5 September 2019

This week's Noticeboard includes a message from Tim O'Neill, an update from School Admissions, Early Help information, Fair Access Panel meetings for the academic year, information about NQT registration and lots more.

Included in this update:

Message from Tim O'Neill

Dear colleagues

Welcome back! I hope you all had a relaxing break over the summer.

On Monday the application period started for Year 7 places for September 2020 and all the information that families need is on the BCC website at this link. The closing date for applications is 31st October 2019 and we would really appreciate schools’ help in ensuring families with children in Year 6 carefully read the admission arrangements available online, make use of their six preferences and apply on time.

Below there is a message from the Audit team drawing schools' attention to a particularly worrying fraud email that was circulating over the sumer. Please ensure that you read this message carefully and get in touch with Audit if you have any concerns.

Finally, I’m pleased to confirm that we now have permanent senior leadership team in Education and Skills. Lisa Fraser joined us last month as Assistant Director Education and Early Years and some of you will have met Nichola Jones, Assistant Director SEND and Inclusion. Along with Anne Ainsworth, Assistant Director Skills and Employability, we now have a full complement of permanent Assistant Directors. This week also marks the end of Julie Young’s time in Birmingham and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Julie for her enormous contribution and wish her a long and happy retirement.

Best wishes

Tim

Introductory message from Lisa Fraser

Welcome back to school!  I hope you had a restful fun holiday and have returned revitalised and raring to go.  From my perspective, it’s so exciting to be working again in the city where I began my teaching career and where I’ve called home for the past 20 years.  I know that schools in Birmingham work hard to keep children in our city safe.  I know also that you will share my belief that every child and every young person in Birmingham has the right to be happy, healthy, safe and successful.  Moving forward, key priorities for colleagues working in education within the council include raising attainment and developing our early help strategy with schools, partner agencies and the Children’s Trust so that our most vulnerable pupils receive the support that they need.  There’s lots to do and I’m really looking forward to getting out and about in the city to meet you and see some of the great work you are doing. 

If you’d like to share some of your good practice or if you have burning issues you’d like to discuss, don’t hesitate to get in touch at lisa.fraser@birmingham.gov.uk.

Head Teachers Conference

Save the date!

25th November 2019, Edgbaston Cricket Ground

Further details will follow for booking tickets and theme for the conference.

Fraud Alert – CEO Fraud

Birmingham Audit have been alerted to a CEO Fraud with schools being specifically targeted over the summer break. CEO Fraud involves the fraudster attempting to impersonate the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) or someone in authority with the intention of duping one of their subordinates into acting on their instruction. In the case of schools, fraudsters will try to impersonate the Head Teacher or the Chair of Governors, by setting up a spoof e-mail account in their name.  They will then use this to try and convince the recipient that the e-mails are genuinely from the Head Teacher or Chair of Governors, asking for an urgent payment to be made, or to change the bank account details of a supplier. This may happen when the fraudster has been made aware that the Head Teacher or Chair of Governors is out of school and difficult to contact. Fraudsters are known to harvest contact details and information about the school from the school’s websites and school bulletins.

Please ensure that any request received to make an urgent payment, or to change a supplier’s bank account details, is treated with caution. Schools should have robust processes in place to corroborate all requests to make urgent payments or to change supplier payment details. Regardless of the request, always check the matter out by a different method if it involves a financial transaction that is unusual or unexpected. Never assume that the sender of an e-mail making such a request is from the person/company which it purports to be from, so don’t respond by e-mail. Being extra cautious could prevent your school becoming a victim of this type of fraud.

