Noticeboard: 13 January 2022

This week's Noticeboard includes a letter from Dr Justin Varney and Sue Harrison, information about the Household Support Fund, information about the spring census, a reminder of the deadline for submission of the Schools Financial Value Standard and more

Included in this update:

Letter to schools from Dr Justin Varney and Sue Harrison

Please find at this link a letter to schools from the Director of Public Health, Dr Justin Varney, and Director of Children's Services, Sue Harrison.

A reminder that the slides and recording from Dr Varney's webinar last week are available at this link.

Household Support Fund

Schools will be aware that the council used part of its allocation under the government’s Household Support Fund to provide supermarket vouchers for families eligible for free school meals for the October half-term and Christmas holiday periods.

There is information about how families can access support through the remainder of the fund on the council’s website at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/hsf

Supermarket vouchers will not be available for future school holiday periods.

Spring school census

Census date: Thursday 20th January
Return date: Monday 24th January   

Every school in England has a statutory duty to submit the School Census, each term, under Section 537A of the Education Act 1996.

The letter at this link provides schools with information regarding the Census

Contact: SchoolCensus@birmingham.gov.uk  

Reminder: Deadline for the submission of Schools Financial Value Standard 2021/2022 

Schools are reminded that the deadline for the submission of the Self-Assessment Report for the Schools Financial Value Standard for 2021/22 is 31 March 2022. Self-Assessment reports should be sent to SchoolsFinAssess@birmingham.gov.uk.

The submission for this financial year includes a number of changes to the Self-Assessment Report including an additional question in relation to related party transactions and a further template to be completed and submitted on RTPs.

A link to the latest templates can be found on the SFS page of the BESS website within the SFVS resources area.

DfE COVID-19 workforce fund to support schools with costs of staff absences

The DfE has updated its guidance in relation to the workforce fund to support schools with the costs of staff absences.  The period of time it covers has been extended from 22 November 2021 to 18 February 2022. 

The guidance details what costs are covered within this process and the eligibility criteria.

Proposed reduction to Reception PAN at St George's CE Academy Newtown

St Georges CE Academy in Newtown is proposing to reduce its Published Admissions Number (PAN) for both 2022 and 2023 Reception entry. Over the last two years the local area has witnessed a reduction in birth rates and forecasts indicate that this reduction is sustained. In response to this the school is proposing to reduce itsPublished Admissions Number (PAN) for 2022 Reception entry from 60 to 30. 

Note: for 2022, the academy is required to submit a business case to the RSC. For 2023, the school carried out a consultation via https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/schooladmissions

If you have any queries, please contact the school directly: enquiry@stgnewtown.bham.sch.uk

Birmingham Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust: App library website 

The NHS is working with ORCHA, the Organisation for the Review of Care and Health Applications. ORCHA robustly evaluate the hundreds of thousands of health and care apps that are currently available on the market, and provide an easy to use app library website, that makes it simple and quick to find the best and safest apps.

In short, ORCHA looks at the data and security, clinical/professional assurance, and usability and accessibility of apps. The app library website can be found at bhamcommunity.orcha.co.uk. There is a collection of apps in the library dedicated to children, young people and families.
 
The NHS would really appreciate it if schools could help spread the word about this new resource by circulating the attached letter to the families.  This is a really valuable website that not only helps the NHS to support families’ health but also protect them from potentially dangerous apps.

EYFS Flexibility – an update from the DfE

The DfE has provided the below update:

It remains a priority to continue providing face to face education and childcare, but we know that COVID-19 continues to put early years settings under significant pressure, particularly in relation to workforce absence. 

Government considers COVID-19 to be an exceptional circumstance in which the staff-to-child ratios set out in the EYFS can temporarily be changed if necessary, for example to respond to COVID-related workforce absences. This relates to paragraph 3.31 in the EYFS. 

