31 January 2019

This Noticeboard includes a message from Dr Tim O'Neill, information from the Police about International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM, draft DfE guidance on Out of School Settings, the Birmingham Schools Pledge, and much more.

Included in this update:

From the Director

Dear colleagues

Tomorrow will be Day 20 of my time in Birmingham. In the coming weeks I’ll be continuing to attend forum meetings and am looking forward to seeing many of you there.

The main focus of work this week has been about how we can start to shift the system towards early support and better outcomes. I've also been thinking about the best way to engage with you and will share my thoughts shortly about the plans for briefings over the rest of this academic year.

Finally you’ll know that consultation took place late last year on the Council’s budget proposals for 2019/20.  BCC’s Cabinet and Full Council will consider the budget next month and we will keep you updated on this at forum meetings and in Noticeboard.

Regards

Tim

Dr Tim O'Neill
Director of Education and Skills

Tim.O'Neill@birmingham.gov.uk

International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation: 6 February 2019

On Wednesday 6 February 2019, West Midlands Police will be taking part in the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation as part of their commitment to safeguarding children who may be at risk of female genital mutilation (FGM). Please see the attached letter which contains more information.

Out of School Settings: Department for Education draft guidance

Out-of-school settings provide an important service for children and families, offering enriching activities in many subjects including arts, language, music, sport and religion. While the majority do so in a safe environment, there are some settings which do not. We want to ensure that out-of-school settings are a safe place for children to attend without the risk of harmful practices, including, unsafe premises, unsuitable staff, inappropriate forms of punishment and discipline, and exposure to harmful extremist views. While there are many existing legal powers already in place to protect children attending these settings, the sector does not have a specific regulatory framework.

This draft code of practice is intended to be a supportive resource for out-of-school settings providers and sets out best safeguarding practice, empowering those settings already doing a good job to continue providing our children with valuable learning opportunities, whilst addressing concerns about settings which are not appropriately safeguarding and promoting children’s welfare.

The accompanying guidance for parents and carers is intended to be an aide to help parents and carers make more informed and confident choices when choosing out-of- school settings for their children. It lists questions parents and carers may wish to ask a provider, such as whether staff have undertaken DBS checks, and examples of possible responses they should expect. Many schools are sharing this with parents through briefings and coffee mornings and there is a short presentation attached to support schools who may wish to follow suit and may find one or two slides useful. 

This is not only of national significance, but is particularly relevant for the approach we are taking in Birmingham as we embark upon a Department for Education pilot programme to improve safeguarding in out of school settings.  Vacancies are currently advertised on WM Jobs and we are keen that you circulate the link through your networks to ensure that we attract the right skills for the posts. Schools in the city have significant experience in the positive and negative aspects of safeguarding in out of school settings and we need to ensure that those views are considered through the online consultation which closes on 24th February, 2019 (link below). Please visit the link and share your views on the scope of the draft framework and whether you consider that the proposals pose undue burdens on the sector, or don’t go quite far enough to protect and safeguard the welfare of children.

LINK: https://consult.education.gov.uk/regulatory-framework-unit/out-of-school-settings-voluntary-safeguarding-code/

Link to jobs: https://www.wmjobs.co.uk/searchjobs/?Keywords=out+of+school+settings&radialtown=&LocationId=&RadialLocation=5

If you wish to know more about the pilot ahead of the launch, please contact Razia Butt (razia.butt@birmingham.gov.uk).

The Birmingham Schools Pledge

As discussed at the Area Safeguarding Conferences last year, and at this District Safeguarding briefings this term, The Birmingham Schools Pledge builds on work previously in the city and supports an anti-bullying stance and supports inclusion. The pledge reads:

'Our School is founded on principles upholding the dignity and rights of the individual. Respectful relationships are at the core of our school community, allowing everyone to respect and understand those they meet. It is our aim that we all develop the skills needed to embrace the responsibilities of being an outstanding learner, an active citizen and make Birmingham a great place to grow up in.'

There are a range of resources to support its implementation in your school that can be found in the 'Pledge Tile' on www.birmingham.gov.uk/schoolsafeguarding. These resources include:

  • A presentation for staff, governors and parents.
  • A staff handbook that relates the Pledge to the PHSE curriculum
  • An online bullying questionnaire
  • Display posters and pupil sign-up sheet templates
  • Links to PHSE curriculum resources
  • Online resources transferred over to the safeguarding team following the closure of the multi-agency Bullying Reduction Advice Group (BRAG)

Implementing the Birmingham Schools Pledge in your school will allow you to meet your duties under the Equality Act 2010 and meet the requirements in the Education and Inspections Act 2006. It will also give you good evidence for your Rights Respecting Schools award under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

CONTACT: Jon Needham (jon.j.needham@birmingham.gov.uk)

Teachers Pensions Contributions – Queries Process

If any teacher has queries with their pensions contributions please can schools ask them to check their service record on the Teachers Pensions portal first. If any missing Birmingham service is identified from teacher’s records, they should email the details to the following mailboxes: 

Please include the following details:

  • Teachers Reference Number
  • Payroll number/NI number
  • details of the service they feel is missing
  • the establishment employed at

The pensions teams will pick these up and respond as quickly as they can.

