About Govas

GOVAS works closely with the Stockport Children and Young People Directorate, but we are a fully independent association of governors affiliated to the equally independent National Governors Association. Every governor in Stockport is automatically a GOVAS member (as long as your institution pays their subscriptionof £10.00 PA)and our Management Committee is made up exclusively of serving volunteer governors in Stockport’s schools – nursery, primary secondary and special. Our biggest strength is our links with all the school governors in Stockport through our newsletter, special communications, and this website.  


The Schools Forum (an elected group of Head teachers, Principals, Governors and other associated members) is the key decision making and consultative group required by DfE regulation which oversees/governs all financial and administrative matters relating to the Schools Budget financed by the dedicated schools grant (DSG).

The roles and responsibilities of the Schools Forum can be found in the new short guide recently published by the DfE (November 2013) (Click this link to the short guide)

The DfE has identified as part of their review of Schools Forum that effective best practice relating to Schools Forum and its operational duties includes communication to all the wider stakeholder audience of the business matters discussed and decisions made. (i.e. ensuring all decisions made at forum are duly recorded and shared).

To enhance communication with the wider school audience, the Local Authority will produce a brief overview newsletter of the discussions/views, decisions made and agreed actions in relation to all business matters after each meeting and distribute to stakeholders via the following means:

Welcome to the 4th edition of the Schools Forum Newsletter........
In this issue, we are including key points from the Schools Forum meeting held on 20 May 2014 particularly; Internal Audit, Risk and Insurance, 2013/14 out-turn (both DSG & School Balances), School Reserves, SFVS & 2015/16 Funding. A full copy of the minutes will be made available via the Council web-site in due course, see section 12 below.

Schools Forum Meeting 20 May 2014 – Key Points

1. Matters Arising from March Meeting
Item 8 – 2014/15 Budget Update included reference to schools capital funding available and to be distributed shortly to schools relating to the new universal infant free school meals (UIFSM) initiative from September 2014. Schools have still yet to receive confirmation of funding allocated and/or school contributions expected.

Item 11 – Schedule of Meetings/Training included request from members to investigate how de-delegation of services could be approved for three years as opposed to current one year arrangements to assist schools future plans.

Phil Beswick to follow up matter relating to UIFSM capital funding with Stephen Bell and arrange for communication to be sent to schools asap.

Current school finance regulations require the decision making of de-delegated services to be undertaken on an annual basis. Any longer term local arrangement could only be informal and would still require annual re-address / approval.
Agreed sector representatives would discuss matter with their fellow colleagues and determine if an informal 3-year arrangement can be implemented.

2. Internal Audit, Risk and Insurance update
Report presented as tabled
Discussions: John Pearsall presented paper and the planned future approach (i.e. targeted school audit visits and more emphasis on the continuing audit model), schools welcomed the new approach and supported the idea of global school communication of emerging school themes.
Decisions: N/A

1. John provide further update to forum as appropriate and provide global communication of any emerging themes to schools following audit visits.

3. 2013/14 DSG Final Out-turn
Report presented as tabled
Discussions: The report and presentation focused on the out-turn position and the forthcoming budget pressures and/or short-medium term issues relating to the construction and deployment of the DSG.
Decisions: N/A

1. Schools Forum members accepted the decision made by Corporate Director, Services to People as appropriate and financially prudent at this time given the emerging themes that require addressing.

4. 2013/14 School Balances
Report presented as tabled
Discussions: Peter Hughes presented the report detailing the £0.5m reduction overall in school balances to £11.888m as at 31 March 2014 and the further reduction in number of schools (nine) holding balance above the 15% DfE Financial Management Assurance Framework level. Report further provided indicative illustration also (Appendix 2) of the claw-back level that would have been applied if the new Scheme amendment (section 4.2.3) implemented from April 2014 was to be applied to 2013/14 balances.
Decisions: N/A

1. Peter Hughes to write to the nine schools with balances above the 15% as part of the LA's annual challenge/scrutiny role and report back findings to Schools Forum in due course.

5. School Reserves – 2013/14 Out-turn update:
Report presented as tabled

Discussions: Peter Hughes presented report giving update on the three schemes, the year-end balances held, update on the Risk Management investment projects and future plans for deployment.

1. Risk Management investment projects balance (£0.149m) to continue to be held and deployed by LA during 2014/15 in accordance with the original deployment identified and agreed previously.
2. LTS scheme balance (£0.227m) to remain in reserve to protect against spike claims.
3. BoR and Laptops in-year operating surplus (total £0.147m) to be re-distributed to those schools in the schemes as per the appendix tabled with report.
4. Insurance team to review BoR premium levels head of 2015/16.

6. Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS):
Report presented as tabled

Discussions: Peter Hughes presented report giving overview and update on the position relating to schools compliance with the SFVS in 2013/14 and the findings from the schools visited and supported by the finance team.

N/A – Report purely an information item only.
Actions approved:
1. Schools Forum members asked to ensure information relating to findings, best practice, implementation, etc. is shared with their wider sector colleagues.

7. Schools Funding 2015/16:
Report presented as tabled

Discussions: Peter Hughes presented report detailing latest information on 2015/16 schools funding (i.e. continuation of MFG protection at -1.5% per pupil) and following the deferment of the implementation of the new national fairer funding formula (NFFF) until April 2016 at earliest, details relating to the DfE consultation launched in March 2014 to distribute an extra £350m to schools.


Actions approved:
1. Phil Beswick to re-look at the free schools meals/deprivation data and compare to Bury and identify if any further actions/school support required.
2. Peter Hughes and Phil Beswick to review national/local pupil/formula data and identify if there is scope to propose further refinement to the local schools funding formula for 2015/16.

8. Schools Funding Formula – National Data
Report presented as tabled

Discussions: Peter Hughes presented report detailing latest information on 2014/15 schools funding formula models adopted by all 152 LA's nationally and comparison to Stockport levels provided for information.


Actions approved:
1. Use data (see 2013/14 data summary below) to support action 2 in section 7 above.

The table below illustrates some of the key findings based on comparing the national "average" funding levels to the 2013/14 Stockport model.



Basic Entitlement

The basic entitlement level is approx. £8m below the national average

Deprivation (FSM)

National funding average applied to FSM pupils indicates approx. 4.6% of local formula should be applied, however Stockport currently allocates 9%

Deprivation (IDACI)

The reverse of the FSM is found here with Stockport being approx. £3m below the national funding average

Deprivation (Total)

(Note 1)

Data suggests Stockport is allocating £3.4m more via deprivation factors than the national average. Yet our FSM pupil numbers are only @ 20% of population and IDACI data set @ 30% of pupil population.

SEN Prior Attainment

Stockport allocates £1.2m more than the national average


Stockport allocates £0.4m below the national average

Lump Sum

Stockport is above the national average for primary schools, however below for the secondary sector

Note 1: The above information and analysis is based on 2013/14 funding models and following the Schools Financial Consultation undertaken in autumn 2013; £2.8m of funding was re-directed from deprivation and lump sum to the basic entitlement factor.

9. Schools Forum – Schedule of Meetings and Training:
Report presented as tabled

Discussions: Peter Hughes presented report relating to current 2013/14 academic year meetings and proposed 2014/15 academic year meetings and venue.
Decisions / Actions approved:
1. Meeting scheduled for Thursday 3rd July remain as is – (some secondary representatives may need to arrange substitutes to attend)
2. 2014/15 academic year meeting dates accepted, with amendment to July 2015 meeting, now changed to 9th July 2015.
3. All meetings to continue at Kingsway HS.

10. Appointment of Vice Chairperson:
No report tabled

Discussions: Peter Hughes outlined that since the last meeting where Vice Chairperson was sought and notice given that current Chairperson's tenure ends August 2014, that Paul Carter had volunteered to be the new Chairperson, if Ian Roberts (current Chairperson) would stay on and support in a Vice Chairperson capacity. The Schools Forum regulations do not state and/or re-strict the terms of office for any Schools Forum member, but the current Stockport Schools Forum Terms of Reference do restrict office to two terms (one term = four years).

Decisions / Actions agreed:
1. Paul Carter offer to become new Schools Forum Chairperson be accepted (subject to formal election process being completed).
2. Peter Hughes to amend Stockport Schools Forum Terms of Reference and present at next meeting for acceptance/approval.
3. Formal election of new Chairperson and Vice Chairperson to be undertaken over the summer period for implementation from September 2014.

11. Any Other Business:


12. Where do I find Schools Forum Information?

The Schools Forum meetings are held, administered and clerked in accordance with any other council meetings and the minutes are recorded and presented on the councils web-site alongside all Schools Forum business matters (i.e. reports), please find link below:


13. Schools Forum Contacts:

Schools Forum Clerk: democratic.services(at)stockport.gov.uk

Schools Forum Chair:
Ian Roberts – Governor at Kingsway School Toryladi(at)sky.com

Schools Forum Service Director:
Phil Beswick, Services to People Directorate phil.beswick(at)stockport.gov.uk

Schools Forum Finance Officer:
Peter Hughes, Group Accountant, Schools Peter.hughes(at)stockport.gov.uk