Noticeboard - 23 May 2024

Welcome to this week's noticeboard containing a message from Sue Harrison, a SENAR service update from Helen Ellis, and more. With our very best wishes for a well-deserved half-term break.

Included in this week's noticeboard: 

Message from Dr Sue Harrison, Strategic Director for Children and Families 

Dear colleagues

It's been a week of political announcements with the general election being confirmed for July, and a little closer to home, Councillor John Cotton, Leader of the Council announced a change in Cabinet for the next municipal year. Councillor Karen McCarthy who has been Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families since 2022 is moving to the Finance portfolio and has been replaced by Councillor Mick Brown. We’re working closely with Councillor Brown to ensure a seamless transition and full details of the new Cabinet can be found at this link.  

Thank you to those schools who were able to attend the webinar for schools on the Oracle Finance, Payroll and HR System this morning. A recording of the webinar is now available for those who were unable to attend or to act as a refresher: Oracle Finance, Payroll and HR System Webinar Recording

After half-term we will also share details with you about the sessions we’ll be holding for the remainder of the academic year.

My heartfelt thanks for your continuing support, and I wish you a fabulous and well-deserved half-term break.


SENAR Service Update from Helen Ellis, Director of SEND and Inclusion 

Dear colleagues

I’m delighted to announce that after a rigorous recruitment process, we’ve successfully appointed a permanent Head of SENAR. Please welcome Natalie Williams, who will join the team on 2 September 2024, from her role as Strategic Manager, SEND for Stoke on Trent City Council. Natalie brings a phenomenal amount of experience within the Special Educational Needs sector, with over 22 years working in education and local authorities, including time as Inclusion Lead and Autism Specialist at a large Further Education Group.

Natalie’s expertise will contribute significantly to the SENAR team’s already strong skillset, and I know you’ll all provide a warm welcome when she arrives.

Sadly, we’ll be saying a fond farewell to Jo Sullivan-Lyons who has provided invaluable interim support over the past two years and will be leaving on 7 June. On her time at the council Jo has said:

‘It has been a privilege to serve Birmingham’s children, young people and families and support the local area’s SEND improvement journey.  I have learnt so much during my time with you all and look forward to applying this learning in my next role.’

Jo’s unwavering dedication and contribution to the service will not be forgotten and I know you will join me in offering heartfelt thanks and wishing her all the very best for the future.

While we await Natalie’s arrival, this vital role will be covered by Tracy Winwood who is steadfast in her commitment to Birmingham and driving the SENAR service forward. Tracy has been working closely with Jo over the past 18 months and this, along with her many years working in Local Authority SEND services, will ensure stability, consistency, and a seamless transition.

I’m sure you’ll agree that this is a hugely positive step in achieving our ambition for SENAR and provide the very best outcomes for the children and families we support.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me if there’s anything you’d like to discuss, and a reminder that the SENAR structure and contact details can be found on the Local Offer –

With my personal thanks and gratitude for everything you continue to do every day.


Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Briefing Book

We are pleased to introduce the Birmingham Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) briefing book – our first step in publishing data and analysis relating to children and young people with SEND in the form of an interactive dashboard.

Birmingham City Council, in collaboration with Birmingham Children’s Trust, Birmingham Children and Young People’s Partnership, the NHS and Birmingham Parent Carer Forum, have actively been working to improve SEND services in Birmingham. Following two Ofsted and CQC inspection outcomes in 2018 and 2021, a written statement of action was issued and the Department for Education (DfE) appointment of John Coughlan as SEND commissioner for October 2021.

The SEND Improvement Programme sets out how Birmingham City Council will improve upon the SEND services they provide and improve the outcomes for the children and young people of Birmingham. Along with this, the SEND Strategy 2023 – 2028 sets out some of the most important issues facing SEND children and young people; our priorities and outcomes SEND children and young people need to thrive in Birmingham; and how we will work in partnership.

The briefing book aims to provide an overview of those who are 0 to 25 years olds with SEND in Birmingham. It highlights areas of need to help inform the ways in which to best support and understand our SEND cohort (All SEND, SEN Support or those on an Education Health Care (EHC) Plan). It also allows for potential understanding of demand on services to provide the appropriate provisions and ensure that support and interventions are targeted towards certain demographics of people and places where they are needed most.

The data used in the briefing book is based on DfE academic year School Census data from the Spring term in 2023 and will be updated annually as data becomes available. The data relates to pupils attending Birmingham schools so will not include Birmingham Children and Young People with SEND attending a school or setting in another Local Authority.

Review of the Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) and Health Education statutory guidance

The Department for Education has published its draft updated statutory guidance on relationships, sex and health education (RSHE) for consultation.

The consultation will run from 16 May until 11 July 2024, and is an opportunity for schools to submit their views on the proposed changes to the statutory guidance on teaching, including:

  • Relationships education
  • Relationships and sex education
  • Health education

The draft updated consultation can be found at this link: Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education guidance and should be read prior to completing the online consultation here: Review of the RSHE statutory guidance - Department for Education - Citizen Space

We would encourage schools to complete the consultation as your views are important to help ensure that this guidance supports schools to provide high-quality RSHE which meets the needs of children and young people.  

