Noticeboard: 3 September 2021

This Noticeboard includes a message from Kevin Crompton, the outbreak management plan template and Public Health flowchart shared earlier this week, an update about the Afghan Resettlement Scheme, information about attendance and more.

Included in this update:

Message from Kevin Crompton

Dear colleagues

I hope you were able to enjoy some rest and relaxation over the summer break after such a challenging year and a half for staff, pupils and their families.

As we start a new academic year and you welcome pupils back to what will hopefully be a more normal school environment I’d like to thank you all for your continued commitment to children and their families and provide an update on some recent developments at the council.

Last month Cllr Sharon Thompson was named as Birmingham City Council's new Cabinet Member for Vulnerable Children and Families.  One of her immediate challenges is to work with myself and colleagues on  the council's response to the recent joint local area Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) revisit by Ofsted/CQC. Schools will be aware that Ofsted/CQC found that services for children and young people with SEND in Birmingham are not good enough following their visit in May. Along with our colleagues in the NHS we fully accepted these findings and are very aware of the need for urgent improvement. The Department for Education has issued a draft direction and we are waiting for confirmation from the DfE of the appointment of a Commissioner who will report to the Minister on our plans to improve the service and will Chair an Improvement Board.

Pauline Maddison has joined us as interim Assistant Director for SEND and Inclusion. Pauline is a children’s services specialist with a wealth of experience in local and national government in the leadership, management and delivery of education and social care and wider local government agendas. She has previously held the role of Director of Children’s Services in four local authorities and is committed to inclusion and ensuring that all children with SEND achieve their full potential. I know that Pauline will be a real asset to Birmingham.  

We wrote to headteachers during the summer break to confirm the award of a seven year contract for school improvement services to Birmingham Education Partnership Ltd (BEP). I’m really looking forward to working with BEP and schools to increase opportunities and outcomes for children across the city. In addition, we will shortly be sharing more information with schools about the Commonwealth Games and the opportunities for schools to get involved.

Finally, recruitment is underway for a permanent Director for Education and Skills with longlisting interviews taking place last month. When a permanent appointment is confirmed I will ensure schools are informed as soon as possible.

Thank you again for all that you do for children, young people and their families. I hope to arrange a webinar with schools later this term but if you have any queries in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me directly (kevin.crompton@birmingham.gov.uk).

Best wishes

Kevin

Outbreak management plan template and Public Health flowchart

Earlier this week we shared the outbreak management plan template and the updated Public Health flowchart.

Webinar with Dr Justin Varney: 2 September 2021

The slides and recording from Dr Justin Varney's webinar are available on the council's webiste at this link.

Public Health colleagues are currently arranging for the posters Dr Varney referred to in the webinar to be made available online for schools. We will share these with schools as soon as possible.

Afghan Resettlement Scheme

You will likely be aware of the escalating situation in Afghanistan. In recognition of the withdrawl of troops of the country, the UK government is offering staff who have supported the armed forces and their families a right to live, work and study in the UK . This scheme is called the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP). 

Flights are currently underway and 3,000 of these Afghan migrants are expected to be in the UK by September. Arrivals are likely to be a mixture of singles, couples and families.

In May 2021, Birmingham City Council had already commited to welcome 80 individuals under the scheme and as a migrant friendly city is committed to support refugees fleeing from the country. The latest statement is available here.

To support families resettling in Birmingham we have a dedicated member of staff Mohammed Aftab from Refugee Action based within BCC's school admissions team to help with the allocation of school places. Mo (Educational Placement Coordinator from Refugee Action) has already submitted a number of in-year application forms directly to schools for the Afghan children (based on postcode) and is waiting to hear of outcome. For any queries please contact the school admissions team on 0121 303 8847 or Mo's direct mobile number (07702 902 169)

Unfortunately, the Afghan ARAP scheme does not attract any additional school funding, unlike the UKRS / SVPR scheme that does.

The government has produced a welcome pack for these families including a general guide for them on how to apply for a school which may be useful to share. This guide is available in Dari and Pashto.

CONTACT: Mohammed Aftab (MohammedA@refugee-action.org.uk or 07702 902 169)

REMINDER: Key stage 4 and 5 results collection

Thank you to all schools which have submitted their KS4 and KS5 information to date. 

