14 November 2019

This week's Noticeboard includes a message from Dr Tim O'Neill, a reminder of the pre-election guidance that was issued last week, important reminder about Inspection Data Summary Report (IDRS) and much more.

Included in this update:

Message from Dr Tim O'Neill

Dear colleagues

Please make sure you are completely familiar with the purdah guidance that we issued last week and the potential implications for your school as the consequences can be very high if it is breached. The guidance is repeated below and includes contact details for Council officers in case of any queries.

Nichola Jones, Assistant Director for Inclusion and SEND, provides information below about the new process for applying for CRISP funding, resource base and special school placements and consultation events that are taking place over the coming weeks at venues across the city.

Finally a very small number of places remain for the Headteacher briefing on 25th November so I'd encourage anyone who has not yet booked a place to use the link provided below.

Best wishes



Pre-election period: (effective from 6 November)

Last week guidance was issued regarding purdah which has been reproduced below. It is really important that you carefully read the information and consider the implications on your school as the consequences can be high if breached. If you have any queries about the guidance and the action your school may need to take, contact details for the relevant Council officers are below.

Purdah is the term used to describe the pre-election period. That is to say, the time between an election being announced and the date the election is held. There are legal restrictions that apply to maintained schools including Council employed school staff and teachers as well as to councillors and officers.

Although Birmingham City Council’s rules do not apply specifically to academies and free schools, these documents are offered as guidance due the public funding these schools receive and the subsequent responsibilities that come with this.

In Birmingham, purdah started on Thursday 7th November and will continue through to the close of poll (10pm) on Thursday 12th December.

The basic principle is that any activity which could call into question political impartiality or give rise to the criticism that public resources are being used for political purposes could lead to challenge during this period. Therefore schools must ensure no political or controversial material, such as banners or posters that could possibly breach our neutrality, is displayed on school premises.

The attached guidance provides a more detailed overview but some areas to note include:

  1. School visits by candidates
  2. Use of council resources 
  3. Social media and comments/endorsements by staff
  4. Publicity or support for particular political views

Please can you make sure this is shared with your staff as appropriate.

Further guidance on this can be found at https://www.local.gov.uk/our-support/purdah or you can contact Suzanne Dodd Assistant Director & Solicitor - Legal Services Suzanne.Dodd@birmingham.gov.uk or Robert Connelly, (Acting) Returning Officer Robert.Connelly@birmingham.gov.uk.

Subscribing schools can also contact School and Governor Support (school.support@birmingham.gov.uk).

New process for applying for additional CRISP funding, Resource Base and Special school placements

I am writing to inform you about the new process for applying for additional CRISP funding, resource base and special school placements.

The processes are outlined in the poster attached with the key fundamental principles:

  • You will no longer be required to submit an EHCP to apply for CRISP enhanced funding, resource base and special school placement.
  • This is being replaced by the SEND support provision plan which has an application form embedded into it.

We expect this new way of working to cut down the bureaucracy and specialist team time taken up on the EHCP assessment process.

Locality panels commenced in November 2019 and we are undertaking consultation events for Headteachers, Senior Leaders and SENCOs, during November and December to share the new ways of working, including the new locality teams in your area on the following dates:

  • North – 27th November 2019 3.00pm – 4.00pm, St Barnabas Church Centre B23 6SY. Book places here.
  • South – 5th December 2019 3.00pm – 4.00pm, The Beeches Hotel B30 1LS. Book places here.
  • East – 9th December 2019 3.00pm – 4.00pm, Birmingham City Football Club St Andrews Stadium, B9 4RL. Book places here.
  • West – 26th November 2019 3.00pm – 4.00pm, Edgbaston Cricket Ground B5 7QU. Book places here.

CONTACT: Nichola Jones, Assistant Director SEND and Inclusion (nichola.jones@birmingham.gov.uk)

Headteacher briefing: 25th November 2019

Places can be booked at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/birmingham-city-council-8129391167

Transforming our city – a child-friendly Birmingham
Exploring themes of equality, inclusion and raising attainment for children and young people in Birmingham


  • Driving standards in an inclusive school: Edison David, Headteacher Granton Primary School, South East London
  • Discrimination in schools: the law and common issues: Tom Cross, Barrister and specialist in education law
  • Rights Respecting Schools and the move towards Child Friendly City status: Tim O’Neill and representatives from UNICEF UK
  • Birmingham 2022: Building an education legacy programme for the Commonwealth Games: Representatives from Birmingham 2022 Organising Committee and Birmingham City Council

Edgbaston Cricket Ground

25th November 2019 - Arrival 12.45pm

The briefing will start 1pm and finish at 5pm - refreshments will be available on arrival.

