13 September 2018

This week's Noticeboard includes a message from Anne Ainsworth, booking links for Headteacher briefings in November, an update on the s175 safeguarding audit and more.

Included in this update:

From the Director

Dear Colleagues

Firstly Shana Tova to those who were celebrating Rosh Hashanah earlier this week.

Thank you to those of you who got in touch following last week’s Noticeboard, I was pleased to receive positive feedback on the changes that have been made. We’ll continue to take suggestions on how to make Noticeboard work best for schools so please continue to get in touch with me.

Most of you will be aware that Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission undertook an inspection of Birmingham’s arrangements to support young people with SEND towards the end of the summer term. On Monday we received the formal letter from CQC-Ofsted outlining the findings of the inspection which took place in June of this year and the notification of our requirement to submit a Written Statement of Action in response.  You can access the letter and read a joint statement from Cllr Kate Booth, cabinet member for children’s wellbeing at Birmingham City Council and Dr Richard Mendelsohn, Chief Medical Officer at NHS Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) on the BCC website.

We are disappointed with the findings of the report but accept them in full without reservation. The areas of strength identified by the inspection team were pleasing but there remain many more areas for improvement which require a significant collaborative approach to ensure we are able to deliver better outcomes for children and young people with a special educational need and/or disability. As I mentioned last week, Sharon Scott has joined us as interim Assistant Director for SEND and she will be leading this work for BCC, in partnership with colleagues from Health and the Children’s Trust. Sharon met with special school Headteachers earlier this week and will be working closely with schools.

Since the start of term we have been contacted by some schools and parents raising concern about school transport routes operating without guides. We are responding to individual cases so please get in touch with Jennifer Langan (Jennifer.langan@birmingham.gov.uk) or Sharon Scott (Sharon.scott@birmingham.gov.uk) to discuss any cases you have concerns about. We always monitor transport routes at the start of each year and will make changes where necessary.

Yesterday, David Bishop (Head of Service for Alternative Provision, Attendance and Independent Schools) was part of a group presenting to the Women and Equalities Select Committee at the House of Commons about tackling inequalities faced by the Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities. The discussion is available to watch on the Parliament website. During the discussions, David mentioned the training organised for Birmingham schools by his team to support GRT pupils and you can find details from Phil Denley below if you are interested.


Thanks to the schools who have contacted me and invited me to visit you.  I have visits booked in starting from next week and I know that our Cabinet Members, Councillor Jayne Francis and Councillor Kate Booth are also getting out and about. Do get in touch, and don’t be a stranger!

Over the past week I have met with key partners including BEP and Ofsted and next week I’m catching up with our Regional Schools Commissioner.  We have been discussing how we can work in partnership to address some of the challenges we all face, and work together to support our schools and education providers across the city.

At the end of last week Chris Quinn, Regional Schools Commissioner for the West Midlands, announced that she will be retiring at the end of the year. I was personally very sad to hear this news, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Chris for her support during her time as RSC and also for her many years of service in Birmingham schools and wish her a well-deserved happy retirement.

Finally, you’ll find booking details for the Headteacher briefings arranged for November below. I hope to see as many of you as possible there.




Local Authority Headteacher Briefings: 8 and 13 November 2018

Thursday 8 November 2018 8am - 10am Foyle Studio, mac Birmingham, Cannon Hill Park B12 9QH https://ht-briefing-081118.eventbrite.co.uk
Tuesday 13 November 2018 3pm - 5pm The Pavilion, Moor Lane, Perry Barr B6 7AA https://ht-briefing-131118.eventbrite.co.uk

CONTACT:   education@birmingham.gov.uk

Section 175 School Safeguarding Audit

Work has been undertaken to commission a new design of the Section 175 following the comments made by many schools over the last two years. In January 2018 a  working party of Heads and DSLs from across the city met and reviewed the current questions and sections and reduced the number by around 50+ questions, and consolidated the sections from 12 to 10.

PHEW, an independent IT company, has been working on a new design architecture and functionality over the summer and we will be launching the new tool at the October District Safeguarding Briefings.

This does mean that whilst your current sct 175 audit is still available on the Virtual College site, you shouldn't update or fill in any sections as this information will not transfer over into the new tool. You can still access the audit to run reports and your action plan but please don't put any new data in it.

At the October briefings we will tell you how to access and complete the new tool.  

CONTACT: Jon Needham (jon.j.needham@birmingham.gov.uk or 0121 675 2449)

Infant Class Size Legislation: Reminder of Process

The Schools Standards and Framework Act 1998 (Sections 1- 4) requires that all infant classes with a single qualified teacher should contain no more than 30 pupils. The regulations relate to pupils in Reception, Year 1 and Year 2 classes.

Should you be considering admitting a child at the start of this new school year as an exception to class size legislation you should ensure it is a true exception as detailed on the DfE website.

