29 November 2018

This week's Noticeboard includes a message from Anne Ainsworth, information about the Ofsted inspection of children's services, the 2020/21 consultation on proposed admission arrangements, UNICEF training and much more.

Included in this update:

From the Director

Dear Colleagues

On Monday morning we received the call from Ofsted to notify us of a three week inspection of local authority children’s services. This week the inspection team have been off-site looking at child-level data, case audits and other performance and management information. From next week, a team of seven inspectors will spend two weeks on-site with a focus on direct practice with families. As part of the inspection, Ofsted may contact schools to request information. We will contact schools in advance where we are aware that information may be requested but this may not always be possible and please bear with us, as we will all be a little busier than normal! I know you understand all too well.

Also on Monday I was at the Birmingham Children’s Improvement Forum along with colleagues from across the city.  Health, social care, the police, community and charitable sectors and education were represented.  The attendees heard from a range of organisations who have taken steps to change and improve what they do and to highlight examples of best practise. In the afternoon we were encouraged to think about what we would do differently, and how we would prioritise issues.  What would be your top 3?  There was a recognition that we have a lot to do, so managing expectations and agreeing shared actions will be key. 

On Wednesday afternoon I visited Braidwood.  Thanks to Karen for showing me around.  It was great to see the school and meet some of the pupils and teachers.  We also had a good catch up about some important issues for the school and that, for me is part of what I value about meeting with Headteachers. Having the opportunity to get your direct feedback and thoughts about school and BCC related issues is crucial.  Thanks to everyone at Braidwood.

Early next week we will be publishing a draft 0-25 Home to School Transport Policy that will be going to the Council’s Cabinet meeting on 11 December for permission to consult in the new year. I will provide more information in next week’s Noticeboard and will update you fully on the next steps after the Cabinet meeting.

Below Razia Butt has shared details of two consultations that are currently underway that schools may wish to contribute to. The Education Resilience team will support any schools who want to contribute to the forced marriage consultation.

Finally the deadline for applications for Reception Class is soon after schools return after the Christmas break (15 January 2019). Often late applications are made by families with siblings, families of children attending a school nursery or families who complete a school’s supplementary application form but don’t apply online on the Council website. To try to reduce this, the School Admissions team would be very grateful if schools could remind families of the deadline and the importance of not applying late. All the information on the applications process for Reception Class is available on the BCC website here.




Ofsted inspection of local authority children's services

As Anne mentioned above, an Ofsted inspection of children's services is currently underway. The inspection team will contact schools if necessary regarding the cases they select.

2020/2021 proposed admission arrangements for own authority schools

Please note that the proposed admission arrangements for Birmingham schools that are their own admissions authorities that are proposing to make changes to their admissions arrangements for the 2020/2021 academic year can be viewed at: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/proposedadmissionarrangements2020to2021

The consultation runs from 19 November 2018 until 7 January 2019.

Any comments on the proposed admission arrangements should be made to: https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/people-1/proposed-admissions-arrangements-2020

Consultations currently underway

Forced Marriage

Forced marriage is often a hidden crime and victims may stay silent, fearing isolation or worse from their family and/or community. That is why the role of frontline professionals in health, education and social care, who may come across signs of forced marriage, is so crucial. In 2014 the Government published two pieces of guidance – for leaders and front-line staff in those sectors – outlining their responsibilities in tackling forced marriage.  The Government is now considering what else can be done to increase reporting, deter potential perpetrators and improve protections for victims. This consultation explores two ways in which we might do those things: the possibility of introducing a legal duty requiring professionals to report cases, and updates to the guidance published in 2014. This is a complex issue and the Government wants to hear the views of those who are expert in or affected by it.  The Education Resilience Team is offering support to any schools that may wish to contribute to this consultation which can be found here:

LINK: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachmentdata/file/756200/ForcedMarriageConsultation.pdf

CONTACT: Razia Butt (razia.butt@birmingham.gov.uk)

Countering Extremism

The independent Commission for Countering Extremism is carrying out a first of its kind study into extremism, to be published in spring 2019, that aims to improve understanding of extremism and its impact on individuals, communities and wider society.

This call for evidence asks for information on 5 themes:

  • public understanding of extremism
  • the scale of extremism
  • extremists’ objectives and tactics
  • harms caused by extremism
  • the current response to extremism

The Commission also interested in two cross cutting issues, the interaction between online and offline spaces, and the drivers of extremism. The Commission is keen to hear from people with a wide range of views and insights including people with personal experience of extremism, academics, civil society, faith and community groups, counter extremism activists and practitioners.  The Education Resilience team believes that schools have an important contribution to make to this agenda and is offering support to any schools that may wish to contribute callforevidence@extremismcommission.independent.gov.uk

UNICEF Rights Respecting Schools Programme training: January 2019

Training courses have been arranged for January 2019. Any schools interested in participating in the programme or progressing further are invited to attend.

  • Birmingham UNICEF RRSA Achieving Bronze: 18 January 2019

This course is an introduction the Award and to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

If your school has recently registered for the Award then you will find this course is particularly well suited to your needs. The aim of this course is to arm you with strategies to involve and inform all members of your school community and work quickly and effectively towards the first stage of the Award, Bronze: Rights Committed.

More information is available on the BESS website http://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Event/84883

  • Birmingham UNICEF RRSA Achieving Silver: 24 January 2019

This course is aimed at providing delegates with strategies to involve and inform all members of their school community and work towards the Recognition of Commitment Stage.

More information is available on the BESS website http://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Event/70394

CONTACT: ssi@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 has been extended to 4 January 2019. 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 (Morvia.Innis@birmingham.gov.uk or 07730 282 812).

Robinsons Coach Travel - Scam emails

We have been made aware of scam e-mails in circulation, which purport to be from Robinsons Coach Travel. The emails direct the recipient to a link to a spurious invoice, stating that it is due for payment. The emails are being sent from a spoof email address (info@robinsonsofbirmingham.com). The company have confirmed that there has been a problem with their email address, and the emails in circulation do not originate from them, as they always send their invoices as a PDF attachment and not via a link.
If you receive an e-mail from Robinson Coach Travel, please exercise extreme caution and do not click on the link. If you are expecting an invoice from them, please telephone the company directly using a known number, to verify that it is genuine and that the bank account details are correct.

Any queries, please contact Birmingham Audit at birminghamaudit@birmingham.gov.uk, or on 0121 303 2185.   

VAT training for schools

The VAT training sessions in November and December are now fully booked.

Further sessions are being arranged for the New Year, so anyone who was unable to attend the November or December sessions will be able to come along to the next round of VAT training in early 2019. We will publish the new dates as soon as we can.

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:

Leigh Nash (Business Analyst VAT) – leigh.nash@birmingham.gov.uk
Janet Morritt (Tax Adviser) -  janet.morritt@birmingham.gov.uk
Ruth Hill (Tax Adviser) - ruth.a.hill@birmingham.gov.uk

Local Agreement 2018 - 2019

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) have once again stated that Local Authorities may choose to implement a local agreement subject to consultation, agreement with their schools and individual head teachers as appropriate.

In previous years, many Birmingham schools stated their preference to know the sample children whose work will be moderated the day before a moderation visit, so that they can be organised when the moderator arrives. STA has stated that although this is not a statutory requirement, this can happen, but only by local agreement with each head teacher. 

Should you be chosen for moderation in 2019, you will be invited to submit your teacher assessment judgements up to one week in advance of the visit after which the moderator would undertake to give you 24 hours notice of the moderation sample. Should you not wish to submit your data early, you must have the pupil assessment data for each pupil available on the day of moderation for the moderator to select their sample from at the beginning of the visit.

Please be assured that there is no expectation from the Local Authority or STA that the school will choose to submit their data in advance. A school’s decision will not affect the outcomes of any moderation visit.

In addition, in 2019, Services for Education will:

  • As far as possible, notify schools of an external moderation visit for Teacher Assessment at KS1 and/or KS2 on Friday 17th May 2019. In some circumstances, schools may be given the statutory notice of 48 hours.
  • Allocate two moderators per visit for those schools at KS1 of 2+ form entry and at KS2 of 3+ form entry. This is in order that visits can be conducted in a more efficient and timely manner.

Please comment or email any concerns by Friday 21st December 2018.

CONTACT: Denise Harris, Services for Educatio (denise.harris@servicesforeducation.co.uk)

RSPB Outreach Workshops (EYFS, KS1 & 2)

The RSPB is Europe’s largest conservation charity, we’re passionate about giving nature a home and would love to come and work with your pupils outdoors in your school grounds to cover curriculum objectives.

We can deliver up to 3 workshops for each class over the course of the year. And, the good news is, that through our free online schools' Wild Challenge programme each workshop counts towards your bronze, silver or gold award. 
There are six curriculum-linked 90 minute workshops for you to choose from; all delivered by trained RSPB educators with options to suit EYFS children as well as KS 1 and 2 pupils. Every workshop involves at least 30 minutes of outdoor exploration, allowing your pupils to discover the natural world first-hand. You’ll get to see how beneficial learning outside the classroom is for the health, wellbeing and attainment levels of your pupils. Don’t worry if you think your grounds have nothing to offer nature - we’re here to help you discover the biodiversity on your doorstep.

Visit www.rspb.org.uk/schoolsoutreachvisits for more information on our competitively priced sessions or contact Lucy Fleming (Schools' Outreach Project Officer Lucy.Fleming@rspb.org.uk).

Keep your pupils, staff and visitors safe this winter: Offer on rock salt

White de-icing rock salt - 25KG @ £6.26p
25KG bags for easy distribution & storage. Salt leaves little or no residue, this is ideal for winter maintenance
Special bulk buy discount available for Birmingham schools. Offer ends on Friday 22nd Feb 2019

Contact Nobisco to place your order (0121 328 3889 or sales@nobisco.co.uk).

More information is available on the Birmingham Education Support Services website.

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