Agenda item

Verbal update on School Budgets 2024/2025

Minutes:

A verbal update was given that related to the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) allocations that were received by the LA on the 19 December 2023 and covered the Schools Block, Central Block and the Early Years Block. The 2024/2025 budget update for the High Needs Block was covered in the High Needs Block report.

 

Schools Block

 

It was reported that the Schools Block allocation (excluding growth funding) had increased by 2.34% from 2023/24. This included the Mainstream Additional Grant (MSAG) which had been added to the schools block in 2023/24 and rolled in to the schools block for 2024/25.

 

The growth funding allocation was £3.3m which was as estimated and reported to the Schools Forum at the November 2023 meeting. It was also noted that no funding had been received for falling rolls, which was as anticipated.

As had already been announced earlier in the meeting, on Friday 12 January 2024, confirmation had been received that the Secretary of State had approved the 0.5% funding switch, which would result in c.£3.2m being transferred from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block.

 

It was confirmed that the School budgets would again be set using the National Funding Formula (NFF). The Core factors within the NFF had increased by 1.4%, and Staffordshire County Council (SCC) would still be able to set the Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) at the maximum permissible level of 0.5%. This meant that all schools would see a minimum per pupil increase of 0.5% compared to 2023/24.

 

Affordability would be managed through the per pupil gains cap. Final figures were still being calculated but it was estimated the cap would be c1.25%.

 

In response to a question from Steve Barr asking if it would be possible to provide the Schools Forum with a figure that would demonstrate the impact the switch would have on the budget of an average sized primary school and a medium sized secondary school, it was confirmed that this information wasn’t available at that time, but would be made available to Schools in the future.

 

Central Block

 

The historical commitments allocation had reduced by 20% and was reported as £1.045m. This would be used to fund prudential borrowing costs of £924k and the underspend of £121k would contribute to the DSG deficit, as approved at Schools Forum held in November 2023.

 

The ongoing commitments allocation was £4.3m. This would be used to fund the retained duties, also approved at the Schools Forum meeting held in November 2023. The underspend of £181k would be transferred to the DSG deficit.

 

Early Years Block

 

Members were informed that, in 2024/25, the Government intended to invest an additional £400m funding for the early years entitlements budgets, including uplifts for the existing entitlements and funding to reflect cost pressures from national living wage and pay and pensions.

 

For SCC rates received from Government had been increased as follows:

 

  • 3 and 4-year-old hourly rate per child had increased by 5.0% to £5.47 in 24/25. The final national average hourly funding rate was reported as £5.88.

 

  • 2-year-old hourly rate per child was £7.66 in 2024/25 (an increase of 1p from the 2023/24 combined rate).

 

  • Under 2-year-old hourly rate per child is £10.40 in 2024/25.

 

It was confirmed that an Early Years Workshop had been planned to take place with Early Years Providers on the 30 January 2024 to discuss how the budgets would be distributed.

 

Resolved: That the Verbal update on School Budgets 2024/2025, be noted.