Please note that the Infant Class Size data is collected in the January Census and it is a requirement that all classes over 30 must be reported to the DfE.

CONTACT: Education Infrastructure (edsi.enquiries@birmingham.gov.uk 

Careers Strategy and Statutory Guidance: requirements and expectations for schools

A reminder for schools of their current duties detailed in the government’s Careers Strategy launched in December 2017, and statutory guidance published in January.

From this September schools should publish the following information:

  • The name, email address and telephone number of the school’s Careers Leader
  • A summary of the careers programme, including details of how pupils, parents, teachers and employers may access information about the careers programme. This must include the policy statement on provider access (see below)
  • How the school measures and assesses the impact of the careers programme on pupils
  • The date of the school’s next review of the information published

Provider Access Statement

The legislation is an amendment to the 2017 Technical and Further Education Act which came into effect in January.

For further information, including how to access Careers Leader Training, visit the Careers and Enterprise Company website.

CONTACT: Julie Stirrup (Julie.A.Stirrup@birmingham.gov.uk)

Regional UTC Information for Birmingham

In accordance with Section 42B of the Education Act 1997, the council is writing to parents of current Year 9 pupils to inform them of the options for their child from Year 10 in September 2019 in respect of 14-19 providers of education.

The letter has been mailed directly to the home of parents of pupils in Year 9 making them aware of the following providers in the local area who admit pupils into Year 10. Each specialises in a range of academic and specialist vocational subjects and the council co-ordinates the admissions round for Year 10 entry:

  • Aston University Sixth Form – Birmingham
  • Birmingham Ormiston Academy (BOA) – Birmingham
  • Bournville College - Birmingham
  • Health Futures UTC – West Bromwich
  • Waverley Studio College - Birmingham
  • West Midlands UTC - Wolverhampton
  • WMG Academy for Engineers – Solihull and Coventry

The letter advises parents/guardians to get in touch the providers directly for further information. Details about open evenings and contact details can be found in the attached letter.

CONTACT: Matthew Eccles (14-19@birmingham.gov.uk)

HR Services for Schools Conference, Workshops and Exhibition: Tuesday 23 October 2018

"Stronger Together - Share, Learn, Inspire"

Open to all schools in Birmingham and surrounding areas, this one-day event promises to provide Head Teachers, Business Managers and Senior Leaders with an interesting and informative day full of new updates and ideas to take back into their school settings.

The event will take place in the excellent facilities of the Gallery Suites at the NEC in Birmingham where we are bringing you even more workshops to choose from; we have a great Key Note Speaker lined up and an even better booking offer than last year! Plus an extensive exhibition where up to 50 education suppliers will be displaying their latest products and services.

The charge per delegate for this event is £160.00 and this includes lunch, refreshments throughout the day and on-site parking.
All delegates are requested to select their workshops when registering online and to note that spaces are limited on some of the workshops and can therefore only be offered on a first come first served basis.

Schools registering two places are eligible to a third place free of charge and this should be selected with full name and details at registration – so why not bring your Chair of Governors perhaps?

View the full programme, workshops, speakers and book your place on the website.

PSS Strategic SENCo Conference: 24 October 2018

The fourth Annual PSS Strategic SENCo Conference is taking place on Wednesday 24 October 2018.

Cost: £150 for the first delegate and £50 for additional delegates from the same setting.

At the event there will be a key note speech delivered by Anita Devi followed by a range of workshops, all focusing on key pressure points for leads of SEND. 

Delegates nominate 6 workshops from the menu from which they are allocated 4. All other materials are available to delegate following the day so no one misses out on workshops they couldn’t attend.

This year’s workshops include a strategic approach to CPD, managing challenging parents, key messages for the designated teacher for LAC and previously LAC, SENCo time management and mixed ability teaching in practice to mention just a few.

In addition there will be a market place at the event for delegates to visit, view resources and talk to the exhibitors.

More information is available in this flyer. For more detail and to secure your place please visit the Access to Education website.

CONTACT: Terri Cawser (terri.cawser@birmingham.gov.uk)

Department for Education's National School Breakfast Programme

Funding from central government is available now to set up or improve breakfast provision, via the new National School Breakfast Programme, in over 1,770 schools in disadvantaged areas of England.

The Department for Education’s National School Breakfast Programme is being delivered by Magic Breakfast and Family Action, who are recruiting schools now which either have no existing breakfast provision, or breakfast provision where there is scope for improvement (according to specific criteria).

Most schools that sign up to the National School Breakfast Programme will receive as much free, healthy breakfast food, delivered straight to the door, as is needed to feed every child at risk of hunger in those schools.  In addition to resources and best practice events, a dedicated member of the NSBP team will be available to support each school and a £500 start-up grant will be available to buy necessary equipment such as toasters or a freezer.