If you have any queries, please contact education@birmingham.gov.uk

Road Safety Week: 18th - 24th November

With daylight hours reducing it’s important to spread road safety messages to children walking or cycling to school.  You can find a variety of KS1 resources on the THINK! website.

It’s Road Safety Week 18 to 24 November. The theme this year is ‘Step up for Safe Streets’ - sign up for a FREE action pack.  There are a variety of resources that can help you deliver a road safety assembly, lesson or homework to send home for pupils and parents to completed. 

The Department for Transport’s (DfT) THINK! website also has a range of road safety resources and lesson plans.  Don't forget, all of these activities can encourage pupils, parents and staff to stay safe, healthy and active, helping your school to achieve its Modeshift STARS accreditation.

Important Inspection Data Summary Report (IDSR) reminder from Ofsted

We wanted to remind you that we will be removing historic IDSRs from DfE’s Analyse School Performance (ASP).  This does not affect your latest (2019) IDSR.

Any users wishing to keep a copy of their historic IDSRs are advised to download and save their IDSRs before they are removed later in November.  This will coincide with the provisional 2019 secondary IDSR release.

Should you have any IDSR data queries, please contact the Schools Pre-Inspection Data & Insight team at: School.Performance.Data@ofsted.gov.uk

Teachers Pay Grant Allocations September 2019 – March 2020

The Department for Education has confirmed the September 2019 to March 2020 element of the Teachers Pay Grant Allocations.  This represents the first payment of the 2019/20 Academic year commitment to the DFE funding. A further allocation will be issued for the April to August element of remainder of the19/20 Academic year in the 2020/21 financial year.  This notification includes all the funding for the 2019/20 financial year.

The notification of these allocations have been published on the Birmingham City Council website and may be accessed via this link.

Please note: For High Needs settings (i.e. maintained special schools, special academies, pupil referral units, hospital schools, and alternative provision academies) we have written to individual settings requesting the actual teacher FTE numbers as at 30th September 2019.  This was in accordance with previously agreed consultation exercise.  This information is to be returned to the FairFunding mailbox by 29th November 2019.

Contact: fairfunding@birmingham.gov.uk

Teachers Pension Employer Contribution Grant Allocations September 2019 – March 2020

The Department for Education has confirmed the September 2019 to March 2020 element of the Teachers Pension Employer Contribution Grant (TPECG) allocations.  This represents the first payment of the 2019/20 Academic year commitment to the DFE funding. A further allocation will be issued for the April to August element of remainder of the19/20 Academic year in the 2020/21 financial year. 

The notification of these allocations have been published on the Birmingham City Council website and may be accessed via this link.

Please note: For High Needs settings i(.e. maintained special schools, special academies, pupil referral units, hospital schools, and alternative provision academies) we have written to individual settings.

In addition, the DfE are making available a pension supplementary fund which provides additional support alongside the TPECG, for the cost to schools due to the increase in the employer contribution rate to the TPECG from September 2019.

The window for mainstream schools to make applications, runs from 2nd December 2019 to 17th January 2020, and schools can expect to receive payments from the DfE in March 2020. Local Authorities (LA) will be able to apply for the supplementary funding on behalf of special settings.  However, the window for applications doesn’t open until April 2020.  The LA will write to special settings requesting information to complete the application later in the financial year.

Contact: fairfunding@birmingham.gov.uk

School Leasing and Vehicles - Form for Completion 2019/20

Accounting Standards require the City Council to account for any leases and lease type arrangements within service contracts that services may have in place at the end of the financial year.  I am therefore writing to request that you provide details of such arrangements on the attached pro-forma.  The information is confidential and is only used for the purpose of technical accounting entries in the Statement of Accounts (for internal use only).  The request is made to all non-Academy schools, including VA, VC and Foundation schools.

