Agenda and minutes

East Sussex Schools Forum - Friday, 22nd November, 2019 8.30 am

Venue: Wellhurst Golf and Country Club

Contact: Ed Beale, Schools Funding Manager,  Email:

No. Item


Welcome and Apologies pdf icon PDF 39 KB


1.1          Hugh welcomed all and thanked everyone for their attendance. He confirmed the meeting was quorate, recognising the apologies (below).

1.2                  Apologies received from:

·         Andrew Ferguson (Rye Academy)

·         Helen Key (Chailey School)

·         Phil Matthews (Hailsham Community College Academy Trust)

·         Richard Preece (Saxon Mount and Torfield)

·         Joanna Sanchez (Diocese of Arundel and Brighton)

·         Phil Clarke (Trade Union Representative)

·         Stuart Gallimore (Director Children’s Services)

·         Monica Whitehead (Claverham Community College) Did not attend




Election of Chair and Vice Chair


2.1       Lesley informed Forum members that they needed to elect a Chair. Hugh indicated that he was happy to continue as Chair. Forum were asked if there were any more nominations, including self-nominations, to stand as chair. As there were no other indications of interest, Hugh was elected by acclamation.

2.2       Lesley informed Forum members that they needed to elect a Vice-Chair. James indicated that he was happy to continue as Vice-Chair. Forum were asked if there were any more nominations including self-nominations to stand as Vice-Chair. As there were no other indications of interest, James was elected by acclamation.


Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 248 KB


3.1       The Minutes for 20 September were signed off by the Chair as a true record.


Matters arising and declarations of interest


4.1       There were no declarations of interest and there were no matters arising.


Growth Fund / Falling Rolls Fund pdf icon PDF 386 KB


5.1       Gary gave a brief overview of the paper and outlined the proposals.


5.2       In total, the Growth Fund requirement for 2020/21 is £1,572,000.  This is partially offset by the carry forward of £17,900 from 2019/20 as referred to in 2.3 above.  The adjusted requirement is therefore £1,554,100.


5.3       Gary explained that there is no Falling Rolls Fund requirement in 2020/21, the current underspend of £63,000 in 2019/20 will be carried forward as a contingency sum.


5.4       Jane asked about the KS1 top up as she said it was confusing and she would like to understand it better. When pupils arrived during the year it would be good to know if they were a permitted exception. If they were counted in it might put you over the limit. She asked if Gary could point her in the right direction. Gary agreed to add an extra statement in the next Growth Fund document that makes this clearer.


5.5       Hugh advised that the Schools’ Forum is recommended to approve an allocation of £1,554,100 for the 2020/21 Growth Fund. The vote was for all Forum members.


Number of YES

Number of NO



*Please note that at the time of voting, 13 members were present. Lizzie Field arrived after voting took place.


5.6       Hugh declared that the proposal was approved.




ESCC Funding Formula Consultation Update pdf icon PDF 119 KB


6.1       Ed introduced the item and went through the key points of the proposals that went out to consultation and confirmed that, due to the overall outcome of respondents, a recommendation would be going to Lead Member to approve option 2.


6.2       Geoffry advised that although he was happy with the next year, he thought the principle was mistaken and the formula wrong and the lump sum value set by the DfE was still too low. He felt this would lead to the closure of small schools and an increase in transport costs getting the rural children to school. He said that he was worried about the year 3 budget and that they would be worse off.


6.3       Mark advised that he would have to look at the numbers but he didn’t think there was a drop in funding. Geoffry clarified that this was because his pupil numbers were reducing.


6.4       Jane also raised concerns about the funding and that as primary numbers were dropping they were not getting enough funding.


6.5       Lizzie also raised concerns about how the lump sum is used and that the lump sum represents a high percentage of a small school’s budget meaning that smaller schools would lose out.


6.6       Jane was very surprised at the low voting numbers for option 1. She also said that it would be good to know if there was going to be the same 4% additional funding for 201/22. Ed highlighted that the Minimum Per Pupil level for Primary schools is set to increase to £4,000 per pupil for 2021/22 although a number of primary schools are already at this level.


6.7       Hugh gave a recommendation that they would all engage with the new Government and continue to campaign for additional funding.



Building Maintenance Buyback pdf icon PDF 270 KB

Additional documents:


7.1       Matthew gave an update on the building maintenance buyback service that is being provided from April 2020.


7.2       He highlighted that the offer ends this year and a new service offer has been worked on over the last six months to better meet the needs of the schools and academies.


7.3       A Partnership working group has been formed which will work in partnership with the building maintenance team. The offer has gone back to the schools this week and a handbook has been made to aid transparency.


7.4       The Maintenance team encourages all East Sussex schools to continue to support the new Building Maintenance offer. This would allow the continuity of a highly valued service to schools and the future reassurance that the structural integrity of all schools is maintained to a high standard.


7.5       The Partnership working group will become an integral part of the schools Building Maintenance process. This will ensure that the school maintenance community develops, ensuring transparency on projects, spend and need across the East Sussex family of schools.


7.6       The Building Maintenance team will have further people joining the team after Christmas and hope to alleviate the frustrations of not knowing who you are dealing with by working closely with the schools.


7.7       Matthew acknowledged that schools want to know where the money was going so an annual report will be produced to send out.




Place Commissioning pdf icon PDF 122 KB

Additional documents:


8.1       Emily gave a summary of the pupil occupancy of special schools and facilities and explained what changes have been implemented since the last report.


8.2       She explained that improvements have been put in place and they are building on the positive position. There have been a number of additional places and the LA is ensuring that the right children are in the right place.


8.3       There is a framework being put in place and SENCO’s were being supported in identifying the correct needs. This would be done not only by providing information but also by meeting with them.


8.4       Emily said that the outcome of setting ambitious targets and celebrating children’s achievements would lead children to live more independently.


8.5       James asked Emily to expand on the point raised regarding two facilities still being under occupied. Emily advised that there was a group who would be meeting to discuss this.


8.6       Hugh thanked Emily and said that it was a really good report which showed good achievements.



Any other business


9.1       There was no other business.


9.2       Draft items noted for next meeting:


  • DSG 2020/21 Budget
  • Apprenticeship Levy
  • Services to Schools Update


Meeting concluded at 9.01am

Next meeting - Friday, 17 January 2020, at 0830 hours at Wellshurst Golf Club