Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall. View directions
Contact: Elizabeth Patterson
To receive apologies for absence.
County Councillor P Roberts (Chair)
County Councillors B Davies, S Davies, D R Jones, K Laurie-Parry and L Roberts
Parent Governor Representative S Davies
Church Representative M Evitts
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillor G Thomas and Parent Governor Representatives: A Davies and G Robson.
County Councillor P Davies (Portfolio Holder for Education and Property)
County Councillors A Davies (Portfolio Holder for Finance and Transport)
Independent Member J Brautigam (Chair of Finance Panel) and County Councillor D Thomas (Finance Panel Representative)
G Taylor (Chair of Formula Review Group)
L Lovell (Interim Head of Education), G Rees (Education Consultant), J Thomas (Head of Finance), N Owen (Finance Manager) and E Patterson (Scrutiny Officer)
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members.
No declarations of interest were received.
Declarations of Party Whip
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(s) as a correct record:
· 7th October 2019
Clarity was sought regarding the omission of a question relating to the Learning and Inclusion Team. This would be checked by the Scrutiny Officer and the minutes would be brought to a future meeting of Learning and Skills Scrutiny meeting for approval.
To undertake pre-Cabinet scrutiny of the Amendments to the Schools Funding Formula and Scheme for Financing Schools. This was considered at a meeting of the Formula Review Group on 22nd November 2019 and the report is being amended to include feedback from this meeting.
The draft Amendments to the Schools Funding Formula and Scheme for Financing Schools (copy filed with signed minutes) was presented.
The Finance Manager outlined that a redesign of the Funding Formula had taken place during 2018 which was implemented in April 2019 with atransition period in 2019/20 and full implementation from April 2020. It had been recommended that a review was undertaken of the impact of the new formula which took place at the end of the summer term and beginning of the autumn term 2019. This review, together with benchmarking had highlighted that a shift in funding had taken place from secondary to primary. It also showed the level of funding schools would have received had they been subject to the formula applied in two other authorities. The review identified a range of pressures and options of which were considered by the Formula Review Group and some were taken forward for consultation in October/November 2019.
The review has identified that a shift in funding has occurred from secondary to primary but other than a proposal to fund TLRs there seem to be no other proposals to rebalance the distribution of funds?
The funding formula in Powys distributes funding on a needs based formula. For example a school of 130 pupils will need x teachers. The needs of small schools in Powys are taking a disproportionate amount of the funding available but these small schools are only receiving what they need to function. It will be necessary to review the number of schools in Powys but it is essential to keep a transparent Funding Formula up to date to distribute funding to schools during this transition period. The new funding formula has produced a transparent base which has been acknowledged by regulators and changes will need to be clearly made in parallel with schools transformation.
If the £1.4 million is not provided during the budget setting process the secondary schools will continue to struggle whilst priority is given to primary schools.
It is hoped that when the settlement is received this funding will be built into the agreed budget. The needs of all schools primary, secondary, small or large can then be met.
The Chair of the FRG advised that this should not be described in terms of who does better out of the formula but in terms of the changes between the old and new formula. The FRG have identified the problems outlined in respect of small schools but this will need to be addressed under the Schools Transformation Programme. If £1.4 million is made available to Secondary Schools these schools will be provided with the additional funding required to meet the costs of the TLR payments they are contractually required to pay.
There does not appear to be equality in the funding of schools with pupils attending small schools receiving £6-7k per pupil funding compared to a far lower level available to pupils attending larger schools.
Schools are funded to provide a teacher for a class size of ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To receive a verbal update from the Chair of the Learning and Skills Scrutiny Committee.
The Chair advised that particular problems had been experienced by the Pairs of Members undertaking scrutiny by skype of the PIAP particularly when using Committee Room B. IT are aware of this problem but in the meantime he has requested Member training on Microsoft Teams which should be a more stable platform to use.
To consider the scrutiny work programme:
22nd January 2020 – Schools organisation
30th January 2020 – Schools service budget proposals
2nd March 2020 – Verified results, ERW annual report
6th April 2020 – school organisation
16th December 2020
No changes had been made to the work programme recorded in the agenda.