17 January 2019

This Noticeboard includes a message from Dr Tim O'Neill, information about the recent Ofsted children's services inspection, the SEND Written Statement of Action, an update to the Model Safeguarding Policy, training courses and much more.

Included in this update:

From the Director

Dear colleagues

This morning Ofsted published its report following the inspection of Birmingham’s children’s social care services that took place late last year. For the first time in over ten years children’s social care has been judged as ‘requires improvement to be good’. In the letter published today, Pauline Higham, Her Majesty’s Lead Inspector, said that the delegation of statutory children’s social care functions to Birmingham Children’s Trust has ‘enabled the re-vitalisation of both practice and working culture’, adding ‘as a result, progress has been made in improving the experiences and progress of children’. You can read the statement from Birmingham City Council and Birmingham Children’s Trust on our website here.

Following the Ofsted and Care Quality Commission joint local area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities inspection last year, Birmingham City Council and NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group have published the Written Statement of Action for the city, on behalf of all partners. We’ve linked to it below and will keep you updated on the progress of this work. DfE monitoring has been really positive but all partners are realistic that we have a very long way to go. It’s important for us to be brave as Birmingham should be a market leader here. 

This week I’ve had really good meetings with Cabinet Members Cllr Kate Booth (Children’s Wellbeing) and Cllr Jayne Francis (Education, Skills and Culture). I was particularly struck by their passion for Birmingham’s children and young people as well as their drive for excellence.

Yesterday morning I attended my first Primary Forum meeting and was made to feel really welcome. Members of the forum were very positive about the steps that are being taken to bring permanent leadership to children’s. This has started with my post and I will lead on recruiting to the rest of the senior leadership team in the coming months. I’m looking forward to working closely together with colleagues from across the education phases on priorities including SEND, children’s emotional well-being and levels of performance. The meeting took place at Edgbaston Community Centre ... I walked there to get a feel for that part of the city.

This afternoon I’ll be discussing the budget with members and this is clearly very challenging. We need to be on the ball with our efficiency programme but it's also an opportunity to shape provision to better suit the needs of our most vulnerable children.

Last week I said I’m a keen gig-goer. I’ve not been to any gigs yet ... had a few other things on! Watch this space. I took my eldest to Boardmasters (Newquay) in the summer and had a fantastic time (I didn't even feel that old!).



Dr Tim O'Neill
Director of Education and Skills


Agreed School Term Dates 2021/22

The agreed school term dates for 2021/22 have been published on the Birmingham City Council website at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/termdates.

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

Model Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy

There have been several changes to the Model Policy for this year:
A codicil update to include the new DfE guidance on Mental Health and the new Birmingham guidance on Criminal Exploitation and Gang Affiliation.

Some major structural changes to the policy itself following Ofsted's critique of its implementation in schools. Ofsted had no major issue with the policy (following codicil insert in Sept/Oct), but have noted that in some settings the policy hadn't been personalised sufficiently.

The 'new look' policy should be easier to read by staff and contains the same information as before (including the January '19 codicil update), but includes a:
*   'So in our school...' column,
*   Highlighted all the sections where names need to be added,
*   Highlighted areas where school information needs to be deleted
to make the policy yours.

I would advise that you review this new version and ask your Governing Body to adopt it as all future codicils will be issued against this format.

LINK: https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/downloads/download/1960/school_policies_and_procedures

CONTACT: Jon Needham, School Safeguarding Adviser (jon.j.needham@birmingham.gov.uk)  

New proposals for Sex and Relationships Education

We have been contacted by a number of schools concerned about myths and messages circulating in communities about the new proposals for Sex and Relationships Education. The Department for Education consulted on draft guidance last term and the consultation closed on 7th November 2018.

Whilst we await the final guidance from DfE later this term, here are some key messages to support schools:

  • Only relationships education, not sex education, will be compulsory in primary schools.
  • Both will be compulsory in secondary and there will be a process for parents to request that their child be withdrawn from the latter.
  • If a primary school chooses to teach sex education, parents have the right to withdraw their child (except for any sex education in the science curriculum).
  • Schools will be expected to consult, and work with, parents on the development of their programmes of lessons.

There are no further materials associated with this from Government yet, so any resources being circulated are not endorsed by BCC or DfE. As soon as the guidance is published, we will invite schools to briefing sessions.

The PSHE Association has published very useful guidance at  https://www.pshe-association.org.uk/curriculum-and-resources/resources/sex-and-relationship-education-sre-21st-century

If any schools are concerned or need support, please contact Razia Butt at SSI@birmingham.gov.uk

Holocaust Memorial Day: 27 January 2019

Holocaust Memorial Day takes place on 27 January 2019.  It is the day for everyone to remember the millions of people murdered in the Holocaust, under Nazi Persecution, and in the genocides which followed in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia, and Darfur. 

Schools can download an activity pack and access resources here:  https://www.hmd.org.uk/take-part-in-holocaust-memorial-day/organising-an-activity/order-or-download-an-activity-pack/

Ofsted consultation on proposals for changes to the education inspection framework

Yesterday Ofsted launched a consultation on proposals for changes to the education inspection framework. The consultation can be accessed on the Ofsted website and the closing date is 5 April 2019.

