Noticeboard: 4 February 2021

This week's Noticeboard includes the End of Financial Year Procedures, information about Fizz Free February, the latest termly bulletin from Education Infrastructure, training courses and more.

Included in this update:

End of Financial Year Procedures 2020/21

Non Chequebook Schools

At the end of each financial year, the Chief Finance Officer has the responsibility for preparing the annual accounts for the City Council. This link is to the document that summarises the key actions to be taken by schools and changes to the financial procedures for this financial year.

Schools should ensure that the procedures are brought to the attention of all relevant staff and financial providers involved in the closedown process asap.

Schools Operating the Full Chequebook Scheme

At the end of each financial year, the Chief Finance Officer has the responsibility for preparing the annual accounts for the City Council. This link is to the document that summarises the key actions to be taken by schools and changes to the financial procedures for this financial year.

Schools on the Chequebook scheme are required to complete and submit a reconciled end of year Workbook by 15th March 2021.

Schools on the scheme should ensure that the procedures are brought to the attention of all relevant staff and financial providers involved in the closedown process ASAP.

Accrual requirements

In line with corporate requirements on processing year end accruals, Head Teachers of all BCC maintained schools must sign the accrual sheet(s), and sign the Head Teachers confirmation form. Please see this link for more detailed guidance.

Petty Cash Account Reconciliation 2020/21

Schools are required to complete and submit a reconciled end of year Petty cash return as at 28th February 2021 by 19th March 2021. This link is to the document with detailed instructions of how to complete the petty cash reconciliation.

Housekeeping Actions

At the end of each financial year, the Chief Finance Officer has the responsibility for preparing the annual accounts for the City Council. This link is to the document that summarises the key housekeeping actions to be taken by schools to prepare for year-end closedown process.  Schools should ensure that the document is brought to the attention of all staff and financial providers involved in the closedown process asap.

Your management responsibilities as school leaders, governors & duty holders

All schools are legally required to have a procedure in place to deal with complaints relating to the school. The DfE produce best practice guidance for school complaints procedures which can be found here for maintained schools. Although this has not been substantially changed since January 2019, addendums have been added as and when needed to reflect the situation caused by the pandemic. There is separate DfE Guidance for Academies which can be found here.

BCC’s School and Governor Support has produced a framework complaints procedure that reflects the latest DfE guidance. An addendum to this has now been included to reflect the current situation and this is available on request to schools that subscribe to School and Governor Support via  school.support@birmingham.gov.uk

Kidstaff Ltd - Liquidation

BCC have been informed that Kidstaff Ltd who were a preferred supplier of agency teaching staff to BCC have now gone in to liquidation. Please contact claire.lewis@birmingham.gov.uk or visit https://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Page/10665 for a list of the remaining preferred suppliers.

Birmingham Fizz Free February 2021

This year Birmingham City Council will again be joining the national campaign to go Fizz Free for February. Attached is a letter from Councillor Paulette Hamilton – Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care with a personal ask for you to join us in this campaign and support your staff, pupils, and their families within your School and Education Institute to go Fizz Free in February - Click link for letter

We would like to raise awareness of the campaign through schools and their networks as the campaign could have a large impact on children’s health, as fizzy drinks can lead to obesity and tooth decay in children and adults. We would appreciate it if you could promote the message of going Fizz Free this February through your social media platforms, school email, and Whatapp to staff and parents.

To help you promote the campaign we have provided information online, including a series of posters and digital resources; as well as some example tweets that you can use. All campaign resources can be found here: www.birmingham.gov.uk/fizzfreefeb. These align with the national materials created by SUGAR SMART (Sustain). There are also ‘star charts’ to help track progress and support families to take part.

You can sign the pledge and join the campaign at any point during February by using the hashtags #gofizzfree and #FizzFreeBrum on social media. Look out for and use these hashtags to follow the campaign and share your Frizz Free journey with us and your friends.  We really hope that you will help us make a powerful statement this February to improve the health of the city. If you have any queries please email healthybrum@birmingham.gov.uk.

Education Infrastructure – Termly Bulletin

The spring term Education Infrastructure bulletin is available at this link.

Contact: edsi.enquiries@birmingham.gov.uk

Upcoming Link2ICT & BCC Transition

BCC and Link2ICT Transition:
As per the last communications sent on 17th December 2020 via Link2ICT and between 4-7th January 2021 via School’s Noticeboard, Birmingham City Council are in the middle of implementing the transition for the BCC applications used by Schools away from Link2ICT (Entrust) to Birmingham City Council. This change will take place from 1st April 2021.

