Agenda item

DSG 2023/24 – Confirmation of DSG settlement


NB presented the updated DSG settlement for 2023/24, based on pupil numbers from the October census.


NB confirmed that in addition to the numbers-based adjustment to Schools Block, an additional funding allocation of nearly £5.5m would be going into maintained schools and academies, distributed as the Mainstream Schools Additional Grant. This would bring the overall funding increase over the current year 2022-23 to around 5.35%.


NB drew Forum members’ attention to the modelling in the appendix to the paper which set out the funding and the proposed allocation within the Schools Block.  After taking account of the Growth Fund top slice and the requirement to move the mobility factor closer to the NFF rate, the estimated headroom is just over £800k. The LA’s proposal, in line with the Forum discussion in November 2022, is to distribute this increase AWBU (base funding) by between 1.8 and 1.9%. To actually allocate that money next year into mainstream schools and academies.


NB confirmed a significant increase of 7.4%, in the Early Years block, which is related mainly to an increase in the hourly rate for 2 year olds, and also increased funding through the Maintained Nursery School supplementary.  This recognises that the different cost pressures within the early years block.  NB further confirmed an increase in the central services block of  5.6%, and in the high needs block of 9.7%.


The Chair thanked Neil and reminded Forum members that there were two things for Forum to agree;  firstly to approve the provisional decision from November 2022 for a 0.5% transfer from School's Block to the CSSB and the HNB, and secondly to recommend the overall budget for the DSG. NB confirmed that the November decision to distribute any headroom via AWPU did not need reconfirmation as this was a decision on a  principle independent of the amount of headroom which had been supported by the consultation with schools.


MW raised her point from earlier in the meeting about the possibility of DrE retrospective Central School Services Block protection. NB confirmed he was still looking in to the apparent historical underfunding issue with the CSSB.  NB noted that because the overall historical funding level reflected in the CSSB is relatively low, Slough is not seeing the reduction in the block that some other local authorities are.  There appears to be some funding through that block that is incorrect and this will be reviewed before coming back to Forum in March as part of an update on the non-schools block budgets for 2023-24.


NB also advised that the Early Years block proposals are going out to consultation with providers, following a meeting of the Early Years Task group this afternoon.  The outcome of that consultation will be brought back to Schools Forum, most likely as an email exchange due to timing issues.


JR asked how the increase in the High Needs Block funding will be distributed across special schools, and referred to DfE documentation indicating a 3-5% increase in top-up banding funding. NB advised that the guidance is quite clear and that the AP and special schools needed to be funded by an additional 3.8%. which will be included in budgets.


The Chair noted that the 5-16 task Group members had discussed the final DSG settlement with NB last week but had no further comments to make. 


In relation to the 2023/24 DSG settlement, Forum members then


a)  confirmed the 0.5% transfer from Schools Block to the CSSB and HNB as provisionally agreed at the November 2022 meeting.

b)  endorsed the local authority’s proposals for the overall 2023/24 DSG allocation

c)  noted the local authority’s commitment to redistribute the headroom in the Schools Block through AWPU.




Supporting documents: