Noticeboard - 16 March 2023

Welcome to this week's noticeboard which contains guidance on the holy month of Ramadan which begins next week, an Oracle System Implementation Update, information on SEND Tribunal Training, and other courses available to book.

Ramadan Guidance and Model Letter

The holy month of Ramadan begins next week on or around 23rd March, depending on the sighting of the new moon.  NAHT have published some useful guidance for schools in preparation for supporting Muslim pupils who will be fasting.

Please also find at this link a model letter and parent form for primary schools to ensure that any pupils who are fasting are identified and can be supported.

Oracle System Implementation Update

Please find below an update on the latest progress of the Oracle system implementation, including an important  reminder for as many staff as possible activate their Oracle accounts to enable Employee Self Service (ESS) access.

Reconciliation Files

  • The backlog of all weekly files is now cleared and we are now investigating and resolving issues identified by specific schools.
  • Queries with reconciliation files should continue to be directed to the related teams as identified within guidance on the Schools Oracle information web page.
  • We are also supporting schools to ensure sufficient time to finalise reconciliation work for the year-end. This includes setting a completion date for after the Easter break and seeking ways to unburden schools from financial requirements set by the council to allow time to focus on this work. Where schools are still unable to complete the work in time, we will explore ways of providing additional support if requested.

Simplified Loader – Supplier Invoice Payments

  • Overdue supplier payments – supplier payments correctly entered for payment by schools are now being paid within normal payment terms.
  • Late payment penalties – we will continue to recompense schools that have incurred penalties from late payments due to the backlog
  • Urgent payments – we will continue to make urgent payments on behalf of schools who use our bank account where requested and when required.
  • Duplicate payments – from 13 March 2023, each affected school will receive information and instructions on how to correct duplicate payments. Supporting information is also available on the Schools Oracle information web page.

Oracle Reports

Access to certain reporting functionality halted in November 2022, pending the council’s investigation and resolution to address data security issues. Although data segregation between the council, Birmingham Children’s Trust and Schools, in certain cases this impacts an employee’s access to the council finance processes such as General Ledger, Accounts Payable and Accounts Receivable. Progress updates will follow as work to resolve these issues continues.

Monitoring Staff Records – Absences and Pay

  • Absence reporting – due to security access issues the Oracle reporting functionality cannot yet be made widely available. As this impacts access to staff absence reports, as an interim solution we continue to send employee absence information directly to schools so that they can continue to effectively monitor and process their records.
  • Contract changes – there have been individual issues regarding the processing of contract changes. Colleagues from HR, Payroll Services and the system support team have worked collaboratively to rectify these issues and pay at the earliest opportunity. 
  • Overtime payments – our Schools HR Team have processed overtime payments on behalf of the schools where issues have been identified. There are now only isolated cases and direct support is being provided to these impacted schools.

Enabling Oracle Self-Service Access

With the move to digital payslips and an ongoing need to ensure robust data security, it is important that as many staff as possible activate their Oracle accounts to enable Employee Self Service (ESS) access. As a reminder, further information for Form Raisers and staff who have not yet enabled their Oracle access is available on the Schools Noticeboard.

Payroll Payments

We will continue to work with schools to resolve incidents of underpayments or overpayments where identified, taking prompt action to either issue payments to the applicable bank accounts on the same day or, in the case of an overpayments, liaising with the employees and notifying the relevant schools.

Additional Issues Identified at Engagement Sessions

Several Oracle functionality issues raised during workshops and meeting forums form a priority list of fixes. We will continue to report progress for these fixes as and when we have more information, with latest progress including:

  • Payroll reporting – the development work is now complete and the reporting process has now gone live from 15 March 2023. Email communications will follow shortly with guidance on accessing the report information.
  • Sickness reporting – work to resolve instances where overpayments are being generated is almost complete and an implementation date will be confirmed soon.
  • Email prompt for action – investigative work continues to identify a fix to enable managers to be notified of workflow processes needing their input, such as approvals for leave or budget spend.
  • Job sharing and other ways of working changes – issues affecting the ability to make role changes and create multiple or consecutive assignments is impacting all Oracle users and work to identify and implementation a solution is continuing as a priority.
  • Training – any Oracle training needs or guidance material relating to fixed functionality will be introduced to support adoption as and when fixes are implemented. 

Communications

SEND Tribunal Training

SENAR are pleased to invite you to attend ‘SEND Tribunal Training’ on either 26 April or 5 May 2023.

This training will be delivered via Teams by Kate Harvey, Head of SEND Resolution. Each session will cover the legal framework regarding EHC needs assessments and EHC Plans, the SEND Tribunal process, and guidance for schools involved in Tribunal appeals. This training would be ideal for all school staff involved in Tribunals such as headteachers, senior leaders and SENCOs.

The sessions will be recorded and materials shared after the event for those who cannot attend. Further sessions may be arranged, subject to demand.

Book your place now by simply clicking on your preferred date below: 

The appropriate meeting links will be sent to attendees in advance of each session. 

Early Education Entitlement – 30 Hours Information Sessions

  • Do you offer the Extended Entitlement (30 hours) for your 3 and 4 year olds?
  • Do you want to know more about how to manage your 30 hour applications for your parents?
  • Are you responsible for census or parent enquiries?
  • Are you a new member of staff and want to know more?

The Early Education team is running two Information Sessions on Thursday, 23 March at 14:30-15:30 and Friday, 24 March at 10:00-11:00.