Please see additional explanation/details on the Note in the attached Form.  Returns are required by 13 December 2019.

Pupil and School Support (PSS) - Toolkit Updates

Pupil and School Support are pleased to announce the release of updates to the Reading and Speaking & Listening aspects of the Literacy toolkit. In consultation with NHS Speech and Language Therapy and professionals from Birmingham schools, PSS have further developed the Teaching and Learning ideas for both the Reading and Speaking & Listening strands.  The content of these have been updated with a much wider range of strategies, resources and web links for schools and so these are now consistent with the materials previously released for writing and maths. 

The new teaching and learning ideas are available to download from our new website.  In order to access these within your setting please visit the Access to Education website https://accesstoeducation.birmingham.gov.uk/
Search for “Toolkits” in order to add this to your basket - you will then be able to purchase the toolkit for free with the code that has been given to you.  These new documents will further help to support staff with a range of strategies for the delivery of ITP/continuum targets for pupils with SEND at the universal, targeted and specialist level.
Don’t forget if you already use these to update them with the new version!

For further information please contact: Rosie Mason r.mason@birmingham.gov.uk

Workshop: ‘The Teenage Brain’

Wednesday 20 November 2019, Room G14 (The Auditorium), 10 Woodcock Street, Birmingham B7 4BG

A half day workshop for schools with sixth-forms, colleges, universities and Post 16 providers.

The Post 16 Forum in Birmingham presents a half day workshop for schools with sixth-forms, colleges, universities and Post 16 providers.  Exploring the relationship between teenage brain development, attachment, experiences and education. This workshop will provide delegates with an insight into the mental and emotional health and wellbeing of young people.  The workshop aims to help practitioners working with young people to grow their understanding of the eclectic needs, presentation and possible challenges faced by young people with mental and emotional difficulties.

We hope to support staff to feel more confident engaging with young people experiencing difficulty, whether that difficulty is a normal part of adolescent life or a part of an illness process.

9.30am arrival and refreshments
10am - Introduction
Presenter: James Reeley CAMHS Clinical Nurse Specialist
10am – 11.15am - So you’ve had a bad day?
11.15am – 11.30 - Break
11.30am - 1pm – What does this mean for the day to day world. Taking this thinking back with you.
1pm – Workshop Closes.

About the Presenter:

James is an experienced mental health nurse and therapist with experience working with, and teaching about young people with emotional dysregulation and mental ill health.
Booking: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/14-19-participation-and-skills-birmingham-city-council-17421999251
All Enquiries:      14-19@birmingham.gov.uk

FAST-track to Attendance Training

Training is available for school staff on ‘FAST-track to Attendance’, an Early Help approach to improving school attendance with a prosecution element.  The ‘Leave in Term Time (Penalty Notice) Process’ is also covered in the training.  

The course runs for a full day and lunch is provided.  There is a charge for the training which unfortunately we can no longer subsidise.  It will take place at Hollyfields on Monday 25th November 2019: Places can be booked through the Birmingham Education Support Services website via this link.

Schools are also advised to consider booking onto the general attendance courses offered by Pupil Attendance Consultancy and Training (PAC&T), which can be booked via their website: www.thepactgroup.co.uk

PAC&T provide training on Pupil Registration and Accurate Coding (a major issue in legal cases); Ofsted and Attendance; Reducing Persistent Absence (which is worse than national average in Birmingham); and Deletion From Roll. Colleagues are advised to make use of these courses or they may not run.

Contact: Attendance@birmingham.gov.uk

Recruitment and Selection Workshop

29th January 2020, 9am - 4.30pm, 10 Woodcock Street B7 4BL

This highly interactive skills development workshop is designed to help you select the right people for roles within your school; helping you avoid the cost of making the wrong appointment.  Throughout the day you will practise the stages of the recruitment process, with a specific focus on the use of interviews as a selection technique.  There will be opportunities for you to practise different skills, with demonstrations by the facilitators, who will also share their experience and tailor the workshop to your needs.
By the end of the workshop, you will be better able to:

  • Analyse job requirements and develop effective person specifications and job descriptions
  • Develop and use effective interview questions
  • Plan the interview process
  • Conduct a structured interview
  • Identify other selection techniques
  • Use information from interviews to evaluate and select the right candidates

Facilitated by Diane Rance and Marian Hubbell, both of whom have extensive experience of recruitment and selection across a variety of sectors, including education.  They are experienced recruiters at every level and have also delivered recruitment workshops across the Civil Service.

