Agenda and minutes

Leicestershire Schools' Forum - Wednesday, 23 February 2022 2.00 pm

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

No. Item


Apologies for absence/Substitutions.



Minutes of the Meeting held on 15 November 2021 (previously circulated) and matters arising. pdf icon PDF 137 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 15 November 2021 were agreed.



2022/23 Schools Budget pdf icon PDF 496 KB

Additional documents:


Jenny Lawrence introduced the report which presents the 2022/23 Dedicated Schools Grant Settlement for Leicestershire and the 2022/23 Schools Budget.  Jenny explained that the annual report sets out how all things related to school funding and brings to Schools Forum their particular powers and decisions that it has which are set out in paragraph 15.  Jenny added that in paragraph 18 there are some indications that the DfE are developing a revised approach to DSG deficits and it would appear that the DfE are in the process of negotiating new Safety Valve Agreements for 2022/23; the DfE have not spoken to Leicestershire therefore there would not be a Safety Value Agreement for Leicestershire but they are also stating they are increasing their support and challenge to local authorities which was unclear but Schools Forum would be kept informed.


Jenny reported that the Dedicated Schools Grant final settlement arrived in December.  Jenny highlighted that the supplementary grant for maintained schools which was to help schools meet the cost of the health and social care levy but also for significant cost pressures expected over the coming periods.  Jenny said that these costs, however, have not been confirmed or clarified and the supplementary grant was expected to be added to the National Funding Formula (NFF) from 2023/24.


Jenny referred to paragraph 24 which sets out that school funding remains a ‘soft’ school funding formula for 2022/23 and Leicestershire had set the schools budgets as the NFF.  Jenny added that from discussions with colleagues regionally it would appear that Leicestershire was one of the few authorities regionally that had been able to deliver the NFF in full without having to adjust budgets because of increases in areas like FSM and deprivation creating cost pressures as a result of the lag in LA funding.


Jenny added that the retain school growth funding is set out in the paper and to note the Secretary of State did not approve the schools block transfer so again schools’ budgets would not be reduced by the transfer.  Jenny added that the DfE has yet to confirm that the Leicestershire formula is compliant but have no outstanding queries with them so there may be a timeline issue within their process.


Jenny referred to paragraphs 36-38 on de-delegation for which Jane Moore would take this part of the report.  Jane stated that this was a significant development since Schools Forum last met.  Jane said that last autumn the DfE went out to consultation on the removal of the School Improvement, Monitoring and Brokerage Grant which had been allocated to the local authority for many years to support its statutory duties around school improvement and deliver those expectations set out on the Schools Causing Concern guidance.  Jane stated that the consultation received a large number of responses nationally and Leicestershire County Council, East Midlands and the National Association of Directors of Children’s Services all made a response opposing every part of the consultation.  Jane said that in January 2022 the consultation outcome was published and the DfE would be going ahead with all the proposal to remove the grant.  Jane added that the grant was ring-fenced and funds school improvement activities with maintained schools.


Jane said that the grant would be reduced by 50% in 2022/23 and removed totally from 2023/24.  The DfE, as part of the consultation, would allow local authorities to de-delegate funding from maintained schools to the local authority in order to continue to fund school improvement in maintained schools.  Jane said that the DfE’s rationale for this was that it provided consistency with how Multi Academy Trusts fund  ...  view the full minutes text for item 154.


Maintained School Deficits and Academy Conversion


Liam Powell explained that he had been approached by a Multi Academy Trust in the north-west of the county who wish to welcome in a school from the north of the county.  Liam said that the MAT board wished to proceed but the school would introduce a deficit to the Trust.  Liam added that the ESFA need to be satisfied that the Trust was not exposing itself to financial risk and the school could manage its budget.


Liam said that the Trust was prepared to ask the local authority to support financially, and it was important to demonstrate to the ESFA that all options had been explored by the MAT regardless of the answer.  Liam said that the historic deficit was not helped by age range change for the school that wants to join the Trust and this was being managed and the issue of the two buildings involved on the campus which had now been sorted.  Liam said that the school had presented different models for progressing this finance and if the lump sum for both schools separately before they joined could have been continued then there would have been no deficit but one of them was closed down.  Liam said that alternatively the school could have grown and this could have been another way to manage the deficit and there had been delays in completing the organisation of the campus which had been picked up by the school as well.  Liam stated that the local authority had provided everything it could financially so there was no question about that but feel that there had been a historical injustice and the deficit needs to be resolved.


Liam explained that the if the deficit cannot be resolved the next step could be to approach the Secretary of State for either the money to be given to clear the deficit or approval given for it to be paid afterwards under a managed plan.  Liam stated that the Trust and school asked for him as the representative for LSH to raise with Schools Forum.  Liam and Jenny had spoken and went through the history of the case and there are other things that the school could have done historically as well to address this but the deficit goes with the school and there was no other money in the local authority to support with the deficit and was asked to raise this which he had.


As Chair of this meeting, Karen Allen said that Schools Forum do not have role in this decision and the local authority’s policy had been clear for some time that any deficits are only taken on by the local authority when the school is sponsored and not in any other situations.  Karen added that Schools Forum do not have a role for looking at solutions to a deficit and there was not a fund, to consider this would be inequitable to other schools in this situation who have had to carry deficits with them on conversion previously and the comment that the MAT needs to protect itself would open the door to putting the local authority into a very difficult position because they too do not have funds to resolve and if they did this for one school they would have do the same for other schools that were in that position in the future.


Karen thanked Liam for bringing it to Schools Forum but reiterated there was no role for the Schools Forum in this discussion and hopefully services the purpose of what Liam had been asked to do and noted that a discussion had taken  ...  view the full minutes text for item 155.


Any other business.


Any Other Business


De-delegation/Next Meeting

Jenny raised that there would be an additional Schools Forum meeting in March for the de-delegation item to fulfil the requirements of that process and the meeting would be on Wednesday 23 March at 2.00 pm.  This meeting is only a vote for maintained schools but requires a Leicestershire Schools Forum meeting.  Jenny added that if non-maintained school members chose not to attend that meeting this would not be an issue and unfortunately timescales did not allow for the item to be on the agenda today.


Graham Bett asked why the January meeting was cancelled.  Jenny responded that the January meeting was an additional meeting put in diaries in case Schools Forum needed to take decisions on the consultation on the Schools Block Transfer and was not needed.




Date of next meeting.

To be confirmed


Wednesday 23 March 2022, 2.00 pm

Monday 6 June 2022, 2.00 pm

Thursday 29 September 2022, 2.00 pm