Mr Pleace (Revenue and Tax Strategy Manager) was in attendance for this item
(1) Mr Pleace briefly introduced the report which set out information relating to the proposals to change to the Local Funding Formula (LFF) which were contained within the School Funding Formula Consultation 2020-21.
Officers then responded to comments and questions from Members, including the following: -
a) Mr Pleace referred to the introduction of the soft National Funding Formula in 2018-19 and highlighted one area of concern that Kent had been able to address in the Local Funding Formula through the continuation of a lump sum of £120k which was paid to all Kent schools. He talked about the concerns that the relatively small increases in funding for smaller primary schools and confirmed that one of the proposals in the consultation is for Kent to continue to pay a lump sum of £120k to Kent primary schools. This would offer protection to Kent’s smaller schools.
b) Mr Pleace confirmed that further information would be distributed to Committee Members outside of the meeting in relation to the school funding formula consultation and equality impact assessment.
c) Mr Pleace confirmed that the schools funding formula consultation was live and he provided information which related to the consultation responses that had been received to date.
d) Mr Pleace explained the reasons behind the proposals set out in the consultation to repeat the 1% transfer to high needs in 2020-21 and discussed plans to use the transfer to incentivise inclusion of children and young people with Education, Health and Care Plans into mainstream settings. In addition, he added that the Schools’ Funding Forum needed to agree whether a Falling Roll Fund should be introduced from 2020-21, taking into consideration the views of the schools through the consultation. Mr Dunkley explained the decision-making process and confirmed that the proposed decision to repeat the 1% transfer to high needs would be taken by the Lead Member, not the Schools’ Funding Forum.
e) Mr Pleace referred to the consultation document and provided further information in relation to local areas of concern and each of the scenarios and their estimated funding rates. He added that one of the scenarios (number three in the consultation document) would require approval from the Secretary of State.
f) Mr Pleace confirmed that he could provide further information to Committee Members at a later date in relation to the discussions that would take place at the Schools’ Funding Forum on 29th November 2019, once the consultation had closed.
g) Mr Long (Cabinet Member for Education and Skills) and Mr Dunkley confirmed that as the consultation had not yet closed, Members could submit their comments and views in relation to the consultation by 29th November 2019.
(2) RESOLVED that the proposed decision to be taken by the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills in December 2019, following engagement with the Schools’ Funding Forum, to agree to the proposals set out within the Kent Schools’ Local Funding Formula 2020-21 consultation, be endorsed.