4 October 2018

This week's Noticeboard includes a message from Anne Ainsworth, details of drop in sessions about UNICEF's Rights Respecting Schools award, Walk to School month and more.

Included in this update:

From the Director

Dear Colleagues

This week marked the start of Walk to School month and you'll find lots of helpful information from Mandi Slater below about how to get involved. Congratulations to the Birmingham schools who have been nominated for the Modeshift STARS National School Travel Awards. Gracelands Nursery, Walmley Infant School, The Abbey Primary School, Little Sutton Primary School and Queensbury School have been recognised as they have shown best practice in the promotion of walking, cycling and other forms of sustainable travel for the journey to and from school. Of the 3,500 schools that are signed up to participate in Modeshift STARS, the five Birmingham schools are amongst just 75 schools across the country that have been nominated for this year’s Awards. Last year Turves Green Boys' School won National STARS School Travel Award secondary school of year. Best of luck to all the Birmingham schools at next month's awards.

This week has been another busy one but I have managed to fit in some visits and was pleased to be able to get to one of our colleges. I had a very productive visit to BMET yesterday afternoon and will be visiting Adderley and Saltley tomorrow morning with Razia Butt and senior officials from the DfE. Both schools were very recently awarded Gold in the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools award and Razia has included details below of drop in sessions that have been arranged for schools interested in joining the 239 Birmingham schools who are already part of this programme or those who are looking to progressPlease do attend one of these sessions if you are interested, the schools already taking part get so much from their work with UNICEF.  

I've also been busy with meetings this week and Tuesday was our regular Headteacher Consultative Group meeting. This is where the Chairs of each of the Forums meet with senior officers from BCC and BEP. It was good to see the same themes coming through from each of the Forums, particularly SEND, and I look forward to continuing the work this year.

Finally thank you very much to all the secondary schools who have sent their unvalidated KS4 and KS5 data to BEP.  We are still awaiting returns from a few schools and we would very much appreciate you completing the form that you were sent from BEP and returning it to them.  If you need another copy of the return form please email tracy.ruddle@bep.education and Tracy will ensure you get a copy.




Local Authority Headteacher Briefings: 8 and 13 November 2018

**Please note that the venue for the North briefing has changed to Villa Park.

Thursday 8 November 2018 8am - 10am Foyle Studio, mac Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park B12 9QH https://ht-briefing-081118.eventbrite.co.uk
Tuesday 13 November 2018 3pm - 5pm Aston Villa Football Club, Villa Park
Birmingham B6 6HE

CONTACT:   education@birmingham.gov.uk

Drop-in Support Sessions: UNICEF Rights Respecting School Award

Birmingham schools from nursery through to Post 16 are progressing rapidly through this programme, achieving Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.  With 239 schools now involved and another opportunity to join the free training in January 2019, the Education Resilience team is offering a series of 30 minute drop-in sessions for one to one support on areas including

  • How to get started if you want to be a Unicef school
  • Refreshing your approach to RRSA
  • RRSA in curriculum
  • Leading on RRSA
  • Policies into practice
  • Pupil voice and community engagement
  • Achieving Bronze
  • Steps to Silver 
  • Going for Gold

Astrid Edwards, who many of you will remember as retired deputy head teacher from Saltley Academy, will deliver these sessions.  Astrid has supported many Birmingham schools on their RRSA journey and was instrumental in achieving Gold at Saltley Academy. Astrid is an assessor for Unicef and offers a wealth of practical and pragmatic advice.

Please book your space with SSI@birmingham.gov.uk as all sessions are by appointment only.

13 November 2018 9.30am - 12.30pm Room 21, Council House Extension, Margaret Street B3 3BU Astrid Edwards
21 January 2019 9.30am - 12pm Edgbaston Community Centre B15 2HU Astrid Edwards
15 July 2019 1.30pm - 3.30pm Edgbaston Community Centre B15 2HU

Astrid Edwards

Volunteers needed: Testing of s175 tool and ICPC arrangements

Two projects are underway that require school comments so volunteers are sought from across the phases and designations:

Section 175 - beta testing the new tool
I know this is really short notice but we have the opportunity to test the new section 175 safeguarding self assessment tool before it goes 'live' later in October. I need x2 volunteers from the primary sector, x2 volunteers from the secondary sector, x3 from the independent sector and x2 from the special schools sector.
We are meeting at Holte School in Nechells on the 1st October at 12.30, for a snack lunch and to review the new tool. If you are interested please email to register your involvement and so I can order you lunch.

ICPC attendance over school holidays
This summer we put in place an interim arrangement for notifying schools when a statutory initial child protection conference was called that required a school to attend. I would like to call a very short working party to look at how we make this system work more appropriately for this academic year. The dates for the meeting are:

  • 23 October - 15.30-16.30
  • 6 November - 15.30-16.30
  • 20 November - 15.30-16.30

I am looking for two reps from each phase and designation to help develop a city wide approach. I am happy to host this at Lancaster Circus but I know parking here is dreadful, so if you want to volunteer and also host I would be happy to accommodate.

