The Education Act 2002 required each local authority to establish a schools' forum. This is a consultative group made up of headteachers, governors, trade unions, the diocesan authorities and Early Years providers.
The purpose of the forum is to provide guidance to the local authority about decisions relating to the local funding formula, changes to the scheme for financing schools and spending priorities of the local authority. If the local authority wishes to apply for exemptions from national spending limits, the forum must be consulted and give approval before the Department of Education (DfE) will consider it.
The forum is an elected body, with members serving two years. Each school cluster elects a member. The forum is made up largely of headteacher and governor representatives of schools, with a maximum of 20% of members being appointed from other organisations. Primary and secondary schools must be represented in proportion to the number of pupils in each phase.