Agenda and minutes

Venue: Building 3, North London Business Park

Contact: School Funding Team  Email:

No. Item


Welcome to new members


    There were no new members for this meeting. Ayalah Hirst is no longer a trustee of IJDS academy, and has therefore resigned her position on the Schools Forum. The quorum for this meeting is 10 as a result.





    Apologies were received from Sarah Vipond (Siobhan O’Connell attended as substitute), John Bowra, Robin Archibald, Jude Stone, Annette Long (Caron Rudge attended as substitute) and Jo Djora.


Declarations of Interest




Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 80 KB


    Minutes agreed as a true and accurate record of the last meeting.


Matters arising




Items for information


2018/19 Budget Monitoring pdf icon PDF 97 KB


    GN presented the latest 2018/19 outturn position, highlighting the pressures that exist in the HN block. This continues to be the block that has ongoing pressures moving forward.


    IK acknowledged the HN block pressures, but advised that schools are likely to have budget deficit issues. HN bands/ top up funding have been flat cash for some time and are not covering increased staffing costs.  Special schools will continue to come under further pressure moving forward as a result of higher staff: pupil ratios.


    HP: The current ARP consultation is part of a wider piece of work in terms of reprioritising and reprofiling the resources available, and moving towards a graduated model of provision in Barnet. In general, those with the lowest needs are expected to be in maintained schools, whilst those with more complex and severe needs are likely to be in specialist provision.  Further analysis is being undertaken so that, in the future, those with the most severe/complex needs are supported appropriately. Future budget models, including a 3-year projection, will be brought to the Schools Forum for discussion.


    LR commented that she felt pupils currently in her ARP were in the appropriate provision; HP advised that she had recently visited all the ARPs and it was clear that some pupils had more severe/ complex needs and these needs might be better met by other specialist provision.


    GK commented that parental choice would need to be considered.  HP agreed, but suggested that work needs to be carried out with parents to ensure children get the best outcomes from accessing the most appropriate provision. She also said that it was important for different types of provision to work together to ensure the best outcomes for each child, and to have a shared understanding of inclusion




    Schools Forum were asked to note and agree the provisional outturn provision for 2018-19 as shown in the report


    Agreed, unanimously.



S251 Budget 19/20 with benchmarking data pdf icon PDF 47 KB

    Additional documents:


    The table on p15 shows the 2019/20 DSG draft budget by s251 line; p17 shows the per pupil benchmarking data and compares Barnet with our London statistical neighbours.  The data shows that Barnet’s expenditure is within the normal range for similar LAs, rather than being an ‘outlier’ (much higher or much lower than most other similar LAs).


    MS asked why neighbouring boroughs such as Enfield, Harrow or Brent are not shown for comparison; GN advised that, according to the DfE local authority data, the boroughs shown most closely resemble Barnet in population size, deprivation levels etc.


    Members asked what ‘Direct Payments’ cover.  These are personal transport budgets where parents have chosen to arrange their own transport rather than use SEN transport brokered by the council, where their child is eligible for travel support.


    The contribution to ‘SEN transport’ (1.4.11) is a historic commitment and has remained fixed for a number of years.


    KN commented that Barnet has the lowest TU facilities costs compared to statistical neighbours.


    SH asked why some comparator authorities spent widely different amounts on top-up in line 1.2.1. GN advised that this depends on the number and mix of academies, special schools and non-maintained schools where SEN placements are made.  Lines 1.2.1 to 1.2.3 should be looked at as a combined total, as this covers all top-up expenditure.


    MS questioned why the Schools Improvement figure was higher than other authorities.  IH advised that this was as a result of the increased de-delegation (Learning Network Inspector service) approved by Schools Forum previously.





    Members are asked to note s251 budget allocations and benchmarking data.


    Noted, unanimous.


2019/20 High Needs Commissioning Arrangements and Commissioned Places pdf icon PDF 69 KB

    Additional documents:


    CG presented the first section of this report showing commissioned place numbers – the Forum needs to agree the numbers shown.  An additional £0.964m will again be received in the 2019/20 HN block, the same additional amount that was received 18/19. This increases the gross HN block, but the DfE recoups funding for HN places funded directly in academies, FE colleges etc.


    Place funding for ARPs in maintained schools and maintained special schools do not need to be submitted to the DfE, these are just agreed locally.  Only place numbers at academy ARPs and academy special schools are subject through the annual HN place review process administered by the DfE.


    Appendix 1 includes new provision at Whitefield and Chalgrove.  The place numbers at London Academy ARP have been revised down which means recoupment from the HN block will reduce as a result. Top-up bands remain the same at present, but a consultation on ARP top-up funding has just been published.


    HP highlighted the increasing demand for special school places, and the increase in place numbers at existing special schools.  She indicated that council would be looking to increase capacity in existing special schools whilst waiting for the Windmill Special Academy to open in two or three years’ time.


    Post 16 top-ups usually show significant movement in the summer term. The council is considering how to increase the number of young people with SEND moving into supported internships and apprenticeships.


    HP also reported a slow increase in the costs of independent and non-maintained placements and said increasing local specialist provision should reduce this going forward. The current consultation is part of the process to rebalance provision to reduce pressures.


    LR advised that she has 11 ARP pupils, not 9 as shown on the commissioned place table. HP advised that the 2 over number would be dealt with at a ‘spot purchase’ rate.


    IK commented on the recent proposal that schools buying into Capita payroll will have 85% transferred into the salaries account, above the level the DfE suggests, and this shows the trend in increasing salary costs in schools. CG advised that the 85% retained figure has been based on analysis of historic staff salary expenditure data.


    IK asked if the special school and ARP top-up cost per school (Items 1 and 2, Appendix 1) could be provided for comparison purposes. HP agreed to provide these figures at the next meeting.


    GK asked if the HN consultation would reach families potentially affected by ARP proposals in future.  IH confirmed that legal advice has been taken on consultation with stakeholders and the consultation has been published accordingly.





    Schools Forum is asked to note the commissioned high needs places as shown in the report for the 2019/20 school year.


    Noted and agreed, unanimous.


    Members are asked to note the proposal to consult on changes to ARP top-up rates.


    Consultation proposals noted and agreed unanimously.




    The agenda for the next meeting will include the following:


                          i.        Scheme for Financing Schools – update/ consultation

                        ii.        Schools Capital Programme

                       iii.        High Needs Block 3-year spending projections


    IH advised that Item ii will include a report on consultation on the options for expanding specialist provision and for allocating Special Provision capital, as set out in a report to the Children, Education and Safeguarding Committee in March.


Proposed agenda items for next meeting

    i.              Scheme for Financing Schools – update/consultation

    ii.            Schools Capital Programme

    iii.           High Needs Block 3 year spending projections


Dates of future meetings

    i.              11 July 2019

    ii.            September 2019 – TBC

    iii.           October 2019 – TBC

    iv.           November 2019 – TBC


    (Venues for future meetings to be confirmed)