Healthy school breakfasts benefit pupils by improving their concentration, behaviour, attendance, punctuality and educational attainment.  Research funded by the Education Endowment Foundation found that Y2 pupils in schools providing a free, nutritious breakfast, boosted their reading, writing and maths by an average of 2 months’ progress per year, compared to pupils in schools with no such breakfast provision.

Schools can find out if they are eligible for support from the National School Breakfast Programme by filling in an Expression of Interest form and returning it to nsbp@family-action.org.uk

ESOL Course for schools

The next ESOL Qualification course for teachers/classroom support staff will be starting on 3 October  2018. It is run by the Gypsy Roma and Traveller Team but delivered by an externally commissioned tutor.

The course consists of 8 sessions of 2.5 hours  held on Wednesday afternoon and particularly focuses on fluency, grammar and pronunciation. Because of these elements it is suitable for native English speakers or at the very least, those with excellent pronunciation and Grammar.

At the end of the course the participants will have a recognized qualification and a good grounding in Teaching English as a Second Language to assist the school and their colleagues.

The cost for each participant is £100 for the entire course, handbook, examination and certificate.

If your school has a significant number of new to English pupils, Roma,  Asylum Seeker/Refugee or  recently arrived from abroad, and would like to take advantage of this course please contact Phil Denley, GRT Teacher phil.denley@birmingham.gov.uk  to register your interest.

Pupil and School Support (PSS) training opportunities for SENCOs

PSS are pleased to offer the following courses during Spring term 2018

  • 2 day SENCo Survival Course: 26th September and 14th November
  • 1 day CRISP and EHCP preparation and processes: 14th November

The 2 day course is specifically designed for newly appointed SENCOs in Birmingham who are learning the role. The content has been designed to provide timely information around the responsibilities of the Senco in relation to the SEND Code of Practice (2015) and support with local systems and procedures.

The second day of this course includes essential training on planning and evaluating provision for pupils with complex needs including the role of CRISP (Criteria for Special Educational Provision) when considering application for an Education, Health and Care Plan. Attendance on this day qualifies delegates to personal log in details for access to CRISP online. Delegates can also book to attend this day only.

For further information please speak to your PSS teacher and to secure your place please book online via the Access to Education website.

Sensory Support training courses

Two Sensory Support Courses are available.

1) Hearing Support Team: 18 September 2018 for Teachers Working with Pupils with Hearing Loss


  • To enable teachers to understand the impact of hearing loss on development and learning
  • To examine a range of strategies to support learning and development
  • To provide a working knowledge of audiological equipment so that teachers have the skills to support pupils effectively

2) Vision Support Team: 27 September 2018 for Staff Working with Pupils with Vision Impairment


  • To enable participants to understand the implications of vision impairment upon a pupil's learning within a school setting and to examine ways of meeting these needs.

Please see the attached flyers for further details and costs. There is a reduced cost when more than one member of a school attends.

FRIENDS Resilience Training

FRIENDS for Life and Fun FRIENDS are evidence-based programmes to reduce anxiety and depression and build resilience in children aged 4-7, and 7-11 years.  It is the only anxiety prevention programme endorsed by the World Health Organisation and is recommended in the DfE document “Mental Health & Behaviour in Schools” (June 2014).

The course focuses on the content of two programmes which can be used as an intervention directly with children as whole classes, in small groups or on a one to one basis. The programme provides a structure to develop resilience in young people, drawing on the psychological model of cognitive-behavioural therapy.

Following this course you will:

  • be able to deliver an evidence-based resilience building programme. You will receive accreditation as a group facilitator.
  • have access to the online portal, which will enable you to purchase eBooks and manuals to support the delivery of the programmes.
  • have tools to evaluate the impact of the programme on children and young people’s mental health.

Date: 10 October 2018 9:30am to 4pm

Cost: £205 per participant; reducing to £155 if 2 or more participants attend per setting

Venue: Oakhill Centre, Meadow Road, Harborne, B17 8BB

A flyer and the booking form are available on the BCC website.

Deadline for booking: 3 October 2018

Brum Youth Trends Summit on Weds 10th Oct, 12-3.30pm at Town Hall Birmingham.

Brum Youth Trends is a pioneering and flagship report into what young people think about themselves, each other, and their city. We've spoken to over 1300 young people and it's time to hear what they have to say.

Beatfreeks would love for you to join us as we hear from speakers such as Andy Street (Mayor of the West Midlands), Sir Nick Serota (Chair of the Arts Council), Sideman Allday (BBC Radio 1 Presenter) and many more, alongside some incredibly inspiring young people. During the event, you’ll also receive a free report, and have the chance to host your own debates and conversations around housing, education, the arts, mental health, transport and more.

Free tickets to the Summit can be booked through Eventbrite.

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