28 June 2019

This week's Noticeboard includes a message from Tim O'Neill, information on RSE, an IT update from School Admissions and much more.

Included in this update:

Message from Tim O'Neill

Dear colleagues

Thank you to those of you who attended Monday afternoon's conference, it was great to see so many leaders there. I felt it was a really productive afternoon and we have been analysing the feedback forms for planning future conferences and briefings.

The slides from the conference are available here along with the draft Education Plan that was shared. Razia Butt also provides a link below to Professor Deborah Youdell's blog following her presentation at the conference.

I'm pleased to confirm that Nichola Jones will be joining us on a full time basis from Monday 1 July as the new permanent Assistant Director for Inclusion and SEND. Paul Senior our current interim AD for Inclusion and SEND, will be remaining with us for a further period to progress a number of important local area  work streams and associated programmes in the SEND and Inclusion policy area, including a number of agendas linked with the post SEND Inspection Written Statement of Action (WSoA) programme. In the coming weeks Paul will lead on handing over to Nichola line management and associated responsibilities for the Inclusion and SEND Assistant Director portfolio, to ensure a smooth transition of operational and strategic duties for business continuity purposes. Lisa Fraser, the new permanent Assistant Director for Education and Early Years, will be joining us in mid-August and more information about Lisa’s arrival will follow in the coming weeks.

Have a nice weekend.

Kind regards


Tim O'Neill

Relationships education, relationships and sex education (RSE) and health education

We are pleased to share the latest RSE 2020 updates from DfE that were published this week.  

This is statutory guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) issued under Section 80A of the Education Act 2002.

Schools must have regard to the guidance and, where they depart from those parts of the guidance which state that they should, or should not, do something, they will need to have good reasons for doing so.

This statutory guidance applies to all schools, and is for:

  • governing bodies of maintained schools (including schools with a sixth-form) and non-maintained special schools
  • trustees or directors of academies and free schools
  • proprietors of independent schools (including academies and free schools)
  • management committees of pupil referral units (PRUs)
  • teachers, other school staff and school nurses
  • headteachers, principals and senior leadership teams
  • diocese and other faith representatives
  • relevant local authority staff for reference

Schools that adopt the new curriculum early will still need to meet the current statutory requirements.

Guides for parents of primary and secondary age pupils are available at Relationships, sex and health education: guides for schools.

More information is available on the DfE website here.

At the conference on Monday, we were delighted to have Professor Deborah Youdell from the University of Birmingham to share her approach to the Pedagogy of Equality, which we hope will give an evidence based underpinning to the revised equality toolkit for schools, All Different, All Equal. Please access her blog here:  https://deborahyoudell.wordpress.com/2019/06/26/the-pedagogy-of-equality/

Having considered the updates from DfE on RSE, we have taken the decision with the support of elected members to produce a chapter for the toolkit that will support schools to deliver not only on the new requirements, but to incorporate messages of equality that validate all children in Birmingham.

This will venture beyond DfE guidance and will produce a resource for Birmingham schools to use if they wish, with associated model letters and tools for engagement, consultation and a good helping of Unicef Rights Respecting too!  We have established a small working group to blend examples of good practice with practical responses to the challenges that some schools are currently facing and would like to invite schools that may be interested in being involved to make contact with us (razia.butt@birmingham.gov.uk).

We have three optional meeting dates before the end of term.  Our aspiration is to have a product ready to pilot in September with a view to full launch in January 2020.

IT update from School Admissions and Fair Access Service (SAFA)

As you will be aware from previous correspondence SAFA is undergoing significant transformation in relation to both its IT and internal re-structure.  The IT changes are a long term development and aim to improve our service to schools, children and parents/carers.  As with all new developments there are challenges as well as the expectation of significant improvements.  We are keen to work with schools to better understand ours (and your) business, some of you will have attended one of the briefing sessions on the 10th June which were well attended and very positively received by schools. 

There is an acknowledgement by all that the current way in which we are working needs further and continued work to refine and improve service provision across all partnerships (Schools, IT providers, Software Providers, the Local Authority and Neighbouring Authorities) and we have made a good start and are moving in the right direction.  We must bear in mind that these changes come with challenges and we ask for your continued patience whilst we understand and improve the complex way in which we are all currently working. 

There are a number of different approaches utilised to exchange information currently all of which we will be reviewing over the forthcoming year.  The most common at the moment is the exchange of specific files which are created from your MIS and the Local Authorities education database (called Impulse).  Impulse holds the ‘core’ data relating to children and their involvement with the various education services.  We rely on a weekly school return and additionally, during certain times of the year,  we will exchange data via the following files:

  • AA – Admissions Authority -  relating to ranking files from  schools)
  • ADT – Admissions Data Transfer -  which relates to out of  council area applications, which we receive from and send to our  neighbouring authorities
  • ALT – Admissions files communicating the offer status between  Local Authorities
  • ATF – Admissions Transfer File – containing all schools data

Once the LA creates a file for schools we will upload to the DfE secure website (S2S) and the files are retrieved by individual school (in an XML format).  There has been some issues with these files and we have escalated each and every concern to our IT/Software providers who have in turn investigated the issues.  The IT suppliers are confident that some of the errors are with schools own MIS in particular Progresso and NOT with the ATF files themselves. Their conclusions are in part based on the fact that many schools have been able to import their files without any issues. Thus if you do experience or are experiencing any issues (and potentially now as a precautionary measure) we would urge you to both report to SAFA and also to report to your MIS suppliers for their investigation.

