Schools Forum

Legal Framework

Schools forums have a consultative and advisory role in school funding and financial matters. They have been a statutory requirement in every local authority (LA) in England since 2003. The Schools Forum (England) Regulations 2012 makes provision for the constitution, role and powers of Schools Forums.

Redcar and Cleveland Schools Forum meets four times a year. Meetings are open to the public. Should you be interested the next meeting is scheduled for 3.00 p.m. on Monday 12th June 2017 at the Inspire to Learn Centre, Eston. Papers considered at the meeting can be accessed on the next page.

The role of the schools forum

Representatives from schools and academies make up the schools forum. There is also some representation from non-school organisations, such as nursery and 16-19 education providers.

The forum acts as a consultative body on some issues and a decision making body on others.

The forum acts in a consultative role for:

  • changes to the local funding formula (the local authority makes the final decision)
  • proposed changes to the operation of the minimum funding guarantee
  • changes to or new contracts affecting schools (eg school meals)
  • arrangements for pupils with special educational needs, in pupil referral units and in early years provision

The forum decides:
  • how much funding may be retained by the local authority within the dedicated schools grant (e.g. for providing an admissions service or providing additional funding for growing schools)
  • 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 (e.g. for staff supply cover, insurance, behaviour support)
  • changes to the scheme of financial management
A summary of the Schools Forum powers and responsibilitiesmay help in understanding the decision making process.

Schools representation

Schools and academies (including free schools) representatives on the forum should be roughly proportionate to the number of pupils in each sector and should generally include representatives from:

  • maintained nursery schools
  • maintained primary schools
  • maintained secondary schools
  • maintained special schools
  • maintained pupil referral units
  • mainstream academies (including free schools)
  • special academies (including free schools)
  • alternative provision academies (including free schools)
  • post-16 education providers
Where there is at least one school in a particular category, there must be at least one representative for that group on the forum.

In maintained schools, governors and head teachers (or their representatives) should elect their representatives by the appropriate phase.

Academy trusts should elected academy members in their local authority area.

Responsibilities of schools and their representatives
  • Schools can expect to have their views canvassed and to receive feedback from their representatives.
  • Schools forum members have a responsibility to represent the interests of their peer group rather than the interests of their own individual school.
  • Schools staff and governors should make sure that the representatives they choose are competent to act as their advocates.
  • They should also ensure that they are aware of schools forum business and make their views known about decisions affecting schools finance.

You can watch a video about the importance of engaging with your local schools forum with a chair of a schools forum in a discussion with an EFA expert.

Responsibilities of local authorities
  • Any recommendations should be clear and local authority responsible officers should attend meetings to provide further information and advice. Local authority officers should not dominate the meeting.
  • All schools forum meetings must be open to the public. Observers do not have an automatic right to speak at meetings, but the chair may allow contributions where appropriate.
  • It is within the remit of the local authority to promote an understanding of national and local funding arrangements. Members may wish to take time to read an explanatory paper on current funding arrangements which lists all allowable factors at the present time.
  • Meeting papers must be published on the local authority's website.

Further reading/ Useful Documentation

 icon Schools Forum (England) Regulations 2012.pdf (63.53k)
Last modified: 23/09/2016 12:21:54

 icon Schools Forum Good Practice Guide.pdf (325.1k)
Last modified: 16/06/2015 16:07:51

 icon Schools forums structure.pdf (181.56k)
Last modified: 23/09/2016 12:24:53

 icon Membership and Voting Rights.pdf (250.48k)
Last modified: 23/09/2016 12:27:13

 icon Current Constitution (2016).pdf (157.16k)
Last modified: 07/11/2016 11:10:59

 icon Schools Forum 2016-17 Meeting Dates.pdf (67.84k)
Last modified: 23/09/2016 13:34:53

The contact address for the Schools' Forum is:

The Clerk to the Schools' Forum
Education Services
Cooper Centre
c/o Council Offices
Kirkleatham Street
TS10 1RT

Tel: (01642) 837755

The minutes and agendas and papers submitted at meetings held since 1st October 2012 can be found in the 'Minutes' section. Please note that the minutes of the most recent meeting are draft and are subject to amendment and approval by the next meeting of the Forum.
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