Agenda and minutes

Kirklees Schools Forum - Friday 23rd June 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Willow Room, Cathedral House, St Thomas' Road, Huddersfield HD1 3LG

Contact: Schools Forum Team  Email:

No. Item


Apologies for Absence


Apologies for Absence


The Chair welcomed all to the meeting.

Matthew Pinder was noted as a new Forum Member representing School Governors.


Apologies were received from:

·         Ian Rimmer – Secondary Academy Head

·         Kath Duffy – Early Years

·         Hazel Danson - NEU

·         Martin Wilby – Head of Education Places and Access

·         Dean Langton – Service Director Finance

·         Mel Meggs – Strategic Director for Children’s Services

·         Sally Rawson – Kirklees College



Minutes of the Schools Forum meeting held on 3rd March 2023 pdf icon PDF 515 KB


Minutes of the Schools Forum Public meeting held on 3 March 2023


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



Matters arising from meeting held on 3rd March 2023


Matters arising from meeting held on 3 March 2023


There were no matters arising for discussion.


Kirklees Education & Learning Partnership Board (standing item)

KELPB attendees – Verbal update


Kirklees Education & Learning Partnership Board (KELPB)


Jo-Anne Sanders updated the meeting on the meeting of the KELPB meetings held since 3rd March.


The following areas were discussed at the meeting on the 15th March.


·         Budget discussions and Kirklees Cabinet financial approvals.

·         A presentation from Professor Paul Miller about inclusion and equity as well as his research into exclusions. There is an opportunity for collective training in the LA in relation to equality and inclusion which we hope to have in place for the new academic year.

·         Feedback to KELPB on the Government White paper and discussions together with head teachers from maintained schools.

·         Data was shared about LA Traded Services and what was being bought back by schools and settings. There is more work to do in this area to develop Management Information.

·         Committee feedback was provided by Education Improvement Committee, Service Committee and Places, Access and Inclusion Committee.


The following areas were discussed at the meeting on the 26th April.

·         The main focus of the meeting was learning place sufficiency. A detailed presentation was made to the Board covering all phases of education.

·         The presentation slides will be circulated.

·         There are planned changes in Early Years provision following government announcements.

·         We have falling numbers in the primary age youngsters. We need to look at options to move forward and these will be presented back to the KELPB meeting.

·         We currently have a bulge in secondary school pupil numbers which will feed through to Post 16.

·         There was a lot of discussion at the Board to secure a shared baseline of understanding in order to plan strategically moving forwards.

·         The presentation slides do give a top level overview.

·         We do need to have proposals given the current challenges on school budgets and the struggles to achieve balanced budgets. We need to do this collectively.


Slides to be circulated to Forum Members



The following areas were discussed at the meeting on the 7th June.


·         There was a follow up discussion of Sufficiency with feedback from Places, Access and Inclusion who had picked up some development work after the previous ELPB meeting.

·         There was an update on the new School Improvement Model. This included an update from The Educational Improvement Committee. Engagement has taken place on proposals. The outcome of engagement is ‘Agree / Strongly Agree’ with the new School Improvement Model proposals which will now be worked up with a view to the new approach being implemented for September 2023.

·         Vicky Metheringham (Service Director) updated the meeting on the preparations in place for the anticipated upcoming inspection of Childrens Services in the LA (ILACS) and what to expect.

·         There was an update on the scheduled Our Kirklees Futures Summit and Head Teacher Conference. The KELPB were assured that everything is in place for the event which is planned to take place on the 27th June 2023.



DSG outturn including school balances pdf icon PDF 391 KB

David Baxter


Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) outturn including school balances


David Baxter presented a paper on the DSG outturn position for 2022/2023 as well as 

Excess and Deficit Balances review 2022/2023 which was circulated before the meeting.


David Baxter updated the meeting and summarised key areas of the report.

           Combined Balances at 31 March 2023 £11.5m.

           Excess Balances at 31 March 2023 £1.74m.

           Schools with deficit balances at 31 March 2023 £0.398m.

           Next Steps


Q. Are excess balances defined as reporting a balance of over 10% of the total budget for Primary and Special schools and over 8% of the total budget for Secondary Schools?

A. Yes.


Q. Have we double checked the information provided by schools on proposed expenditure.

A. Not double checked but we can request additional information.


Q. have we had claw backs of excess balances in the past?

A. Yes.


Q. have we received information on proposed expenditure from all schools?

A. No not from every school yet.


Q. We should consider that schools on PPP contracts do have difficulty spending money due to delays in quotes and getting work done. We should look at the context for all schools with excess balances in detail.

