Report of the Deputy Chief Executive (People)
The Cabinet considered a report of the Deputy Chief Executive (Place) that provided results of the consultation on proposed changes to the Fair Funding Scheme of Delegation (“the Scheme”) and seeks approval for recommended changes to the Scheme and the Fair Funding Formula.
Under Section 48 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998, Local Authorities (LAs) are required to have schemes of delegation which set out the financial controls and arrangements that will operate between schools and the LA. Any proposed revisions to these schemes and / or Fair Funding Formula must be the subject of consultation and require approval by the Schools Forum.
The Department for Education (DfE) published the “Schools Revenue Funding 2020 to 2021: Operational Guide” which sets out the school revenue funding arrangements for 2020/21.
The DFE introduced its National Funding Formula (NFF) for LAs in 2018-19, whereby allocations for LAs were determined under the NFF approach, but LAs retained control over how they chose to distribute that funding amongst their schools. In Coventry the decision was made in 2018-19 and 2019-20 to mirror the NFF allocation for schools as far as possible as this provided all schools with a minimum 0.5% increase in funding per pupil.
The report indicated that there had not been any significant changes to the operation of the local school funding formula for 2020-21; with the main changes aimed at providing flexibility to allow LAs to deliver the Funding Floor (a net 1.84% per pupil funding increase compared with 2019-20) as set out in the NFF . It was proposed that corresponding changes be made to the funding formula and approval was sought of the Fair Funding Scheme of Delegation.
The consultation document was circulated on the 14th November 2019 to Head Teachers including Academy Head Teachers/Principals, Chairs of Governing Bodies, relevant Councillors, Trade Unions, Diocesan authorities, the Coventry Governors Association, members of the Schools Forum and Early Years Free Entitlement providers in the private, voluntary and Independent (PVI) sectors. The consultation period ended on 1st December 2019. This was a shorter consultation time than usual, as allowed by the DfE due to their delay in publishing some of the key funding information to LAs.
Stakeholder groups were briefed throughout the consultation period. These included Primary, Secondary and Special School Head Teacher Partnerships, Primary Finance representative head teachers, the Schools Trade Union representatives, and the Schools Forum. The consultation document also sought to act as an information document to school stakeholders regarding anticipated local budget pressures. A summary of the responses to the consultation was provided at Appendix 1 of the report submitted.
RESOLVED that, the Cabinet:
1. Approve the recommended changes to the Fair Funding Formula and Fair Funding Scheme of Delegation, which were summarised in Section 3 of the report submitted.
2. Delegate authority to the Cabinet Member and Director of Education and Skills to make any necessary amendments to the final detail of these recommended changes, in order to comply with the School Finance (England) Regulations 2019 once full detail of the schools funding settlement has been published by the Department for Education for 2020/21. Any changes will be made following discussion with the Schools Forum as appropriate.