FAST-track to Attendance training

Training is now available for school staff on ‘FAST-track to Attendance’, an Early Help approach to improving school attendance with a prosecution element.  The ‘Leave in Term Time (Penalty Notice) Process’ is also covered in the training.  The course runs for a full day and lunch is provided.  There is a charge for the training which will take place at Hollyfields Conference Centre.

The first date for the training, 24 January 2019, has been offered to those schools on our waiting list but surplus places may be available.  To book your place please use the link below:

The following training date is available for all schools and can be booked via this link:

Schools are also advised to consider booking onto the general attendance courses offered by Pupil Attendance Consultancy and Training, which can be booked via their website: www.thepactgroup.co.uk

PAC&T provide training on Pupil Registration and Accurate Coding (a major issue in legal cases); Ofsted and Attendance; Reducing Persistent Absence (which is worse than national average in Birmingham); and Deletion From Roll.

CONTACT: Edwina Langley, Lead Attendance Officer (Edwina.j.langley@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:
Thursday 7 February 2019

  • Wednesday 13 February 2019
  • Wednesday 13 March 2019
  • Wednesday 27 March 2019

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 later 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 all of the contacts below:

Health and Safety Training Courses for School Staff  - January to March 2019





(MIDAS)Minibus Driving (FULL) Course

23rd January 2019

Driver Training Centre, Redfern Depot, Kings Road, Tyseley B11 2AB


Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work

29th, 30th, 31st January 2019

Perry Tree Centre, Dovedale Road, Kingstanding, B23 5BX


Fire Marshal Training

1st February 2019  (morning or afternoon)

Room G14, 10 Woodcock Street, Aston, B7 4BL


Passport To Safety

4th and 5th February 2019  

The Kenrick Centre (Training Room) Mill Farm Road, Harborne B17 0QX


Level 3 Award in First Aid at Work (Requalification)

6th and 8th February 2019 

Room G15, 10 Woodcock Street, Aston, B7 4BL


(MIDAS) Minibus Driving (Refresher)

6th February 2019 

Driver Training Centre, Redfern Depot, Kings Road, Tyseley, B11 2AB


To find out more about any of these courses and to book places, please visit the Birmingham Education Support Services website (http://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/)

CONTACT: School Safety (0121 303 2420 or schoolsafety@birmingham.gov.uk)

EEF Engineering Apprenticeships School Event

EEF are opening their doors so schools can bring students to have a look around their facilities.

The event is on Friday 25th January 2019 - 12.30pm to 4pm. It will include workshops and advice as well tours of the state of the art training facilities.

This event is aimed at years 10 to 13 although imminent school leavers (Years 11 and 13) may get the most out of it. 


Statutory Assessment Support and Training

Services For Education works on behalf of Birmingham Local Authority to deliver the statutory duties regarding primary assessment. In addition to undertaking moderation and monitoring services, we provide support, guidance and training for primary schools to best prepare for the requirements of statutory assessment in EYFS, KS1 and KS2. Our team of experts and moderators can provide centre-based, in-school or cross MAT moderation to ensure all schools are secure in their teacher judgements and assessment procedures.

To book a course please visit https://www.servicesforeducation.co.uk/assessment/

National School Breakfast Programme

The National School Breakfast Programme provides a new and exciting opportunity for schools in high disadvantaged areas to access DfE funded support to start or expand school breakfast provision. The programme is delivered by the charities Family Action and Magic Breakfast.

The NSBP aims to reach all children at risk of hunger and ensure more children have access to a healthy breakfast at the start of their day.

Most eligible schools will be offered:

  • A start up grant of up to £500 for essential resources to start or expand breakfast and make best use of the food on offer
  • Free food delivered to the door for four terms (weekly or fortnightly), comprising healthy cereal, porridge and bagels, to ensure all children at risk of hunger can access a nutritious meal at the start of the school day
  • Expert support, advice and resources as well as the opportunity to benefit from local best practice events

If you believe your schools might like to explore the benefit of removing the hunger barrier to learning for their pupils, please advise them to complete an Expression of Interest form (EOI) - https://www.family-action.org.uk/what-we-do/children-families/breakfast/

To support the school's decision making process, I have attached further information about the NSBP, including information on eligibility. Once an EOI is received, a local designated School Partner will check the school's eligibility for the DfE funded programme, and follow up with the school as soon as possible.

Free Google for Education Training in the Midlands

In 2019, the Google for Education team are coming to the Midlands! This means that schools across the region will have an opportunity to access free professional development sessions, meet directly with a team member or generally learn more about what Google has to offer you and your school.

Professional Development

We have a choice of two different types of sessions, so whether you are new to Google for Education, or see yourself as an expert, there is something for everyone.

Discovery Sessions - designed for you to get hands-on G Suite for Education and Chromebooks.

  • 5th February 2019: Morning or Afternoon
  • 7th February 2019: Morning or Afternoon

Going Further Sessions - experience new ways you can get the very best out of Google for Education.

  • 6th February 2019: Morning or Afternoon
  • 8th February 2019: Morning or Afternoon

Meet the team

If you are looking to develop your digital strategy, or want some guidance and advice on how moving to the cloud can drive impact, save your school money and your teachers time, then we would love to speak to you. Please complete the form on the website and we will be in touch. 

LINK: https://events.withgoogle.com/get-going-midlands/
CONTACT: kgooch@google.com

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