22 March 2019

This week's Noticeboard includes information about the statements that have been issued in recent days about Homophobia and Islamophobia, updated s251 school budget notifications, advice about the Schools Financial Value Standard and more.

Included in this update:

Homophobia and Islamophobia in Birmingham

Many of you will have seen the continued coverage of intimidating protests regarding the teaching of Relationships and Sex Education at a small number of Birmingham schools and we have issued DfE advice over the last few noticeboards, more recently the Frequently Asked Questions: https://consult.education.gov.uk/pshe/relationships-education-rse-health-education/supporting_documents/RSEPSHEFAQs.pdf

You may also have seen reports yesterday of attacks on five mosques and Islamic centres in Birmingham. In the wake of these attacks, Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of the Council, released a statement reinforcing the message that there is absolutely no place in Birmingham for intolerance and discrimination. You can read the Leader’s statement in full here.

Cllr John Cotton, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, Community Safety and Equalities also released a statement, that you can read here. Cllr Cotton's video statement was posted on Twitter yesterday and you can watch it here.

The Prevent Team were out in communities yesterday, providing support and reassurance to those affected.

We know that the world is still reeling from the devastating attacks in New Zealand just a week ago and we wanted to remind you of the resource developed by our team to assist schools in supporting discussion around these events, attached here. This was sent to Headteachers last week.

We need schools to be remain vigilant and to report anything suspicious to the police. Please ensure that you are familiar with the Critical Incident and Lockdown Procedures which you can access here:

If anyone requires additional support, please get in touch with our team, SSI@birmingham.gov.uk

Changes within the Education Safeguarding Team

It was a year ago that a similar message was put into Noticeboard letting schools know of changes in the Education Safeguarding Team. After 9 years as the CAF coordinator and 4 years as the Schools Safeguarding Advisor Jon Needham has taken up the role of National Safeguarding Lead for Oasis Community Learning and Oasis Community Partnerships, and so to accommodate annual leave his last working day with Birmingham City Council will be 5 April 2019. I know that Jon is a passionate advocate for safeguarding in schools and has loved his time supporting the DSL’s and Head Teachers across the city.

Julia R Davey is stepping into the Head of Service Role, and Moira Gilligan will remain as the Team Manager. In the new academic term we will circulate contact details so that you know who to phone for advice and support. The team email remains the same educationsafeguarding@birmingham.gov.uk

Updated 2019/20 Section 251 School Budget Notification

Birmingham City Council has updated the individual school Section 251 Budget Statements to include :

  • Primary & Secondary School Funding (previously notified 15 February 2019)
  • Special School Indicative Funding (including academies)
  • Resource Base Indicative Funding (including academies)

Published alongside this notification is:

  • 2019/20 Special School Budget Briefing document, which MUST be read in support of the notification and will provide schools with important budget information. The document also includes insurance arrangements and charges for 2019/20 and a copyright license factsheet.
  • 2019/20 Resource Base budget briefing note, which MUST be read in support of the notification and will provide schools with important budget information.

Funding allocations for other delegated budgets (Early Years, Post 16) will be published before 31 March 2019.

The budget notifications are available on the Birmingham City Council website via this link.

All budget queries should be sent by email to: fairfunding@birmingham.gov.uk

Schools Financial Value Standard

Schools are reminded that the deadline for the submission of the Self-Assessment Report for the Schools Financial Value Standard for 2018/19 is 31 March 2019. Self-Assessment reports should be sent to SchoolsFinAssess@birmingham.gov.uk

The DfE have announced some changes to the Schools Financial Value Standard for 2019/20 which will essentially compromise of two main elements:

  1. A checklist, which asks a number of questions of governing bodies in 6 areas of resource management to provide assurance that the school is managing its resources effectively
  2. A dashboard, which shows how a school’s data compares to thresholds on a range of statistics that have been identified as indicators for good resource management and outcomes.

It is intended that a full pack of guidance and information relating to the Schools Financial Value Standard for 2019/20 will be provided to schools, via the Schools Noticeboard, in the coming weeks but in the meantime here is the link to the relevant pages on the DfE website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-financial-value-standard-sfvs

CONTACT: Sue Beer (sue.beer@birmingham.gov.uk)

Physical Difficulties Support Service (PDSS)

We are delighted to inform you that from the 1st April, the Physical Difficulties Support Service (PDSS) will be moving into the Education and Skills directorate. This will enable them to work closely with colleagues from other support services such as Early Years Integrated Support (EYIS), Access to Education (A2E) and Educational Psychology (EPS).

Following the move, the PDSS team will continue their work to support children with physical difficulties in mainstream schools. It is possible that there may be some slight disruption to service in the period immediately before and after the move, but other than this, we do not anticipate any alteration to the service that is currently provided to schools and families.

If you are currently receiving support and advice from PDSS, you will be advised by your PDSS worker of any changes to contact details.

We are looking forward to welcoming PDSS as part of the family of SEND support services offered to schools and settings in Birmingham.

