Agenda and minutes

Kirklees Schools Forum - Friday 15th October 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Textile Centre of Excellence, Red Doles Lane, Huddersfield HD2 1YE

Contact: David Gearing  Email:

No. Item


Welcome & Introductions

Michelle Lee


The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introductions were made.


Apologies for absence

Michelle Lee


Apologies for absence were received from Darren Christian, Paul Evans, Andi Gilroy Sinclair, Catherine Jubbs, David Wadsworth and Martin Vayro.


Minutes of the Schools Forum Public meeting held on 25th June 2021 pdf icon PDF 438 KB

Minutes of the Schools Forum Public meeting held on 25th June 2021


The minutes of the above meeting were agreed as a correct record.


Matters arising from 25th June 2021 meeting


4.1 Fair Funding For Schools – National Funding Formula (NFF)

Jo-Anne Sanders (JAS) thanked members of the sub-forum NFF working group for their work in preparing a response to the Department for Education’s (DfE) approach to completing reforms to the NFF.


4.2 Members noted that the response was shared with colleagues throughout Kirklees, who were encouraged to compile their own response to the proposals or endorse that drafted by the sub-forum NFF working group.


4.3 Schools Forum Membership

Natalie McSheffrey (NMcS) updated Members on the current membership and it was noted that there was a vacancy for an Academy Member, which Academy Members were asked to publicise on behalf of the Schools Forum. There was also a possibility that there would be a further vacancy for a Secondary Maintained Headteacher Member.


Kirklees Education & Learning Partnership Board (standing item)

Kirklees Futures


·         Natalie McSheffrey & Board Members

·         Chris Jessup











































































































































































Kirklees Education Learning Partnership Board (Standing Item)

NMcS informed Members that the Education and Learning Partnership Board had met on 22nd September 2021 and 13th October 2021 respectively.


22nd September 2021

NMcS stated that an update on SEND had been given at the meeting by Paul Harris (Children's Improvement and Corporate Relationship Manager) and Tom Brailsford (Service Director – Resources, Improvement and Partnerships), in connection with the imminent Ofsted inspection. The update focused on the SEND SEF and the Kirklees SEND Transformation Plan, which NMcS agreed to share with Members.

Action 11: That NMcS circulate copies of the SEND SEF and the Kirklees SEND Transformation Plan to Members.


13th October 2021

NMcS reported that the meeting on 13th October had focused on the Kirklees Families Together, Youth Places to Go initiative, Teaching Hub and Virtual School.


Kirklees Families Together

Members were informed that a report had been signed off by Cabinet on 5th October and that work streams had been set up, along with a place based offer. In order to meet requirements, the Council had divided the provision across four geographical areas, which were:

  • Huddersfield (Chestnut Children’s Centre)
  • Dewsbury & Mirfield (Dewsbury Moore Children’s Centre)
  • Batley & Spenborough (Birstall Children’s Centre)
  • Kirklees Rural (Colne & Holme Valleys, Denby Dale & Kirkburton – Slaithwaite Town Hall)


Youth Places to Go

NMcS informed the meeting that the ‘Youth Places to Go’ was an initiative identified by the Youth Development Programme Board.


The proposed vision was that all children and young people in Kirklees would be able to access a range of fun, enjoyable and interesting activities and informal learning opportunities.   Youth Places to Go services would provide a place where children and young people could talk to people, feel safe and part of an inclusive and supportive environment that supported and encouraged children and young people to be their best. In order for the initiative to come to light, the following would be needed:

  • Establishment of a Youth Places to Go brand and criteria for a broad range of children and young people’s services.  
  • Establishment of a capital grant scheme for third sector voluntary community service providers. 
  • Creation of two Youth Places to Go in Huddersfield and North Kirklees. 
  • Exploration of the need for a mobile Youth Places to Go scheme for children and young people living in Kirklees most rural areas.


Teaching Hub

John McNally (CEO/Executive Headteacher – SHARE MAT) had given an update to the ELPB on how the Teaching Hubs were working. Members noted that things were very positive, with 500 plus applicants and mentors signed up over Kirklees and Calderdale areas, which included a good distribution between school sectors.


Virtual School

Janet Tolley (Virtual School Head teacher) had given an update to the ELPB about new non statutory guidance she was involved with. This covered all children aged 0 – 18  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Maintained School Excess Balances pdf icon PDF 657 KB

Maintained School Excess Balances including working group feedback


David Baxter














































































Maintained School Excess Balances Including Working Group Feedback (Standing Item)

Members received a paper prior to the meeting entitled ‘School Balances Working Group Feedback’, which David Baxter (DB) spoke about.


Members noted that a working group, consisting of Natalie McSheffrey, David Baxter, Hazel Danson, Darren Christian and Michelle Lee had met on 17th September to look at and discuss excess balances within Kirklees Primary and Secondary Maintained Schools.


DB reported that the 2020/21 balances of all maintained schools were first reported to Schools Forum on 25th June 2021 and again on 10th September 2021, highlighting excess balances. Nineteen maintained schools (14 Primary and 5 Secondary) had an excess surplus balance as at 31 March 2021.