Spring Modeshift STARS newsletter

This term there are lots of exciting opportunities to promote safer, greener and healthier travel to school. Whatever you get involved with, remember to take a few pictures to include as evidence in your Modeshift STARS Travel Plan – it all counts towards achieving your accreditation. The newsletter is attached here.

If your school hasn’t signed up to Modeshift STARS yet, find out more here: www.birmingham.gov.uk/modeshiftstars - it’s a great way to encourage walking, cycling and other forms of greener travel and it’s FREE!

Brum Breathes School Summit: 28 February

Tackling air pollution around schools is a top priority and this exciting event will showcase existing and new activities taking place in schools and communities to make our air cleaner. Speakers (including teachers, parents and councillors) will share their ideas and experiences at the Brum Breathes School Summit on Thursday 28 February, 10am to 12pm at the Council House, Birmingham.

Find out more and book your place at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/brum-breathes-school-summit-tickets-55070641772

KS4 Families of Schools event: 28 February 2019

BEP were happy to welcome over 80 senior leaders to their KS2 Families of Schools event last week and are excited by the 16 new partnerships made between schools! After starting in Birmingham over 2 years ago, leadership teams are still finding this initiative beneficial. Families of Schools enables SLTs to see how schools similar to their own are serving its pupils and assists with the development and strengthening of school 2 school collaboration.

A further KS4 session is being held on Thursday 28 February, which is set to be the largest collaborative gathering of Secondary Birmingham schools this year. Book a place via the BEP website https://bep.education/events/ks4-families-of-schools/

For primaries unable to make the event last week, it’s not too late to form partnerships. You can download the Families of Schools document here.

For further information or to speak with someone about partnership working contact Nicola.gowans@bep.education

Asbestos - Checklist / Tool & the Asbestos Management Assurance Process (AMAP)

The Department for Education has re-opened the EMAP portal, to provide schools and responsible bodies, who were unable to participate in the first collection, the chance to provide information and an assured response. If you still need to complete the EMAP and submit an assurance declaration the closing date is 15th February 2019.

A 10 point Asbestos checklist/tool and an example of ‘What Good Looks Like’ have been provided as aids to assist you in reviewing your schools asbestos management arrangements.

For further information and to view the documents, please visit the  Birmingham Education Support Services website

CONTACT: Safety Services (Schoolsafety@birmingham.gov.uk)

The Auditor Spring Edition 2019 Issue 52

The latest edition of The Auditor is available at https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/downloads/download/914/the_auditor

HR Service for Schools Training Courses

See the latest course available from HR Services for Schools:

Look out for our Spring Briefing/Employment Law Update coming soon.

CONTACT: Helen Barnes (helen.barnes@birmingham.gov.uk)

Skills for Learning and Life

AT GLADSTONE LTD. provides opportunities for parents - particularly those whose first language is not English - to develop skills to manage everyday activities such as parent/teacher relationships, medical appointments, using public transport, shopping, reading letters,  as well as progression  to further education or employment.

The programme has been welcomed by schools and communities in Birmingham as helping children, as well as their parents, to achieve positive change, particularly overcoming barriers around communication with schools and other professionals.

The provision is in high demand but please contact Yasmin (info@atgladstone.com) for further information about accessing support, and if you can host additional training.

All learners who attended the courses last term were successful and some have now been able to enrol on level 3 courses

Learner Feedback:

  • “Am able to use public transport to get to town”
  • “Am filling in my forms with very little support”
  • “I have a part time job”
  • “I am now able to do child care at college”
  • “I enjoy reading books with my children”
  • “Helping my child with homework has been very good”

School Feedback:

  • “This is much needed at schools”
  • “We have communication issues with parents”
  • “We need to have parents helping their children with homework”

'Fix it’ – improving attainment absence and wellbeing for African and Caribbean young people

‘Fix It’ is a free event led by Shifting the Dial and supported by Birmingham Education Partnership & Titan Partnership. More information is in the attached flyer.

Free Trees for Schools!

Primary Schools in Birmingham are being invited to apply for free trees from The Woodland Trust.

There are so many worthwhile reasons for planting trees:

  • To increase wildlife and biodiversity
  • To provide brilliant learning opportunities, connecting children with the world around them
  • To have a positive impact on health and wellbeing
  • To provide shade and shelter

You can apply for as few as 15 trees, or up 420, depending on the space available. Each tree pack comes with a mix suitable for the end result. For example the 'Wildlife' tree pack contains oak, silver birch and rowan saplings, great for attracting and sustaining wildlife.

Perhaps you would like to develop a forest school, create a hedgerow for screening and safety, or maybe you would love to give pupils the chance to plant a tree and watch it grow.

The Woodland Trust has fabulous resources on their website, including the Tree Tools for Schools. All the activities are linked with the KS1 and KS2 curriculum. You can also work towards the Green Tree School Award.

'Trees for Schools' is funded by Defra and delivered in partnership with the Woodland Trust and Community Forest Services.

Contact Rebecca Banks 07525 120117 or communityforestservices@gmail.com


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