Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Declarations of Interest


    Minutes of the Special Schools Forum

    Virtual Meeting

    25th February 2021







    1          Apologies

    Apologies were received by Jude Stone, Ian Kingham and Lucy Rodgers.


    2          Declaration of Interests

    None directly affecting the decisions of this meeting.



Funding Formula for Early Years pdf icon PDF 611 KB


    3          Funding Formula for Early Years


    Ian Harrison presented the report which detailed the background and the results of the recent Early Years Consultation sent to Barnet Early Years Providers. The LA has proposed a temporary amendment to the Early Years Funding Formula to allocate a lump sum to Maintained Nursery Schools. A majority of respondents and a majority of Private, Voluntary

    and Independent (PVI) early years providers were opposed to the proposal for a temporary lump sum. A majority of the schools that responded (schools with nursery provision) were in favour.



    Jo Djora asked if the nurseries were unable to set a balanced budget.  She commented that a lot of the comments from PVIs needed explanations.


    Ian Harrison responded that all four maintained nursery school were facing a deficit of £100k per school on average from next year.  There was not much more the schools could achieve in cost cutting.


    Annette Long said the nursery schools would have been ok if it was not for the pandemic.  They had built up reserves from childcare payments but have been drawing on reserves year on year since 2017.


    Ziz Chater commented that maintain nursery schools cost more to run than other nursery settings but PVIs disputed this as they also have these costs.

    Ian Harrison detailed the comparison of maintained nursery schools to PVIs.

    PVIs don’t have to have a Head Teacher and Qualified Teacher Status staff.  Primary schools with nursery classes do not have a separate Head Teacher for early years and they receive a lump sum of £125k which maintained nurseries do not receive.


    Sarah Sands raised the following points. Maintained nursery schools need to be protected. One of the PVI responses indicated that the rate for funded places is lower in Barnet than surrounding boroughs.  Another indicated that training that should have been provided by Barnet and that the maintained nurseries had to pay for themselves. Sarah said a response should be sent to PVIs in relation to these points.


    Caron Rudge raised the following points:

    All nurseries are in a very difficult position which has been exacerbated by COVID.

    Maintained nurseries are a council resource and do not operate for profit whereas PVIs do operate for profit.

    During COVID the maintained nursery schools have taken on children in social care and from PVIs and so need to be supported before the resource is lost.


    Simon Horne commented that maintained nursery schools should be supported and that it was clear the proposals would not be to the detriment of PVIs.  He asked whether PVIs would be able to challenge the council’s decision.


    Ian Harrison reported that the LA had taken legal advice on the proposal for a lump sum payment to maintained nursery schools and the advice was that this was allowed subject to consultation with all early years and the Schools Forum.   He agreed it was important to respond to issues and questions raised by PVIs and he would liaise with Debra Davis, the council’s Early Years  ...  view the full minutes text for item 2.