We would be grateful if secondary schools yet to do so could share their school-level KS4/KS5 data with BCC by completing this online form, Key stage 4 and 5 Results collection. This online form will be available until 10th September 2021 and we would appreciate it if all schools could complete their submission by that date.

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

DfE attendance return

Schools will have received an email from the DfE asking them to continue to submit the daily educational setting status form throughout September so that attendance in schools and colleges can be monitored after the summer break.  The current proposal is to continue the form on a daily basis until the end of September, then to move to weekly submission.

Guidance on the form and the changes made to it since the summer term can be found here.

The sub-codes for reporting non-attendance due to COVID reasons have also been updated and can be found in the link here.

Along with the DfE, we acknowledge that this requires resource to complete and we are extremely grateful to all schools for continuing to provide the data, as it enables us to identify emerging difficulties and support schools across the city.

School Attendance Update

Updated Legal Processes are now available at this link for schools to use for the academic year 2021-22.  

Please note that we have reverted back to a version of the FAST-track to Attendance process used prior to COVID-19. 

Please destroy any previous whole school letters for parents, FAST-track and Leave in Term Time letters, and other documents previously downloaded.  Please check that the guidance documents have the date ‘September 2021’ on them before you use them. Our advice would be to access our webpages as and when you need to use a letter or check on the guidance for the next step. This way you can be sure that you are using the most current versions of the letters and guidance.

There is also updated guidance for Head Teachers on term time leave which can be accessed via this link.

Following feedback from schools during the pilot last term, the updated ‘Part-time/Reduced Timetable Guidance’ and web notification form are ready to use. Primary and secondary schools should notify the local authority of all pupils on reduced and part-time timetables from the beginning of the new academic year and special schools from 20th September:

Details of attendance and part-time/reduced timetable webinars to support schools will be published shortly.   On line training on legal processes, accurate registration coding and deletion from roll will also be published in due course.

The DfE has updated its guidance in relation to attendance which you can access via the links below.   Please note that daily completion of the education status form will still be required but the DfE but it will be moving to a weekly form from 1st October 2021. In addition, some of the sub-codes for the form have been updated:

The DfE has also published guidance on improving attendance which schools may find useful as it was developed with schools and local authorities, including Birmingham. 

Please feel free to contact the Education Legal Intervention Team if you have any attendance queries (attendance@birmingham.gov.uk)

News update for the Schools Portal: September 2021

The schools portal has been operating now for a while and are proud of the way it is working but also recognise, like with all technology, there will be further ongoing developments and improvements.

We want to thank you all for working closely with us and helping us shape the future, we have prepared an overall update.  We hope you had a great summer and apologise for the delay in sending this update, we look forward to seeing you in September.

Support and Guidance available

There are several training resources available to help you to use the schools portal, we have created some short, focussed guidance videos for the areas in which we get the most queries. These are available through the following links:

Book a training session

We are excited to announce we have put together a schedule of training which will commence in September 2021.  These will be delivered virtually via Microsoft TEAMS.

These sessions are not chargeable and can be booked via the Eventbright links below:

New Staff Training: 

Refresher training for current users

Closure of the In-Year 2020 round

The School Admissions work is based on an Academic Year, this does mean that the current rounds closed on 31/07/2021. This will affect the round codes: PYINSep2020 and SYINSep2020. Please be advised you will not be able to add any applications into these rounds.

We will create the new In-Year rounds PYINSep2021 and SYINSep2021 over the summer break which will be available to add any applications for the forthcoming 2021/2022 Academic Year. We will advise once these have been created and are ready for use.

Waiting Lists

Waiting lists cannot be carried forward from one academic year to another.  This does mean that any children who wish to remain on the W/L will need to reapply and be added to the new round. 

Open Offers/Updating of the 2020/2021 round

We ask that you check your ‘Applicant Status’ Tab in the PYINSep2020 and SYINSep2020 rounds to finalise any open offers, this is good practice and necessary to ensure we are not keeping offers open unnecessarily.   Where we have open offers, these children will show as an offered Status and we would ask that you update the Acceptance or Refusal by the end of this academic year. 