What this means:
From 1 April 2021, the applications detailed below will be supported exclusively by Birmingham City Council. 

Applications in scope:

  • HR Portal
  • Voyager Portal
  • AVCO Anycomms Plus
  • Finance Reconciliation
  • xPorter

As a reminder regarding xPorter, BCC will NOT provide installation for schools of the Groupcall Xporter product.  BCC support is limited to data collection only to enable pupil data to be extracted from the school MIS system to BCC. There will be a new form available to allow Schools to notify BCC of any changes to their DFE number, MIS System or School Name. This will ensure BCC can collect sufficient data to populate BCC’s education application to accurately reflect a School’s on-roll pupils through the School’s Portal, an example where this is used is the School admissions process. 

BCC ServiceNow Schools Portal & Interim Support Arrangements:
As mentioned previously there will be a new BCC ServiceNow Schools Portal available for schools to use to log calls, work is currently underway developing this portal. This new Schools ServiceNow Portal is part of a wider ServiceNow upgrade project, we have been informed that the Schools version of the Portal may be implemented later than originally expected. As an interim contingency measure, Schools will be able to fill out or download the appropriate support request form from the Birmingham.gov.uk website, in which then an email will be sent to BCC IT&D School Support Service’s mailbox to manage your request. This interim support model is expected to last for no more than 3 months when the new Schools ServiceNow Portal becomes available. We’ll provide communications next month with further details and the URL for the birmingham.gov.uk webpage. The site will allow you to raise support cases to BCC and view ‘FAQ/ Advice & Guidance’ on the transitioned applications listed above.

Next steps: Regular communications on progress and how schools can access the BCC ServiceNow new portal and log / manage calls will be sent out as we move further into development.
At this stage there is no further action required for Schools, Link2ICT will continue to support Schools for the applications in scope until 31 March 2021.  Look out for further details and communications which will be regularly shared.

However, if you do have any questions, please feel free to direct any current support queries to -

Link2ICT Service Desk
T: 0121 303 5100
E: servicedesk@link2ict.org W: www.link2ict.org/portal

BCC Project Transition queries to
Matthew Ngai
Project Manager - BCC Information, Technology and Digital Services
E: Matthew.Ngai@birmingham.gov.uk

Jane James
Portfolio Manager - BCC Information, Technology and Digital Services
E: Jane.James@birmingham.gov.uk

National Apprenticeship Week

In celebration of our talented teams in schools across Birmingham, you are invited to join us for National Apprenticeship Week 2021, which kicks off on Monday 8th February 2021. All sessions are virtual, so no travel required. There are school-specific sessions to be held on Wednesday 10th February 2021; however you are welcome to attend any of the scheduled events. Link for Scheduled events

With apprenticeships available across all sectors, the opportunities are wide an accessible – and there are no age or grade limitations to starting an apprenticeship qualification.

In fact, anyone employed by Birmingham City Council can sign-up to an apprenticeship, with no implication to existing salaries or job roles. The apprenticeship levy means staff can access qualifications at no cost to them and, as a work-based qualification, the apprenticeship is completed during work hours, helping people to manage their work-life balance.  So, come along – find out what opportunities are available to YOU or your team.

If you’d like to book onto any of the sessions in the attached ‘apprenticeship week schedule’ please email Charlotte Berisford (charlotte.berisford@birmingham.gov.uk) or click on the links included within the schedule to attend on the day. We hope to see you there. youtube link

Your ECF Journey - What you need to know in order to introduce the Early Career Framework in your school.

Thursday 11th Feb 2021 & Thursday 11th Mar 2021 & Thursday 22nd Apr 2021 & Thursday 20th May 2021 & Thursday 10th Jun 2021 & Thursday 8th Jul 2021. You may be aware that NQT induction is changing from September 2021 a new two-year programme will be in place with various options to consider.

As the Department for Education continues to release information, we want to keep you as fully informed and up to date so that you can make the best choices for your school and NQTs.
We have put in place a series of live webinars for our schools to guide you through this ECF journey. These sessions are free of charge and we hope that you will join us and also have the opportunity to ask questions. These will be monthly meetings for approximately 30-40 minutes (3.45-4.30) to update you on the most recent position as it unfolds. You need to book this series.