CONTACT: Jon Needham (Jon.J.Needham@birmingham.gov.uk)

Change in Teachers' Pension Employers Rate

You maybe aware on 6 September HM Treasury published draft directions to be used in the valuation of public service pension schemes. The Government Actuary’s Department have now completed their calculations to provide indicative results of the 2016 valuation of the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS) to the Department for Education (DfE), the key results are as follows:

  • Implementation of the change to the employer contribution rate will be 1 September 2019 (rather than 1 April 2019) due to the delay in this announcement.
  • The current employer contribution rate of 16.48% will be increasing to an estimated employer contribution rate of 23.6%, for the period 1 September 2019 until 31 March 2023.
  • The biggest impact on the employer contribution rate is the change to the SCAPE discount rate that is used to assess the current cost of future benefit payments; the SCAPE rate will change from CPI + 2.8% to CPI + 2.4% from April 2019.
  • There will be funding from the DfE for the financial year 2019/20 to help maintained schools and academies meet the additional costs resulting from the scheme valuation, a consultation process will take place to determine final funding arrangements. Funding for 2020/21 onwards will be discussed as part of the next Spending Review round.
  • The SCAPE discount rate sits outside employer cost cap process that was introduced for the 2015 career average TPS as this is a financial assumption. The indicative result also shows that the cost cap has been breached due to the value of member benefits having fallen, this is as a result of the assumptions about earnings (pay increases lower than expected) and reduction in life expectancy. Discussion will take place with the TPS Scheme Advisory Board to recommend changes to the scheme design for career average section members of the TPS to align member costs to the cost cap.

CONTACT: Seamus Cooney (seamus.cooney@birmingham.gov.uk)

Pupil Attendance – Legal Process and Advice Updates

Year 11 FAST-track guidance

Unfortunately there are a couple of errors in the Year 11 FAST-track guidance.  The threshold to send a SARM invitation is 8 sessions not 9.  The guidance also indicates that either penalty notices will be issued or Court action taken in cases where an offence has been committed but this is not the case.  All Year 11 cases, whether they are FAST-track or Leave in Term Time will proceed directly to Court via the Single Justice Process.  My apologies for any inconvenience caused to you.

New DfE guidance on school attendance.

The DfE has published updated guidance on school attendance which includes further advice on deletion from roll and registration codes use.  The document can be found on the DfE website.

B codes

A reminder to schools that there are strict regulations governing the use of registration codes.  Code B in particular can only be used in circumstances where the education is supervised and the pupil is safe.  It cannot be used where pupils are given work to do at home and where it is used for that purpose it can lead to an Ofsted inspection fail.  Please see the updated DfE guidance for further clarification.


PAC&T offer recommended courses such as ‘Accurate Coding and Pupil Registration Practice’; ‘Pupil Deletion from Roll; ‘School Attendance & the Ofsted Framework’; and ‘Reducing Persistent Absence’.  These courses are approved by the Local Authority.  To book your place please visit the PAC&T website.

CONTACT: Edwina Langley (edwina.langley@birmingham.gov.uk)

Update regarding the availability of adrenaline auto-injectors in the UK

As you will be aware many people across the UK are experiencing issues when seeking to obtain adrenaline auto-injectors (AAI’s), despite having a prescription for these devices.

A statement from the Anaphylaxis Campaign recommends that anyone who has concerns about their prescription should speak with their GP or Pharmacist. An abridged version of their statement is below:

Availability of Emerade

Bausch & Lomb, the manufacturers of Emerade have increased production of this medication.  Over the last 7 months they have seen a large increase in demand for their products due to the supply issues with EpiPen.  They are working with their manufacturing supplier to increase production and produce as many units as possible but will not be able to supply the total demand that is normally delivered by other companies.  Stock of Emerade 150 micrograms solutions for injection will be available from 27th September for pharmacies and there is stock of Emerade 300 micrograms and 500 micrograms with UK wholesalers.

Availability of EpiPen  

Mylan, the manufacturer of EpiPen have obtained acceptance from the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) to extend the use of specific lot numbers of EpiPen 0.3mg auto injectors beyond the labelled expiry date by four months.  Please follow the link below to view the affected lot numbers, which have labelled expiry dates between July 2018 and November 2018

Please note this only applies to the lots of EpiPen 0.3mg auto injectors included in the link.

There has been interruption in the production of EpiPen 0.3mg auto injectors consequently resulting in intermittent supply constraints in the UK.  The manufacturer anticipates that supply of EpiPen 0.3mg will stabilise between October to December 2018. 

Availability of Jext

Currently in the UK Jext have stock of both 150mcg and 300mcg pens but this situation remains fluid and is affected significantly by availability of other devices.  Planned deliveries are due in coming weeks and throughout the remainder of the year.  However, due to shelf life limitations and production lead times it is not possible to hold sufficient reserve stock to make up the overwhelming shortfall with the current situation or to obtain further stocks at short notice.  Unfortunately this means that it is probable Jext will be out of stock in some areas intermittently.

If you or anyone you know are prescribed AAI’s to be well equipped during this time the Anaphylaxis Campaign advise you to:

  • Check the expiry date on your medication regularly
  • If needed, get a repeat prescription from your GP well in advance
  • Do not dispose of any ‘expired’ AAI devices before you have a new AAI prescription
  • If necessary revisit your GP to ask if they can prescribe an alternative medication
  • If you are prescribed an alternative AAI device, ensure that you know how to use it.