DB reminded Members that a report to Schools Forum in September 2021 listed those schools which had exceeded the 8% and 10% tolerance of their total budget for the 2020/2021 financial year. The working group stated above had met on 17th September to look at these schools balances, in order to gain a greater understanding of the reasons behind their excess budgets.


Members were provided with a table which showed the combined balances of the excess balances in maintained primary and secondary schools.



Number of Establishments

Combined Balance

Primary Schools


£8.4 million

Special Schools


£0.4 million

Secondary Schools


£4.8 million



£13.6 million









DB reported that all schools with excess balances submitted a detailed return to the Schools Finance team, which outlined and explained how they planned to use the build-up of excess balances. He added that a selection of these schools was reviewed by the working group to evaluate the reasons for maintaining their excess balance and not utilising it.


Members noted that reasons for reporting increased balances were mainly attributable to the impact of COVID 19. This had a cumulative impact in some schools as savings were generated during the year because of the inability to spend resources as planned, due to the lockdown period.


DB explained that the Schools Forum had challenged excess balances in the past. As balances across maintained schools stood at £13.6 million, he informed Members that a control on surplus balances might need to be considered in line with guidance, which states that ‘where some level of redistribution would support improved provision across a local area’.


Following on from the meeting on the 17th September, DB reported that ML had suggested that a year on year comparison would help when considering how schools had managed their balances from 31st March 2020 to 31st March 2021. This information was shared with Members, which highlighted that of the nineteen schools with excess balances, only two of them had reported a reduced surplus. The five secondary schools had reported a combined increase in balances of just over £1.1 million in the period reviewed.


ML stated that the Schools Forum had received information relating to excess school  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


School Revenue Funding



































School Revenue Funding

DBinformed the meeting that he and his team were undertaking a lot of work in the background to plan the local implementation of the funding system for the 2022-2023 financial year (based on indicatory allocations in July 2021). He expected to be in a better position to report on what this might look like in December 2021, when final allocation figures would be in situ (based upon October 2021 census figures).


DB stated that there had been several updates made to the Schools revenue funding 2022 to 2023 Operational guide – July 2021 Publication, details of which could be accessed via the following website link: Schools_revenue_funding_2022_to_2023.pdf (


DB highlighted one big update within the guide, which was in relation to the payment process of schools business rates. Members noted that schools business rates would be paid by the ESFA to billing authorities directly on behalf of all state funded schools from 2022 to 2023 onwards.


Diana Wilson (DW) stated that in the past Head Teachers had been able to go to the LA to apply for ‘falling rolls funding’ and the LA had also worked closely with schools experiencing financial difficulties on a ‘debt recovery plan’.


JAS replied that the LA worked strategically to look at pupil numbers in its schools over several years and was able to predict when issues may arise through data it held on child birth rates. Where there was an expected drop in pupil numbers within a school(s), the LA worked with the school on this and offer support where it could. She added that whilst it was important to maintain this way of working with individual schools when and where required, the LA needed to be more pro-active in its strategic ways of working with key stakeholders.  


Martin Wilby (MW) agreed with JAS’s comments. For example, the falling roll numbers currently being experienced in primary schools would soon hit secondary schools. Therefore, where secondary schools were carrying excess balances, these might be needed when their pupil numbers begin to fall. So rather than consider putting in measures to claw back excess balances from some schools, it might be necessary for them to remain in situ so that they can overcome future problems such as falling pupil numbers.



High needs (Standing item)

SEND transformation plan, Special School Report and independent school fees


Kelsey Clarke-Davies


















High Needs

SEND Transformation Plan

JAS reported that a report had been presented to Cabinet to rebuild two special schools within Kirklees (Joseph Norton Academy and Woodley School & College). The report could be accessed via the following website link: 210924 Special Schools - Cabinet Report.pdf (


JAS stated that Eamon Croston (Service Director – Finance) and Mel Meggs (Director for Children's Services) would be invited to the Schools Forum Briefing meeting on 12th November 2021 to speak further about High Needs.

Action 13: That Eamon Croston and Mel Meggs be invited to the Schools Forum Briefing meeting on 12th November 2021.


JAS added that there was still work to be undertaken in relation to special school access to children and young people whose special educational needs required it, along with future funding of the provision, in order to ensure that that current and future educational needs were met. High Needs was part of the ‘Our Kirklees Futures’ vision and would remain a key area within it.




Ratification of Terms of Reference


Members received a copy of the revised Schools Forum Terms of Reference prior to the meeting, which they were asked to formally adopt.


Action 14: That the revised Schools Forum Terms of Reference be approved and adopted with immediate effect (Appendix A).



Any Other Business


There were no further items of business to discuss.


Dates & Times of Next Meetings

Dates and Times of next meetings: - 8:30 – 11:00


Friday 12th November 2021    Briefing Meeting         

Friday 26th November 2021    Briefing / Public Meeting

Friday 10th December 2021    Reserve Meeting



Dates and times of next meeting – all from 9:00 am – 11:30 am

·         Friday, 12th November 2021 – Briefing Meeting (venue – Cathedral House)

·         Friday, 26th  November 2021 – Briefing / Public Meeting

·         Friday, 10th December 2021 – Reserve Meeting