The Government requires that each local authority (LA) maintain a school forum. The forum will represent its school's views on matters relating to the total Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG).
The DSG funds a range of responsibilities including:
- delegated budgets to schools
- provision of support for pupils with Special Educational Needs (SEN)
- out-county and independent SEN placements
- funding for early years in private, voluntary and independent nurseries.
Purpose of the forum
The forum acts as a consultative body and a decision making body. It 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 handles decisions on:
- how much funding may be retained within the DSG 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
- changes to the scheme of financial management.
Powers and duties
The forum is an advisory body with limited decision making powers. It's established to represent schools views to the local authority. There is a duty placed on all members to seek views from other groups and to help feedback arrangements.
Made up mainly of representatives from schools, both maintained and academies, it also includes "non-school" members. These member represent relevant bodies, Diocesan representatives, representatives from Early Years, PVIs and Post 16 Provision.
The 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.
More information for new members:
- Schools Forum Terms of Reference (PDF, 0.1MB, 6 pages)
- Schools Forum membership from March 2023 (PDF, 99KB, 2 pages)
- Schools Forum Policy Pack 2023/24 (PDF, 0.3MB, 14 pages).