The Government requires that each local authority (LA) maintain a Schools Forum to represent its schools' views on matters relating to the total Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG). The DSG funds a range of responsibilities including delegated budgets to schools, plus a number of centrally managed functions relating largely to the provision of support for pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN), out-County and independent SEN placements and funding for early years in private, voluntary and independent nurseries.
Purpose of the forum
Schools Forum is made up of representatives from schools and academies, but with some representation from other non-school organisations, such as nursery and 14-19 education providers. The forum acts as a consultative body on some issues and a decision making body on others, some of which is prescribed by Regulations.
The forum acts in a consultative role for:
- Changes to the local funding formula.
- Proposed changes to the operation of the minimum funding guarantee.
- Changes to or new contracts affecting schools.
- Arrangements for pupils with special educational needs, in pupil referral units and in early years provision.
The forum is responsible for decisions on:
- How much funding may be centrally retained within the Dedicated Schools Grant for particular service areas.
- Any proposed carry forward of deficits on central spend from one year to the next.
- Proposals to de-delegate funding from maintained primary and secondary schools for specified responsibilities (set out in the regulations).
- Changes to the scheme of financial management.
Powers and duties
The schools forum is an advisory body with some limited decision making powers, established to represent schools views to the local authority. There is a duty placed on all members of the Schools Forum to seek views from other groups and to facilitate feedback arrangements.
Although made up mainly of representatives from schools, both maintained and academies, it also includes "non-school" members, representing relevant bodies, Diocesan representatives, representatives from, Early Years PVIs and Post 16 Provision.
The Schools Forum is required to operate under a formal constitution that covers the detail of its membership, full terms of reference, operating procedures and arrangements for paying expenses to members.
Further Information and Induction Information for New Members