Hounslow Council


Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Katrina Bell, 020 8583 2072, or email  katrina.bell@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

14.

Election of Chair and Vice Chair for Schools Forum

Minutes:

Katrina Bell, Principal Committee Administrator, asked for nominations for the role of Chair. Euan Ferguson nominated Kevin Prunty and this was seconded by Mike Nicholls.

 

Resolved:-

That Kevin Prunty be elected Chair of the Schools Forum.

 

Kevin Prunty asked for nominations for the role of Vice-Chair. Euan Ferguson nominated Gilbert Hughes and this was seconded by Ajit Singh.

 

Resolved:-

That Gilbert Hughes be elected Vice-Chair of the Schools Forum.

 

15.

Apologies for Absence, Declarations of Interest and Any Other Communications from Members

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Victoria Eadie, Jon Frostick, Anne-Marie Inwood, John Norton, Sudhinder Pathak, Anjali Sakhardande, Majorie Semple and Moira Stuart.

 

The Chair confirmed what had been agreed at the special meeting held on 9 October.

 

It was agreed that Forum would be informed when the High Needs Panel had been established.

 

Mr Taylor clarified that there would be three-year funding for EAL calculated with PLASC data on home language from the date the child first enters the compulsory school system.

16.

Minutes of the meeting held on 11 June 2012 and matters arising pdf icon PDF 92 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 11 June 2012 were approved subject to the following amendments:

·              The spelling correction of Kuldip Sidhu’s name (page 1, item 1, para 1 refers).

·              Correction of word ‘good’ to ‘could’ (page 3, para 2 refers).

·              Removal of the repetition of the word ‘they’ (page 6, item 6, para 4 refers).

 

 

17.

Schools Forum Constitution pdf icon PDF 57 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report by Katrina Bell, Principal Committee Administrator (Agenda item 4).

 

Ms Bell presented the report on the Schools Forum constitution.

 

Michael Marks confirmed that they would need to review the membership periodically as pupil numbers in different categories changed.

 

Mr Marks advised that they had been asked by the Teachers’ Consultative Panel to look at having union representation on the Forum. They had requested two representatives on the Forum but might accept one. He suggested that they should also consider seeking representatives from the private, voluntary and independent (PVI) sector.

 

Mr Marks explained that it was the view of other LAs with union representation that this added value. There were Forum issues that had an impact on members of the Teachers’ Consultative Panel.

 

Mr Shortt believed that they should have a non-voting union representative.

 

Mr Marks confirmed he had only been approached by the teaching unions.

 

Mr Prunty noted that he had received no formal request from the Teachers’ Consultative Panel but he understood that they had written to the previous Director of Children’s Services.

 

Councillor Curran said that from the LA view they would support having a union representative. He agreed with Mr Shortt’s proposal that they be non-voting and suggested that they review how it was working after a period of time. Mr Hill supported this. He felt union representation would add to the Forum’s transparency.

 

Mr Prunty suggested that they ask for one union representative initially, who would have speaking rights but be non-voting.

 

Resolved –

Members agreed to:

  1. Note the new Schools Forums (England) Regulations 2012.
  2. Approve the changes to the constitution in accordance with the new regulations, as set out in Appendix A.
  3. Retain paragraphs 2.4.4 and 2.4.6 of the constitution.
  4. Have a less formal Finance and Strategy Sub-Committee with terms of reference amended accordingly.
  5. Delegate the decision on observer members to the LA.
  6. Seek early years representation from the PVI sector.
  7. Ask for one union representative from the teachers’ unions who would have speaking rights but be non-voting.

 

18.

Proposals for expansion and growth of SEN provision in Hounslow pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Minutes:

See report by Merle Abbott, Head of SEN and Disability (Agenda item 5).

 

Chris Hogan, Assistant Director of Specialist Services, presented the report on proposals for expansion and growth of SEN provision in Hounslow. She noted the figure given for estimated total growth required was a worst case position and the end position might be more favourable. The Chair agreed to Ms Hogan’s proposal that she come back to the next meeting of Schools Forum to confirm the final position on the high needs block.

 

Resolved –

1.      Members noted the increased need in SEN specialist provision.

2.      Members agreed the growth required as follows:

 

Summary of the growth for 2012/13

a)     Excluding planned places, i.e. those pupils who have been identified as requiring provision but for whom no placement has yet been identified, the commitment to date is just under £6,493k against a budget of £6,324, resulting in an overspend of £169k.

 

b)     However, there are approximately 12 planned places which, if we are successful in identifying suitable places, will add a further £349k, increasing the overspend to £518k.

 

c)      The increase in the number of statements in mainstream schools is projected to exceed the budget by £156k. 

 

d)     Therefore, a total of £674k of additional funding would be required to meet the increased commitments in this financial year

 

e)     However, as a result of our inability to place children in other boroughs’ maintained special school provision as explained earlier, we are currently projected to underspend the inter-borough recoupment budget by £429k in 2012/13.  Therefore, we would hope to be able to use this to offset the projected overspend amount and the growth required would be reduced to £245k.

 

Summary of the growth required for 2013/14.

 

f)        Based on previous trends and pupils undergoing assessment and/or who will require a change of placement at secondary transfer, the projected growth required to fund pupils who will require Independent and non-maintained placements in the next financial year is estimated at £603k.

 

g)     However, this figure assumes that the proposed new SEN Centres and planned work at Oaklands will create additional capacity in house.  Should these additional places not be available, we may require further growth of up to £1.5m full year equivalent, equating to £992k in the financial year 2013/14. 

 

h)      If we assume that the level of spend on new statements will be consistent with the spend in the financial year 2012/13, this would require ongoing growth in the overall statement budget of £156k. Therefore, the total amount of growth required for the financial year 2013/14 is £1,751,000.

