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To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence received from County Councillors Mark Barnes, Diane Jones-Poston, Jeremy Pugh and apologies for absence received from Parent Governor representative Sara Davies.
County Councillors M Alexander (Portfolio Holder for Education) and A Davies (Portfolio Holder for Finance)
I Budd (Director of Education), J Thomas (Head of Financial Services), J Spraggen (Finance Business Partner)
S Fielden (Schools Finance Specialist)
G Taylor (Chair of Funding Review Group (FRG))
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members.
No declarations of interest were received.
Declarations of Party Whips
To receive disclosures of prohibited party whips which a Member has been given in relation to the meeting in accordance with Section 78(3) of the Local Government Measure 2011.
(NB: Members are reminded that under Section 78 Members having been given a prohibited party whip cannot vote on a matter before the Committee.)
No declarations of Party Whips were received.
To authorise the Chair to sign the minutes of the following meeting as a correct record:
· 13th December 2018
The Chair was authorised to sign the minutes of the meetings held on the 13th December 2018.
To undertake pre-Cabinet scrutiny of the proposed School Funding Formula.
· Draft Cabinet Report v7.1 IBJT
· Appendix A1, A2 and A3
· Appendix B
· Appendix C
· Scrutiny briefing
The Director of Education introduced the paper on the Review of the Funding Formula. He drew attention to the importance of having a school funding formula compliant with regulations based on sound education principles. He observed that it was not unusual for such a review to identify a higher level of funding than schools would like and as such there was an element of aspiration which, at the end of the process would need work to match the formula needs to the funding available.
Are there opportunities to save on leadership costs on split site schools?
Management costs on split site schools are more than on a single site school as senior staff are required on both sites.
It appears that small schools are receiving a high level of protection. Can the authority continue to provide this level of resource for such a small number of pupils?
Support is provided for small schools to ensure pupils are safe and that schools are properly staffed. The formula does not reorganise schools but Appendix B does outline potential policy changes that could be considered to recycle school funding back into schools and one of these is school organisational change.
The Portfolio Holder for Schools acknowledged that the smallest schools may not able to provide a good social experience and that the authority do need to be fair however, these schools do provide a good education. Collaboration between schools can provide more for the same resource than individual working.
Where is the cost of deep cleaning found in the formula?
This is within the premises cost and has been calculated based on spend over the last three years which will include deep cleans and the schools service have worked with colleagues in property to predict spend.
The Chair of the FRG advised that the Group were of the opinion that this calculation may be incorrect as it is based on premises spend over the last three years when spend has been squeezed and it is therefore not a correct calculation.
The Portfolio Holder observed that once the Newtown area had been reorganised there would only be one category D school and as the existing category D schools close this money becomes available for school funding.
It was confirmed that large items (boilers etc) will continue to be funded from the capital programme but smaller items will continue to be the responsibility of schools and each year it will be necessary to set the premises cost within the Funding Formula. The breakdown between large and small items are identified within the Scheme for Financing Schools a copy of which can be made available to Members.
The admin allocation for a primary school of 600 would be 2.2 and for the same sized secondary school would be 8.15. Whilst it is acknowledged that the needs of both sector are different is this balance correct? What information ... view the full minutes text for item 21.
To receive a verbal update from the Chair of Learning, Skills and Economy Scrutiny Committee.
The Chair advised that he had spoken with the Chair and Vice-Chair of Audit Committee regarding some work that had been undertaken regarding Theatr Brycheiniog. Joint Chairs may consider that this work should be brought to the Learning, Skills and Economy Scrutiny Committee.
The next meeting of the Learning, Skills and Economy Scrutiny Committee will be held on 18th January 2019. It had been intended to consider the School Major Improvement Programme but this item has been deferred until the budget has been set. It is likely that this item will be available for scrutiny in February 2019.
The next meeting of the Learning, Skills and Economy Scrutiny Committee will take place on 18th January 2019.