Agenda and minutes

Leicestershire Schools' Forum - Monday, 8 February 2021 2.00 pm

Contact: Karen Brown (Tel. 0116 305 6340)  Email:

No. Item


Welcome and Introductions


Karen Allen welcomed everyone to the meeting.  Karen welcomed Beverley Coltman to the meeting as the newly appointed Early Years representative; Liam Powell as the newly appointed Secondary Academy Headteacher and Kath Kelly as the reappointed Secondary Academy Headteacher.


Lisa Craddock would be taking over Dawn Whitemore as the FE representative but was unable to make today’s meeting.


The Governor vacancies were still be confirmed.



Apologies for absence/Substitutions.


Apologies were received from Zoe Wortley, Carolyn Lewis, Julie McBrearty, Janet Thompson and Lisa Craddock.  There were no substitutions.



Membership Update



This was covered under agenda item 1.



Minutes of the Meeting held on 28 September 2020 (previously circulated) and matters arising. pdf icon PDF 315 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on Monday 28 September 2020 were agreed.


Matters Arising – Membership Update

Schools Forum noted that members had been appointed to the Primary and Secondary Headteacher vacancies.  The Governor vacancies were in the process of being appointed.



2021/22 Schools Budget pdf icon PDF 571 KB

Additional documents:


Jenny Lawrence introduced the report which sets out the 2021/22 Dedicated Schools Grant Settlement for Leicestershire and the 2021/22 Schools Budget.  The report also builds upon several reports presented through the 2021/22 financial year.


Jenny stated that the DSG remains more or less the same as 2020/21; the only change is the DfE has nationally changed the data that they use for deprivation particularly the IDACI data and now have the transfer of the pay and pension grants into the schools block which feed through into the schools mainstream budgets from the new financial year.


Jenny referred to the table in paragraph 17 of the report which sets out the role of the schools forum in setting the budget and where particular decisions are needed.  Jenny said there are no items for de-delegation (where maintained schools can decide to let the local authority retain funding for particular items); Schools Forum has to agree the retention of the growth fund which sits within the schools block and the allocations would be used for when housing growth means that new schools would need to be delivered and this was expected to peak in approximately 3 years’ time.  Item 3 outlines several items where Schools Forum must agree to let the local authority withhold those budgets which have not significantly grown.  There is also funding for historic costs relating to approaching retirement costs; a miscellaneous element which was a commissioning budget for maintained schools causing concern and lastly Schools Forum has to approve the funding for the central early years fund that effectively funds the service and is limited at 5% nationally.


Jenny reported that the local authority was required now to carry forward any DSG deficit changes balances.  At the last Schools Forum meeting discussion took place on what the DfE would be requiring from local authorities who do have this deficit and what information will be required from those local authorities who have this deficit but that is still uncertain and if actions have been taken by the DfE as a result.  Jenny said that where decision making power is vested in the Schools Forum, the local authority may seek Secretary of State approval to make that decision should approval not be granted.  Jenny added that there used to be a whole range of different copyright licences but there is now just one national licence and it is an exception for school delegation and was mandated to be held and funded by local authorities.


Graham Bett referred to paragraph 17 regarding de-delegation from mainstream school budgets.  Graham stated that there was discussion taking place around trade union facilities and asked if this were to make progress would that be the mechanism to facilitate this.  Jenny confirmed it would but that any decision would be made for 2022/23 budget.


Jenny set out the funding blocks within the DSG.  Jenny stated that the high needs block had increased to £83.1m and the early years funding which was still an estimate would not be confirmed until June 2022.  There was no direct correlation between the number of pupils in receipt of FEEE and the number of pupils being funded and nationally there are some concerns being discussed at the moment of the impact of Covid; it would appear that local authorities are starting to predict deficits on the early years funding and there are still discussions taking place with the DfE about how pupils are counted because of the disruption of Covid.


Jenny referred to the Schools Budget being set at the level of DSG, as discussed before, and has not previously contributed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 130.


High Needs Programme Update pdf icon PDF 160 KB


Paula Sumner introduced the report which was an update on progress in delivery of the High Needs Development Plan.  Paula said that the High Needs Development Plan had been in place since December 2018 and since then a lot of work had been carried out in updating the plan and making sure the programme was fit for purpose.


Paula added that the workstreams included in the report are governed through the programme with a focus on inclusion as well as making sure that children can be educated in the right place and right time and for special educational needs to be identified as early as possible.  One of the workstreams undertaken was a SENA whole system review as detailed on page 53 which had been predominately within the SENA Service around reviewing their decision-making processes, their approach to case management which was challenging and was equally highlighted in the inspection last February.


Paula stated that the SENA Service was currently being restructured with a complete review of all their systems and processes which should be in place by 1 April or shortly afterwards.  The Contracts and Commissioning workstream would be looking at the outcomes outlined within EHCPs in terms of ensuring the commissioning and contract monitoring arrangements are linked to children’s outcomes rather than the financial elements always.


Paula explained the aim of the Sufficiency workstream and that the programme had developed additional school places which are outlined in the paper.


Paula reiterated the financial position which Jenny Lawrence spoke about earlier and acknowledged that this was a national problem.


Schools Forum noted the report and the progress in the delivery of the High Needs Development Plan


Schools Forum members consult with the groups they represent to make nominations for membership of the proposed working group to consider future options to address the growing demand and costs on high needs budgets.


Jenny stated that if there were governors able to contribute then governors would be more than welcome.


Jenny reiterated that it was more looking at actions taken as a local authority at high needs cost within the grant proposed to the schools’ block transfer – looking from a slightly different perspective.



Any other business.


Trade Union Facilities

Discussion took place on this and it was noted that the letter on this had been sent to all headteachers and members of the Schools Forum.  Graham Bett commented that this was something the unions felt strongly about and that it would need consideration.


Jenny agreed to circulate the background to the funding for union facilities in Leicestershire.



Date of next meeting.


Thursday 17 June 2021, 1.00 pm on Teams.