Venue: Hen Eglwys y Santes Fair, Heol yr Eglwys, Tremadog
Contact: Glynda O'Brien (01341) 424301
To receive apologies for absence.
Cllr. Peredur Jenkins (Cabinet Member, Resources), Peter Read (Chair of Services Scrutiny Committee), Bethan Lawton (Vice-chair Services Scrutiny Committee), Llinos Lloyd (Representative of the Gader Catchment Area Shadow Body), Cllr. Michael Sol Owen (Secondary Governors Representative), Iwan Trefor Jones (Corporate Director)
Declaration of Personal Interest
To receive any declaration of personal interest.
No declarations of personal interest were received.
To confirm the minutes of a meeting of the Forum held on the 30 June 2015.
The Chair signed the minutes of the meeting of the Schools’ Budget Forum held on 30 June 2015 as a true record.
Matters arising from the Minutes
i) 7b) Request from Teachers’ Union Forum for representation on Education Finance Working Group
ii) 7) Primary Headteacher representative on Schools’ Finance Forum
and 12) Governor representatives on Schools’ Finance Forum
(a) Item 6 – Budgetary Training for Schools
The Finance Unit Manager apologised that the above training had not been organised, however, it would be arranged early in the New Year and would be of interest to School Heads as well as Governors.
Resolved: To accept and note the above.
(b) Item 7 – Request from the Teachers Unions Forum for representation on the Education Finance Working Group.
Resolved: To invite one representative to represent the Teaching Unions on the Education Finance Working Group.
(c) Item 12 - Resignation
It was reported that the following had been nominated to serve on the Schools’ Budgetary Forum and those present and attending their first meeting of the Forum were welcomed:
(i) Mr Geraint Evans, Head of Ysgol Edern, to succeed Mrs Sianelen Pleming, Head of Ysgol Llanaelhaearn, following her retirement
(ii) Mr Dafydd Meirion Roberts, Representative for Arfon Secondary Governors,
(iii) Mr Gwilym Jones, Representative for Dwyfor Primary Governors
(iv) Cllr. Michael Sol Owen, Representative for Dwyfor Secondary Governors
Mrs Llinos Lloyd, representative of the Gader Catchment Area Shadow Body
Education Finance Working Group - matters arising from meeting held on 17th September 2015
i) School Organisation (verbal report)
ii) School Balances / additional protection for schools (see item 6)
iii) Effect of cuts on job numbers (verbal report)
iv) Gwynedd Way
v) £4.3m (see item 6)
(i) The Senior Manager - Education Resources Service referred to the comment made at a meeting of the above Working Group regarding if it would be possible to include savings stemming from the schools re-organisation as part of the savings target of £4.3m.
The Head of Education reported that they would seek to find savings as part of the Challenge Gwynedd consultation process. In the context of the Gwynedd Challenge, several roadshows had taken place and many had attended and the meetings were varied in terms of the quality of the discussion. It was noted that many of the questionnaires had been completed in the form of a paper booklet as well as on-line. The consultation would finish at the end of the month and then the intention was to undertake a process of grading the priorities with a comprehensive report submitted to the Cabinet in January and to the full Council for a final decision on 3 March 2016.
It was further noted that the time-schedule was tight, however, they had to try to come to a decision on the savings target of £4.3m soon.
The Head of Finance noted that the settlement for Wales would not be known until 10 December 2015.
In response to a comment made that the Welsh Government had defended education in the past, it was noted that there was currently no statement from the Welsh Government. In terms of defending education, in presuming and planning new commitments, it was stressed that they should continue to seek the target of £4.3m.
The schools recognised that the Council was transparent and this was appreciated.
Resolved: To note the above.
(ii) The Senior Manager - Education Resources Service reported on the number of jobs that had been lost as a result of the cuts as follows:
Teaching posts 25.4 (full time)
Ancillary Staff 2.16
(iii) In response to the above, a Head noted that approximately 50 posts had been lost from the secondary sector alone. It was further noted that the figures masked the actual impact on schools, be that as full time and/or part time, and it was suggested that more detailed figures should be submitted.
