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 2024.
Delegate authority to the Corporate Director of Children, Young People and Education to make any necessary changes to the Local Funding Formula rates once final affordability is known.
Reason for the decision:
In response to the Government confirming the additional funding for schools, Kent County Council is set to receive approximately £25m in 2024-25 to increases in funding rates for primary and secondary school budgets. The Government has also indicated a further £10m for High Needs in 2024-25. This decision will confirm how this additional funding will be distributed to schools 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 2024-25 and legislation dictates that any changes to that formula is subject to an all school consultation which took place in November 2023 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 1.2% 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. However this will be subject to a separate key decision for 2024-25 due to the wider changes in Free Entitlement Funding.
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 will be considered once the Government confirms final allocations.
The decision is linked to the key priority “Levelling up Kent” within the ‘Framing Kent’s Future (2022-26)’
Whilst the decision relates to the distribution of ring-fenced grant, this decision is linked to achieving the overall objectives of ‘Securing Kent’s Future – Budget Recovery Strategy’ whereby proposals will support the financial recovery of the High Needs Block of the Dedicated Schools Grant.
Decision type: Key
Decision status: For Determination
Notice of proposed decision first published: 03/01/2024
Decision due: Not before 1st Feb 2024 by Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Reason: To allow 28 day notice period required under Exeuctive Decision regulations
Lead member: Deputy Cabinet Member for Education and Skills
Lead director: Sarah Hammond
Department: Education & Young People's Services
The Children’s and Young People Cabinet Committee considered and endorsed the decision on 18 January 2024.
Public consultation undertaken or planned:
A consultation with all Kent schools and academies takes place during November and the feedback from the consultation will be discussed at the Schools Funding Forum on 1st December 2023 and 18th January 2023.
Cabinet Committee consultation planned:
The proposed decision will be considered by the Children’s, Young People and Education Cabinet Committee on 16 January 2023.
Financial implications: The costs of the new funding formula will be fully met from the Dedicated Schools Grant and will not be a further cost to Council funding.
Legal implications: None
Equalities implications: Equalities implications: An equalities impact assessment has been completed and is included as part of the consultation documentation. There were no adverse impacts identified. Data Protection implications: N/A