 

i)        However, as with the current financial year, unless there are significant changes in the availability of out of borough maintained special school provision, we would anticipate a projected saving in the inter-borough recoupment budget of up to £455k.  Once again, any savings in this area could be used to reduce the amount of growth required to £1,296,000 .

 

 

19.

De-delegation of centrally retained budgets - potential impact on services to schools - Presentation pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Minutes:

See presentation by Michael Marks, Assistant Director Education and Early Intervention (available on the Hounslow website).

 

Mr Marks gave a presentation on proposals for the de-delegation and delegation of the centrally retained Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) budget with effect from 1 April 2013.

 

Members discussed whether early years representatives could vote on this. Officers would confirm this.

 

Action:

Officers would confirm whether early years representatives could vote on primary school de-delegation of DSG.

 

Mr Marks confirmed that if they did not use funding allocated for schools in financial difficulties then they would bring this back to the Forum to decide how to spend it.

 

Mr Ferguson noted that there was quite a lot of surplus in primary schools and asked if there were any primaries in financial difficulties.  Mr Taylor responded that it ought to say schools in ‘challenging circumstances’ rather than ‘financial difficulties’ as this wording was a bit misleading.

 

Resolved –

Primary School members agreed to de-delegate £54,675 for supporting schools in financial difficulties.

 

Mr Pattar noted that there had been a lot of inefficiencies in keeping records for Free School Meals (FSMs) and asked whether the LA would improve this. Mr Marks responded he was aware there was some concerns and questions from schools and he would like to discuss the quality of the service with Headteachers outside of the Forum meeting.

 

Resolved –

  1. Primary School members agreed to de-delegate £19,996 for FSMs eligibility assessment administration.
  2. Primary School members agreed to de-delegate staff costs as follows, £389,987 for teachers’ maternity cover; £69,658 for trade union cover; £1,329 for supply teachers; £24,918 for welfare assistants maternity; £11, 296 for admin, clerical, midday supervisors; and £1,163 for premises re-charge.

 

6.50pm Councillor Robert Oulds leaves

 

Ajit Singh felt it was important to de-delegate support for minority ethnic pupils and under achieving groups as this gave groups such as EMCG a chance to challenge this.

 

Resolved –

  1. Primary School members agreed to de-delegate £95,971 for support for minority ethnic pupils or under achieving groups (travellers).
  2. Members agreed to delegate £53,675 for contingencies.
  3. Members agreed to delegate £40,006 for Hounslow language service pay protection.

20.

Update on DS Catering activities pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Minutes:

See report by Nick Moore, General Manager DS Catering (Agenda item 7).

 

Nick Moore presented an update on DS Catering’s activities. He reported that DS Catering would be inviting schools to enter into 3-year contracts. In response to a question from Mr Prunty, he advised that there was an appeals service and schools could end the contract if they were unhappy. He confirmed they would create a sufficient window to allow schools the opportunity to go out to other tenders.

 

Mr Sidhu asked if they would be offering a service to secondary schools. Mr Moore explained that they currently worked with one secondary school but would like to work with more and would create a separate management structure with its own area manager if they worked with over 5 secondaries.

21.

Update on energy meter installation pdf icon PDF 65 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

See report by Charles Pipe, Energy Manager (Agenda item 8).

 

It was agreed that Mr Pipe be asked to attend the next Schools Forum meeting to answer questions.

 

Mr Sidhu requested support as some schools had shared energy meters.

22.

Tendering and contracts - Presentation

Minutes:

Lyn Hitchinson, Procurement Manager, gave a presentation on corporate procurement. Members noted the presentation.

23.

Final DSG 2012/13 pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Minutes:

See report by Alex Taylor, Head of Finance - Schools (Agenda item 10).

 

Mr Taylor presented the report on final Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) 2012-13.

 

Mr Taylor confirmed that the £81,435 contingency would be carried over to the next financial year, as well as the balance the Forum had agreed to hold at the March 2012 meeting.

 

In response to concerns expressed by Ms Harper-Quinn regarding some schools that had put in bulge classes up to April 2013 but did not get enough children, Mr Taylor said that bulges would be protected up to twenty-seven pupils. In February 2013 the Forum would decide whether they were agreeable to the same bulge class funding protection carrying over into the new financial year. Ms Harper-Quinn requested a promise that this would be done given that classes were offered at short notice. The Forum agreed it would allow this.

 

Resolved –

  1. Members agreed to carry forward the additional DSG of £64,279 and clawback of school budget share of £81,438, total £145,717, as a contingency for further discussion at future meeting of Schools Forum during the 2013-14 DSG budget setting process.
  2. Members agreed that they would allow primary schools time beyond the financial year to pay back any over allocation.

 

Mr Taylor reported that the DfE had emailed last Friday saying they would protect schools budgets from falling below 1 ½% for the next two years but were waiting until the next spending review to confirm whether this current level of protection would continue after 2014/15. He believed they were looking at the movements in budgets across England as some had suffered huge losses. This would be reviewed next year. They were expecting there to be some tweaks to the formula. There might be a separate lump sum for primaries and secondaries.

 

Mr Prunty said they would need to relook at lump sums if they were separated. Mr Marks said that the feedback from the last two meetings would be taken to Councillor Curran.  If there were any changes they would come back to the Forum.

24.

Draft agenda for next Schools Forum meeting pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Minutes:

Members noted the draft agenda (see Agenda item 11).

 

Mr Singh asked for information on free schools in the borough and the impact they could have on schools.

 

Action:

An item on free schools would be added to the next meeting agenda.

 

25.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Schools Forum will be held on 21 January 2012 at 6pm.

Minutes:

Ms Bell would confirm whether the next meeting date was 4 February 2013.