The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director – People, which shared a summary of the Department for Education (DfE) consultation regarding the DfE proposed changes to the Local Authority School Improvement Monitoring and Brokering Grant (SIMB) funding, and the role of the Local Authority in relation to School Improvement.
The DfE consultation Reforming how Local Authorities’ School Improvement Functions are Funded, took place between 29 October and 26 November 2021. The areas of the consultation and its rationale were outlined in the report. The report also described the potential impact of this consultation paper on schools and wider LA services across the region.
The plan was to reduce the school improvement monitoring and brokering grant by 50% from 1 April 2022 and then fully remove the funding from 1 April 2023; the LA had opposed this. Members discussed the current grant funding that was available to Halton and the risks that a reduction in funding would pose, especially as Halton had a very high proportion of maintained schools.
It was reported that the outcome from the responses and plans following consultation moving forwards, were due to be published either late December 2021 or early in the New Year 2022. To date the feedback was still being analysed but it was expected soon.
RESOLVED: That the Board
1) notes the key risks and issues which may arise from this consultation if plans proposed do evolve; and
2) will consider future proposals to new ways of working with schools if this grant was reduced and/or fully removed.