Please book here https://www.servicesforeducation.co.uk/our-offer/your-ecf-journey/

EYFS – What Do We Need to Know About the EYFS Reforms?

This online course is specifically for schools that want to know the key messages about the EYFS reforms so that they can start to update their knowledge about the changes before the statutory roll out in September 2021.
It will enable schools to start to become familiar with the changes to the statutory and non-statutory guidance so that begin to consider how they the changes will shape their practice and provision.
During the training participants will get an opportunity to:

  • Update their knowledge and understanding of the key changes to the revised statutory and non-statutory eyfs guidance
  • Explore eyfs pedagogy and current thinking to enable them to consider how the reforms will shape their practice and provision
  • Discuss with other eyfs practitioners their thoughts about the reforms and how different schools are going to implement the changes in September
  • Consider what further training is needed to support their school to prepare for the statutory roll out in September 2021

Your ECF Journey - What you need to know in order to introduce the Early Career Framework in your school.

Thursday 11th Feb 2021 & Thursday 11th Mar 2021 & Thursday 22nd Apr 2021 & Thursday 20th May 2021 & Thursday 10th Jun 2021 & Thursday 8th Jul 2021
You may be aware that NQT induction is changing from September 2021 a new two-year programme will be in place with various options to consider.
As the Department for Education continues to release information, we want to keep you as fully informed and up to date so that you can make the best choices for your school and NQTs.
We have put in place a series of live webinars for our schools to guide you through this ECF journey. These sessions are free of charge and we hope that you will join us and also have the opportunity to ask questions. These will be monthly meetings for approximately 30-40 minutes (3.45-4.30) to update you on the most recent position as it unfolds. You need to book this series. Please book here

Be Empowered Workshops 2021

We warmly invite you to join our series of online workshops entitled the ‘Be Empowered Workshops’. These workshops have been written and led by trainers who are parent/carers of a child with additional needs themselves.  They are for parent/carers of children and young people of any age, with any additional need, following diagnosis. They are an attempt to support parent/carers through times of change and at whatever stage of the journey participants may find themselves.

Please find attached the new flyer and booking form for the next two sets of Be Empowered Workshops in Feb-March and then April-May. These sets of workshops will take place online and in the daytime 10am-1pm – the first set will be held on Mondays starting on 22nd February 2021 through to the end of March. The second will be held on Tuesdays starting 20th April 2021 through to the end of May.  Further information can be found on the attached flyer and booking form. 

The deadline for receiving bookings is Wednesday 10th February 2021. Any queries and booking forms can be emailed to our new email address at BeEmpowered@birmingham.gov.uk  or please contact Sarah Adams, Teacher and Acting Assistant Team Lead for the Early Support Service on 07827 082 751 for further information.

Good Autism Practice Training (Schools)

The session will focus on gaining practical knowledge, tools and strategies to support pupils with Autism In setting. To develop knowledge and understanding of good Autism practice. To reflect on and improve personal practice through guidelines and activities.  To learn how to use the schools Autism competency framework to evaluate and develop personal practice.

Day 1: Thursday 4th February
Day 2: Tuesday 9th February
9.00 am – 12.30 pm

To secure your place, please booking online via - http://accesstoeducation.birmingham.gov.uk

Crowdfunding Appeal for a Birmingham Park

The Wildlife Trust for Birmingham and the Black Country are working in partnership with Birmingham City Council’s Naturally Birmingham Future Parks Accelerator Programme and the local community to fundraise for The Dawberry Fields Reptile Project.  

The Trust are aiming to raise £2,000 to create habitats that will enable slow worm and common lizard to thrive by installing banks and stones that will provide safe places for these protected species to bask and hibernate.  The project will also provide a home for a range of other wildlife with the creation of wildflower areas.

Parks are important green spaces for local communities, and Dawberry Fields has been described as a ‘a hidden gem’ by local resident Kim who enjoys watching wildlife from bats to butterflies at this urban park.  The Trust hope that Kim will be able to add slow worm and common lizard to her wildlife watching list as a result of the project.

Donations can be made by visiting https://justgiving.com/campaign/DawberryFields or by texting DAWBERRY to 70085 to give £10.  Texts cost £10 plus one standard rate message and you’ll be opting in to hear more about our work and fundraising via telephone and SMS. If you’d like to give £10 but do not wish to receive marketing communications, text DAWBERRYNOINFO to 70085.
Thank you for your support!


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