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A message from Matt Dunkley CBE:

1 March 2019 weekly update

1 March 2019

This week, Matt shares information on school budgets, local funding arrangements, the National Funding Formula and 1% High Needs Block transfer; and gives an update on our Pupil Referral Unit funding model consultation.

Dear Colleagues

School Budgets

I am pleased to inform you that the 2019-20 Delegated Local Funding Formula (LFF) and indicative Pupil Premium and Devolved Formula Capital budget templates are now available on Kelsi for all Local Authority (LA) Maintained Schools on the 2019-20 School Budgets page. We have also provided a separate Academy Template 2019-20 (XLSM, 365.9 KB) which shows details of the relevant payments we are responsible for, this can be accessed on Kelsi through the following link: .

Local Funding Arrangements

As part of the LFF consultation held in Autumn 2017, the LA set indicative funding rates for the financial year 2019-20. We are pleased to confirm that we have fully implemented these rates and in addition to this, a Split Site factor will be included in the LFF from April 2019.

National Funding Formula (NFF) and 1% High Needs Block (HNB) Transfer

The Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have further delayed the introduction of a Schools Hard NFF by confirming that a Soft NFF will still be in operation in 2020-21. It is still the long-term aim of the ESFA to introduce a Hard NFF for schools, but no details have been provided on future funding settlements, other than further guidance will be issued as part of the 2019 Comprehensive Spending Review that is due to take place in Autumn 2019. In the absence of any information on when the Hard NFF will be implemented, we believe it is unwise for schools to make any assumptions regarding any additional funding they may receive.

As you will be aware, we consulted with all LA Maintained Schools and Kent Academies in Autumn 2018 about transferring funding from the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) Schools Block (SB) to the DSG HNB to help meet the considerable Special Education Needs and Disabilities (SEND) pressures faced by Kent and many other Local Authorities in the country.

Schools (in their response to the consultation) and the Schools’ Funding Forum (SFF) at its meeting on 30 November 2018, strongly supported a transfer of 1% from the SB to the HNB: this was made up of the 0.5% transferred in 2018-19 and a further 0.5% relating to 2019-20. LAs proposing to make transfers over 0.5% are required to seek approval from the Secretary of State (SoS) and therefore an application to seek the necessary permission for a 1% transfer was submitted by the LA on 30 November 2018.

On 16 December 2018 the Government announced nationally that additional funding for SEND was being allocated to LAs and where LAs had requested a transfer of greater than 0.5%, consideration should be given to whether this amount should still be transferred. Part of the prescribed review process set by the ESFA was for LAs to consult with the SFF. An additional SFF meeting was arranged on 15 January 2019 where again, strong support from SFF members was given to transfer the full 1%.

Kent received notification from the ESFA on 13 February 2019 that the SoS had agreed Kent’s application to transfer 1% from the SB to the HNB.

We would like to provide complete assurance to schools in Kent that the request to transfer 1% from the SB to the HNB was not taken lightly and significant deliberation was taken in considering the best overall outcome for Children and Young People of Kent.

Details on the rationale for supporting the 1% transfer can be gained by reading the draft minutes for the SFF meetings held on 30 November 2018 and 15 January 2019 (links to relevant documents are shown below).

We have produced two separate guidance notes explaining the changes to Kent school funding in more detail, one for LA Maintained Schools (PDF, 312.1 KB) and one for Kent Academies (PDF, 173.8 KB).

Maintained schools are required to submit their three-year financial budget plan to the LA by 31 May 2019. In the absence of guidance from the ESFA for future years funding settlements, after careful consideration, we are advising LA schools to estimate future years funding based on a 0% Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG). More detailed guidance on this and teacher pay and pension increases is provided in the maintained schools guidance notes. The three year financial planning tool is interactive and allows schools to provide their own pupil forecasts for both 2020-21 and 2021-22 years.

If you experience difficulties when setting the budget for your school, please contact Ian Hamilton on 03000 41 54 15 or email schoolsfinancialservices@theeducationpeople.org.

The detailed budget guidance notes accessible on Kelsi include a list of contact names for specific queries. Please contact Simon Pleace, Outgoing Finance Business Partner on 03000 41 69 47 or email Simon.Pleace@kent.gov.uk if you have any questions on overall policy issues.

Helpful links

Pupil Referral Unit (PRU) Funding Model Consultation Update

As you will be aware, between 30 November 2018 and 25 January 2019 we consulted on a number of proposed changes to the way we fund Alternative Provision and Pupil Referral Units within Kent.

In total we received just over 100 responses. The responses we have received have been valuable to the consultation process, and I would like to thank everyone who took the time to give us their views.

We had intended to share our final response and recommendation with the Schools’ Funding Forum (SFF) on 11 March 2019 to seek their view and support on introducing changes in a phased way starting from 1 April 2019.

However, after reviewing the consultation responses and having met with the Alternative Provision Heads and their Management Committee Chairs, it is apparent that some elements of our proposals need to be developed further before they can be shared with schools and taken to the Forum. I have therefore decided to delay introducing any changes until 1 September 2019 at the earliest. This delay will allow the Local Authority to work with schools, the Schools Funding Forum, Headteachers, Chairs of Governors and legal services on developing the detail.

This means that the current methodology used for calculating Alternative Provision and Pupil Referral Units will remain in place, but will be updated with the 2019-20 school budget data.

Management Committees’ and Pupil Referral Units’ allocations for the five month period 1 April 2019 to 31 August 2019 will be confirmed as 5/12 allocations, with provisional allocations for the seven month period between 1 September 2019 and 31 March 2020.

In order to develop the detail around the contracts, we are setting up working group of schools and PRU Heads and Chairs.

Further detail on any proposed changes from 1 September 2019 will be provided as soon as possible.

Matt Dunkley CBE
Corporate Director
Children, Young People and Education