Minutes of Hampshire Schools Forum

Date / 14October 2008
Time / 09:30-12:30
Location / Falcon House, Winchester
Present / Sylvia Vine – Chair (HGA Sec), Trudie Bateman (PHC), Julie Churcher (SHC), Margaret Cooper (HGA Pri),Jim Duckham (HGA Sec), Gren Earney (SHC), Hilary Evans (PHC), John Gawthorpe (TLP), Robin Gray (HGA Sec), Jim Hobbs (HGA Pri), Martina Humber (HGA Pri), Tim Jackson (14-19 rep), Ian Johnson (SHC), Phil Johnson (Sp HC), Esther Jones (PHC), Cllr David Kirk (HCC), John Mason (HGA Sec), Val Morgan (PHC), Janet Roberts (Diocesan), Amanda Rowley (SHC), Mike Salt (HGA Pri), Steve Shepherd (PHC), Rob Thompson (SpHC), Grahame Sammons (SHC), Deborah Saxby (HGA Sp), Andrew Turk (HGA Sec), Hedley Underwood (PHC), David White (TLP), Sue Wilkes (EYDCP), Sally Willshire (PHC)
Also present /

John Coughlan, John Clarke, Vanessa Courtney, Sarah Pook, Chris Robinson, Gill Shillitoe, Gordon Shinn, Thomas Whiffen, Anne Melesk

For Item 4 – Kate Hart and Dave Watson; For Item 5 – Jack Cawthra; For Item 8 – Ken Ampleford and Phil Andrews
Apologies / Elizabeth Anson (HGA Pri), Mark Bramwell (14-19 rep), Simon Francis (PHC), Eric Harrison (HGA Pri), Eddie Izzard (PHC), Chris Laskey (EYDCP),Wendy Morrish (SHC), Pam Robinson (HCC), Felicity Roe (HCC), Terry Tillman (HGA Pri), Phillip Walker (LSC), Antony Wells (HGA Sp), Chris Willsher (SHC)



Apologies for absence were noted. Tim Jackson was welcomed to his first meeting of Forum. The Clerk announced that Chris Laskey had resigned her membership of Schools Forum due to apromotion within the National Childminders Association. Nominations for her replacement were being arranged.
1 / Election of Chair and Vice Chair of Schools Form for two years
Sylvia Vine, currently Vice-chair, had been nominated as Chair of School Forum for the next two years. This nomination was fully supported by Forum members and Sylvia was duly elected.
Amanda Rowley nominated Rob Thompson as Vice-chair of School Forum and Rob was duly elected.
Thomas Whiffen confirmed that he had passed on Members’ thanks in a letter to the previous Chairman, Eddie Izzard.
2 / Minutes from last meeting – 8 July 2008
The Minutes of the meeting held on 8 July were agreed, subject to amending budget underspend on item 5 to read £2,063M.
3 / Matters Arising
a)14-19 Diplomas and transport (Min. 2a)
Clerk to Forum to bring details on Hampshire’s share of the funding grant for a transport coordinator to the December meeting.
b)Contracts affecting schools (Min. 2b)
Clerk to Forum to circulate more widely information about purchasing mini-buses through CountySupplies.
c)School balances clawback redistribution (Min. 3)
Gordon and colleagues to give presentation on clawback mechanism and implications to Primary Heads and hopefully Special and Secondary Heads and Area governor meetings. He was given the names of suggested contacts.
Thomas reminded Forum that it was a provision of the Scheme of Financial Management that schools enter their revised budget into the system. Deadline was end of November.
d)Funding equal pay claims in schools (Min. 4)
Sarah Pook to bring update to December Forum.
e)Hampshire school funding formula issues (Min. 6)
Forum agreed the wording proposed in post meeting note, to read “ Schools Forum is recommended to support an examination of the implications and costs for special schools and resourced provision (special units) of the move from 12.5 to 15 hours free entitlement for under fives, with the results of this study being reported to it at a future meeting.”
f)Dates of Future Meetings (Min. 10)
Martina Humber asked that some futuremeetings were arranged as afternoon appointments. /
Thomas Whiffen
Thomas Whiffen
Gordon Shinn
Sarah Pook
4 / Combined Budget – Progress report on the impact of locality teams
Kate Hart and Dave Watson attended for this item. They gave apologies from the project lead, Maggie Carr.
