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Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest (if any) from Members/Officers in accordance with the provisions of the Members Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008 (including whipping declarations)
Revd Canon Edward Evans declared a personal interest in his capacity as a Community Governor of Bryntirion Comprehensive School.
Councillor Melanie Evans declared a personal interest in her capacity as a School Governor for Croesty Primary School and Pencoed Comprehensive School.
Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell declared a personal interest in his capacity as a School Governor for Cefn Glas Nursery and Infants School and as a Local Authority Governor of Bryntirion Comprehensive School.
Councillor Richard Collins declared a personal interest in his capacity as a Community Governor for St Mary’s and St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School and Local Authority Governor of Plasnewydd Primary School.
Lynsey Morris declared a personal interest in her capacity as a Parent Governor of Maesteg Comprehensive School.
Councillor Tim Thomas declared a personal interest in his capacity as a Community Governor for Coleg Cymunedol Y Dderwen and Brynmenyn Primary School.
Councillor Amanda Williams declared a personal interest in her capacity as a Local Authority Governor for Brynteg Comprehensive School and Coety Primary School.
Councillor Hywel Williams declared a personal interest in his capacity as a Local Authority Governor of Abercerdin Primary School.
Cllr Alex Williams declared a personal interest in that his partner is a teacher of a primary school in another Local Authority.
Councillor Huw David – Leader of Council
Councillor Jane Gebbie - Deputy Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Social Services and Early Help
Councillor Hywel Williams - Cabinet Member for Resources
Councillor Jon-Paul Blundell – Cabinet Member for Education
Mark Shephard - Chief Executive
Carys Lord - Chief Officer - Finance, Performance and Change
Lindsay Harvey - Corporate Director - Education and Family Support
Nicola Echanis - Head of Education and Family Support
Deborah Exton - Deputy Head of Finance
Victoria Adams - Interim Finance Manager – Budget Management: Communities, Education and Family Support
Hannah Castle - Headteacher, Cynffig Comprehensive School, Vice-Chair of BASH and Chair of Schools Budget Forum
Neil Clode, Headteacher - Llangewydd Junior School - Vice-Chair of Schools Budget Forum
The Corporate Director for Education and Family Support presented a summary of the report, the purpose of which was to present the Committee with the draft Medium Term Financial Strategy 2023-24 to 2026-27, which set out the spending priorities of the Council, key investment objectives and budget areas targeted for necessary savings. The strategy included a financial forecast for 2023-2027 and a detailed draft revenue budget for 2023-24.
The Chair thanked the Corporate Director for Education and Family Support and invited representative Headteachers who were the Chair and Vice Chair of the School Budget Forum to make statements, followed by the Cabinet Member and the Corporate Director - Education and Family Support. The Headteacher representatives expressed grave concern over the proposed 2% reduction to school budgets reporting that this could result in a reduction in workforce, possibly deficit budgets and have an impact on standards, particularly if these reductions continued each year, having a cumulative effect.
Discussions were held regarding the subject of delegated school budgets with concerns expressed by Members, reiterating that of the headteacher representatives, about the potential impact this would have on schools and staffing, particularly those with Additional Learning Needs (ALN) requiring extra support. Despite reassurances from Officers and Cabinet Members over funding being provided for pay increases, the Committee highlighted the negative impact the 2% reduction in school budgets could potentially have on support staff within schools, thereby affecting the most vulnerable pupils.
Further issues were raised around the implications this reduction could have on schools who already had deficit budgets, such as new schools, and the fact that the cut could also result in other schools experiencing deficit budgets. Members also queried the resulting cost of any redundancies and whether this would counteract the savings required. Officers noted that some schools were identifying a deficit budget and that they and the schools projecting surplus budgets would be supported with any proposed efficiency savings. Officers advised that the 2% proposed reduction did not necessarily mean a reduction in staffing or putting schools into a deficit budget highlighting how it could be mitigated by a number of factors including, increased pupil numbers, retrospective adjustments in the budget and grant funding. However, Officers agreed that it was for schools to explore how they would meet the reduction which could result in redundancies of staff who could not be redeployed, the costs of which would need to be considered. Where schools were already in deficit, there was a statutory requirement for them to establish a recovery plan and the Local Authority supported schools with their budget planning where required, in order to get them back into a positive budget.
Discussion was held around the extent to which the local authority was utilising their partners and receiving value for money, to which they were advised that where partners were involved there was regular monitoring and holding to account, such as with the Central South Consortium. Where areas were identified for more cost-effective measures or services, Officers reported this had ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To consider any item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in
accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.