8 November 2018

This includes a message from Anne Ainsworth, safeguarding updates from Jon Needham, advice from Audit and much more.

Included in this update:

From the Director

Dear Colleagues

Back from Tanzania – truly a life changing trip. That sounds very dramatic but in this case, it’s true. I was volunteering at an Orphanage and Primary School. The project began back in the early 1990’s, established by a small number of people who wanted to build an orphanage for 30 children whose parents had died (most likely as part of the AIDS epidemic in the country at the time). Fast forward to 2018 and the orphanage houses over 140 children; a primary school has been built which provides education for the children from the orphanage and 1 child from each of the poorest families in the local village and plans are in place to apply for a secondary school. In Tanzania, children cannot attend school if they do not own a pair of shoes, which precludes many children from gaining an education and you must be able to speak English to attend secondary school. The orphanage has also based its philosophy around supporting girls and women in particular. In Tanzania women do not have the same rights as we do in the UK and as the orphanage has now been established for so long, the first ‘wave’ of children have now grown up and are running the orphanage and school – and both of the leaders are women.

Whilst I was there I worked every day in the school – Reception and Year 6 classes (needless to say, I was reminded of how hard our teachers work every day); worked with the Bethany Choir (any excuse to sing) and helped out with some jobs in the orphanage. If you would like to know more about Bethany please visit their website. Needless to say, after spending two weeks in the fourth poorest country in the world I am now very grateful for what we consider the basics – I will never again take for granted electricity; pillows; hot water; clean running water; and fridges (the ants get everywhere!). My time in Tanzania also reinforced to me the importance of the UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools work happening here in Birmingham, particularly Article 28 (the right to education) and Article 29 (the goals of education).


On Tuesday night, Julie Young and I were delighted to present at the latest Governors network meeting. My thanks to Steve Edmonds and the School and Governor Support team who arrange these sessions. It is always a pleasure to catch up with our Governors who do such important work across the city. I am determined that we maintain a close, and supportive working relationships. Tracy Ruddle from BEP was also there to update Governors.

Happy Diwali to those who were celebrating earlier this week. Lots of schools have also been marking Remembrance Day this week and the centenary of the end of the First World War. Particularly impressive was the display at Stirchley Primary School, I'm looking forward to seeing this for myself tomorrow.


This morning we have had our first Headteacher briefing session and the next one is next week – the agenda is below and if you haven’t signed up for next week yet, I’d love to see you there. We are listening to your feedback and sent out the agenda in advance – I hope you agree that there are some really important issues on there, that it would be good to talk with you about.

The Council's budget consultation for 2019 will be launched on Tuesday. Please have your say when the consultation starts, I'll share more information in next week's Noticeboard.




Local Authority Headteacher Briefing: 13 November 2018

As Anne mentioned above, the next Headteacher briefing is taking place next Tuesday at Villa Park. The agenda is below.

  • View from the bridge: Anne Ainsworth
  • SEND update: Sharon Scott
  • Attainment and standards: Julie Young
  • Resilience update: Razia Butt

Jon Needham will also be at the briefings with some important safeguarding information.

Tuesday 13 November 2018 3pm - 5pm Aston Villa Football Club, Villa Park
Birmingham B6 6HE

CONTACT: education@birmingham.gov.uk

Proposed New Islamic Girls Secondary Free School in Birmingham

Birmingham City Council is publishing a specification inviting proposals to sponsor a new 600 place (4FE) Islamic Girls’ Secondary School in Small Heath, Birmingham. Under the Education Act 2011 there is a presumption that all new schools should be free schools. The school is proposed to open in September 2019 in temporary accommodation with a view to moving to the permanent site by 2020.

As an existing Academy Trust, we would encourage you to consider applying if you think that you have capacity to sponsor the school as part of your trust. Applicants must be approved Academy sponsors (or be in the process of submitting a sponsor application).

Full details of the proposal and the application form can be viewed on the Find it in Birmingham website. The closing date for the receipt of completed applications is 30 November 2018. If you do not already have a Find it in Birmingham ID, you will have to register to view the documents in full.

If you have any enquiries on the free school presumption process, please direct them to the Free School Presumption mailbox (freeschool.presumption@education.gov.uk).

If you have any specific enquiries about the proposed school, please direct them to Morvia Innis, Project Manager, Birmingham City Council (Morvia.Innis@birmingham.gov.uk or 07730 282 812).

DBS checks for visiting professionals

The issue of the appropriate level of ID checks undertaken on visitors to schools continues to require clarification, though the number of questions is slowly going down. The two presenting issues seem to be some schools still asking to see documentation that they are not allowed to request, and some visitors to schools not carrying photo-id.

In this new term please can you ensure that office and reception area staff are briefed about the requirements for photo-ID and DBS checks on professionals from partner agencies coming to work with children at your school, and when these need to be recorded on the single central register.