If you receive a suspicious e-mail of this nature, or need any further advice, please contact the Birmingham Audit Corporate Fraud Team on 0121 303 2185, or by e-mail at BirminghamAudit@Birmingham.gov.uk

Update from School Admissions

Year 7 and 14-19 Admissions- September 2020

Online applications opened on 2 September 2019 for Year 7 and 14-19 entry in September 2020. 
Applications can be made online through the Birmingham City Council website www.birmingham.gov.uk/schooladmissions until the deadline of 31 October 2019. Please ensure parents of Year 6 pupils are aware of the deadline. All the information they will need is available on our website www.birmingham.gov.uk/schooladmissions. More advice and support is also available from Children’s Services on 0121 303 1888.

In-year Admissions

Due to the need to meet statutory deadlines for the Year 7 and 14-19 process, there will be an impact on our response times to in-year admission enquiries in September.  We would therefore ask for your continued support and patience during this very busy time.

Service Redesign/I.T. Update

The redesign of the Admissions service is nearing its conclusion with the majority of the internal processes now complete. We will now focus on external recruitment. Please bear with us while we recruit to a number of vacant posts. As many of you will be aware there has been a significant programme to upgrade the School Admissions IT systems and that a new schools' portal has been developed. The portal is now live and functionality will be rolled out to schools during this academic year. We look forward to sharing more information with you about the potral and other developments in due course.

CONTACT: Alan Michell, Head of School Admissions and Fair Access (alan.michell@birmingham.gov.uk)

Early Help - Our Family Plan

The Birmingham Safeguarding Children Partnership have developed a new simplified version of the "Our Family Plan" to be used alongside the new Early Help Assessment. Changes to the plan include the removal of the petal scaling tool and the term "key worker" replaces "lead person". The plan can be used to record all levels of intervention within the Right Help Right Time framework.

The new Early Help Assessment and Our Family Plan documents can be downloaded at this link.

Please remember to submit all completed Early Help Assessments and Our Family Plans to the Early Help Support Team (ehst@birminghamchildrenstrust.co.uk)

Early Help Resource Pack

A resource pack is available at this link from the Early Intervention Foundation. This is a good product to share with school governors to help strengthen our early help and locality working agendas.

SEND Newsletter Issue 3

The latest issue of the SEND Newsletter is available via this link.

Fair Access Panels - Headteachers' Timetable

Please find via this link the schedule for Headteachers to attend Fair Access Panel meetings from September 2019 - July 2020. 

This is being published following requests from Headteachers to assist in arranging diaries and commitments.

CONTACT: fairaccess@birmingham.gov.uk or 0121 464 5899

Supporting High Standards of Governance: A Practical Guide

School and Governor Support have updated its guidance on strengthening school governance.  This revised document, now entitled ‘Supporting High Standards of Governance’, refers to actions that Governing Boards can take to develop and strengthen governance and is available via this link.

It includes reference to valuable sources of advice and guidance that is available covering a range of topics including how to recruit governors, electing a Chair, appointing a Clerk, understanding roles, training, providing effective challenge and when concerns are raised about governance.

All governors are encouraged to read the guide and note its contents.

2019/20 Model Code of Conduct for Governing Boards

Birmingham City Council’s (BCC) model Code of Conduct for Governing Boards (GBs) has been updated for the academic year 2019/20 and is available via this link

All GBs should maintain a Code of Conduct that sets out an ethos of professionalism and high expectations of everyone involved in governance.
 
BCC commends its model Code of Conduct for adoption by maintained schools and academies which can be amended to include specific reference to the ethos of the particular school.  It is worded in such a way that it becomes a corporate code that is signed by the GB not individual governors. This enforces the principle that, first and foremost, responsibility for good governance rests with schools themselves.

It is recommended that the GB’s Code is collectively discussed, reviewed and adopted annually at the board’s first full meeting each academic year.  GBs are also reminded that all new and prospective appointees to the GB are made aware of its adopted Code.  

FAST-Track to Attendance Update

FAST-track to Attendance’ has been revised to strengthen the Early Help offer in line with DfE, Ofsted and LA requirements.  The new guidance, forms and letters (including a new ‘whole school letter’) are on the webpage ready for schools to use.  Please destroy any previous FAST-track paperwork.  The link has not changed but just in case you can find it here:
https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/school-attendance  Click on Option 2 for ‘legal process for schools’
PLEASE NOTE: If you are in the middle of cases using the previous FAST-track paperwork, that’s fine, please continue, you won’t need to start the cases from scratch.

