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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.  


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Welcome to the 11th edition of the Schools Forum Newsletter........

In this issue, we are including key points from the Schools Forum meeting held on 9 July 2015 particularly; Schools Budget 2014/15 Final out-turn, 2014/15 School Balances (Excessive Surplus Balance Control Mechanism), DSG Review Group and Schools Forum (DfE Self-Assessment Toolkit). A full copy of the minutes will be made available via the Council web-site in due course, see section 8 below.
Schools Forum Meeting 9 July 2015 – Key Points

1. Matters Arising from 21 May 2015 Meeting minutes

Minutes accepted as true and correct record.
No Matters arising.

Action: Peter Hughes to investigate other LA information on LAC schools local formula funding values and report back at September meeting.

Report presented as tabled
Discussions: Peter Hughes presented report detailing the final 2014/15 out-turn position relating to the Schools Budget predominantly financed by the deployment of the dedicated schools grant (DSG).
Decisions: N/A

1. Schools Forum members to note the report.
2. LA to consider an update on DSG reserves and any other funding issues for training/development session for members at future meeting.

Report presented as tabled
Discussions: The report provided detail/update of the process, SMT decisions and planned actions relating to the surplus balance of each individual schools excessive surplus balance position.

Further discussion and challenge was raised in relation to:
• The calculation used to determine the excessive threshold level; and
• The transparency of the process
LA officers outlined that it was Schools Forum who had led the drive to re-introduce the mechanism and approved the updated scheme. The LA had made due decisions based on all the information provided by schools via the templates as part of the process and had duly informed all schools accordingly via formal letter.
1. Phil Beswick outlined that following school feedback, SMT had discussed this matter further and have agreed the following actions:
• Re-write to all schools who had not accounted for the full balance and request submission of a revised template; and
• Claw-back to be applied to all schools at 100% level. All monies to be held in a central ear-marked reserve and schools free to draw down 100% of the clawed-back monies subject to evidence being provided by schools of the monies being deployed on the projects stated on the template within the agreed timeline.

1. Schools Forum members to note the report;
2. LA issue revised letters before end of term; and
3. LA to also provide information of any schools in deficit at future meeting.

Report presented as tabled

Discussions: The report provided detail of the sub-group established to undertake a review of all Schools Budget activity currently financed via the deployment of the DSG and an outline of initial plans/actions.

Schools Forum members discussed and raised the following issues for key consideration in the process:
• General high needs support needed/provided in mainstream schools;
• Impact of pupil movement from the maintained to PVI sector for 3 & 4 year olds;
• Inclusion Services (future delivery models); and
• SEND Provision (i.e. No of places required/commissioned)


1. Schools Forum members to note the report;
2. LA officers to determine date of next meeting in September and inform members before end of summer term.

Report presented as tabled.

Discussions: The report was presented detailing the outcomes of the completion of the self-assessment toolkit by Chairperson and Vice Chairperson supported by Phil Beswick and Peter Hughes as agreed at last meeting and provided at Appendix 1.

A discussion was held relating to the key matters outlined in section 3.3 of the report.

1. Schools Forum members approved implementation or gave support to exploring means of improving operational matters in relation to the individual points listed as appropriate.

1. Peter Hughes and Daniel Sharples to implement new systems, controls and/or measures as appropriate to improve effectiveness and efficiency of the Schools Forum in accordance with the items listed at section 3.3.

Report presented as tabled

Discussions: N/A
Decisions: N/A
Actions: N/A

7. Any Other Business:
a) Primary Governor Reps – 4 of the current 5 members have recently resigned and a recruitment process will be undertaken by the LA Governor Support team shortly. If anyone knows of any Governors who may be interested in joining the Schools Forum please contact Pam Dunham.
b) Terms of Office – Helen Hilton (Primary HT) and Renee Dickens (PVI Sector) are both due to end their current tenures in August/September 2015 respectively. The LA will write to the appropriate parties to seek either re-election or replacement as appropriate.
c) F40 Agenda – Peter Hughes provided members with update on the latest position of the works being undertaken by the F40 group on the drive to steer the implementation of a new national fairer funding (NFFF) for the distribution of the DSG national funding envelope. F40 are requesting LAs and schools actively lobby their local MPs to ensure the focus/profile of the works being undertaken is highlighted – Peter Hughes to circulate papers to Schools Forum members/Schools.
d) GM Devolution – The new Bill/Policies implemented by central government will result in new powers/responsibilities delegated to the Greater Manchester LA partnership. Manchester are currently leading on behalf of the group and exploring / communicating with central government on the possibility of DSG funding being included within the program.

8. 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:


9. Schools Forum Contacts:

Schools Forum Clerk: democratic.servicesatstockport.gov.uk

Schools Forum Chair:
Paul Carter – Governor at St James School paulmilescarteratgmail.com

Schools Forum Service Director:
Phil Beswick, Services to People Directorate phil.beswickatstockport.gov.uk

Schools Forum Finance Officer:
Peter Hughes, CSS Manager, Finance Peter.hughesatstockport.gov.uk