Decision details

School Funding Formula Parameters 2015/16

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: Yes

Purpose:

The Cabinet are required to approve how school funding will be allocated to schools in 2015/16 following a formal recommendation from the Schools Forum.

Decisions:

The Corporate Director for Children’s Services reported on the consultation launched in March 2014 by the Department for Education (DfE) on ‘Fairer Schools Funding 2015-16’ which sought to change the way that the Schools Block element of the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) allocation (which funds schools in each local authority) was calculated.    The DfE initially proposed to allocate an additional £350m in 2015-16 to increase the funding for the least fairly funded local areas.  Cumbria was projected to receive an additional £6.7m of DSG funding in 2015-16.

 

The DfE’s final arrangements for 2015-16 were published at the end of July 2014.  An additional £390m was to be added to the Schools Block element of the Dedicated Schools Grant, with Cumbria estimated to receive an additional £7.8m (based on October 2013 pupil numbers).  Although the DfE had confirmed to local authorities that the government had no plan to reduce funding after 2015-16 for any local area, this would be subject to the next Comprehensive Spending Review following the general election in May 2015. 

 

Cumbria County Council had a statutory duty to decide, in consultation with all schools and academies and the Schools Forum, how to allocate the additional funding to schools in 2015-16.

 

On 24th July 2014, Cabinet decided to consult all schools and the Cumbria Schools Forum during September/ October 2014 on the following:

 

·        That the additional funding in 2015-16 is allocated to secondary schools through the Basic Per Pupil Entitlement (AWPU) factor.

 

·        That the following recommendations of the Schools Forum are adopted as the parameters for implementing the School Funding Formula:

 

 

1)     The formula achieves the 2014-15 national average primary-secondary funding ratio of 1:1.27 (meaning that funding per secondary school pupil was on average 27% higher than funding per primary school pupil).

2)     The formula sought to reduce the range of ‘funding per pupil’ that currently existed between schools in Cumbria within each phase (primary and secondary) whilst recognising that there were some individual exceptional circumstances and constraints in the funding formula regulations which meant that some schools would receive a higher level of funding per pupil.

3)     The formula maintained the current levels of funding, and data used for the deprivation, prior attainment and English as an Additional Language factors.

 

A consultation on the above was held with all Cumbrian schools and academies and the Cumbria Schools Forum between 10th September and 8th October.  The outcomes of the consultation were detailed in the report at Appendix 2.   The recommendations of the Schools Forum following their review of the results on 15th October 2014 were detailed at paragraph 4.14 and 4.15 of the report.  Cabinet noted that the schools forum had been unable to make a clear recommendation with regard to the allocation of the £0.050M sparsity factor funds and the Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning recommended that further work be carried out on this matter before the way forward was agreed.  It was confirmed that the work could be completed in advance of the final submission needing to be made to DfE in January 2015.  The proposal was agreed and hence a revised recommendation as set out at 2 below was agreed replacing the recommendation at para 3.2 set out in the report.

 

RESOLVED, that

 

(1)                the recommendations of the Cumbria Schools Forum be agreed as outlined below:

>                      That the additional funding in 2015-16 is allocated to secondary schools through the Basic Per Pupil Entitlement (AWPU) factor to give an uplift to secondary schools by increasing the primary-secondary funding ratio from 1:1.15 to 1:1.23 (meaning that funding per secondary school pupil increases from being on average 15% higher than funding per primary school pupil to 23% higher).

>                      That the following principles are adopted as parameters for implementing the funding formula in Cumbria moving forward:

1)     The formula achieves the 2014-15 national average primary-secondary funding ratio of 1:1.27 (meaning that funding per secondary school pupil is on average 27% higher than funding per primary school pupil).

2)     The formula seeks to reduce the range of ‘funding per pupil’ that currently exists between schools in Cumbria within each phase (primary and secondary) whilst recognising that there are some individual exceptional circumstances and constraints in the funding formula regulations which means that some schools will receive a higher level of funding per pupil.  ‘Funding per pupil’ means taking the total funding received through the funding formula by a school and dividing it by the number of pupils in school.

3)     The formula maintains the current levels of funding, and data used for the deprivation, prior attainment and English as an Additional Language factors.

(2)               Noting that the Schools Forum was unable to make a clear recommendation to Cabinet on the allocation of an additional sparsity factor lump sum of £0.050m to secondary schools in 2015-16 that meet the following criteria:  

Ø      Have pupils in years 10 and 11

Ø      Have 350 pupils or fewer

Ø      Have a sparsity distance of 5 miles or more

Authority be delegated to the Corporate Director – Children’s Services in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning to agree the approach in respect of the sparsity factor lump sum of £0.050m for secondary schools in respect of the 2015/16 funding formula.

Report author: Helen Hamilton

Publication date: 28/10/2014

Date of decision: 23/10/2014

Decided at meeting: 23/10/2014 - Cabinet

Effective from: 05/11/2014

Accompanying Documents: