVI) providers there is a potential for the bad debt provision to be under some  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.


Schools Funding 2021-22 - news from the ESFA pdf icon PDF 384 KB

David Gearing



The meeting was taken through a briefing paper which set out the main changes to Dedicated Schools Grant funding for 2021-22.


Schools Funding Block


There will be an average 3% increase in National Funding Formula (NFF) factors next funding year. In addition to that both the Teachers’ Pay Grant (TPG) and the Teachers’ Pension Employer Contribution Grant (TPECG) will cease and the funds will transfer into the NFF (from 1/4/21 for maintained schools and 1/9/21 for academies). This will affect several factors - £180 will be added to both the Primary age-weighted pupil unit (AWPU) and the minimum funding amount per primary pupil; £265 will be added to both the KS3 and KS4 AWPU values and the minimum funding amount per secondary pupil; these values will also be added to 2020-21 funding baselines to ensure that schools receive their proper share of the former grant monies.


The IDACI (Income Deprivation Affecting Children Index) NFF factor will operate differently from 2021-22. The ESFA will use the 2019 IDACI statistics for the first time. To avoid a potential repeat of the financial turbulence that happened the last time the IDACI data set was updated, the seven IDACI bands will work from a ranking system rather than pure IDACI scores. In this way, nationally at least, the numbers of children within each band should remain comparable between the new and outgoing sets of statistics.


In other news, the ESFA is to consult on proposals to make changes to the NFF to provide further support to small and remote schools from funding year 2022-23. And plans are afoot to move to a ‘hard’ national funding formula from 2022-23 with all schools funded by the NFF. (No real implications for Kirklees schools as the LA has already largely adopted the NFF factor values. The only question mark should be over whether there will still be locally-determined premises factor funding under the new system).


High Needs Funding Block


Kirklees received a £6.1m increase to its High Needs allocation in 2020-21 and the ESFA has now illustrated a further £5.6m increase for 2021-22. [Kirklees’ High Needs account overspent by £12.9m in 2019-20]. The Government is loading more funding into NFF High Needs budget allocations. Kirklees’ increase for 21-22 represents the maximum 12% gain per head of population and Kirklees’ eventual High Needs NFF outcome is now illustrated to be £55.24m, therefore another increase of £6.56m is waiting beyond 2021-22. This new funding context is helpful but the delay in the entitled amount of funding reaching the local authority is a significant underlying factor in our deficit problem.


It was asked where the local authority has got to with plans to increase the number of local specialist places to reduce the incidence of expensive external placements. Jane Friswell has now started work and will be leading a review process looking into the sufficiency of local specialist places, focussing particularly upon specialist provisions, alternative provision places and arrangements for excluded pupils. As part of the SEND masterplan there are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.


Date and time of next meeting

Friday 27th November 2020 - details of venue or on-line meeting to be confirmed



The next meeting is to be held on Friday 27th November 2020 (9.30am) via virtual meeting (Microsoft Teams)