Year 11 FAST-track
The separate FAST-track process for year 11 pupils has been withdrawn.  There is now one process for all pupils.  If you offered Early Help last term for then year 10 pupils and attendance remains a concern in year 11, please follow FAST-track from Step 2 as you would for other pupils. 

Emails
The Education Legal Intervention Team has a new email address for our mailbox!  For attendance queries and case advice you can now contact us on:
Attendance@birmingham.gov.uk

BCC Education Prosecution Policy
To complement the new FAST-track documents, we have compiled a BCC Education prosecution Policy which is also on our webpage https://www.birmingham.gov.uk/school-attendance

Urgent message: Barclays Bank new mailbox

Barclays Bank has advised that schools need to use the email address Client.service3@barclays.com from August 2019 when contacting the bank for any queries/issues relating to school’s Barclays Bank account. The email address Client.service4@barclays.com will no longer be used by Barclays after the end of August 2019.

Please update your contact record and pass this message on to all relevant school staff to ensure that the correct email address is used.

Contact: xiao-ming.hu@birmingham.gov.uk, Schools Finance

NQT Autumn Registration 2019

Services For Education is the Appropriate Body for NQTs working on behalf of the Birmingham Local Authority.

Registering your NQTs with Services for Education enables you to meet the statutory requirements for your NQTs’ induction year. When you register your NQTs with Services For Education, you automatically get access to the online NQT Manager Tool. Everything you need will be online, secure and in one place. As well as accessing your NQTs and assessments, you will have access to documents such as guidance notes and useful links.

The Autumn deadline for registering NQTs is Thursday 12th September 2019.

Contact: nqt@servicesforeducation.co.uk

Recruitment of Teacher Moderators 2019

Services For Education, working on behalf of Birmingham Local Authority to organise, manage and deliver statutory assessment duty, is inviting applications from serving teachers who wish to become a Teacher Moderator for either Key Stage 1 statutory teacher assessments of English reading, writing and mathematics, or Key Stage 2 statutory teacher assessment of writing in 2020. 

The local authority has a responsibility to conduct moderation of teacher assessment judgements in 25% of its maintained schools and settings each year and in 25% of those academies, independent and free schools that choose Birmingham as their moderation provider. 

For us in Birmingham this typically means a half day visit to moderate a sample of teacher assessment judgements as appropriate at each key stage in approximately 80 schools for each statutory year group.  In 2020 the visits must take place in the summer term and be completed (including re-moderation and appeals) before any submission of data by the deadlines as advised by Standards and Testing Agency (STA) or the LA Data and Intelligence Team. 

Please follow this link for further information and application process.

Contact: Denise.harris@servicesforeducation.co.uk

Early Education Entitlement Provider Agreement

The EEE Provider Agreement and the Parental Declaration forms currently on EYMIS are still valid and should be used for Autumn term 2019.  There are no current plans to amend the parental declaration form.

Please note that providers must include as a minimum the information on the parental declaration form, but providers can adapt the Parental Declaration form to add additional information.  

Parent Declaration forms should be completed in partnership with parents so that they fully understand what they are signing up to when accepting a EEE funded place – please be clear about any additional charges you may have. Parent declaration forms are used to investigate duplicate claims and are reviewed during EEE audits - incomplete or non-existent parent declaration forms will result in claw back of funding.

Autumn headcount/census date (3rd October 2019) should be shared with parents and please ensure that you make them aware that if they move childcare provider prior to headcount/census date that they will be liable for any fees that you charge.

Please note that we are only able to transfer funding where there is an exceptional circumstance for example; moving from another local authority or where the move is in the best interests of the child and there is multi-agency support. All requests for a late term start must be emailed to NEF for consideration before confirming a place.

