CIRCULAR FOR GOVERNORS
SCHOOLS FORUM MEETING – 10 JULY 2008
The second meeting of the Schools Forum for 2008/09 was held recently and this
circular provides a summary of key messages from the Forum; all detailed reports are
linked to this circular and details on accessing the reports are given at the end of this
1. MINUTES FROM 5 JUNE 2008
Agreed as an accurate record.
ITEMS FOR DISCUSSION / CONSULTATION / DECISION
2. SCHOOL BUDGET & DEDICATED SCHOOLS GRANT OUTTURN 2007/08
The report updated the Forum on the School Budget outturn position for 2007/08,
including the use of the 2007/08 Schools Specific Contingency. An information
report elsewhere on this agenda (item 10) shows the Schools Budget and the Local
Education Authority overall outturn position.
The Schools Forum:-
1. Noted the financial position of the Schools Budget and the £1.620m carry
forward into 2008/09; and
2. Agreed that £0.600m of the 2007/08 underspend be earmarked for equal pay
back pay commitments for school staff.
3. SCHOOL BALANCES 31st MARCH 2008
It is important that the School Forum monitors School Balances (both surpluses
and deficits) and the report provides details of the overall and individual school
balances at 31st March 2008. The report also highlights actions required by the
Council to address individual school issues. For the first time the agreed
mechanisms mean that excess balances will be removed from specified schools
and the report looks at the process for this.
The overall surplus balance for Knowsley schools is shown below. The number of
schools in deficit remains the same as last year at twelve; although four of these
now have deficits of less than £10,000. The total amount of deficit held by schools
last year amounted to £0.556m, this has reduced by £0.176m to £0.380m in line
with agreed recovery plans.
1 April 1 April 1 April 1 April 1 April
2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
£m £m £m £m £m
1.337 2.410 1.340 3.006 4.260
The number of schools with excess balances has risen from fifteen last year to
twenty five at 31st March 2008. Appendix A to the report highlights individual school
balances, and shows which schools have excess balances as defined by the
Department for Children Schools and Families (DCSF) as well as our own local
The fifteen schools with excess balances at 31st March 2007 provided spending
plans to identify how the balances would be utilised. In some instances this was
for the full surplus balance, in other cases it was for the excess element only. This
will be amended for 2008/09 and detailed spending plans will be required on the
entire surplus for the twenty five schools with excess balances.
From the fifteen schools, nine still have excess balances at 31st March 2008. For
two of the nine schools there are mitigating circumstances as detailed in the report.
For the remaining seven schools Damian Allen has written to each to inform them
of claw back arrangements in line with the Scheme for Financing Schools. The
amount to be clawed back for each school is either the amount of excess 31 March
2007 if the schools balance has increased, or the excess less the reduction of
balance for those schools that have reduced their excess balance.
Several schools have written back with potential mitigating circumstances such as
delayed capital schemes and/or holding monies on behalf of collaboratives. To
ensure there is a fair and transparent process all seven schools will be asked for
further details and then the LA will make decisions based on clear criteria. The
outcome will be reported back to the Forum next term.
The Schools Forum agreed to:-
1. Note the financial position of individual schools;
2. Support the process for removal of funding from schools as discussed in section
3. Note that provision account balances will be transferred to general school
balances during the year;
4. Note that officers of the authority will work with individual schools with excess
balances or deficits; and
5. Amend the Scheme for Financing Schools so that where a school is closing part
way through a financial year the balance at 31st March is shown as a
percentage of the prior years budget share. There was also a wording
amendment to make the Scheme clearer.
Any Scheme amendments are subject to consultation with all schools.
Consequently the current and amended wording is attached and if any school
objects to the changes they are to contact Diane Williams by Friday 26th September
4. BUDGET MONITORING 2008/09 – SCHOOLS BUDGET
The report provides budget monitoring details for the 2008/09 Schools Budget in
line with our normal protocols. The Schools Forum:-
1. Noted the latest budget monitoring information for the School Budget, including
the School Specific Contingency Budget; and
2. Reconfirmed the protocol for financing schools for teaching and support staff
who are suspended as a result of a police investigation or legal proceedings.