Resolved: To request that the Senior Manager - Education Resources Service submits more detailed figures of the number of posts lost as part of the cuts process.
6.1 Consultation papers
6.2 Summary of consultation responses
A report was presented by the Head of Education regarding the proposed policy for additional protection allocation to schools.
The Forum was guided through the report by the Senior Manager -Education Resources Service, and it was noted that full consultation had taken place with all the county’s schools on the proposed additional minimum protection policy for staff to reduce the additional minimum protection with a matching sum to the balances element of over 5% at the end of the latest financial year as announced.
Reference was made to the consultation results and it was noted that a response had been received from 45 schools out of 109. It was further noted that 36 (80%) were in favour of the proposal and 9 (20%) schools were against. Consequently, there was a clear indication that the schools who responded supported the policy and it was stressed that it was possible for schools to discuss any concerns highlighted with the authority.
It was noted that if the policy was accepted, as some of the £4.3m savings plans fell outside the 3 year period 2015/16 to 2017/18, one off savings would be used to contribute to funding the required bridging period.
Resolved: To approve the amendment to the additional protection allocation policy for schools to include a clause to reduce the protection allocation to match the balances element that is over 5% using the balances sum at the end of the latest financial year when it was published.
Update on Review of Additional Learning Needs and Inclusion
Resolved: To defer the above item.
8.1 £4.3m summary
8.2 Education comparative spend 2015-16
8.3 Summary of weakening PTR an effect o protection
8.4 Modelling of weakened primary PTR
8.5 Modelling of weakening PTR in individual primary schools
8.6 Modelling of weakening PTR in individual secondary schools
A report was submitted by the Head of Education outlining the options to share the remaining savings target of £3,348,000.
(a) The Chairman expressed to the Forum, whilst accepting that schools lost money via grants, demographic impact etc, that it was necessary to come to a specific decision bearing in mind that other services within the Council had already agreed on their targets.
(b) The Head of Education summarised the previous arguments and the report before them took into consideration the context of the Gwynedd Challenge, the discussion and the options to share the remaining savings target between the primary and secondary sectors, Estyn feed-back and comparative national statistics. They were reminded that in the past the Cabinet had protected educational interests and the authority had been extremely transparent and totally open regarding the contents of the options within the report. It had to be remembered that the department was being challenged corporately.
(c) The Education Finance Working Group was thanked for determining the agreed plans in the sum of £1,028,000 with the remaining savings of £2,320,00 to be found.
(d) That the recommendation before for preferred Option C was based on educational arguments and options A and CH were not under consideration.
(e) In response to a comment made regarding long term plans for school organisation, it was explained that the Cabinet’s direction was a target savings of £4.3m to schools and that no saving was based on school organisation to be included within the £4.3m. It was stressed that the infrastructure was not sustainable within the available budget.
(f) During the discussion regarding achieving the remainder of the savings target, the following observations were highlighted:
9.1 Service Level Agreement – Clerical Service for School Governing Bodies
Changes to the Governors Clerking Service Level Agreement were submitted.
The Forum was guided through the report by the Senior Manager Education Resources Service, who noted that sufficient recognition was not given for the time taken to fully undertake clerking work to a good standard. The Administrative Officers of the Authority’s Secondary Schools and school clerks were consulted to ascertain the average hours they took to undertake their duties as well as the need to give an element of advisory service to governing bodies.
The Forum was requested to approve the amendment in the Service Level Agreement and to agree on the following payments:
£1500 Primary Schools
£2500 Secondary Schools
Enquiries/questions were received from Forum Members and the Senior Manager Education Resources responded as follows:
It was proposed, seconded and voted to approve the change in the SLA.
Resolved: To approve the amendment in the Service Level Agreement and allow the following payments:
£1500 Primary Schools
£2500 Secondary Schools