CONTACT: NEF@birmingham.gov.uk

Out of School Settings Team

It is my pleasure to introduce our new team to the Birmingham City Council - The Out of School Settings (OOSS) team. We are part of the Education & Resilience Department.

An Out Of School Setting is any institution which provides tuition, training, instruction, or regulated activities to children, without their parents’ or carers’ supervision. These include but are not limited to: Tuition Center’s, supplementary schools, extracurricular clubs or settings (e.g. ballet or music classes, drama or sports classes. Uniformed youth organisations, e.g. the Scouts and Guides, Cadet Services. Centre-based and detached youth work. Private language schools, and religious settings) which offer education in their own faith.

This Pilot exists to engage schools, communities and local institutions to improve safety and support in environments where young people gather in contexts outside of the traditional school setting. We attempt to shape the same robust safeguarding regulations we currently see in schools into these out of school settings, using a voluntary code of practice and parent charter as a basis.

Initially we are requesting for you to share with us any Out Of School Settings which you are aware of in your area, or those settings which your students use on a regular basis, outside of normal school hours. We would really appreciate your help in this regard. If you have any in mind please contact the OOSS Team on our email: OOSSTeam@Birmingham.gov.uk

Contact: Matt Stone, Engagement Officer Matthew.Stone@birmingham.gov.uk

Anti-Terror Hotline

Every year, thousands of reports from the public help the police keep communities safe from terrorism.

So, if you’ve seen or heard something that could potentially be related to terrorism, trust your instincts – and report it. Your actions could save lives.

•If you see anything suspicious – or receive any suspicious queries – remember you can always call the counter-terror hotline, in confidence, free, on 0800 789 321.
•You can also report something in confidence, quickly, online, at act.campaign.gov.uk/
•Of course, in an emergency, you should always dial 999.

Real Time Follow Up Audits

From September 2019 Birmingham Audit will be strengthening its follow up approach.

This will focus on those schools where their final reports are issued with a Level 3/4 assurance high risk rating and these will be included as part of a real time follow-up review process. It will include three short follow up visits to the school;

Visit 1 (3 months after final report) a short visit to obtain management assurance regarding progress with the recommendations.

Visit 2 (6 months after final report) a short visit to obtain management assurance regarding progress with the recommendations.

Visit 3 (9 months after final report) a validation visit (maximum 1 day) regarding the implementation of the recommendations.

A short report will be provided at the end of each visit. Should there be insufficient progress overall then this will be escalated to the Local Authority as a risk.

The annual cycle of city wide follow ups for all reports will continue.  Those schools given a high risk rating during 2018/19 will receive a full follow up visit within six months.

Contact:-

Don Price, Group Auditor 0121 303 2970 - Don.Price@birmingham.gov.uk
Karen Smith, Principal Auditor 0121 675 0249 - Karen.P.Smith@birmingham.gov.uk

Decommissioning of the Birmingham Grid for Learning (BGfL) Connectivity Service - April 2020

It has been decided that with effect from 1 April 2020, Birmingham City Council will decommission the Birmingham Grid for Learning (BGfL) Connectivity service as schools can now obtain price competitive and improved connectivity services other than that offered by the BGfL.

Key Message From 31 March 2020, all schools will be disconnected from the Birmingham Grid for Learning network with no opportunities for renewal.

What happens now?
Link2ICT is already offering and supporting exclusive new arrangements for Birmingham schools’ connectivity that will save schools money, provide a more efficient service, provide a variety of options for growth, and has been negotiated specifically for Birmingham schools.
Link2ICT will be contacting you over the coming days as this news will require some action from yourselves, but if you have any immediate questions, please contact your Link2ICT Account Manager for more details.

Contact:

Link2ICT Account Managers
Avtar Dhillon – 07766 924208
Opdush Singh – 07766 924270

www.link2ict.org

 

 


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