Hounslow Council


Agenda, decisions and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Lampton Road, Hounslow. View directions

Contact: Irene Bowles, 020 8583 2075, Email: irene.bowles@hounslow.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

51.

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

Decision:

Apologies had been received from Marilyn Bater, Councillor Tom Bruce, Verity Coates, Marais Leenders, Farley Marsh, Sarah Roscoe and Marjorie Semple.

 

The Chair welcomed Charlotte De Lacey (Early Years PVI Representative) to her first Schools’ Forum meeting.

Minutes:

Apologies had been received from Marilyn Bater, Councillor Tom Bruce, Verity Coates, Marais Leenders, Farley Marsh, Sarah Roscoe and Marjorie Semple.

 

The Chair welcomed Charlotte De Lacey (Early Years PVI Representative) to her first Schools’ Forum meeting.

52.

Minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 2015, and matters arising pdf icon PDF 131 KB

Decision:

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 2015 were agreed as a true and accurate record with the following amendment:

 

Members Present:  Add John Wright.

 

The minutes were signed by the Vice Chair (Chris Hill), who chaired the September 2015 meeting.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 September 2015 were agreed as a true and accurate record with the following amendment:

 

Members Present:  Add John Wright.

 

The minutes were signed by the Vice Chair (Chris Hill), who chaired the September 2015 meeting.

 

Matters Arising:

 

a)                 Item 45 – Report back on School Balances – para 2

The Chair reminded members that most secondary schools had become Academies since 2007-08, and their balances had therefore been removed from this data on conversion.  This meant that, in real terms, the reserve balances of maintained schools had increased over time – not remained constant.

53.

Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) - 2016/17 DSG Budget and Options for Mitigating Future Overspend on the DSG (Update) pdf icon PDF 661 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved that:

Shabana Kausar would produce a paper with details of all School reserve balances for the December 2015 meeting.

 

In response to the recommendations made (page 9 of the Agenda pack), it was resolved that:

 

Schools’ Forum recommend to the Lead Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services:

1.                  That the previously approved transfer of DSG between the Early Years, High Needs and Schools Block continue into 2016/17.

2.                  That the AWPU unit rate in 2016/17 is set to reflect a reduction of £50 in the Primary and Secondary sector AWPU rates.  Schools’ Forum will review this recommendation after one year.

3.                  That the Special Schools and Pupil Referral Unit funding be set to reflect a 1.5% reduction.

4.                  That SEN statement top-up rates be reduced by 15%, as put forward by the SEN Task and Finish Group in the High Needs Funding Report.

5.                  That schools are recharged for copyright licenses.

 

Members had voted on all the above recommendations. Votes on items 1,2,3 and 5 had been carried unanimously.

Two votes were taken on item 4:

Vote 1 – to consider a reduction of 20% - was defeated by 8 votes to 2, with 3 abstentions.

Vote 2 – carried by 12 votes to 1.

Minutes:

Shabana Kausar, Finance Manager (Schools Strategic Lead) led members through a presentation on 2016/17 Dedicated Schools’ Grant (DSG) Savings Options Update.

 

She informed members that this was an overview, recapping on discussions at the last meeting (21 September 2015) and giving options for the way forward.  Item 3 of the Agenda Pack had been amended and republished to include the following Appendices:

 

1.                  Estimated impact on schools of a reduction in AWPU rates

2.                  2015/16 Copyright Licenses in schools

3.                  Early Years DSG Budget and Saving Proposal Report

4.                  High Needs DSG Budget and Saving Proposal Report

 

There were a number of recommendations for consideration.  Members were aware that there were a limited number of options, as the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) constraints minimised possible savings in some circumstances.  It was vital to set a balanced budget against a climate of no increase in DSG funding and no expansion in Early Years or SEN covered. 

 

Following comprehensive discussion on each of the Appendices (summarised in the sub-sections below), it was resolved that Shabana Kausar would produce a paper with details of all School reserve balances for the December 2015 meeting.

