Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To approve changes to the Kent County Council local funding formula for schools and early years providers that is used to calculate school budgets and early years rates from 1 April 2023.
Delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education, in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Education & Skills and the Schools Funding Forum, to make any necessary changes to the Local Funding Formula rates as requested by the Department of Education.
Reason for the decision:
In response to the Government confirming the additional funding for schools, Kent County Council is set to receive approximately £23m in 2023-24 to increases in funding rates for primary and secondary school budgets. The Government has also indicated a further £15m for High Needs in 2023-24. We are awaiting confirmation of the funding available for Early Years Providers. This decision will confirm how this additional funding will be distributed to schools and early years providers in line with Government guidelines.
The Government has confirmed the Council continues to be responsible for operating a local funding formula for Kent maintained schools (and this formula is also used by the Education and Skills Funding Agency for calculating Kent academy budgets) during 2023-24 and legislation dictates that any changes to that formula is subject to an all school consultation which took place in November 2022 along with seeking views from the Schools Funding Forum. The consultation focuses on how we allocate any additional funding and a request to transfer a further 1% from the schools to the high needs block to support SEN Support services in schools (the latter is also subject to Secretary of State approval).
The Council is responsible for setting the funding formula rates for High Needs funded school places including mainstream top-up funding, specialist resource provisions, maintained and academy special schools, post 16 providers.
The Council is also responsible for setting the Early Years Local Funding Formula which is used for setting the rate paid to early years providers for the Free Entitlement Early Years Funding Rate and Free for Two Rate.
The options considered for setting the primary and secondary school budgets are outlined in the consultation document to schools. Proposed changes to the primary and secondary schools funding formula have been limited to avoid any excessive deviation from the National Funding Formula (NFF) used by Government to allocate school funding to local authorities for distribution to schools. This is in line with previous recommendations from both schools & the Schools Funding Forum who have supported the general principle that “our Local Funding Formula should move towards the NFF, but at the same time continue to utilise local flexibility to address areas of local concern”.
The options for the setting of High Needs funding formula rates and Early Years local funding formula rates will be considered once the Government confirms final allocations.
The decision is linked to achieving the objectives set out in Outcome 6: Opportunities for children and young people in Strategic Delivery Plan (2020-2023).
As Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, I agree to:
a. Transfer 1% of the Schools Block (which equates to approximately to £12m) into the High Needs Block for 2023-24.
b. In relation to the Kent local funding formula for schools in 2023-24:
i. Continue with the Falling Roll fund.
ii. Set the local Minimum Funding Guarantee percentage at 0% for primary and secondary schools.
iii. Set the Minimum Per Pupil Funding Level (MPPFL) as per the value in the table below:
iv. All other factors within the current local funding formula to be set as per the National Funding Formula (NFF) less 1.7%.
c. In relation to Kent’s High Needs formula:
i. 4.3% inflationary increase for High Needs Formula budgets including SEN Inclusion Fund, Mainstream Top Up Funding, Specialist Resource Provisions in mainstream schools, Special Schools, Alternative Provision, FE Colleges and Specialist Post 16 Provisions.
ii. The Special School Minimum Funding Guarantee to be set at 3% for the period between 2021-22 and 2023-24 in line with government statutory guidance.
iii. The threshold for the additional mainstream top up funding (also known as SEN Notional Budget top Up) to be set at 40% of a schools notional SEN budget.
d. In relation to Kent’s Early Years Funding Formula for 2023-24:
i. The Base Rate for three- and four-year olds free entitlement to be set at £4.55 per hour and the Free for Two-year old hourly rate to be set at £5.68 per hour.
ii. The Quality Supplement for three- and four-year old to be set at £1.05 per hour for those settings with a nominated leader with a Qualified Teacher Status and employed on and paid under the Statutory Teachers’ Terms and Conditions.
iii. The Disability Access Fund criteria to be extended to include two-year olds as well as three- and four-year olds (and to be reviewed for 2025-26)
e. Delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education to make any further necessary changes to funding rates in light of any final affordability issues.
Publication date: 22/02/2023
Date of decision: 22/02/2023
Effective from: 02/03/2023