Kate spoke about the work of the locality teams, which she said were one strand of a very broad set of initiatives to improve outcomes for children. She advised that there had been positive feedback on them from Ofsted. They would be subject to a formal evaluation by the University of Southampton early in the new year. That evaluation would gather input from a number of professional bodies with links to the teams, including schools.
John Coughlan reminded Forumof the expectation that locality teams would be the focus for other organisations. To assist with the evaluation, he asked for increased engagement and support for them. Esther Jones endorsed this reminder that School Forum should continue to support the locality teams and the partnership links to them.
Sally Willshire asked about early years links to health, particularly in relation to CAF assessments. Dave Watson set out the model for this work and offered the opportunity for further discussion with Sally offline.
Reportrecommendations were noted and agreed.
5 / SpecialSchool Audit – resumption of annual process
Jack Cawthra explained that, because of inflexibility in the current system, Special Heads Conferencehad unanimously requested a return to the annual special schools audit process as of Autumn 2008. They were aware that individual schools could receive either a greater or lesser share of the budget as a result of the new arrangements.
To ensure there was absolute clarity with the situation, it was agreed that the recommendation should be amended. Revised recommendation, which was approved by School Forum, to read: “Schools Forum is recommended to approve in principle the return to an annual SpecialSchool Audit process, the result of which will be incorporated into school budget shares as of Autumn 2008. Special Heads Conference are asked to ensure that its members are both aware of and reconsider the impact of the change on special schools budget shares.”
If the revised wording was opposed by Special Heads Conference, Rob Thompson would refer back to School Forum in December. / Rob Thompson
6 / Schools Budget funding of Children in Care
Thomas Whiffen set out the background. He explained that, as of FY 2009, it was proposed to move from an annual to a termly funding system for the educational allowance of looked after children. The proposal was supported by a number of bodies, including the HGA. Advantages of the termly allocation were set out, and three issues of current concern were noted and discussed.
Vanessa Courtney explained that the allocations had a range of uses for looked after children. She would supply examples of good practice on this spend for Thomas to circulate to members. To protect privacy, any reference to particular schools would be removed. Vanessa also clarified that funding for early years was currently allocated by the Care Matters Board. However, consideration would be given as to whether extending the allocation to early years was affordable.
School Forum noted the recommendation to support the proposal for a move to termly allocations. The recommendation to consider funding the one off MFG impact as part of adjustments to its budget strategy for 2009/10 was agreed, with the proviso to consider implications for including the early years setting. Further discussion on these issues to take place at theDecember Forum. / Vanessa Courtney /Thomas Whiffen
7 / Infant Class Size
Gill Shillitoe introduced a paper, which looked at the funding approach currently in place and the concerns raised by head teachers about class size funding. Current requirement was that classes shouldnot exceed 30 pupils per teacher, but with exceptions whereby extra funding for a teacher could be provided to allow larger classes but with two teachers. It was proposed to improve the funding of that group of exceptions and the cost of covering those breaches had implications in terms of funding out of contingency.
It was suggested that funding was considered out of any carry forward at the December budget meeting. However, the proposal that clawback might be used was rejected on the basis that such money should not be regarded as a regular source of income.
Recommendations were noted and agreed.
8 / School Balances clawback policy review
Gordon Shinn introduced Ken Ampleford and Phil Andrews to assist with this report. He advised that Andrew Minall had been appointed as Head of EDF, following the departure of Keith Sheppard, and would take up his post from 1 December.
