Agenda and minutes

Schools Forum
Thursday, 23rd May, 2019 4.30 pm

Venue: Aquinas College, Nangreave Road, Stockport, SK2 6TH

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Introductions

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed members to this meeting of the Schools Forum.

2.

Apologies for Absence/Substitutions

To report any apologies for absence or substitutions.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Vicky Howe and Ian Irwin.

3.

Recording of Any Observers

To record any observers present.

Minutes:

It was reported that the following was in attendance as an observer:

 

A reporter from the Manchester Evening News/Stockport Express.

 

 

4.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 21 March 2019.

Minutes:

The Minutes (copies of which had been circulated) of the meeting held on 21 March 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

5.

Matters Arising

To discuss any matters arising.

Minutes:

A member of Schools’ Forum commented that the published minutes did not present a full and clear picture of the meeting discussions and the debate undertaken.  It was agreed that this would be reported to Democratic Services.

 

With regard to the Education Healthy Schools Capital Fund, a discussion took place relating to the Local Authority decision making process and the final determination of how funding was to be distributed.

 

RESOLVED (I) Officers to provide a further update/report on progress/final spend and address any further Schools Forum member queries raised in due course.

6.

Executive Summary pdf icon PDF 60 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

The report provides Schools’ Forum members with an executive summary report of the business matters included on the main agenda.

 

Schools’ Forum is recommended to note the executive summary and offer any views, comments and feedback to be considered for future executive summary reports.

 

Officer contact: Peter Hughes on 0161 474 3947 or email: peter.hughes@stockport.gov.uk

 

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided the Forum with an executive summary of the business matters on the agenda.

7.

School Places

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which were circulated) which updated members of the Forum on the latest position on school places.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         Members of the Forum expressed concerns that the report/update provided did not fully express the key matters that had been raised at the last meeting.

·         In response, Members were advised that the decisions made in the past would have been based on the data, trends and forecast information as available at the time and that the landscape was ever changing.  Re-rationalisation of schools could be considered as an option given the different baseline position now in certain areas.  The Manchester Spatial Framework would be a key component for all future school place consideration and plans.

 

RESOLVED – (i) That the report be noted.

(ii) Officers to provide an update on options/plans for school places.

8.

SEN External Placement Monitoring pdf icon PDF 64 KB

To consider a report of the Director of Education.

 

The report provides Schools’ Forum members with information around how Stockport Council monitors specialist school placements in non-maintained, independent and out of borough special schools.

 

Schools’ Forum Members are requested to note the report and offer any comments.

 

Officer contact: Cathy Lyall on 474 4463 or email: cathy.lyall@stockport.gov.uk

 

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided Schools’ Forum members with information around how Stockport Council monitors specialist school placements in non-maintained, independent and out of borough special schools.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         Members requested that the Local Authority ensured that all external providers are compliant with ‘ethical’ procurement requirements (e.g. adherence to teachers pay and conditions.

·         Members felt that quality assurance should not just rely on Ofsted judgements (i.e the Local Authority should undertake some appropriate ‘spot checks’ on providers).

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

9.

DSG 2018/19 Final Outturn pdf icon PDF 69 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

The report provides Schools’ Forum members with detail of the final 2018/19 Total Schools’ Budget reported outturn position.

 

Schools Forum Members are requested to note the report and offer any comments.

 

Officer contact: Peter Hughes on 0161 474 3947 or email: peter.hughes@stockport.gov.uk

 

 

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided Schools Forum members with details of the final 2018/19 Total Schools’ Budget reported outturn position.

 

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

10.

DSG Review Update pdf icon PDF 76 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

 

The report updates Schools’ Forum members with the latest plans/developments to address the DSG budget sustainability issues specifically relating to the high needs block via the DSG Review Group.

 

Schools Forum Members are requested to note the report and offer any comments.

 

Officer contact: Peter Hughes on 0161 474 3947 or email: peter.hughes@stockport.gov.uk

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided Schools’ Forum Members with updates on the latest plans/developments to address the DSG budget sustainability issues specifically relating to the high needs block via the DSG Review Group.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         The Trade Union representative had not yet received an invitation to attend the review group meeting.

·         Reference was made as to whether a Head Teacher from a ‘Resourced Provision’ school should be invited on to the review group.

 

RESOLVED (i) That the report be noted.

(ii)  An invitation to the review group to be forwarded to the Trade Union representative.

(iii) The Local Authority to liaise with Head Teachers to ensure that a Resourced Provision representative is invited on to the review group and/or any specific work stream activity.

11.

School Insurance Schemes 2018/19 Outturn pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer

The report provides Schools’ Forum members with an update on the level of school reserves held in relation to insurance schemes that are administered by the Local Authority (LA).

The report also provides an opportunity to discuss and determine how the reserves held by the LA in relation to administered insurance schemes are used.

Schools Forum Members are requested to

i)             Note the report and offer any comments

ii)            Give a view on the Local Authority proposals as per section 3.6 in the report.