We previously asked schools to check the eligibility to Free School Meals as some data had been corrupted, unfortunately our IT suppliers could not remove the FSM data before the creating the files, again the inclusion of FSM information should not stop files being uploaded but eligibility should be checked.

We apologise to those of you who have experienced problems and assure you that anything that relates to the software/systems we use is currently being investigated as a priority. 

CONTACT: admict@birmingham.gov.uk

Keeping Children Safe in Education 2018: part 1 available in 10 community languages

As many schools employ speakers of English as an Additional Language who are not required to have a high level of English for their role, it can be challenging to ensure that everyone understands the full meaning and principles of the guidance KCSIE, 2018.

London Grid for Learning have commissioned translations of KCSIE Part 1 into ten key community languages. These are now available as open-access documents for the benefit of all English schools.


Please note these translations were carried out by professional linguists with secondary proofing. However, the original English version should be treated as the official source of statutory school staff duties.

Contact: Moira.Gilligan@birmingham.gov.uk

NQT Assessment and Registration Deadlines 2019

The deadline to register new NQT’s for the Autumn term is Thursday 12th September 2019, please click on the link below to register.


The submission deadline for summer term assessments is Monday 22nd July 2019.


Contact: NQT Manager Team  nqt@servicesforeducation.co.uk

REMINDER: 2019 Data Collections for EYFSP, Phonics, KS1 and KS2

The website https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/primarydata has all the necessary documentation regarding the statutory collections and how to submit them.
Please see link ‘2019 Primary submission dates’ for deadlines of each key stage assessment return.  Please note, ALL schools  are required to submit final returns by the stated deadlines.  Deadlines for submissions was last week, if you have not submitted please can you send your school file as soon as possible.

Any files received after the deadlines may not be validated before being submitted to the DfE and schools may not receive reports in a timely manner. 

There is no facility to amend results once the collection has been closed by the DfE.  Therefore any data submitted after this will not be included in the statistical publication or Analyse School Performance (ASP).

Please check you have access to Perspective Lite this will enable you to view reports published, an e-mail communication has been sent to schools recently.

CONTACT: Data and Intelligence Team (educationdata@birmingham.gov.uk)

Birmingham Careers Service: Getting the Best Careers Information, Advice and Guidance for your Students

Birmingham Careers Service is the perfect local choice for schools, academies and colleges wanting the best for their students.  Buying our Matrix awarded quality service ensures you will be meeting your statutory responsibilities to provide independent, impartial careers information, advice and guidance (CIAG) for your students from Year 8 upwards under the Education Act 2011 and Careers Strategy 2017, as well as helping to evidence that you're implementing the Gatsby Benchmarks.
Our advisers are all trained and professionally-qualified to Level 6, have DBS clearance and benefit from continuous professional development.
Our service gives you full flexibility to buy the CIAG provision you require to meet the needs of your students.  For further information please go to https://www.birminghamcareersservice.co.uk/traded/
Highlights for the 2019/20 academic year include:

  • Flexible pricing structure giving you a service tailored to  your needs
  • Discounts available for “bulk buy”
  • Tracking & follow up service that includes completion of  your September Guarantee and Annual Participation  returns and production of a Destination Report
  • Specifically tailored Career Action Plans that link directly  to Education, Health & Care  Plans for students with  special education needs

If you want to find out more – talk to us! 

Contact Sian Powell (Contracts & Trading Manager) on 0121 675 6128 or sian.powell@birmingham.gov.uk

Careers event for young people

Apprenticeship and Opportunities Fayre : 3rd July 2019 - 12 - 2.30pm
The Factory Young People's Centre, Devon Way, Longbridge, B31 2TS (opposite Bournville college)

Aimed at 16 - 25 year olds, this event has a wealth of college provision, training providers and apprenticeship opportunities suitable for 2019 leavers – particularly any you have highlighted as potential RONI students.
Teachers also welcome!

(NB - RONI referrals still being accepted) see link below for RONI referrals

https://www.birminghamcareersservice.co.uk/career-events/ for the apprenticeship and opportunities fayre

Martin Lorimer – apprenticeship & opportunities fayre - 0121 675 6150
Sue Cromwell – RONI referral queries - 0121 675 9651

Additional Mandatory Asbestos Awareness Training Sessions

Following the AMAP exercise undertaken by the DfE recently the HSE is targeting schools to visit to ratify the information received in the AMAP submissions. Two BCC maintained schools have been visited by the HSE and a Notification of Contravention was served to both schools. This is serious.  A review of the Asbestos Management Plans at all BCC maintained schools is being undertaken to ensure they are fit for purpose.

Academies and Free Schools may also be targeted so please be mindful of this and contact your responsible body ASAP if you are contacted about one of these visits. BCC may be able to provide some support to Trusts if required however this would incur a charge.

For all those schools who are unable to attend the current Mandatory Asbestos Awareness sessions there will be further sessions in September which will be advertised next week.

CONTACT: donna.foster@birmingham.gov.uk


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