Early Years information

EYMIS Document database

The Early Years Team provides information and guidance relating to early years on EYMIS an on-line data base. Presently there are over 100 early education documents for early years providers to access. Providers can access the data base by following the instructions below;

The log-on details are: https://www.ted-birmingham.org.uk

  • Log in details: PVI2 (Capital letters PVI (the letter i ) then the number 2)
  • Password: PVI2year (Capital letters PVI (the letter i ) then the number 2 and lowercase year)

Please note that EYMIS is a system used by all Early Years Providers including PVI, Schools and Academies with Nursery Classes and as it does not contain sensitive information the password is the same for all users, therefore you MUST NOT change the password or try and personalise the system when you log on.

Email and Telephone Support

If providers have questions which they are unable to answer using the documentation available on EYMIS, additional support is available through the NEF Duty team;

  • Telephone support is available 10am to 4pm daily on 0121 303 0267
  • Alternatively questions can be raised by email to NEF@Birmingham.gov.uk

Managing the 2019 summer term deadline for 30 hours

The Local Authority relies on early years providers to effectively communicate childcare entitlements and timescales for the 2019 summer term. The headline message to families and parents is: If you want 30 hours free childcare entitlement in April 2019, you must get your code by 31 March 2019.

To support communications a communication toolkit is available in the social media folder on the Childcare Choices Website. The toolkit can be used to support your communication with families, encouraging parents to apply for 30 hour codes in good time as well as reminding parents to reconfirm their details are up-to-date on their childcare account. The contents of the tool kit has been updated with information and guidance regarding the summer term deadline. These resources can be found at: www.childcarechoices.gov.uk

Please note: Summer term runs from 1st April to 31st August. However, in some schools summer term starts in late April. Children whose third birthday falls in early April will not be able to take up their free 30 hours childcare entitlement until September. Any parents who do not take up a summer place must wait until September to take up 30 hours free childcare entitlements.

Reconfirmation of eligibility

Parents who already have a 30 hours free childcare entitlement code and/or Tax-Free Childcare must reconfirm their eligibility every 3 months. It is parents’ responsibility to reconfirm on time. Parents will be prompted via email by HMRC four weeks before their reconfirmation deadline, and again two weeks before the deadline, if they have not reconfirmed, providers should ask parents to look in their spam email folders if they think they have not received a reminder from HMRC and ensure the email account associated with their childcare account is the correct one. Parents can also simply set themselves a 3 monthly reminder to reconfirm in their childcare account, for example using the ‘reminders’ feature in their smart phone if they have one. Parents who have successfully reconfirmed their eligibility will receive a message to that effect from HMRC. Parents should be reminded to share this confirmation of eligibility email with their provider.

Secure emails - Egress Switch Access

Birmingham City Council has chosen to use Egress Switch for data protection and to ensure that when information needs to be shared, it is done so securely. Your replies to us through Switch will also be securely protected.

In order to access information sent to you via Switch, please ask every officer receiving Birmingham City Council secure emails to register for a free Egress Switch account. Please note that you will be unable to access Egress protected emails forwarded to you internally within your organisation without an Egress account. In addition we are unable to authorise your access to Egress as you are required to follow the Egress Switch registration process.

An account can be set up by clicking on the ‘New User’ link in the first email you receive from us in this way, or by logging in with your Switch ID and password if you already have one.

You can also refer to the ‘Egress Switch Recipient Guide’ (PDF at http://download.egress.com/docs/Switch_Recipient_Guide.pdf) for further information.

For more information about Switch, please visit www.egress.com

If you have any problems with accessing an email sent to you from Birmingham City Council as an external organisation or individual via Egress Switch - please contact egress.com

How Tax-Free Childcare can help working families

Please share the headline message to families and parents that by visiting the Childcare Choices website they will be able to find out if they could get Tax-Free Childcare.


Tax Free Childcare is available to over a million working families, including many who don’t get other types of government support. This can result in 20% of the families childcare costs for each child. The website includes a childcare calculator which parents can use to work out how much financial support they could get.

To continue to get Tax-Free Childcare, parents must check and reconfirm their details with HMRC every 3 months. Reconfirmation is simple and quick to do. It is parents’ responsibility to reconfirm on time, although they will get a reminder email from the childcare service.

How parents make a payment to an early years provider

Parents can pay into their childcare account by debit card or standing order. Payments take up to 3 working days to clear into the account (depending on how they are paid in) and the government top-up is added automatically. Once the funds are available they will show as ‘available funds’ in the childcare account. Parents then need to pay their provider and payments will take standard BACS timescales to clear (up to 3 working days). The time it takes to make payments into and out of the account will be improved this summer. Parents should build in time for the payments to process before their payment is due with their childcare provider.

How a provider can reconcile payments

Each Tax-Free Childcare payment appears alongside the Unique Child Reference Number in the childcare provider’s bank account. Parents are given these reference numbers when they join Tax-Free Childcare. They are made up of the first letter of the child’s first name, the first three letters of their surname, a five digit number and ‘TFC’. For example, John Smith may have the reference JSMI12345TFC.

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