The Head of Finance
introduced the report which detailed the components of the 2020/21
Budget. The total allocation
for Croydon which is regulated by the Department for Education
(DfE) was £364.306 million for the four blocks for
Following the 2020/21
Spending review the Chancellor delivered a statement which was
followed in more detail by the Minister for School Standards which
confirmed the Governments’ commitment to a £7.1 billion
increase in funding for schools by 2022/23. This included
£700mil more in 2020/21 to support children and young people
with Special Educational Needs, increased Early Years spending by
£66mil and £400mil for Further Education.
In 2020/21 Croydon
would see an increase of £21.3mil in the level of DSG funding
compared to the previous year.
The DfE made a commitment that the introduction of the
national funding formula, which has been delayed since 2017, would
come into place in 2021/22.
As required, Croydon
submitted its five year DSG Recovery Plan. The DfE’s letter of response informed the Council
of an increase to the High Needs Block allocation for 2020/21, and
that allocations for 2021/22 and 2022/23 were under review. As a
result the Council conducted a detailed revision of its previously
submitted recovery plan which would be submitted to the High Needs
Working Group as well as the Schools Forum later this
It was asked what the
new funding formula would mean for Croydon. Officers said that it
meant that nationally every pupil would receive the same basic
funding. The effects of this formula would be different in every
Local Authority (LA), and the Council was doing all it could to
mitigate any adverse impact of the new formula.
It was commented that
whilst the Governments commitments for £7billion increase in
funding for schools was welcomed, there was still a concern over
the large deficit that has been accumulated by many schools in
previous years. In particular, concerns were raised for Primary
Schools who it was felt would not receive real term
It was question if the
Council would request reinstatement of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking
Child (USAC) costs from government, officers responded that the
education provision of UASC was covered by the DSG but the budget
did not cover social care costs.
It was questioned if
the government should be lobbied for reinstatement of the PFI costs
of a particular Croydon school and how much of a burden this was on
the Council’s Budget. Officers said a benchmarking exercise
took place every five years which was due to be revisited in 2021
and costs associated with this particular PFI would be
reviewed. Part of the funding from the
DSG covered this cost and the council covered some of the
In response to a Member
question on how confident the Council was that place planning for
pupils was accurate, officers said that places at schools were
allocated on criteria for schools and parental choice. There were
often instances of surplus places in schools, pictorial maps of
this data was only valid on a day by day basis and data constantly
changed. Planning for school places was completed based on figures
supplied by the GLA and intelligence gathered on areas of the
borough. In the event of identification of lack of places, a
contingency plan would be deployed to manage the issue.
It was questioned
whether a school could decide not to admit Croydon children.
Officers said that a school could not legally made such decision
without changing their admissions criteria and for such changes to
be made, a legal process including consultation would need to take
At the conclusion of this item
the Chair thanked the Officers for their attendance at the meeting
and their engagement with the Committee and questions.
Came to the following Conclusions:
announcement of the commitment of additional school funding by
government was welcomed, there was however concerns as to how this
would assist to decrease the deficit of some schools.
there has been an increase in Croydon’s funding allocation,
there remained a significant gap of per pupil funding in comparison
to inner city boroughs some of whose problems are similar to those
we see in Croydon.
important that the Council maintain clear line of sight of any
adverse impact of the national funding formula once it was
implemented on the Education Budget.
vital that the Council conducted a comprehensive review in 2021 of
the PFI costs associated with the Croydon School.