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 here -

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:

  • Office on-line;
  • Council’s web-site (see below link);
  • Govas web-site;
  • Schools Finance monthly newsletter; and directly
  • To all Schools Forum members

Welcome to the 7th edition of the Schools Forum Newsletter……..

In this issue,

we are including key points from the Schools Forum meeting held on 4 December 2014 particularly; Schools Budget Landscape/Review, 2015/16 Funding, Schools Financial Consultation 2014, School Balances and Pupil Premium LA Strategy & Action Plan. A full copy of the minutes will be made available via the Council web-site in due course, see section 10 below.

Schools Forum Meeting 4 December 2014 – Key Points

  1. Matters Arising from 23 September Meeting minutes

Schools Forum Elections:

Primary Head teacher Consortia (PHC) have still to determine who shall take up the current vacant post on the Schools Forum.

Primary VA Governor Election process has commenced this term and Peter Hughes will report back at next meeting who has been elected.

  1. Schools Budget Landscape / Review

Report presented as tabled

Discussions: Phil Beswick presented paper which focused on the overall position of the Schools Budget predominantly financed by deployment of the dedicated schools grant (DSG). The 2014/15 Schools Budget was initially under-pinned by use of c. £0.7m of DSG reserves, thus leading to a short-medium sustainability issue for the Local Authority (LA). The LA is hopeful the 2015/16 Budget can be constructed and balanced via combination of savings/efficiencies identified within the current framework and deployment of further reserves. However a detailed review of all areas financed by the DSG will need to be undertaken in 2015/16 ahead of the 2016/17 budget setting process.

Decisions: N/A

Actions:

  1. Phil Beswick to initially approach head teacher groups via the SMP meeting (Jan 2015) to identify which head teachers would be willing to be part of any sub-group established to undertake this project.
  2. Phil Beswick to identify appropriate avenue to identify which Governors can also be involved in the above project.
  3. Update paper to be presented to the appropriate spring term Schools Forum meeting.
  1. 2015/16 SCHOOLS FUNDING

Report presented as tabled

Discussions: The report provided detail of the initial plans and information supporting the construction of the 2015/16 Schools Budget financed by the DSG. The LA was requested to recognise the issue of deprivation and pockets of significant deprivation in considering the deployment of any available headroom as outlined in section 4.4 of the report.

Decisions:

  1. Schools Forum members happy to support the continuation of “scaling” back all gains (at level to be determined) received by any school to finance the costs of the minimum funding guarantee (MFG) protection afforded to some schools as per statutory regulation requirements.
  2. Primary sector agreed to “De-Delegate” all appropriate funding for the support services/budget areas detailed at section 7.4 of the report.

Actions:

  1. Colin Short to raise matter of “De-Delegation” at secondary head teachers meeting this week and request decision is fed back to Peter Hughes ASAP.
  2. Peter Hughes to present updated paper on all matters covered in this report at the spring 2015 term meetings of the Schools Forum.
  1. 2015/16 ANNUAL PRO-FORMA TOOLKIT (APT) RETURN

Report presented as tabled

Discussions: The report provided a summary of the Indicative APT return submitted to the Department of Education (DfE) in accordance with the 31 October 2014 timeframe.

Decisions: N/A

Actions: N/A

  1. SCHOOLS FINANCIAL CONSULTATION 2014

Peter Hughes provided a verbal update on the Schools Financial Consultation 2014 process, including:

  • 58 of the 85 schools (68%) in the primary sector responded to the consultation document on the local funding formula proposals;
  • 51 schools responded to the Resourced Provision proposals;
  • The LA has collated, reviewed and assessed the responses, the concerns/issues raised and an initial report has been presented to the Corporate Director for Services to People and his management team.
  • No decisions have been made at this point, the LA is hopeful decision/recommendations will be finalised in the near future and a communication forwarded to all schools before end of term.
  • No decision will be made on the “minded to” option relating to early years single funding formula (EYSFF) base rates until January 2015, when the LA can assess and consider all cost pressures alongside detail of the final 2015/16 DSG settlement information due later this term.

Decisions: N/A

Actions: N/A

  1. SCHOOL EXCESSIVE SURPLUS BALANCE UPDATE

Report presented as tabled

Discussions: The report provided detail to Schools Forum members of:

  • The challenge/scrutiny process applied to the 9 schools reporting an excessive surplus balance at 31 March 2014; and
  • The planned LA process to be applied at the closure of the 2014/15 accounts to the schools identified as reporting an excessive surplus balance as per section 4.2 of the updated Scheme for Financing Schools document.

Decisions: N/A

Actions:

  1. Schools Forum members requested the LA considered the following two points when determining the deployment of any funds available, following application of the updated claw-back mechanism:
  • To redistribute on a targeted basis to any schools with an identified shortfall to meet curriculum requirements; and
  • The schools which any funding is clawed-back from via the application of the claw-back mechanism are excluded from receiving any pro-rata share of any monies redistributed to schools.
  1. PUPIL PREMIUM: LA STRATEGY & ACTION PLAN 2014/15

Report presented as tabled

Discussions: Phil Beswick outlined the key issues of the report and the on-going works to support schools and ensure all pupils have the opportunity to reach their desired outcomes.

Decisions: N/A

Actions:

  1. Phil Beswick to discuss with Salford Council the process adopted there to increase take-up of free schools meals and identify if such can be implemented in Stockport to ensure all pupils and schools receive the maximum level of funding entitled to.
  1. Schools Forum – Schedule of Meetings and Training

Report presented as tabled

Discussions: N/A

Decisions / Actions approved: N/A

  1. Any Other Business:

N/A

  1. 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:

http://democracy.stockport.gov.uk/ieListMeetings.aspx?CommitteeId=159

  1. Schools Forum Contacts:

Schools Forum Clerk:                                           This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Schools Forum Chair:                  

Paul Carter – Governor at St James School       This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Schools Forum Service Director:

Phil Beswick, Services to People Directorate      This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Schools Forum Finance Officer: 

Peter Hughes, CSS Manager, Finance                This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.