Noticeboard - 7 March 2024

This week's noticeboard contains information on the council's Head of School Improvement appointment; the Dream Team Bed Poverty Project; Bring it on Brum!; School Attendance, Early Education Entitlement, Training opportunities and more!

Included in this week's noticeboard:

2024/25 Council budget

On Tuesday evening Full Council approved the council’s Budget for 2024/25.The documents from the meeting and a webcast recording are available at this link. The proposals that Sue Harrison has shared with schools at recent briefings are included in the savings that were agreed.

We will continue to keep you updated on the delivery of the agreed savings.

Head of School Improvement Appointment

We’re delighted to share the news that after a rigorous interview process, Jaswinder Didially has been appointed to the position of Head of School Improvement.

This new role is vital in improving the educational outcomes for our children and young people and ensuring that the local area strategy for Schools Causing Concern and School Improvement are in line with our statutory duties. Continuing to work closely with the Birmingham Education Partnership, and other strategic partners, Jaswinder will focus on improving education standards throughout the city.

Jaswinder will report directly to Dr Sue Harrison, Strategic Director for Children and Families, and Helen Ellis, Director for SEND and Inclusion. Jaswinder will be away from work from 11 March for planned surgery. In the meantime, cover will be in place until she returns to take up her new position mid-June.

Education Infrastructure - Spring 2024

This term’s Education Infrastructure bulletin is available on the Birmingham Education Support Services website at this link.

The bulletin covers the following topics:

  • Compliance Return
  • Traded Services 2024
  • Secondary Resource Bases
  • Duty Holder and Asbestos Management Plan Training
  • Caretakers’ Houses
  • Future Bulletins

Contact Education Infrastructure for school place planning, capital projects and asset management queries: 

Thank you for your support.  

Bring it on Brum! is back for Spring 2024!

Full details on the Spring Holiday Club Activities have recently been sent to schools, including:

  • Letter template for parents/carers
  • HAF Code for distribution
  • Detailed mail merge guidance

The Bring it on Brum! free holiday clubs will run from Monday, 25 March to Friday, 5 April 2024, for young people aged 4-16 who are eligible for benefits-related free school meals.

Bookings for spring holiday clubs opened from Monday, 4 March 2024 at

Activity packs are available on a first come first served basis, for those children and young people unable to attend face-to-face activities with registrations open from Wednesday, 28 February 2024 at   

Any queries concerning the distribution of the code and letter to parents of eligible children, should be directed to  

For all queries related to the Holiday Activities Programme please contact

Dream Team Bed Poverty Project – register your school now!

To register your school as a Trusted Partner for the Dream Team Bed Poverty project please complete the registration form which can be found at this link.

Once accepted, the link to the referral form, catalogue and guidance will be emailed to schools.

Last referrals before Household Support Funding ends on 31 March 2024

The current round of Household Support Funding (HSF) ends on 31 March 2024. No further rounds of HSF funding have been confirmed by Government so until further funding becomes available, the current bed support project will cease at the end of March 2024.

The last date for receipt of referrals before the project closes is Wednesday, 27 March 2024.

So far over 1200 bed packages have been supplied to families since the project went live on 6 November 2023, which shows the great level of demand. Positive feedback has been received from schools and families saying what a difference it has made to home and school life, schools are seeing significant improvements in attainment, and we know this funding has made a positive difference.

We’re asking schools for a final push to try to get to any children who are currently struggling and without a bed of their own referred to us.

Eligibility Reminder 

Please ensure the information entered into "current sleeping arrangements" is accurate, and that families meet the eligibility criteria:

  • Parent sleeping on chair, sofa or floor to give up the bed for their child
  • Child(ren) sharing bed with parents or siblings
  • Child(ren) sleeping on something other than a bed – floor, chair, sofa, bath, car seat etc
  • Childs bed broken and family have been unable to repair or replace in the last 6-12 months
  • Childs bed and/or bedding mouldy or damp
  • Child sleeping in a bed which is inappropriate for their age range – such as still sleeping in a cot or toddler bed due to inability to purchase a single bed.

Thank you for your support in referring families into the Dream Team, this project wouldn't be possible without the support of schools and we’re hugely grateful. We’re currently exploring other possible opportunities for funding/fundraising and hope we can continue to support those families that need it most.

For any enquiries or further information please contact the team at

School Attendance Update

Last week, the Department for Education (DfE) announced a number of initiatives relating to school attendance which will impact local authorities, schools, and MATs. A copy of the press release can be found at this link.

‘Working together to improve school attendance’

From August 2024, the DfE’s guidance on attendance will become statutory. The current guidance and statutory guidance can be found at this link.

This means that schools, multi-academy trusts, governing bodies, and local authorities must have regard to it as part of their efforts to maintain high levels of school attendance.  The guidance should be read alongside the statutory guidance documents on children missing education, supporting pupils with medical conditions at school, education for children with health needs who cannot attend school, suspensions and exclusions, alternative provision, and Keeping Children Safe in Education.   Colleagues are advised to ensure they review the guidance to ensure compliance by the start of the new academic year September 2024.  The local authority is currently reviewing its offer to schools and will be contacting colleagues next term to outline the changes.  Please do not email the Education Legal Intervention Team regarding this or to ask who your single point of contact is.  The team is already dealing with an unprecedented number of referrals and responding to such emails may mean that the statutory work may become delayed.  Details of any changes will be published on the school noticeboard.

Penalty notices and legal action

Penalty notices for unauthorised absences will also be brought under a national framework to help tackle inconsistencies in their use for absence from September 2024.  The framework states that a penalty notice to parents must be considered if a child misses 5 days of school for unauthorised absence.

Alongside this, costs for penalty notices will increase from £60 to £80 if paid within 21 days and from £120 to £160 if paid in 28 days.   In addition, if a second penalty notice for the same child is issued within a three year period, the penalty notice cost for each child per parent will rise to £160 as the discount of £80 will not be available.  If a third offence is committed within a three year period, penalty notices will not be available, and the local authority must consider a straight to court referral instead.

The DfE emphasise the need for help and support to be offered to families before penalty notices or legal action should be considered, except in cases of unauthorised leave in term time.  A reminder to schools that penalty notices are an opportunity for parents to discharge a criminal offence by making a one off payment without the need to go to court or receiving a criminal record.   They cannot be issued unless the offence is prosecutable in court and school staff are prepared to give evidence in court as witnesses in those cases.

Attendance and absence codes, and deletion from roll regulations

The DfE have announced changes to the attendance and absence codes from August 2024.  In addition, the regulations relating to deletion from roll have been updated and will again be applicable from the new academic year.  The changes to codes and deletion from roll are detailed in the statutory guidance ‘Working together to improve school attendance’.  The link is as above.

Absence and attendance data

The DfE have announced that from September 2024 all schools must provide the DfE and the Council with daily attendance and absence data.   All maintained schools and academies in Birmingham, with only one exception, already feed their data into IMPULSE.  If your school is planning to change its MIS, please ensure that the data is still provided to the local authority as it is at this point that the need to provide the data can be forgotten. If your school hasn’t yet signed up to provide the data to Wonde, you can find the details of how to sign up here.

The DfE national attendance campaign has been updated following feedback from stakeholders. The pack for schools can be accessed at this link.

Further details as to how the local authority intends to respond to these changes will be published as soon as possible. 

SEND Advisory Team Update

As part of the SEND improvement journey, we are keen to ensure that the SEND Advisory teams are working with schools and settings to respond to identified needs as early as possible. Feedback from schools and settings has highlighted the value and longer-term impact of strategic work from both the Communication and Autism Team (CAT) and Pupil and School Support (PSS), however schools/settings are telling us that the allocated hours and budget restraints limit this type of support taking place.

To support schools/settings in their capacity building around SEND, we will be increasing the core hours to all our schools and maintained nurseries in place of schools needing to buy this additional allocation from the teams. As part of developing this capacity building model within the redesign of the SEND Advisory teams, we will be piloting a phased approach with our schools.

From next term (Summer Term 24), PSS will be offering an increase to core hours that incorporates some protected time for strategic support; SENCOs will be receiving an email detailing the core hours for the summer term over the next few days. CAT will be maintaining their offer for the summer term and will also be emailing SENCos with their core allocation of hours.

We will be consulting with schools and settings through HT forums and SENCo briefings next term in order to help shape this model moving forwards, in preparation for implementation from September 2024 where core allocations for schools will be agreed for the academic year.

For any queries or further information please contact Heather Wood at

Early Education Entitlement

Early Education Entitlement - 30 Hours Places for Foster Children

Foster parents can apply for 30 hours extended entitlement for their 3 and 4 year old foster children, if they are in paid employment outside of their foster care role.

