To consider a report from the Executive Director – People (copy enclosed)
Cabinet members considered a report from the Executive Director – People which set out the current arrangements for school funding and updated members on the outcome of a recent consultation with schools.
A National Funding Formula (NFF) was introduced for schools from 2018/19 and as in previous years it would continue to be ‘soft’ year in 2023/24 giving local authorities flexibility in applying the NFF.
Local Authorities are obliged to consult their local schools and Schools Forum on an annual basis regarding changes to school funding arrangements and whether to continue to adopt the NFF. Cumbria had adopted the NFF each year since 2018/19.
In addition to deciding whether to adopt the NFF for schools or to apply a locally determined formula, Local Authorities also had discretion over whether to transfer up to 0.5% of funding from the Schools Block into other blocks with the agreement of Schools Forum. Last year, after allocating the NFF in full a transfer of 0.32% equating to £1.067m was agreed. Cabinet was statutorily responsible for deciding on a formula through which funding was allocated to schools.
Following a consultation with all Cumbrian schools affected by these proposals, including prospective members of the respective school fora for Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness, the Cumbria Schools Forum at its meeting on 23 November 2022, had recommended to Cabinet that the National Funding Formula was implemented in full from April 2022 for the 2023/24 financial year and, after taking into account the growth fund budget, any residual balance up to a maximum of 0.5% of funding is to be transferred from the Schools Block into the High Needs block with any balance remaining in the Schools block after the transfer of a maximum of 0.5% to be allocated to schools through the school funding formula.
(1) Cabinet approve the recommendation of the Cumbria Schools Forum to allocate funding in Cumberland and Westmorland and Furness to schools using the National Funding Formula in 2023/24 and,
(2) after taking into account the growth fund budget, any residual balance up to a maximum of 0.5% to be transferred from the Schools Block into the High Needs block and
(3) any balance remaining in the Schools block after transfer of a maximum of 0.5% should be allocated to schools through the school funding formula.