A message from Matt Dunkley CBE:
6 December 2019 weekly update
6 December 2019
This week, Matt summarises the proposed changes to school funding arrangements following the Schools’ Funding Forum and introduces more details about the EEFective Kent Project.
Schools’ Funding Forum
On Friday 29 November, the Schools’ Funding Forum met to consider a number of important issues and I wanted to give you an update on their discussions, specifically around proposed changes to school funding arrangements from 1 April 2020. The Forum considered the responses received to the school funding consultation which ran from 14 October through to 18 November. In total we received 169 responses and both the Forum and the Local Authority are very grateful to all schools who took the time to complete the consultation and provide us with their views. Overall there continues to be support for the Local Authority and the Forum to continue to take steps towards fully implementing the National Funding Formula (NFF) but at the same time continue to recognise areas of local concern where we can. As a result of the detailed and informed discussions last Friday, the Forum have provided the Local Authority with a series of recommended changes to the Local Funding Formula (LFF) for Primary and Secondary school to take effect from 1 April 2020. These changes are:
- Introduce a falling roll fund to protect vulnerable schools who have a sudden and dramatic fall in pupil numbers, but the places are needed in that area in the near future.
- Maintain a lump sum for Primary schools at £120,000 per school (excluding area cost adjustment).
- Support a transfer of 1% from the Schools Block into the High Needs Block, to be ring-fenced to support greater inclusion of children and young people with Education Health and Care Plans into Primary and Secondary schools.
- Increase the funding rates in line with consultation scenario 3. This indicative rates are shown in the table below along with their percentage of the 2020-21 National Funding Formula:
Phase or Key Stage
Indicative LFF rates per eligible pupil
Rate as a % of the 2020-21 NFF
Basic Entitlement (Age Weighted Pupil Unit)
Key Stage 3
Key Stage 4
Deprivation - IDACI
Deprivation - Free School Meals (FSM)
Primary and Secondary
Deprivation - Ever 6 FSM
Low Prior Attainment
English as an Additional Language
Minimum Funding Level
Per Primary Pupil
Per Secondary Pupil
- Set the Minimum Funding Guarantee percentage for 2020-21 at +0.5%.
The Forum also recommended that we should not introduce the pupil mobility factor into the formula in 2020-21, and instead should use the funding that we are set to receive for mobility to help fund some of the areas of local concern. This is something that the Forum want to review in 12 months’ time.
In relation to High Needs, the Forum recommend to increase the funding rates for Special Schools, Specialist Resource Provision, Mainstream High Needs, Top up payments to Further Education Colleges, Observation and Assessment centres and Specialist Teaching and Learning Service by at least 2% and higher if affordable - this is something that the Local Authority is currently assessing.
For maintained Primary schools with a nursery class, and our maintained Nursery schools, the Forum agreed that the additional funding we are set to receive in 2020-21 will be allocated fully to providers through an 8p per hour increase to the base rate of funding within the Early Years Funding Formula.
The Local Authority is currently waiting for the Department for Education to release the school level October 2019 census information to enable us to consider these recommendation in the round and to check overall affordability levels before the Cabinet Member for Education and Skills can take the final decision. Alongside this we have submitted two requests to the Secretary of State and we await his approval; one in relation to the 1% transfer and the other in relation to the Minimum Funding Levels (MFLs). The latter is an ‘in principle’ as we are waiting for the outcome of a DfE consultation to mandate the inclusion of the MFLs into the LFF. This outcome has been delayed due to the General Election.
I hope this update is helpful for you in starting to plan for next year’s budget, although I do appreciate that there is still some uncertainty, and as soon as we get formal decisions on the outstanding issues we will provide further information.
EEFective Kent Project
As the run up to Christmas intensifies, you will be juggling all the normal festive extras such as nativity plays and staff parties with the day job of focusing on long term strategic planning, evaluating work done so far and considering next steps for pupils as you aim to close gaps. With this in mind, you’ll be aware, from previous newsletters and the Headteacher briefings, that KCC and the EEF are rolling out the EEFective Kent Project.
The first strand of the project, which is the offer of match funding for the EEF’s Promising Projects, is now being launched. There are thirteen projects to choose from, all of which are shown to have impact on pupils’ progress and outcomes. Another compelling reason to engage with this project is that KCC and the EEF will cover half of the project costs, including funding for some cover and travel costs.
These projects have made a difference to Maths, English, Science and other outcomes in Primary and Secondary schools but only you can judge whether the same impact would be likely in your setting. So that you can understand what implementing each project successfully would look like, we are running a provider roadshow. The first of these is on Wednesday 22 January. These events are your opportunity to find out more about the Promising Projects and will allow you to hear from, and meet with, your top three project providers. There will be a carousel of workshops from all the Promising Project providers who will be happy to answer questions and support your decision-making. The half-day session also aims to support you to successfully bid for this funding, so if you are planning to apply, attending is strongly recommended. Subsequent roadshows will be held on 21 April 2020 and on 22 April 2021.
The first roadshows take place on Wednesday 22 January 2020 at either:
- 8:30am to 12pm at the Spitfire Ground, Canterbury; or
- 1pm to 4:30pm at the Mercure Great Danes Hotel, Maidstone.
To secure your place, please email EEFectiveKentProject@kent.gov.uk with your name, your role, the name of your school and indicating if you would like to join the morning or afternoon session.
If you can’t make the January roadshow but would like to get the latest information about the project and details about future events, please request this by emailing EEFectiveKentProject@kent.gov.uk. Also look out for the “Promising Project” prospectus, which will be launched next week on our EEFective Kent Project page, with full details of the range of training and interventions on offer.
KCC is delighted to have secured this opportunity for Kent schools. Not only does it support evidence-based approaches, but it also comes with much needed funding. I hope you will be able to benefit from this opportunity.
Matt Dunkley CBE
Children, Young People and Education