Cost: £175.00 per delegate.
Places can be booked on the Birmingham Education Support Services website via this link. 

Secondary School Lexia Pilot

Pupil and School Support are running a free pilot in Spring 2020 in conjunction with Lexia using their secondary program ‘Power Up’.  The program concentrates on word, grammar and comprehension skills and would be aimed at pupils experiencing difficulties in this area. The school would need to commit to placing 10 or more pupils, who have a good attendance record, on the program for the full 12 weeks.  The group can be formed from a combination of those with Special Educational Needs or pupils who would benefit from targeted intervention.

Power Up is a cloud based program which would need to be completed 4 times a week for approximately 30 minutes each time.  This can include home use.

The half day training from Lexia is to be held on Monday 2nd December.

If you are interested and would like to sign up to the pilot or require further information, please contact avril.bull@birmingham.gov.uk. - https://www.lexialearning.com/products/powerup

Autumn Term Steps to Take on the Road to Primary Statutory Relationships and Health Education: Webinar 3

This webinar is the third in our series supporting your preparation for implementing statutory Relationships and Health Education in September 2020.  We will discuss requirements and potential areas of challenge and support with ideas and strategies to smooth the way to full statutory coverage in your curriculum with a focus on the use of consultation to ensure your curriculum meets the needs of pupils, parents and the wider community. Date: 21st November 2019, 4pm – 5pm.


Birmingham Launch of the Safer Schools App

Zurich Municipal have worked in partnership with Ineque safeguarding Group to develop a Safer Schools Package with the central component being the Safer Schools App.  The App content is maintained, updated and refreshed every day by the Ineque Safeguarding Team and is available free to all LEA schools that have their insurance programme with Zurich Municipal.  In Birmingham this applies to all maintained schools but also to many Academies.

The Safer Schools Birmingham Launch is on December 9th, 9.30-11.30 at Tally Ho Conference and Banqueting Centre. 

Booking and further information about this free event can be found at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/safer-schools-launch-birmingham-tickets-78938155147.

Attending the launch event is highly recommended as you will have experts on hand to answer all your questions and also see how the App can be used by professional, parents and pupils.

Barclays Bank Invite all Key Stage 2 children to Free Digital Coding Session - Code Playground

Barclays Bank UK PLC would like to invite you to Code Playground live: a free coding session, hosted by Barclays Digital Eagles, broadcast via YouTube.  This project is aimed primarily at Key Stage 2 children (aged 7 -11) - although anyone is welcome to join in and learn more about coding.  They will be using the Scratch website to explore how coding can support learning across the whole curriculum. 

The session will be broadcast via the Barclays UK YouTube channel on Wednesday, 4 December at 10am and will last approximately 30 minutes. More information is available in the postcard attached here.

To join, you need:

  • Email us DigitalEagleHQ@barclayscorp.com to register attendance and receive a workbook before the session.
  • A computer or TV screen, with an internet connection, that’s big enough for everyone to see.
  • Access to the Scratch website, on a separate device so that you can code along with us.

N.B.  For larger groups, we recommend a laptop each if possible, or no more than one between two for the best learning experience.

For more information: email DigitalEagleHQ@barclayscorp.com, Twitter @Digitaleagles and LinkedIn.

Metro Bank Money Zone

Metro Bank Money Zone introduces children to financial skills, helping them to build financial understanding and financial capability, in accordance with government guidelines and the national curriculum for PSHE.

Metro Bank Money Zone provides three sessions in class for Year 4 or 5 learners, with the fourth session being an opportunity for a store visit to consolidate the learning and bring topics about banking to life.  Our trained bank colleagues will deliver lessons in class, but you may want to be present during delivery to support elements of discussion or the mathematical activities.  We have planned a full programme of activities to challenge able learners and for some classes it may be more appropriate to deliver only part of our session, and for you to keep some of the activities for later extension work.

For further information please click on this link

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