Update for schools: 11 June 2021

This update includes updated information regarding transition days and guidance and a webinar about part-time timetables.

Transition days

Yesterday we shared Dr Justin Varney’s advice that secondary transition days should take place virtually due to rising cases in the city. Dr Varney has now confirmed that this advice extends to all school transition days, not just secondary.

Any schools with queries can contact edsi.enquiries@birmingham.gov.uk  

Part-time timetables: New guidance and webinar on Wednesday 16th June

All children of compulsory school age are legally entitled to receive a suitable full-time education and local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure that all children in their area receive such an education. Sometimes, for short periods of time, children are unable to cope with full time provision and so a part-time/reduced offer is made by the school.   A timetable is considered reduced, when it consists of something less than that which is provided to the majority of the pupil's peers in that setting. As a rule schools are only permitted to provide less than full-time education, including placing a pupil on a reduced timetable, in very exceptional circumstances.

Ofsted has established a requirement that all schools should notify the local authority of any part-time education arrangements. This includes schools maintained by local authorities, academies, free schools and independent schools. The local authority also has a statutory responsibility to identify and track any pupil missing education. Any pupil on a reduced timetable is deemed to be at risk of missing education and therefore needs to be identified and tracked.

With this in mind, Birmingham City Council has published guidance on part-time/reduced timetables for schools.  A simple notification form has been created and was successfully trialled with a number of schools before half-term.  The form is now ready for schools to complete for children of compulsory school age, and all Reception children, at the commencement of any part-time/reduced timetable.

The guidance and the form can be found at this link.

From 21st June 2021 we’d like to ask secondary and primary schools to complete the form for each relevant pupil.  When completing the form, colleagues will need to attach a single PDF containing attendance printouts for the previous and current academic year.  Special schools will be asked to complete the form in the new academic year from 20th September 2021.  Once received, the local authority will be able to track the pupils concerned and offer appropriate advice and support to schools offering reduced provision.  This will enable partners to work together to safeguard pupils and ensure every child is receives their legal entitlement to a full time education. Secondary schools will not need to complete the form for current year 11 pupils.

Officers will be holding a webinar for schools to discuss the new guidance and the form next Wednesday 16th June 2pm-3pm. To book a place please use this Eventbrite link and a Teams link will be sent before the session.

A recording of the webinar and the slides presented will be shared with all schools later next week. For further advice and guidance, please contact the Education Legal Intervention Team (attendance@birmingham.gov.uk).

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