Issue - meetings

Update on Welsh Government funding for schools

Meeting: 18/03/2021 - Education, Youth & Culture Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Item 45)

45 Update on Council funding for schools pdf icon PDF 109 KB

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(a) That the Committee support the principles as the basis for allocating the £1m additional funding to reduce deficits in secondary schools in 2021/22, as set out within the report;


(b) That the allocations, as set out in Appendix 2 of the report, be noted; and


(c) That the Committee support the Council’s intent to raise the amount of funding to schools year on year, in line with the Council’s Medium Term Financial Strategy (MTFS).


            The Chief Executive introduced a report to outline to the Committee the proposal for distributing the additional £1m allocated to secondary schools in the 2021/22 budget.  Because of the timing and purpose of the funding, the Council will allocate the funding in 2021/22 as a supplementary allocation. 


            The Estyn inspection of the Local Authority in 2019 raised concerns about the long term nature of deficit budgets in certain secondary schools, and as part of their inspection report, a key recommendation was that the Authority took steps to address the deficits.  The additional funding in the budget was primarily to provide additional resource to those schools in financial difficulty.             


The Chief Executive explained that there had been no funding solution available to deal with the deficits, but by working hard to set the 2021/22 budget, together with investigating the opportunities within the Welsh Government (WG) WG settlement to realign additional funding to Schools, a solution had been reached to provide additional funding to secondary schools.  Explaining the way in which the funding had been allocated, he commented on the concerns which had been received by some Headteachers and School Governors.  He advised that it was acknowledged by the Authority that in recent years secondary schools in general had experienced pressure on budget, and therefore, a proportion of the funding would go to those schools which had not met the principles, as set out in the report.  


The Leader of the Council spoke in support of the comments made by the Chief Executive and advised that the proposed additional funding had been fully supported by the County Council.  He commented on the challenging position schools had faced due to austerity but said that young people across Flintshire had the right to access a broad and balanced curriculum.  


            The Chief Officer (Education and Youth) added that young people in schools across Flintshire should not suffer because of a variety of very complex factors which had led to the deficits being accrued.  She provided a detailed explanation of the allocation principles, as outlined within the report, which had included deprivation factors.  Additional funding was also being provided to school from WG which would continue for the next financial year.  Whilst this was welcomed, she commented on the importance of the Council maximising its Council budget to assist in addressing school deficits.   


            The Chair invited Mr. Jim Connelly, Head of Flint High School, who was in attendance, to comment on the proposal.


            Mr Jim Connelly thanked the Chair for the opportunity to attend the meeting and address the Committee.  He welcomed the comments made by the Chief Executive, Leader and Chief Officer, which he said had provided some rationale behind the proposal and said that had the Secondary Heads Federation received this information beforehand it would had alleviated some of the concerns.  He asked that the consultation process be improved in the future and commented on the difficult decisions which had been made by all schools across Flintshire, due to austerity and a reduction in  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45