Please do not add any offers made from Sep 2021 onwards into the 2020/2021 rounds as they need to be recorded against the new rounds.

We will need to archive some of the rounds and will be confirming this nearer the time.  They will affect 2020/2021 in-year rounds and 2021 Transfer rounds, and you will no longer have access to these rounds in the schools portal. 

You can create a copy of the Waiting Lists by using the ‘blue download’ arrow at the bottom of the table on the Waiting List Tabs and save it to your computer/shared drives.

If you use the offer report, this option is also available from the ‘Applicant Status’ Tab.  This allows you to export of all application details, their outcomes and contact details.

Access to Schools Portal (90 Day rule and advising Admict or New Staff and Leavers)

As we are going into a new Academic Year, we understand that there may be some staffing changes within the School’s administration/business teams.

We ask that all users log into the system regularly to check that information is correct.  This also helps compliance with the Corporate IT security measures.  If you do not log in regularly and 90 days lapses you password will be deactivated for security purposes. 

This does create a lengthy process to enable reactivation should you need to activate your password again, the portal after all should be used to quality assure your information and advise us of pupils that are joining and leaving your school and supports safeguarding children.

If you or a member of your team leaves your school please notify us via email as soon as you are aware.  

If you have any new staff starters who require training/access to the Schools Portal, they can book onto one of the Training sessions as advertised above.

Transfer Waiting Lists

Good news!  We have been able to import applicants who were on schools' waiting lists at the closure of the Transfer round 2021 and will be found in the In-Year Round. You will not have to manually add these applicants into the new In-Year round.

We ask that you work through the ‘Manage Waiting List’ tab to assign the Schools Criteria to ensure children are allocated the correct position and then’ re-manage’ the Waiting List. This will be the start of your In-Year waiting list for the relevant Reception and Year 7 group.

All enquiries regarding Admission and Fair Access in relation to the Schools Portal should be sent to admict@birmingham.gov.uk 

Health and Safety training courses for school staff 

Level 3 First Aid at Work – 3rd 6th & 7th September 2021

  • Date:  3rd 6th & 7th September 2021 – Start Time:  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Cost: £190.00 per delegate
  • Venue:  Stirchley Baths, Bournville Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham B30 2JT
  • Booking link https://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Event/146972 
  • Note:  Due to Covid restrictions no lunch or refreshments will be provided 

Level 3 First Aid at Work – 10th 13th & 14th September 2021

  • Date:  10th 13th & 14th September 2021 – Start Time:  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Cost: £190.00 per delegate
  • Venue:  Stirchley Baths, Bournville Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham B30 2JT
  • Booking link https://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Event/149161
  • Note:  Due to Covid restrictions no lunch or refreshments will be provided 

School Site Safety - 14th & 22nd September 2021 (Delivered via Microsoft Teams)

(MIDAS) Minibus Driving (Refresher) - 14th Sept 2021

  • Date:  14th September 2021 – Start Time:  9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Cost: £160.00 per delegate
  • Venue:  Driver Training Center, Redfern Depot, Kings Road, Tysley, B11 2AB
  • Booking link https://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Event/149370
  • Note:  Due to Covid restrictions no lunch or refreshments will be provided 

Level 3 First aid at Work (Requalification) 20th & 21st September 2021

  • Date:  20th & 21st September 2021 – Start Time:  9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Cost: £160.00 per delegate
  • Venue:  Stirchley Baths, Bournville Lane, Stirchley, Birmingham B30 2JT
  • Booking link https://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Event/149370
  • Note:  Due to Covid restrictions no lunch or refreshments will be provided 

(MIDAS) Minibus Driving (Full) – 5th October 2021

  • Date:  5th October 2021 – Start Time:  9:30 a.m. to 15:30 p.m.
  • Cost: £265.00 per delegate
  • Venue:  Driver Training Center, Redfern Depot, Kings Road, Tysley, B11 2AB
  • Booking link https://www.birminghameducationsupportservices.co.uk/Event/146353
  • Note:  Due to Covid restrictions no lunch or refreshments will be provided 

For general enquiries about these courses, plase email schoolsafety@birmingham.gov.uk


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