If you have any queries or would like a further conversation before completing the consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact the team at and they’ll be pleased to support.

Barclays Mandate Changes (Petty Cash/EPA)

We respectfully request that schools do not contact Barclays for mandate changes to EPA or Petty Cash accounts. For mandate change requests please use the mailboxes below:

Many thanks for your support in this matter. 

Religious Education in Birmingham Survey

FAO: School Headteachers

Can we please ask schools to take a few minutes to complete a short survey regarding Religious Education. The information you provide will help us to refine our RE support for schools. To complete the survey simply follow this link, and please note the deadline for responses – Friday, 14 June 2024.

In case of queries please contact the team at

Birmingham Community Healthcare Plus School Nursing Service

FAO: SENCo/Headteacher

Do you need additional School Nursing input? If so, Birmingham Community NHS Foundation Trust can help.

Through its BCHC Plus (Traded Services) School Nursing service it can provide additional education focused services that supplement the NHS ‘core’ school nurse service.

The link between educational attainment and positive health is well documented; however sometimes schools find that incidence of health-related needs amongst their pupils requires more clinical support. We offer schools the opportunity to buy additional dedicated school nurse time to address health needs that lie beyond the scope of the core service.

  • School health topics that we provide support for include:
  • Curriculum input focused on health and wellbeing.
  • Issues arising in school that may have a link to health.
  • Dedicated support addressing a school’s wider health related challenges.
  • Liaison with GP’s Health Visitors and other professionals.
  • Health education and promotion activities.

To find out more about how BCHC Plus (Traded Services) can benefit your school; pupils; families and staff; please contact our BCHC Plus team on 0121 4666266 or email 

Schools Climate Action Countdown!

Calling all #sustainableschools interested in a month of fun and inspired climate action brought to you by 30 climate charities, including the #letsgozero coalition partnership. The #ClimateActionCountdown calendar covers 7 June-5 July. Sign up is FREE.

Pick actions to suit your priorities and age groups: from holding a uniform swap shop, spotlighting green careers and petitioning to vertical gardening, building bug houses and sustainability bingo.

Sign up today for:

  • Access to free activity packs including assemblies, music downloads, posters, quizzes, worksheets and a calendar of daily inspiration.
  • Support from #letsgozero to explain each day’s challenge and regular emails to keep you inspired.
  • Chances to win fantastic sustainability prizes by posting on #ClimateActionCountdown

Free design and built environment workshops for Birmingham schools and colleges

Housebuilder Lovell and Architect and TV presenter George Clarke’s charity MOBIE are inviting young people across Birmingham to take part in a design challenge.  The challenge is open to schools and colleges across the city.  It engages young people in thinking about the type of homes that the city needs for the future and invites them to submit their ideas for what new, sustainable homes should look like.

Considering Birmingham’s need for 65,000 new homes by 2031, it's important to ensure that the city’s future housing stock meets the need of its future occupiers and that young people growing up in the city can really benefit from this major investment in housing.  It's hoped that some of the City’s brightest young talent will be attracted to work in the housing and construction sectors in the future.

To help inspire and engage students and to promote the challenge, MOBIE is running free design workshops for schools and colleges in April, May and June. Students will learn about sustainability, housing design, master planning and the built environment. The workshops are relevant to all STEAM subjects and other curricula. They help deliver Gatsby Benchmarks 4 and 5 – linking curriculum learning to careers and encounters with employers and employees. 

There is different content for secondary schools (11-15) and 16-18 year olds. The 2hr - half day workshops are designed as practical hands-on sessions, where students will work in small groups to create home designs and create communities of the future. All drawing materials and equipment are provided. 

If schools are interested in taking part in the challenge or would like a free workshop delivered in your school or college, please contact Mark Southgate, Chief Executive, MOBIE at or call 07917 427474.

The challenge is open to ages 11-15 and 16-18. Entries should be submitted by 30th June 2024.  There is a cash prize for the winning teams and schools - £100 per team member (max 6) for the winning entries and £500 for their school or college. Details and the challenge brief are on the MOBIE website –   The winners will be announced in July 2024.

Birmingham Food Revolution - Survey and Pilot

The Food Foundation are asking schools to complete a short survey around current food sourcing practices in schools and the potential to be involved in a pilot around sourcing more sustainable and local food.

The overall objective is to increase ease for producers and schools to access caterers that promote a better food system in Birmingham. Food hubs are emerging as vital components in the local food systems, acting as intermediaries between food producers and consumers.

Please complete a short survey on current food sourcing practices which will help towards assessing the feasibility for a Birmingham based food procurement hub that could strengthen the local food network and promote and support small-scale businesses who are producing food in a sustainable manner.

Secondly, a group of producers and producer organisation are interested in running a pilot with schools who are keen to source more sustainable and local food that is good for the planet and the local economy. Part of the pilot would be to get better understanding of schools’ existing procurement practices and to explore what obstacles and opportunities may exist to shift to more local food. A meeting to discuss the feasibility has been arranged for the 21st June.

If you have any questions or require further information, please contact or