Consideration was given to a report of the Director of Finance which provided detail regarding the resources available for School Funding for 2023/24 and required the Cabinet to consider how the funding for Schools and Academies should be distributed in 2023/24.
This report provided detail of the level of Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) for 2023/24 together with its allocation across the three funding blocks for which information was currently available. The funding was based on October 2021 pupil numbers and would be subject to change once calculations have been updated to reflect October 2022 pupil numbers.
The report also provided information about the National Funding Formula (NFF) for Schools, the High Needs Blocks for Oldham and also presented a recommended approach for the distribution of the Schools Funding Block of the DSG to Schools and Academies for 2023/24.
In addition, the report presented the proposed option (Model 1 as detailed in Appendix 1) to move to the 2023/24 NFF cash values in full except for the Area Cost Adjustment (ACA) where it was proposed that the factor applied in Oldham was initially reduced from 1.00547 to 1.00000. However, Members were advised that if there are any resources available once funding allocations based on updated pupil numbers are received, then this additional funding will be allocated through an increase to the ACA.
The indicative Schools block allocations to Local Authorities were funded by multiplying a Primary Unit of Funding (PUF’s) and Secondary Units of Funding (SUF’s) cash value by each pupil. The PUF’s and SUF’s for 2023/24 have been calculated based on school and pupil characteristics data from the 2022/23 Authority Proforma Tool (APT) data which was based on October 2020 census information. They would not be updated for any characteristic changes to the October 2022 census until 2024/25. If there was a significant change in characteristics such as eligibility for free school meals, the factor values in the local formulae would be adjusted as necessary to meet any affordability pressures.
It was also proposed for the second year there was no movement of funding from the Schools Block to the High Needs Block as the DSG was forecast to be in surplus by the end of 2023/24 as required by the Department for Education.
In view of Oldham being at the National Funding Formula values and not proposing any change from the prior year funding, Members are not therefore presented with an alternative approach.
RESOLVED – That:
1. The model outlined in the report which reflected the 2023/24 NFF cash values in full except for the Area Cost Adjustment factor, which was reduced to 1.00000 be approved.
2. A reassessment of the allocation arrangements would take place once the actual 2023/24 funding allocations were received with a view to moving the full Area Cost Adjustment if sufficient resources were available.
3. A transfer of funding between the Higher Needs and Schools Blocks if this was required as a means of finding the Area Cost Adjustment be approved.