For schools, if you have any children with anaphylaxis in school who are treated with AAI’s please check the expiry dates regularly and inform parents well in advance of the need for a new AAI in school.  Schools will need to risk assess if a child does not have an AAI in school.  Emergency ambulances carry adrenaline so school staff need to remain vigilant to the signs of anaphylaxis in those children with the condition and ensure ambulances are requested in a timely manner.

Requests for training of delivery of alternative AAI’s can be made through the School Nurse Team in your locality.

Autumn has arrived: it’s Walk to School October!

The autumn term has started and October is the perfect opportunity for parents, children and staff to leave the car at home and give walking to school a go.

International Walk to School Month(www.livingstreets.org.uk) happens every October, with schools across the world joining forces to get walking (or scooting, cycling, running, jumping, hopping…).

Walking improves physical and mental health and means children arrive at school more alert and ready to learn. Plus, by cutting down on car journeys, you’ll play your part in improving air quality.

Air pollution currently causes up to 900 early deaths a year in Birmingham and children are especially vulnerable. Road vehicles contribute around 80% of the total nitrogen dioxide pollution in our air and cars ‘idling’, standing still with engines running, is a big factor.

The first 10 primary schools to send an email to mandi.slater@birmingham.gov.uk in October will receive a limited edition taster Walk to School class pack for KS1 and KS2, including a wallchart, stickers, magnets and pupil activity books.

Living Streets have lots of free downloadable resources, including a family walk to school kit.

Share what you’re doing for Walk to School Month on Twitter @bhamconnected

CONTACT: Mandi Slater (mandi.slater@birmingham.gov.uk)

Early Years Noticeboard

An Early Years Noticeboard with information for Early Years settings has been issued by the Early Years team and is available on the BCC website.

VAT training for schools

We will shortly be presenting VAT training sessions for BCC schools to enable you to manage VAT accounting and reporting more effectively within your school.  The training will include guidance on the VAT treatment of school meals, school visits, school lettings and sales to pupils, etc.

This training is compulsory for ALL BCC schools and at least one employee of your school must attend.  There will be two places available on the training for each school. You may choose to nominate an employee of your school, a BCC schools’ finance representative, e.g. from Schools Financial Services, or an external finance adviser as your optional second attendee at the training.

Details of dates, venues and how to register will be issued shortly.  Please keep a look out for those details.  In the meantime, should you wish to discuss VAT training further, please contact any of the following in BCC’s VAT Team on 0121 303 2691:

Birmingham Virtual School – Attachment research Community Annual Conference

The presentation made by Sir John Timpson at the BEP Conference has inspired many Head Teachers to be engaged with his drive to support all schools to become Attachment & Trauma Aware settings.

Birmingham is hosting, at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the third annual conference of the Attachment Research Community, of which Sir John Timpson is patron. The conference will take place on 21 November 2018. The delegates who attend will not only benefit from key note speakers who are engaged in national strategy in attachment and trauma, but also learn from schools and educational settings that are currently successfully leading inclusive learning environments.

This is an ideal opportunity for senior leaders of schools, governors and key emotional well-being staff to be actively engaged in developments that will increasingly help to shape inclusive educational provision.

More information about the conference and speakers can be found in the attached flyer.  Please contact Andy Wright (Head Teacher of Birmingham Virtual School) (andrew.wright@birmingham.gov.uk) if you require any further information.

Birmingham Traded Services Autumn Term Newsletter

The Birmingham Traded Services Autumn Term 2018/2019 Newsletter is available on the Birmingham Education Support Services (BESS) website.

The BESS website provides a 'one-stop shop detailing the majority of the council's traded services and details of a wide range of BCC training courses. Please contact julie.newbold@birmingham.gov.uk if you would like to discuss any of these services.

The Procurement Service: Suppliers & Services 2019 Conference

SAVE THE DATE: Wednesday 6th February 2019

Aston Villa Football Club, The Holte Suite, Trinity Road, Birmingham B6 6HE

FREE TO ATTEND (Two free delegate places per education establishment)

At Birmingham City Council we are more than aware of the ever growing pressure that schools face of how to maintain standards and provide adequate resources whilst contending with ever shrinking budgets. The Procurement Service appreciate that the time spent sourcing value for money services and products and robust contract management can drain valuable staff time and money. With this in mind, we would like to invite you to our Suppliers & Services 2019 Conference which will provide you with access to:

  • UK & EU Compliant Contracts – No need to source 3 quotes!
  • BCC Contracted Suppliers – covering all your school needs
  • BCC Traded Services – a wide range of services available
  • Free Workshops provided by our professional traded services including: Birmingham Audit, Cityserve, Education Safety Services, Occupational Health and many more.
  • Hear from The New Director of Children and Young People
  • Birmingham City Council's New Utilities Framework 

More details will follow nearer the time. To find out more information visit the BESS website.

CONTACT: The Procurement Service (cps@birmingham.gov.uk)

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