Officer contact: Peter Hughes on 0161 474 3947 or email: peter.hughes@stockport.gov.uk

 

 

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided Schools’ Forum members with an update on the level of school reserves held in relation to insurance schemes that are administered by the Local Authority.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         A short discussion took place which covered insight into the analysis undertaken to inform the 2019/20 premium increases.

·         A request was made to review the ‘capping’ amendment included in the scheme from 1 April 2019.

·         Members felt that the external market providing schemes for these matters were increasing their premiums considerably more than the Local Authority.

·         Members of the Forum expressed the view that the preferred option for deployment of the 2018/19 year end reported surplus was to reimburse schools in the BoR scheme (i.e redistribute the £0.173m surplus)

 

RESOLVED (i) That the report be noted.

(ii) Schools’ Forum views to be discussed/fed back to the insurance team regarding year-end deployment options.

12.

2018/19 Final School Balances pdf icon PDF 55 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

The report provides Schools’ Forum members with the final detailed analysis of the total school balances position recorded as at 31 March 2019.

The report also provides details of the application of the excessive school surplus balance mechanism process applied to schools reporting a surplus balance above the 12% threshold level as per the Scheme for Financing Schools document.

Schools’ Forum Members are requested to note the report and offer any comments.

Officer contact: Peter Hughes on 0161 474 3947 or email: peter.hughes@stockport.gov.uk

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided Schools’ Forum members with the final detailed analysis of the total school balances position recorded as at 31 March 2019.

 

The report also provided details of the application of the excessive school surplus balance mechanism process applied to schools reporting a surplus balance above the 12% threshold level as per the Scheme for Financing Schools document.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

A short discussion took place relating to:

 

·         Many schools were still facing difficult financial positions;

·         Many schools were having to reduce staffing levels;

·         Final outturn figures did not always provide detail of the fuller picture for every individual school.

 

RESOLVED (i) That the report be noted.

 

 

 

13.

Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) pdf icon PDF 120 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer.

The report provides an update on the requirement for schools to complete the self-assessment process against the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS).

The report also provides information of the schools the Local Authority (LA) Schools Finance team supported through the process via a service level agreement (SLA).

To report further provides details of good practice identified across the sectors.

Schools Forum members are asked to:

 

                     i.        Note the above report;

                    ii.        To share information with the wider school sector population and seek to explore further collaboration opportunities and/or implement identified “good practice”;

                  iii.        To identify and inform schools finance team of any alternative and/or further training/support required; and

                  iv.        Offer any further comments and/or request any further actions to be undertaken.

 

Officer contact: Peter Hughes on 0161 474 3947 or email: peter.hughes@stockport.gov.uk

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided an update on the requirement for schools to complete the self-assessment process against the Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS).

 

The report also provided information relating to schools that the Local Authority Finance team had supported through the process via a service level agreement (SLA).

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

·         There was a request for any future training planned for Governors relating to the new SFVS for 2019/20 to be extended to include Head Teachers also.

 

RESOLVED (i) That the report be noted.

(ii) Schools’ Forum members to share information with the wider school sector population and seek to explore further collaboration opportunities and/or implement identified good practice.

(iii) Schools’ Forum members to identify and inform the schools finance team of any alternative and/or further training/support required.

 

14.

Schedule of Meetings & Training pdf icon PDF 82 KB

To consider a report of the Borough Treasurer

The report provides Schools’ Forum members with details of the calendar dates of meetings agreed for the 2018/19 academic year.

The report also provides Schools’ Forum members with the opportunity to request reports for future meetings and/or make amendments to the forward planner (Appendix 1).

The report provides Schools’ Forum members with the opportunity to request any items for training/development sessions.

Schools Forum members are asked to:

 

                  I.        Note the above report;

                II.         Request any reports for future meetings;

               III.        Note the 2018/19 academic year meeting dates provided at section 3.1 above;

              IV.        Discuss and propose any amendments to the forward planner; and

                V.        Request any items for training/development sessions.

 

Officer contact: Peter Hughes Tel 474 3947 Email: peter.hughes@stockport.gov.uk

 

Minutes:

A representative of the Borough Treasurer submitted a report (copies of which had been circulated) which provided Schools’ Forum Members with details of the calendar dates of the meetings agreed for the 2018/19 academic year.  The report also provided Schools’ Forum Members with the opportunity to request reports for future meetings and/or make amendments to the forward planner.  The report further provided Schools’ Forum Members with the opportunity to request any items for training/development sessions.

 

The following comments were made/issues raised:

 

Schools Forum Members requested to keep 11 July 2019 meeting in diaries at present as likely agenda items to include DfE SEND “call for evidence” / DSG Review updates and any matters relating to comprehensive spend review.

2019/20 meeting dates amended as follows:

a.    First spring term 2020 meeting moved to Tuesday 21 January to avoid clash with primary head teacher residential conference; and

b.    Second spring term 2020 meeting should read Thursday 26 March

RESOLVED – That the report be noted.

 

 

15.

Any Other Business

To discuss any other business.

Minutes:

The Chair of the Schools Forum thanked Councillor Malcolm Allan for his valuable contribution to the meetings during his tenure.

16.

Date of next meeting

To determine a date for the next meetings of the Schools Forum.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting of the Schools Forum is 11 July 2019.