A. Noted. It is also the case that some schools need to ‘save up’ for significant projects and in this period will have an excess balance.


It was noted by Jo- Anne Sanders that deficit balances in schools are actually more of a concern than excess balances.


Q. Is the total for schools with deficit balances at 31 March 2023 £398k. How is this being funded?

A. Schools are all working on action plans to resolve deficit balances.


Q. What happens to the deficit balance?

A. Schools will have to put in place action plans to achieve a balanced budget. Deficit budgets are not acceptable.


Q. In the case of Paddock school, the deficit is a result of a significant number of International New Arrivals. Funding will be received based on the census data. On this basis there is no significant concern.

A. Noted.


It was noted that, technically, excess balances can be clawed back but this should not be progressed unless we know the detailed context for the excess balances for all schools.


It is important that Schools Forum discuss excess balances. This is one of our checks for school funding. In the past, there have been valid cases to claw back excess balances.


David Baxter noted that there are ongoing discussions with schools with deficit budgets about action plans and staffing structures. Schools are working very hard to reduce deficits. All Schools have been challenged very hard to set balanced budgets as DSG resources are very limited for the financial year 2023/24.


Jo-Anne Sanders noted that a collective approach in the LA to sufficiency is very important. As has been fed back earlier, the KELPB are looking at sufficiency.

The DfE will review at the overall excess balance position across the LA in the context of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


High Needs Update

Jo-Anne Sanders – Verbal update


High Needs Update


Updated Safety Valve Management Plan


Jo-Anne Sanders updated the meeting.


·         The LA is currently in Enhanced Monitoring within the Safety Valve Programme. The LA are off track for the original savings plan.

·         A resubmission of the revised plan and trajectories is due on 30 June 2023.

·         Meetings have been held with DfE advisors.

·         After resubmission, if successful, quarterly monitoring of the revised plan will be put in place by the DfE.

·         It is very important that the LA stay within the Safety Valve Programme. There is over £16m of funding at risk for the LA.

·         There will be significant financial problems for the LA if they drop out of the Safety Valve Programme.

·         We have had meetings with the DfE during the re planning process and feedback has been taken. It is very important that the revised plan is based on realistic assumptions and delivery of the revised plan will be key.

·         We do still have challenges in the LA with provision.

·         The assumptions for the revised plan were summarised including;

-       A cap on out of area spend.

-       Additional provision to come on line in September 2023.

-       Early Years block transfer of £0.5m per annum.

-       SEND inclusion fund transfer and cap on spending.

-       Consultant (Peter Gray) work on different ways of funding activities.

-       More workforce development in schools.

·         We plan to have an in year balanced budget for 2026/27 but some historic deficit will remain.

·         We have got example data dashboards to include in the submission.

·         Engagement with schools and settings will be summarised.

·         Risks to the revised plan include;

-       Inflation

-       Cost of living impacts

-       Rising costs of capital investments

-       Demand and complexity of need

·         Opportunities include;

-       System changes and more satellite provision

-       Less reliance on out of area provision

-       Potential to have an AP Free School

·         We have had feedback confirming that we have made significant progress.

·         The revised plan will be submitted on the 30 June 2023 together with narrative.

·         If the revised plan is accepted, quarterly monitoring will start in September 2023.

·         There will be a further update at the next Schools Forum meeting.


Q. Is the overall deficit £1.4m or is this just for a single year?

A. This is the deficit for the overall budget by 2026/27.


Q. At what point would the LA be excluded from the Safety Valve programme? Is a deficit of £1.4m by 2026 / 27 acceptable?

A. We need to continue to engage with the DfE, but we need to give confidence that we can achieve an in year balanced budget to give confidence that the overall plan is achievable. Confidence in our collective capacity and ability to deliver plans is key.

Q. Is the contribution from the Main Schools Block unchanged?

A. Yes.


Q. When do you expect that the decision on the AP Free school will be made?

A. This is expected in Autumn 2023, with an opening date not before 2025  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Any other business


Any Other Business


None raised


Confirm minutes


Confirm Minutes


The minutes of the previous meeting were confirmed above.



Date and time of next meeting

To be confirmed


Dates and times of next meeting


·         Friday 13th October 2023                 Public


The Chair thanked everyone for attending the meeting and for their contributions across the Academic Year.