 

In response to the recommendations made (page 9 of the Agenda pack), it was resolved that:

 

Schools’ Forum recommend to the Lead Cabinet Member for Education and Children’s Services:

1.                  That the previously approved transfer of DSG between the Early Years, High Needs and Schools Block continue into 2016/17.

2.                  That the AWPU unit rate in 2016/17 is set to reflect a reduction of £50 in the Primary and Secondary sector AWPU rates.  Schools’ Forum will review this recommendation after one year.

3.                  That the Special Schools and Pupil Referral Unit funding be set to reflect a 1.5% reduction.

4.                  That SEN statement top-up rates be reduced by 15%, as put forward by the SEN Task and Finish Group in the High Needs Funding Report.

5.                  That schools are recharged for copyright licenses.

 

Members had voted on all the above recommendations. Votes on items 1,2,3 and 5 had been carried unanimously.

Two votes were taken on item 4:

Vote 1 – to consider a reduction of 20% - was defeated by 8 votes to 2, with 3 abstentions.

Vote 2 – carried by 12 votes to 1.

53a

Appendix 1 - Options for proposed reductions in AWPU rates for 2016-17

Minutes:

Members were asked to consider reductions in the AWPU rates of £30, £50 and £75.  Information on how this would impact on individual schools was given in Appendix 1 attached to item 3 of the Agenda pack.

 

Members noted the overall savings generated by each option, and that:

Ø  £30 AWPU reduction would not generate enough savings (approx £656K);

Ø  £50 AWPU reduction would ensure that most schools would not hit the MFG, and would release savings in the region of £988K

Ø  £75 AWPU reduction would result in 85% of schools hitting the MFG limit, and would release savings in the region of £1,249K.

 

The recommendation was that Members agreed a reduction of £50 in the AWPU rate.

 

 

53b

Appendix 2 - 2015/16 Copyright Licences in Schools

Decision:

Resolved that:

i)          a 3 year strategy plan would be brought to the December 2015 meeting.

 

ii)         A working group would meet to discuss options – members would be: Shabana Kausar, Chrissie Elam, Charlotte De Lacey and Jackie Willis.

Minutes:

Shabana Kausar advised members that the DfE had deducted £161K from Hounslow’s DSG payment for 2015/16 in respect of copyright licences.  This payment covers Academies as well as maintained schools.  Members were asked to agree their acceptance of this recharge to schools and Academies; details would be sent to schools and payments deducted between January 2016 and March 2016.

 

Members unanimously agreed to this recommendation.

53c

Appendix 3 - Early Years DSG Budget and Saving Proposal Report

Decision:

Resolved that:

Merle Abbott would bring a 3 year funding strategy plan to the December 2015 meeting.

 

Minutes:

Chrissie Elam, Head of Early Years and Childcare, led members through her report (attached to agenda item 3 of the Agenda pack), highlighting the following points:

 

i)                    (item 3.3) Funding for Early Years is by participation; the DfE funds at lower than cost (£3.97 against £4.65 per hour).  For 2 year olds funding is £5.53 against £6.05 per hour cost.  Next year’s funding allocation will not been known until December 2015.

ii)                  (item 5.2(d)) The financial impact on the change in Government Policy to increase the offer from 15 to 30 hours is not yet known.  Funding is based on the Spring census, which traditionally gives the lowest numbers.

iii)                (item 6.1(b)) Members were asked to consider a three year strategy to reduce the hourly rate over time; Chrissie Elam voiced her concerns if the reduction was effected immediately.

iv)                (item 6.10) Members noted that the Private Voluntary Independent (PVI) EY organisations might opt out of providing free places – or may close – if the hourly rate is unsustainable.

v)                  Hounslow had always invested heavily in Early Years.

 

The Chair invited comments and questions from members.  He agreed that funding had always been made available in the past; however, in a climate where every education phase and function has to make savings, it was important to consider the affordability.

 

Alan Adams suggested that a sub-group be formed to look at the difficult and complex issues – Charlotte De Lacey and Jacqueline Willis volunteered to join Shabana Kausar and Chrissie Elam to work on projections.

