When Labour took back overall control of the council in 2012 they had a manifesto commitment to establish a Birmingham Co operative for its schools. This ambition was neither successfully defined nor effectively sold to schools and the idea failed. On 6th November 2013 however a headteacher led adaptation of the idea, with some support from BCC, was established. Following this launch BEP began with schools paying £1 per child a year. District working was proposed as existing networks and consortia of schools were weakening and a representative management committee supported a part time CEO. In February 2014 the Trojan Horse story broke and Sir Mike Tomlinson arrived as the Commissioner for Education that summer with a major change agenda.
The academic year 2014-15 was marked by the commissioner working BEP in preparation for the partnership taking over the council’s school improvement function. A business plan was developed and launch events described the idea to school leaders in February and June of 2015. BEP was established as both a charity and a business and on 1st Sept 15 Estelle Morris became the chair of a newly constituted board as BEP set out on a three year contract for school improvement, while retaining its identity as a membership organisation.
From the outset in 2013 BEP’s aims were to:
- Unite and hold together the whole family of Birmingham schools in the face of an increasingly atomised system around a weakening centre
- Secure a deeply good education for every child in a Birmingham School, maintained or academy, focusing on the civic and the social as well as the academic
- Provide a united voice for Birmingham schools and to champion partnership working with business and other large parts of the public sector to strengthen partnership working
- With the Birmingham City contract, in the shadow of Trojan Horse, BEP’s efforts were further focused around
- No school being left isolated and the city council knowing all its schools well
- Formal support and intervention with all maintained schools deemed to be less than good or at risk of requiring improvement or worse.
- Raising achievement / attainment and securing good OfSTED outcomes in all Birmingham Schools.
- BEP operates through four different approaches. These sometimes over lap and we recognise that other contracts and trading need to increase as BCC funding is set to diminish.
- A provider of membership services, such as peer review and information / training activities
- Working with all Birmingham schools under the BCC contract regardless of membership and with maintained schools providing support, challenge and intervention under Schools Causing Concern guidance.
- As a partner in other contracts or funded arrangements that support our aims such as working with health commissioners on wellbeing and mental health, or arts providers.
- Traded services: this work is how BEP engages in school improvement with academies and in any other work in or beyond Birmingham not covered by our other three ways of working.In pursuit of our key aims we seek to engage and understand all schools through a variety of means. BEP has subdivided Birmingham into its ten districts and worked through District Lead visits and local DSG meetings. With time our model is becoming increasingly targeted and bespoke. BCC has chosen to increase its own capacity to work with schools through Asst Directors and an enlarged safeguarding team. Future working is increasingly dependent on how BEP interfaces with the shifting world of RSC’s and increasingly important local collaboratives and MATs.
Birmingham Education Partnership’s Mission
Our mission is to secure a deeply good academic, social and civic education for every child and young person living in Birmingham.
- Birmingham Education Partnership will achieve this by creating a robust and ambitious school led system of continuous improvement, informed by intelligent use of relevant data, and building on the many existing strong networks amongst Birmingham schools and school leadership.
- Central to this approach is ensuring every school is part of a family of schools, and that there is good local and city wide knowledge.
- Birmingham Education Partnership will develop partnerships with employers, universities and all those committed to ensuring Birmingham’s children and young people receive the qualifications and skills they need, to become active, contributing and positive citizens.
- Birmingham Education Partnership recognise that a great system such as this requires great people, so will ensure serious and challenging professional development at all levels.
- Birmingham Education Partnership recognise also that effective learning systems are open and responsive so will learn from and share the best national and international developments.
- Above all Birmingham Education Partnership will ensure that no school, Headteacher or governing body feels unsafe or unsupported in this continuing journey of school and system improvement.
- Birmingham Education Partnership recognises that reduced school funding is becoming an increasingly significant challenge for schools to improve and to allocate capacity to collaborate, will support collaboration to drive financial efficiencies and so fulfil its mission.
Leading Birmingham with Experience
Birmingham Education Partnership is a Headteacher-led organisation, working to build a robust and ambitious system of continuous improvement, building on the very many existing strengths amongst Birmingham schools and school leadership.
Recognising the changes across the system and within the city, BEP wants to ensure that school improvement is in the hands of school leaders, and that no school is isolated or unsupported.
We recognise that a great system such as this requires great people, so we will ensure serious and challenging professional development at all levels.
We recognise also that effective learning systems are open and responsive so we will learn from and share the best national and international developments.
Above all we will ensure that no school, Headteacher or governing body feels unsafe or unsupported in this continuing journey of school and system improvement.
The BEP team
BEP’s governing board is chaired by Baroness Morris of Yardley, the former Secretary of State for Education. Pat Smart, the Executive Head of the Greet Teaching Schools Alliance and current Chair of Birmingham’s Association of Teaching Schools is BEP’s Vice Chair. Richard Gill , CEO of Arthur Terry Learning Partnership, is also BEP’s Vice Chair.
Tim Boyes is BEP’s CEO on a one year secondment from his role as Headteacher of Queensbridge School. Tracy Ruddle is the Director of Continuous School Improvement, having had a successful career of more than 30 years in the education sector. Her most recent role was as Primary Director at schools group United Learning and prior to that she was Executive Headteacher of the federated Corngreaves and Timbertree Primary Schools in Sandwell and earlier in her career at Bromley Hills Primary School in Dudley.
BEP Team structure and contact details
Currently under construction, if you need the contact details of someone specific please contact the office on 0121 285 0924 or email email@example.com