  • Ideally a visit from an outside agency to work with a child should be planned and recorded in the school diary so that office staff are expecting the worker. There will be occasions, particularly with social workers where a visit is unexpected and unplanned.
  • It is proper to check the photo-ID of the visitor, and they should be willing to show their ID card. If they haven’t got one or are reluctant to show it you have to decide if you let them onto the school site. You may want to put a notice in reception so visiting professionals are aware of the need for photo-ID.
  • If the visitor is a Birmingham Children’s Trust social worker or a family support worker or from BCC education services the BCT or BCC name badge implies an in-date DBS for their first and second visit.
  • REGULATED ACTIVITY: Whilst it is necessary that visitors undertaking regulated activity (generally defined as working directly with children) to have a completed Enhanced DBS, the school is not allowed to see the actual certificate (KCSIE18 para. 177), unless the worker chooses to show it to the school. The worker must provide a letter from their line manager, on headed paper, with confirmation that DBS clearance has been attained OR details of the DBS number and issue/expiry date. There have been cases where professionals have not been allowed into a school unless they have handed over their DBS certificate to the office. This practice should stop. This is because the detail recorded on the certificate of any criminal history is between the employee and employer and is not in the domain of the school.
  • NOT REGULATED ACTIVITY: Under no circumstances should a contractor in respect of whom no checks have been obtained be allowed to work unsupervised. The Headteacher is responsible for determining the appropriate level of supervision depending on the circumstances (KCSIE18 para. 174). Confirmation of DBS in this situation (if available) would allow the Headteacher to determine the level of supervision required but in-and-of-itself DBS is not a requirement to undertake work that is not regulated. Where the potential for, or contact with children will occur full supervision is suggested.
  • Any visitor working within the school three times within a 30 day period should be recorded on the single central register, but you only need to record their name, organisation, ID check and record sight of the letter from line manager OR the DBS number if supplied. In the case of activity that is not regulated a note ‘DBS not required’ should be made on the SCR

This issue continues to be raised with our partner agencies so that they are aware of the requirement this places upon schools, and hopefully more workers will carry letters of introduction from their line manager.

CONTACT: Jon Needham (jon.j.needham@birmingham.gov.uk)

Payment by Results for Early Help Work

You will remember that in September I put out a call for copies of Early Help Assessments undertaken in schools; the data that was sent in has helped greatly to illustrate just how much Early Help schools are providing to families. So much so, that it has prompted a huge development around funding.

As part of the Early Help agenda those needs identified in assessments that meet the national Think Family criteria attract funding known as Payment by Results (PbR) where sustained change can be measured. This PbR claim is being extended in Birmingham to also include work undertaken by schools – which means PbR money can be allocated to schools.

The proposal is that for every individual assessment since 1 April 2015, including the work done in the ‘3 Houses conversation log’, where there is a validated improvement a £250 payment will be available for schools to claim. Any subsequent Early Help Assessment or the Signs of Safety & Well-being 3 Houses or other Strength Based Approach, where a sustained change can be proved will also bring in a £250 claim.

To register all EH work:

To claim PbR:

The outcomes will be mapped on the Think Family database and any proven outcomes will receive PbR. Should the City be audited schools will be approached to prove the claim, e.g. to prove a sustained improvement in school attendance over three academic terms. PbR claims will be paid 6 months later. I will be looking at an event for school Business Managers in the new calendar year to go through how the PbR claims will be processed and money recovered.

I realise this is an administrative burden, but the prospect of additional funds into schools should hopefully ‘soften the blow’ and further strengthen Education's approach to Early Help

CONTACT: Jon Needham (jon.j.needham@birmingham.gov.uk)

Draft Proposal for Amalgamation: Wilkes Green Infant and Junior

Birmingham City Council, as the Local Authority for Birmingham, is conducting an informal consultation to make the following changes to amalgamate Wilkes Green Infant and Wilkes Green Junior Schools:

  • Discontinue Wilkes Green Infant School;
  • Alter the age range of Wilkes Green Junior School (to 3-11 years);
  • Enlarge the premises of Wilkes Green Junior School (to include the Infant School buildings).

The informal consultation runs from 5th November until 14th December 2018.

Details of the proposal and how to comment are available on the Birmingham BeHeard website here.

URGENT – Anti-virus/malware & Firewall Protection

Can all schools please check that you have up to date Anti-virus & Firewall Protection.Before half-term one school in Birmingham became the victim of a ransomware attack whereby all their files were encrypted and could only be decrypted by the hacker if their demands were met, which the school would not do. Whilst this is something that we’ve all heard about in the news, it’s probably something we think happens to places other than schools but please be aware this is real, has happened and therefore is likely to happen again. Given the amount of personal, financial and sensitive data held on a schools MIS and the responsibilities we all have under GDPR to keep this data secure please can you urgently check that you have up to date anti-virus/malware & firewall protection etc, as clearly, schools are being targeted and you must ensure all the data on your system is protected as well as it can be. More information is in the latest version of The Auditor (below).

The Auditor Issue 51

Issue 51 of The Auditor magazine is available on the Birmingham City Council website via this link. This provides up to date advice and guidance on our audit requirements and important information regarding the management of school finances.