In some cases, providers may choose to respond to staff and child absences by temporarily mixing age groups of children who would otherwise be educated or cared for separately. Ratios should be guided by all relevant requirements and by the needs of individual children within the group. For the purposes of meeting EYFS ratio and qualification requirements, all staff educating or caring for a mixed age group of children can be considered ‘available to work directly with’ all the children who have been grouped together.  

In all circumstances, settings remain responsible for maintaining the quality of care, safety and security of children.  

We hope this enables you to review your outbreak management plans and ongoing risk assessments to ensure that you are able to remain open for as many children as possible whilst balancing that against safety and EYFS requirements. If you need further advice and support – please email EYDuty@birmingham.gov.uk and an Early Years Consultant will contact you.

Schools reporting COVID cases in Early Years to Ofsted

We have recently followed up with Ofsted following reports from schools that the reporting process for COVID did not recognise schools’ URN numbers. Ofsted has now confirmed that if schools have a separate registration on the EY register then they should report the COVID case and use the URN for the EY register (this is usually a 6-figure number that starts with the letters EY). If the school is not registered separately and has a DfE number and is inspected as a school, then they would not need to report it as they would fall under the reporting requirements for schools.

Schools (unless registered on the EY Register) do NOT need to report COVID cases directly to Ofsted. The reporting process to UKHSA/Contract Tracing/EDSI should be followed. You can find the link to the latest process/checklist here.   

Birmingham Against FGM Multi-Agency Conference: Thursday 10th February 2022

The conference, 'Ending FGM in a Generation' will take place on Microsoft Teams and comprises of two sessions - morning and afternoon.

You are invited to attend the whole day, or just one session if you cannot attend both. Each session needs to be booked separately. Places will be allocated on a first come, first served basis

Information about the agenda for each session is available at the links below. Places can be booked through the same links:

Primary Photography and Digital Media Training Event: 2 February 2022

Primary Training Event for Art Subject Leads, ICT Leads, Non Specialist Teachers, Curriculum Leads and Senior Leaders

Guest Artist: Gareth Courage
Trainer: Andrew Fox
Date: Wednesday 2nd February 2022 
Time: 1.30pm-4pm on Zoom
Cost: £40 

Places can be booked via this link or by emailing events@bep.education

As part of the contemporary and popular BEP Art Subject Development training, the next and final part of the course will be focussed on the use of photography and digital media in the art curriculum and beyond.

  • Part 1: We will be looking at how different forms of digital media are used in the ICT and art curriculum to support digital skills development and visual self expression/creativity at primary phase.
  • Part 2: Our special guest will be UK designer and illustrator Gareth Courage who will deliver a keynote on his very distinctive work in design and digital media, in both an educational and professional context. Gareth implements a blend of traditional collage use combined with photography, texture, digital art and typography in his work, and he will be showing teachers how he has successfully led projects in primary schools using these techniques to explore themes such as identity and pupil voice.
  • Part 3: Andrew Fox will deliver an in depth keynote on developing the use of photography in the primary art curriculum and beyond. This will be a comprehensive piece of training for teachers and will include a brief of history of the most powerful and influential moments in photography followed by a step by step guide to working with photography in your school from EYFS through to Year 6. Andrew will take you through specific projects he has led across midlands schools where you will be able to see the children’s work and see how each project was built and delivered both as a cross curricular medium but also as part of the art curriculum (this includes a guide to turning your school library into a photo studio with the children). He will also be launching a Primary photography skills progression framework as part of this event and it looks like this will be a national first!  Teachers will also be treated to a sneak peek of Andrew’s commercial work so bring your shades and expect jungles, swimming pools and fashion models!

This training will include learning and ideas for teachers and all attendees will receive post event PDFs from Andrew Fox and Gareth Courage (including the photography skills progression framework). The training will be delivered on Zoom using high definition apple keynote with lots to look at and so we recommend that attendees use a laptop size screen or larger to get the best out of the event.

 

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