These applications cannot be made via the usual route of the Childcare Choices website and have to come directly to the local authority. The foster carer or social worker should email for an application form. Please note that the Social Worker and Birmingham Virtual School Advisor have to be in agreement that the application is in the best interests of the child.

The same deadlines apply - they must have a code by 31st March 2024 in order to access 30 hours from April 2024 for Spring term. If you are aware of any looked after children that might be eligible for 30 hours extended entitlement, please signpost them to

As with all 30 hours codes you will still need to validate the code on ECS before agreeing the 30 hours start date. You must do this by entering the code on ECS and then check the validity start date of it to make sure it is eligible for the current term:

Further information about 30 hours and validating codes can be found on EYMIS:

  • Username: PVI2 (please note this is a capital i not the number one)
  • Password: PVI2year (please note this is a capital i not the number one)

If you have any queries regarding 30 hours extended entitlement please email

Early Education Entitlement - 30 Hours Information Session for maintained nursery schools, schools with a nursery class and academies

Do you offer the Extended Working 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? Or are you a new member of staff and want to know more? 

Attend our next 30 Hour Information Session on Tuesday, 12 March at 15:00-15:45 and find out how parent can apply and manage their codes, and what you should do to receive funding for them. 

To book your place please email the team at

Current DfE rules around COVID-19 in education settings

The following DfE article was published on 14 December 2022 and continues to reflect the latest guidance:

What are the latest rules around COVID-19 in schools, colleges, nurseries and other education settings? - The Education Hub (

Please contact your Employee Relations provider if you have any queries.

Survey: Supporting Mental Health in Birmingham Schools

FAO: Mental Health Leads

Can you help the University of Oxford identify current mental health priorities or challenges faced by schools in Birmingham?

The University is inviting all primary and secondary schools in Birmingham to complete a short survey about school priorities and needs concerning mental health.

This information will help to propose useful and relevant research and collaboration with schools, to develop diverse and relevant resources, pupil mental health monitoring, and additional support for staff. The University wants to increase research equality, relevance and ensure they understand and factor in the needs of such a diverse city.

Please help them to understand what schools need by completing the 5-question survey at this link.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact Dr Julia Badger, Lecturer and Senior Researcher, Department of Education, University of Oxford at

Fully Funded Solar Q&A Session

Ark King’s Primary School, Tees Grove, B38 9DH on Thursday 14th March 1:30-4pm in their Community Room is offering a unique sustainability and solar drop-in Q&A opportunity. Solar for Schools’ education and sustainability team, including an award-winning science specialist, will be available for advice on solar and whole-school sustainability.

Ark King’s has already had its install and will be happy to share the journey.

Solar for Schools’ mission is to equip, educate, and empower all schools in the UK and globally with energy education powered by the sun.

Solar for Schools offer schools a zero-capital expenditure option for funding solar panels plus a curriculum-linked programme using the panels as an educational tool. Their education team creates bespoke content for schools that is constantly innovating and evolving.

The digital platform offers students the chance to map solar on their school roofs, allowing them to download a presentation they can take to their school leaders illustrating the savings the school could make.

If schools are interested in joining this session, please email Solar for Schools directly at

The government's policy on Sustainability and climate change: a strategy for the education and children's services systems can be found at this link

Services for Education

Interim Writing Moderation at KS2 – For Teachers New to Year 6: Monday 11th March 2024. To book your place simply follow this link

Interim Writing Moderation at KS1 – For Year 2 Teachers (Centre Based): Thursday 23rd April 2024. This shared moderation will be an opportunity for Year 2 teachers to ensure that assessments of writing are secure. Although now non-statutory, it is best practice to continue using the 2019 KS1 Teacher Assessment Framework to maintain rigour and make robust and accurate judgements at KS1. To book your place simply follow this link

Teachers & Assessment Leaders Experienced in Year 2 – Essential Assessment Processes at the End of KS1 (online): Monday 18th March 2024: 13.00-16.00. To book your place simply follow this link  

Teachers and Assessment Leaders New to Year 2 – Preparing for the Essential Assessment Processes at the End of KS1 (Centre Based): Wednesday 10th April 2024: 09.00-16.00. In today’s climate of non-statutory assessments at KS1, how do we ensure that our pupils remain on track, and that we assess accurately, fairly and in line with national expectations? This half day online course will provide an overview of the essential, still recommended assessments, which need to be conducted at the end of the key stage.  Let our experienced moderators and advisers ensure that your pupils remain on-track with accurate assessments as they leave KS1. To book your place simply follow this link