CONTACT: Karen Smith (karen.p.smith@birmingham.gov.uk)

NQT Pool 2019

HR Services for Schools will be recruiting NQTs to our Pool from 5th November 2018. The paperwork will be made available on our website for applicants on this date.
The Pool will be open for schools to access week commencing 25th February 2019. Further details will follow in the New Year.
Please contact Kevin Tetley or Charlotte Shepherd for more information:
Tel: 0121 303 2369 / 464 2144
Email: nqt@birmingham.gov.uk

…….and don’t forget the HR Services for Schools Recruitment Team for all of your other needs:
Senior Appointment Recruitment
Recruitment Administration (Post Box Services)
DBS Processing
Right to Work and Single Central Record Advice
Contact the Recruitment Team for more information on 0121 464 4144/3716 or e-mail: charlotte.shepherd@birmingham.gov.uk / kayleigh.a.pegg@birmingham.gov.uk

School Finance updates

The Department for Education has determined the PE & Sports Premium Grant allocations for the 2018/19 academic year; this has allowed the LA to update the 2018/19 financial year allocations for maintained schools delivering primary provision. The academic year 2018 to 2019 is split into two payments. Schools will receive 7/12th of their allocation in the financial year 2018-19 (as notified in the attached) and the remaining 5/12th in the financial year 2019-20. The second payment to local authorities will be made in April 2019. The notification of this updated allocation has been published on the Birmingham City Council website at this link.

CONTACT: Justin Pinkney (justin.pinkney@birmingham.gov.uk)

Accounting Standards require the City Council to account for any leases and lease type arrangements within service contracts that services may have in place at the end of the financial year. I am therefore writing to request that you provide details of such arrangements on the attached pro-forma. The information is confidential and is only used for the purpose of technical accounting entries in the Statement of Acconts (for internal use only). The request is made to all non-Academy schools, including VA, VC and Foundation schools. Please see additional explanation/details on the Note in the attached Form. Returns are required by 14 December 2018.

CONTACT: Magdalena Newman (magdalena.newman@birmingham.gov.uk)

Procurement Service updates

Suppliers and Services Conference 2019

Wednesday 6 February 2019
Aston Villa Football Club, The Holte Suite, Trinity Road, Birmingham B6 6HE
FREE TO ATTEND (Two free delegate places per educational establishment)

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 covering Safeguarding, Health & Safety and much more.
  • Hear from The New Director of Children and Young People - TBA
  • Birmingham City Council's New Utilities Framework

To find out more information visit: www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Page/11877

Expression of interest for car, van and mini bus hire contract

BCC Commissioning & Procurement Services are looking for any educational establishments who are interested in collaborating with us in procuring our replacement contract for car, van and mini bus hire.

If you are interested in taking part, or would like to know more information please email janine.weetman@birmingham.gov.uk as soon as possible.

Schools Energy Efficiency Programme

An invitation for maintained schools to attend a Schools Energy Efficiency Programme (SEEP) workshop on 28th November 2018. The workshop gives an introduction to SEEP, a chance to meet and hear from schools who have been already been through the process and an opportunity to apply to be part of the next round of schools who benefit from the energy savings available.

More information is available in the flyer attached here.

Birmingham Education Resilience training and workshop offer

This is available on the Birmingham City Council website here.

CONTACT: ssi@birmingham.gov.uk

VAT training for schools

VAT training sessions for BCC schools to enable you to manage VAT accounting and reporting more effectively within your school will be held on the following dates:

  • Wednesday 28 November 2018
  • Thursday 29 November 2018
  • Tuesday 4 December 2018
  • Tuesday 11 December 2018

The sessions will be held at BCC’s offices at 10 Woodcock Street, Aston, Birmingham, B7 4BL from 9:30am to 1:00pm. The training will cover the VAT treatment of school meals, school visits, school lettings and sales to pupils, etc. There will be opportunities to ask questions during the sessions. Further sessions will be held early in 2019.

This training is compulsory for ALL BCC schools and at least one employee of your school must attend. There are 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.

To register your place at the training, please complete the attached form and email it to:

Janet Morritt – Tax Adviser – janet.morritt@birmingham.gov.uk

Leigh Nash - (Business Analyst VAT) – leigh.nash@birmingham.gov.uk

Ruth Hill – Tax Adviser - ruth.a.hill@birmingham.gov.uk

Invitation to Schools/Youth Groups to perform at Children’s Library, Library of Birmingham during Advent

The Children’s Library invites schools/groups (up to 30) to perform on our Story Steps in the Children’s library during Advent (weekdays only).

  • Participants can sing, read, act or perform music for up to 20 minutes from 11.15am to finish by 12 noon.
  • We have a wide selection of percussion instruments that can be borrowed on the day for the event and a pupil can be chosen to open our giant advent calendar!
  • Invite families to come along to watch the performance
  • There will also be a Christmas Trails around the library
  • There will be room for schools/groups to eat their packed lunch afterwards and take part in a competition to win the school a £20 book token.

Contact the Children’s Library by email if your school is interested; also please give us a preference of three dates. Follow this link to complete a registration form to submit.

We look forward to seeing lots of children and families liven up the Children’s Library for Christmas.


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