Was the decision to increase the Growth Fund budget by £1m made solely so that it could be then released to partly fund the 0.5% without seeming to come from schools’ budgets?

Absolutely not. The £1m was agreed at DEF as part of the 2017-18 year end discussions in March this year to accommodate the potential growth across growing schools within Devon. As part of the Funding Consultation process we agreed that in light of the possible additional funding through the new formulaic approach of the DfE to fund the authority for growth that we would take the low risk option to reduce the growth funding back to previous year’s levels as we need to support the High Needs Block.