5. FORMULA REVIEW GROUP UPDATE – MINUTES 23/6/08
The Schools Forum ratified the minutes of the Formula Review Group on 23/6/08.
6. FUTURE SCHOOLING FUNDING – REDUNDANCY & SALARY PROTECTION
The report provides information on termination of employment costs and pay
protection currently associated with the Future Schooling programme and how this
will impact on the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). The report relates to both
teaching and non teaching school staff and the Forum agreed the following funding
(i) A school will fund the cost of redundancy and/or salary protection where the
school Governing Body is responsible for the decision and receives the
(ii) Where a school is closing the closing schools contingency budget (including
the closing school balance) will be charged with redundancy and/or salary
protection (for up to three years) payments. Where there is insufficient
funding this will be met from the overall closing schools budget and reported
to the Schools Forum;
(iii) Where there is insufficient funding within the closing schools budgets and
the eventual benefits will accrue to the DSG redundancy and/or salary
protection (for up to three years) will be met from Equalisation Funding
monitored through the Schools Forum;
(iv) The Local Authority will fund the cost of redundancy and/or salary protection
where there are no eventual benefits to the DSG, the Local Authority has
been party to the decision and all other funding opportunities have been
The detailed costings and funding sources will be reported to the Forum through
Clarity was also provided on how salary protection operates and 6.8 of the report
was reworded to:-
In regard to pay protection – from the date the protection commences the individual
does receive any further increments due to them and the annual pay award. Once
the 3 year period is over they stay ‘frozen’ at the point they are on and receive no
further annual pay award, therefore, in effect they literally stay cash safeguarded.
This is until such time as the salary in the new post overtakes the protected salary.
This arrangement poses a risk to Centres for Learning as discussed within the
The Schools Forum noted that during the reorganisation some staff are having
interviews for the first time in many years. Human Resources do offer interview
training to all staff affected but the take up of training has been very low to date.
Forum Members had experience of excellent staff not performing well at interview.
The Schools Forum asked Jason Woodruff to consider running some interview
7. FUTURE SCHOOLING PROGRAMME FUNDING UPDATE
This report provides a programme update, discusses mobilisation costs funding
and examines the latest costs to potentially be charged against equalisation
funding. The Forum was informed that the report had not gone to the Staffing
Commission as a verbal update was given instead.
The Schools Forum agreed the commitments against equalisation funding outlined
in the report and a summary position is outlined below:-
2008/09 2009/10 2010/11
£m £m £m
Balance carried forward 0.235 - -
St Thomas Becket c/f 0.104
CSR 2006/2008 0.937 0.937 0.937
CSR 2008/2011 0.625 1.250 1.875
Resource Sub total 1.901 2.187 2.812
Pre-opening budgets 0.444 0.509 -
Finance Support (estimated) 0.036 0.044 Review
Human Resources support (est) 0.170 0.170 Review
Non capital mobilisation TBA TBA TBA
Demands To Date Sub Total 0.650 0.723 -
Balance 1.251 1.464 2.812
8. UPDATE ON SECONDARY PUPIL TURNAROUND PROGRAMME (STAR)
Mike Marshall provided a verbal update on progress to date on the exclusion
programme for children and young people (CYP) in Key Stage 3 attending the
Student Turnaround Programme (STAR). Following an evaluation at the Knowsley
Association of Secondary Headteachers (KASH) earlier in the day the programme
will continue in September and will be relocated to Eastcroft Park Primary School.
A detailed report will be brought to the next Forum meeting highlighting how this
programme will be funded for the secondary school sector.
9. PERSONALISATION & STANDARDS TASK FORCE
Julie Young ran a development session in which the latest information on projects,
costings and funding sources were discussed. Agreements have been secured on
the programme strands and the detailed activity plans will be developed during the
summer. Headteachers welcomed the opportunities they had in working with Julie
to discuss issues regarding an effective intervention programme for target groups
of children across the LA.