The sessions are designed to provide information on how parents can apply for and manage their 30 hour codes, together with information on what providers should be doing in order to receive funding for them.

To book your place simply complete the online application form here: 30 Hours Information Sessions Spring 2023. A Microsoft Teams Meeting invite will be sent prior to each session.

If you have any queries or would like further information, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at: earlyeducation@birmingham.gov.uk

BEP Emotional Literacy Package

Do you ever feel there are certain groups of students who need help with their self-regulation or they have unhelpful ways to manage overwhelming feelings? Do you feel like there is something you wish you could do to help?

A set of 6 lessons and a train the trainer session has been produced and designed for BEP by Anna Bateman to help you do just that, using evidence-based approaches and pedagogy.

Who is it for? A member of the Pastoral team in Secondary schools – aimed at year 9, but can be adapted for use with years 8 and 10.

Outcomes of the course:

  • Confidence and practical ideas to help students manage overwhelming feelings.
  • Greater self-awareness and a range of practical strategies which are specific and relevant to each student.
  • Knowledge and confidence in knowing where and how to get support.

What’s included:

  • Materials for 6 lessons based on core social and emotional competencies and the latest government guidance, which can be taught again and again.
  • An opportunity to teach key strategies and skills for students who may need further support.
  • A train the trainer one-hour on-line training session for one person which will help you understand the theory, research, government guidance and key strategies and how to facilitate the lessons.

The one-hour Live Train the Trainer session will take place via Zoom on Monday, 20 March at 16:00-17:00. This session will provide you with the knowledge and understanding to deliver a 6-week emotional literacy intervention for secondary aged students.

To purchase this package at £395.00 + VAT, please visit:  Birmingham Education Hub - Emotional Literacy Package

If you have any queries or require further information please contact: office@bep.education

Join Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel – 20-31 March 2023!

Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel, the UK's largest inter-school walking, wheeling, scooting, and cycling challenge will run from 20- 1 March 2023. It inspires pupils to make active journeys to school, improve air quality in their neighbourhood and discover how these changes benefit their world. 

The event aims to encourage more families to travel to school actively to help create healthier and happier communities. On each day of the challenge, schools compete to see who can record the greatest proportion of their pupils walking, using a wheelchair, scooting, or cycling to school. 

This year's challenge is free for all primary and secondary schools in the UK, including SEN schools. Schools can choose to enter as a whole school or an individual class. A school’s best five days will determine their final position, but schools can log journeys on all ten days if you wish. There are fantastic daily prizes to be won for schools if over 15% of their pupils walk, use a wheelchair, scoot, or cycle to school on that day of the challenge. Participating in the Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel also contributes towards gaining Modeshift Stars Travel initiative (Cycling) C20 National Cycling Challenge.

There are lots of free resources, including curriculum linked lesson plans, which can be used in schools to ensure everyone can feel involved during Sustrans Big Walk and Wheel. Pupils can help reduce air pollution and learn about the benefits of active travel for themselves, their school, their neighbourhood, and the whole planet. Additionally, Sustrans are focusing on helping schools and families overcome the barriers that prevent pupils taking active journeys to school. See the  inclusivity guide for more information. 

Registration is now open. For more information and to register your class or school, visit the www.bigwalkandwheel.org.uk 

Don’t forget to log any activities as part of your Modeshift STARS action plan and share any photos with us @bhamconnected

Should you have any queries or require additional support, please contact: connected@birmingham.gov.uk

Launch of HEART Midlands Early Years Stronger Practice Hub

As part of the DfE Early Years COVID recovery programme, HEART Stronger Practice HUB, working in partnership with Birmingham Early Years Networks and Birmingham City Council, will support and develop quality Early Years practice over the next two years.

To find out more, and help shape the Hub offer moving forward, simply register for one of the following online sessions:

If you have any queries or require further information, please contact: MidlandsSPH@birminghamearlyyearsnetworks.org

AET Post-16: Leadership, Inclusion and Structural Reasonable Adjustments

Friday, 24 March 2023: 09:00-12:30 – Via Microsoft Teams

The Leadership, Inclusion and Structural, Reasonable Adjustments Module is part of the Suite of Resources for Leaders. It has been compiled for leaders and leadership teams within education settings to embed culture change across their provision and support them on their journey to become an outstanding and inclusive setting. The resources will support leaders to fully embed the 8 principles of good autism practice as outlined in the Good Autism Practice Report.

This module will help leaders to understand what is needed to fully embed an inclusive culture. It looks at education legislation and guidance surrounding inclusion, the steps required to lead culture change and the importance of considering structural reasonable adjustments and AET resources to support leaders with this.

The aims

The aim of this module is to enable delegates:

  • To look at how inclusive provision and structural reasonable adjustments can help a setting to be outstanding.
  • To consider what is needed to lead culture change in a setting.
  • To know about AET resources and guidance that can support leaders to provide inclusive environments through structural reasonable adjustments.
  • To consider different ways of making structural reasonable adjustments to ensure autistic pupils are fully supported

To book your place simply follow this link

AET Progression Framework

Wednesday, 29 March 2023: 09:00-12:30 (Via Microsoft Teams)

This session is suitable for practitioners working with school-age pupils on the autism spectrum in both mainstream and specialist services.

What will you learn?

  • Understand how the progression framework relates to the broader educational context
  • Familiarity with the content and key features of the progression framework
  • Skills in identifying learning goals and measuring progress for pupils on the autism spectrum in areas specific to their individual needs

To book your place simply follow this link

 

 


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