10 January 2019

The first Noticeboard of term includes an introductory message from Dr Tim O'Neill, a schedule of Fair Access Panel meetings, guidance for the upcoming DfE census and much more.

Included in this update:

From the Director

Dear colleagues

I’m delighted to have started this week as Birmingham City Council’s new Director of Education and Skills. Having previously worked as Strategic Director for People (Director of Children and Adult Services) and Deputy Chief Executive in Rutland County Council, and as Assistant Director in Nottingham City Council, I am really excited to be joining at a time of significant change, challenge and opportunity. More than anything I’m passionate about improving children and young people’s lives, and I am particularly passionate about public service. Just a word or two about my background … I started my local government career in youth offending and as a result I’m a partnership animal through and through. Before that I completed a PhD at the University of Manchester and briefly taught history at various institutions (I found teaching history to 200 medical students particularly challenging, shall we say!). I’m really looking ahead to working with all schools and education providers to further improve the wellbeing and life chances of all of our children, building on the excellent work that you have already done. On a rather lighter note, I am a regular gig-goer and I love sport in all its forms, so roll on 2022!

I very much look forward to meeting you over the coming months, and I would welcome invites to come and see you and the great work you are doing as we move through the academic year. I’ll also continue to write to you in Noticeboard of course…

Finally a heartfelt word of thanks to Anne who has so ably and expertly acted up into the Director role in the recent past.




Dr Tim O'Neill
Director of Education and Skills


SEND Written Statement of Action

Following the Ofsted and Care Quality Commission (CQC) joint local area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) inspection, Birmingham City Council and NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group are pleased to publish the Written Statement of Action (WSOA) for the city, on behalf of all partners. The WSOA focusses on a number of priorities that will drive through rapid improvements and long-term sustainable change across SEND services for our children and young people, and their parents and carers. The WSOA has been approved by Ofsted and CQC, and the ongoing collaborative work across all partner organisations will continue.  The Council and Clinical Commissioning Group would like to thank everyone who has been involved in the development of the Written Statement of Action to date.  Our continuing focus is on improving standards and addressing the concerns that have been identified, so that children and young people in Birmingham receive good services that respond to their needs, and are able to fulfil their potential.

The Written Statement of Action is published on the Council website at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/news/article/350/special_educational_needs_and_disabilities_update

School Admissions Update

Applications for Reception Class – September 2019

The deadline for applications for Reception Class (15 January 2019) is fast approaching.

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 they need is available on our website www.birmingham.gov.uk/schooladmissions  or parents/carers can contact Children’s Services on 0121 303 1888.

Service Redesign

A major service redesign and change programme is currently under way to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the service, including the quality of its data collection and reporting. The performance of the admission’s system reflects a range of dependencies and partnerships not least with schools and own admission authorities in Birmingham. A report on the changes was presented at the end of last year to Learning, Culture and Physical Activity Overview and scrutiny committee.  Further details can be viewed on the council website: http://civico.net/birmingham/democratic-services/4436

CONTACT: Alan Michell (alan.michell@birmingham.gov.uk)

Head Teachers schedule for Fair Access Panel Meetings

Please find attached here a schedule for Headteachers to attend fair access panel meeting from January 2019 until July 2019.

This is being published following requests from Headteachers to assist in arranging diaries and commitments.

CONTACT: fairaccess@birmingham.gov.uk or 0121 464 5899

Guidance: Statutory Spring 2019 DFE School Census

Attached here is guidance for Headteachers and School Census contacts on the Spring Census and the new DfE secure login.

  • Census date: Thursday 17 January
  • Return date: Monday 21 January

Information on class sizes is collected via the termly DfE School Census collections and a report is compiled by the Local Authority following the Spring census (January) for all schools operating over infant class size. You should ensure that any classes that you record over 30 are true exceptions to the legislation and are in agreement with your Admission Authority. Classes over 30 that are not true exceptions will be recorded as illegal classes and will be subject to possible investigation by the DfE.

Please see the following links to the guidance and associated legislation:
School Census 2018 to 2019 Guide: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/school-census-2018-to-2019-guide-for-schools-and-las
Infant Class Size Legislation: www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2012/10/made

CONTACT: Education Intelligence Team (R&S@birmingham.gov.uk)

Fraud Spotlight Newsletter

Birmingham Audit has recently launched  the latest edition of the ‘Fraud Spotlight’ newsletter which is available on the Council website via this link.