The Schools Forum supported the joined up, innovative collaboration approach to
raising standards within the Borough.
ITEMS FOR INFORMATION
10. 2007/08 BUDGET MONITORING: FINAL OUTTURN REPORT
The Forum noted the paper and was advised that Appendix 1 has subsequently
been revised as attached.
Revised Appendix 1
11. CENTRES FOR LEARNING BUDGET MODELS DEVELOPMENT
The report provides information on the development of the new Centres for
Learning funding model which will be implemented in April 2009. The Local
Authority has started to formulate potential funding assumptions and factors for the
funding model. As part of this process the Council is looking to bring in some
external challenge and an independent voice.
The main focus of the Consultancy work is to review progress to date; challenge
formula assumptions and associated practice within the Centres for Learning;
formulate suggested factors for Centres for Learning based on a realistic model
and discuss this with Principals from the Centres for Learning; the Formula Review
Group and the Schools Forum. The 51 page quotation document can be accessed
on the Sharepoint site through the link below:-
The Forum noted the report and asked that Resource Committee Chairs be invited
to the induction event in October.
12. SCHOOLS MEALS GRANT 2008-11 & SCHOOL MEALS LEAD TEAM
Mike Cooper provided a verbal update from the School Meals Lead Team meeting
on 16 June 2008:-
The Directorate for Neighbourhood Delivery (DND) are carrying out research
amongst year 2 and 5 pupils in the six schools shown below before the end of
term, which will then ensure that any future proposals brought back to the
Forum are intelligence led. This may also confirm that further more detailed
research may be required in the future.
1. St. Albert’s R.C. Primary School
2. Cherryfield Community Primary School
3. Cronton CE Primary School
4. Simonswood Community Primary School
5. Whiston Willis Community Primary School
6. Huyton with Roby CE Primary School
Providing a training programme with costs for catering assistants.
Obtaining clarity from Groundwork Merseyside on the health and safety issues
around promoting allotments in schools and the consumption of fruit and
vegetable crops grown.
13. SCHOOL PROCUREMENT OFFICER
Nicola Hargreaves, the School Procurement Officer, has been successful in
obtaining a regional post within the Department of Children Schools and Families
(DSCF) to work on developing procurement practices in schools. Nicola will
manage DCSF procurement partners who will link to Local Authorities and schools.
Nicola was an ideal candidate because of the innovative approach the Schools
Forum took in establishing the post and the experiences she had gained within
Knowsley, particularly the last 12 months.
Nicola thanked the Forum for the opportunity she had had in working on its behalf.
She explained where her various projects are up to and what needs to be
continued to ensure potential savings and efficiencies are realised for schools and
contracts and Service Level Agreements are appropriately arranged, managed and
monitored. Nicola also discussed her new role and how the DSCF arrangements
may help us in the future.
To keep the momentum the Schools Forum agreed that Diane Williams could make
appropriate arrangements in conjunction with Mike Cooper and Pam Jervis to
enable projects to progress to August 2009.
14. Minutes - School Partnership Executive Board (SPEB) 14/5/08
15. Minutes - 14-19 Collegiate Executive 16/4/08
Strike Issues – The Forum discussed logistics and Jason Woodruff provided an
Gas and Electricity - A Forum Member reported potential savings to schools on gas
and electricity contracts. This will be followed up and an update will be brought to
the next meeting.
All of the above reports and minutes are loaded on the Sharepoint Corporate Intranet
and can be accessed by clicking on the hyperlink below. If you are asked for a
password, please select cancel and this will take you into the Schools Forum agenda.
To access the individual reports click on the related hyperlink. If the text shows tracked
amendments then click on the drop down menu on the left of the toolbar and select
‘Final’. To return to the agenda click on the back button that is on the top left hand side
of your screen. If you have any problems please contact Asako Brown on 443 3226.
Should you have any queries on these reports you should contact the Contact Officer
[named at the end of each report] to discuss. You can also discuss any aspect of the
Forums work with your Schools Forum representatives or me.
Education and Schools Resource Manager (443 3250)