Gordon reminded of the underpinning principles that must apply to clawback. He advised that three changes were proposed to the mechanism for clawback criteria, to come into effect in the current financial year. The timescale leading to the changes was set out. If approved, Gordon said they were expected to improve management of the clawback mechanism both for schools and for EDF. They would also help achieve the principles of clawback.
Cllr Kirk extended thanks to Forum for putting a policy in place to deal withthe issue of clawback. Given the misunderstandings around this matter and the increasing threat that it would be tackled at a national level, he urged Forum members to fully support the changes and continued work to reduce balances.
Questions and debate followed on further measures to be taken to tackle the issue. It was recommended that a letter from John Coughlan be issued as a direct communication to all Chair of Governors and be copied to all those who were in a position of influencing the financial management of schools, such as Chairs of Finance Committee. Trudie Bateman suggested that training on financial management was also a part of the NPQH training for deputy heads and should be included in any head teacher induction provided by Hampshire County Council.
Sarah Pook suggested that further measures to reduce clawback were considered at the Forum meetings in Spring 2009, when the impact of the EDF exercise would be known. In the meantime, Sarah urged Forum to support these changeswhich would lessen the immediate burden on resources.
Recommendations were addressed. School Forum agreed to a change of policy wording by a vote of 25 in favour, 0 against and 0 abstentions.
School Forum agreed the proposals for changing the policy on clawback of surplus balances, with a unanimous vote of 25 in favour, 0 against and 0 abstentions.
School Forum agreed by a vote of 25 in favour, 0 against and 0 abstentions that Head of Finance should revise the policy wording in accordance with recommendation 1 and that the Chair and Vice chair have authority to agree this. This policy will then be circulated to all Chairs of school governing bodies, all chairs of governing body Finance Committees and all headteachers.
The presentations referred to in minute 3c above will also cover these changes.
The recommendationthat a further report comes to the Forum in February 2009 was noted and agreed. / Gordon Shinn
9 / Progress report on the one Early Years formula
Thomas said that the changes set out in the paper related to a move to termly count basis for funding of maintained nursery provision. In doing so it would protect 80% of the shortfall in 2008 and 40% in 2010/11.
Thomas talked about some of the issues related to a move towards a single funding formula for the supply of 15 hours nursery provision. Forum indicated that it would look favourably on supporting this, given that many of the suppliers were likely to be small units.
Recommendations were addressed and were agreed.
10 / Budget Update for 2008/09 and 2009/10 - 2010/11
Gordon Shinn updated on the current financial year budget and on planning for the next. He reminded Forum that they had already agreed a £2.038M carry forward on the current budget.
Gordon noted that measures taken on Children’s Services budget had put it in a positionwhereby overspend was not expected. Budget variations were noted, and a significant budget pressure on the out of county placements was noted.
Gordon reported on budget strategy for the next three years. He drew attention to the budget items agreed for 2008/09-2010/11 and the revisions to them agreed byForum in the last year. Budget updates in key areas were noted. A report on the 2011/12 budget was also taken. The timetable and approach to 2009/10 budget preparation was noted, and would include a meeting of HGA on 9 December.
Comments and questions followed. All recommendations were noted and agreed.
11 / Any Other Business
There was no other business and the meeting was concluded.
12 / Dates of Future Meetings
Next meeting: Thursday 11December, 0930-1230, Falcon House, Winchester.
Please see table below for full list of planned meetings, and visit the website at
Date / Time / Location
13 February 2009 / 09:30-12:30 / Saxony Hall (Wessex Centre, SparsholtCollege)
19 May 2009 / 14:00-17:00 / Main Auditorium,Stanmore Lane Conference Centre
10 July 2009 / 09:30-12:30 / Falcon House
20 October 2009 / 09:30-12:30 / Forest Suite, Marwell Hotel
11 Dec. 2009 / 09:30-12:30 / Main Auditorium, Stanmore Lane Conference Centre
22 January 2010 / tbc / tbc
2 March 2010 / tbc / tbc
21 May 2010 / tbc / tbc
13 July 2010 / tbc / tbc