 

Charlotte De Lacey reminded members that the EY sector had already been subject to funding cuts; further cuts would lead to substantial changes to the way establishments operate – it would be unsustainable to maintain outstanding performance.  The Chair reminded members that it was the same for everyone: cuts had to be balanced across the whole spectrum.  Shabana Kausar informed members that a report would be compiled to set out all options, and examine ways to incorporate the cuts; she reminded members that the budget had to be set for the Borough as a whole.

 

Resolved that:

i)          A 3 year strategy plan and proposal would be brought to the December 2015 meeting.

 

ii)         A working group would meet to discuss options – members would be: Shabana Kausar, Chrissie Elam, Charlotte De Lacey and Jackie Willis.

 

The Chair thanked Chrissie Elam for her report.

53d

Appendix 4 - High Needs DSG Budget and Saving Proposal Report

Minutes:

Shabana Kausar led members through the report (attached as Appendix 4 at item 3 on the Agenda pack).  Members were again reminded of the shortfall in DSG funding.  The Task and Finish Group had met on 16 October 2015, reviewed options, and agreed to recommend various options for consideration.  These included:

 

i)             HN02 – To reduce the current SEN statement top-up rate by 15% or 20%.  This would give estimated savings of around £627K or £836K respectively for in-borough placements.  Statements currently carried a number of points, each carrying a value.  Members were asked to consider the impact of reducing the value of points.

 

ii)            HN03 – Reducing the current SEN statement top-up rate for out-of-Borough placements.  Although the Task and Finish Group had focussed on in-borough mainstream school placements, statements were legally binding, and pupils had to be kept in out-of-Borough schools if that was appropriate.  The Task and Finish group would endeavour to look at ways to recoup savings.  The process would be more robust on review, and on the issue of new statements.  Merle Abbott reminded members that out-of-Borough placements had to be controlled where possible.

 

iii)           HN04 – Reducing Special Schools and PRU funding formula by 1.5%.  This was in line with the £50 reduction in AWPU accepted by mainstream schools and academies.  This would still leave a shortfall in funding.  Merle Abbott agreed to bring a 3 year funding strategy plan to the December 2015 meeting of Schools’ Forum.  She acknowledged that all schools – mainstream and Special – were between a rock and a hard place.  The number and complexity of children with SEN was not matched by the allocation of resources: a gap which had grown rapidly.  There had to be a further shift in culture in schools, as they would increasingly have to work more with children with complex needs.  This was true of Marjorie Kinnon school who received children with more complex needs’ those pupils with moderate learning difficulties (MLD) were now catered for in mainstream schools.  The only way to control the increase in SEN was for schools to accept more responsibility.  The Task and Finish group had discovered a significantly lower cost in educating children with SEN in-Borough than out-of-Borough.  The strategy had to be to support schools and not place children out-of-Borough.

 

iv)          HN05 – Implement a more robust evidence based requirement for statutory assessment requests.  Merle Abbott confirmed that the LA had started to apply this; they asked schools to give time for strategies to work before beginning statutory assessment.  Schools had to ensure that they had clear evidence of interventions and the impact of these.  Although this was good practice, Merle Abbott stated that this did not realise great savings; she advised members that she would, alongside Chrissie Elam, review inclusion funding, and look at how this links with support in mainstream schools.

 

 

v)            HN07 – Review of admission thresholds,  Most Special Schools had adapted their ways of working, but now needed to look at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 53d

54.

Date of Next Meeting

To confirm the date of the next meeting:

Proposed date – Thursday 10 December 2015 in Committee Rooms 1 and 2, Civic Centre

Decision:

The dates of the next meetings are:

Thursday 10 December 2015

Monday 18 January 2016

 

Both meetings will take place at 6pm in Committee Rooms 1 and 2, Civic Centre.

 

Minutes:

The dates of the next meetings are:

Thursday 10 December 2015  - 4.15pm PLEASE NOTE NEW TIME

Monday 18 January 2016  - 6pm

 

Both meetings will take place in Committee Rooms 1 and 2, Civic Centre.