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No apologies had been received.
Declarations of Members' Interests
None. For transparency, Councillor Suzy Horton declared a non-prejudicial interest in that she is Vice-Chair of Governors at Craneswater Junior School.
This report is to follow.
Angela Mann, Finance Manager, introduced the report and informed the Cabinet Member that the report seeks to inform members of the progress towards the initial determination of the Early Years Block of the schools budget for 2024-25. Feedback on consultation is included in the report. She added that the local authority is required to make an initial determination of the schools budget and give notice of that determination to the schools it maintains. The statutory deadline for giving this determination is 31 March as in previous years, but the Department for Education recently requested that councils publish their hourly rates by 20 February 2024, hence the need for this special decision meeting to ensure that providers can be notified by the new deadline.
The Cabinet Member highlighted that the report covered Early Years rates only, and other Dedicated Schools Grant funding including on High Needs, will be considered at the next scheduled meeting on 22 February 2024. She noted that the consultation and feedback on the proposals had been thorough and robust and that 5% of the budget was retained by the Council. She commented that the excellent services provided with that funding are valued by early years providers. The Cabinet Member recognised that early years providers suffer the same budget pressures as the council, including inflation and energy costs, in the provision of the services they provide.
DECISIONS - the Cabinet Member:
1) Approved the Early Years Funding Formula for under twos, two, three and four year olds as set out in section 5, and the budget in Appendix 1 of the report.