Fraud Spotlight provides useful information for colleagues on a range of topical issues, fraud prevention and details of areas that are inherently exposed to the risk of fraud. This edition includes articles on email hacking and payment diversion, salary overpayments and password security  – it’s well worth a read. Please note that the SLAM process mentioned in the newsletter doesn’t apply to schools.

If you have any fraud suspicions, require advice or guidance or would just like to see a specific topic covered in a future edition please contact Corporate Fraud Team on 0121 303 2185 or email birminghamaudit@birmingham.gov.uk

Birmingham NQT Pool

The Birmingham NQT Pool opens to schools on 25th February 2019.

HR Services for Schools hold a register of NQTs actively seeking their first teaching appointment in Birmingham for September 2019.

Schools using the pool will save precious time and money by avoiding advertising, responding to enquiries, and chasing references.

NQTs will be selected by area and phase, with their details provided via a secure email containing application forms and references. 

The team communicate regularly to ensure the information available is as up to date as possible, and can also assist with calls to shortlisted candidates. To request details or to find out more, please contact  Kevin Tetley or Maria Howes on 0121 303 2369 / nqt@birmingham.gov.uk.

The charge is £240 for schools who purchase our HR services and £292 for those that do not. We do also receive applications from Secondary NQTs – if you are looking to recruit for September please contact the team on 0121 303 2369 for further information/costs.

NQT Registration Deadline

The deadline to register new NQTs for the Spring term is Friday 18th January 2019. Please register at https://www.servicesforeducation.co.uk/nqt-support/. There is also further information on continued support throughout induction.

CONTACT: nqt@servicesforeducation.co.uk

Updated Pupil Premium Allocations 2018/19

The Department for Education has updated the schools 2018/19 pupil premium allocations for the children looked-after data return (SSDA903) recorded in the March 2018, as set out in paragraph 10 of the conditions of grant.  This update may have an impact on some schools’ allocations where LAC children have been identified and recorded in the return, therefore changing your 2018 to 2019 pupil premium allocations.

The notification of this revised allocation has been published on the Birmingham City Council website and may be accessed on the Birmingham City Council website here.

Payments to Full Chequebook schools for Quarter 3 will reflect any changes to allocations.

CONTACT: fairfunding@birmingham.gov.uk

Final Proposal for Amalgamation: Wilkes Green IJ

Birmingham City Council, as the Local Authority for Birmingham, is conducting a formal 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 formal consultation runs from 10th January until 7th February 2019

Full details of the proposal and how to comment are available online: https://www.birminghambeheard.org.uk/people-1/wilkesgreenijfinal

CONTACT: edsi.enquiries@birmingham.gov.uk

ESOL Course for schools

The next ESOL Qualification course for teachers/classroom support staff will be starting on 23rd January 2019. It is run by the Gypsy Roma and Traveller Team but delivered by an externally commissioned tutor.
The course consists of 8 sessions of 2.5 hours  held on Wednesday afternoon and particularly focuses on fluency, grammar and pronunciation. Because of these elements it is suitable for native English speakers,  or at the very least, those with excellent pronunciation and grammar.

At the end of the course the participants will have a recognized qualification and a good grounding in Teaching English as a Second Language to assist the school and their colleagues.
The cost for each participant is £100 for the entire course, handbook, examination and certificate.

If your school has a significant number of new to English pupils, Roma, Asylum Seeker/Refugee or  recently arrived from abroad, and would like to take advantage of this course please contact:
Phil Denley, GRT Teacher phil.denley@birmingham.gov.uk to register your interest.

Suppliers & Services Conference 2019

Don't forget to secure your free place at our Suppliers & Services Conference 2019 - Be quick as spaces are filling up fast.

Wednesday 6 February 2019 - 8:30am - 2:45pm
Aston Villa Football Club, The Holte Suite, Trinity Road, Birmingham B6 6HE
FREE TO ATTEND (2 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
  • More information on Birmingham City Council's New Utilities Framework - West Mercia Energy

You will also hear from The New Director of Education and Skills : Dr Tim O'Neill

Agenda and Exhibitor information can be viewed by visiting:  www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Page/12244

University of Birmingham and Forward Thinking Birmingham Teachers' Mental Health Impact Study

Researchers at the University of Birmingham and Forward Thinking Birmingham need your help with a new study of teachers' mental health and wellbeing. This study explores teachers' mental health and attitudes and behaviours toward help-seeking alongside how this might impact on their capacity to provide early identification and intervention strategies in support of their student’s emotional well-being. 

Please click on the following link to take part: http://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/BTUFC/

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