On 1 September 2021, BEP was awarded the Birmingham City Council’s (BCC) School Improvement Contract to extend over the next seven years.
In the first instance, support will be prioritised to focus on those schools where an Ofsted inspection is most likely to take place and those schools deemed to be the most vulnerable. Intelligence gained from these meetings and the monitoring process will be reported to BCC through review meetings.
For those maintained schools who have self reported, an agreed plan will be determined and costed with the school. BEP will use this information to discuss with BCC whether or not the school should be added to the list of schools requiring support. If the school isn’t included in the support list, BEP can continue to work with the school but the service level agreement and funding would be between the school and BEP. Such an agreement would sit outside the contract variation.
- BEP will broker school support, across the maintained sector, for those schools, who need to improve their overall school performance
In terms of the contract variations, BEP will be continually responsible for the following:
- The effectiveness of the Local Authority’s identification of, and intervention in, under performing maintained schools, including, where applicable, the use of formal powers available to the Local Authority
And for the following areas of judgement, in so far as they relate to maintained Priority Schools:
- The impact of Local Authority support and challenge over time and the rate at which maintained schools causing concern are improving, including impact of the Local Authority strategy to narrow attainment gaps between maintained schools causing concern and other schools
- The extent to which the Local Authority brokers and/or commissions high quality support for maintained schools causing concern
- The effectiveness of strategies to support highly effective leadership and management in maintained schools causing concern
BEP will not have any contractual responsibility to BCC for:
- Any school that is not maintained
- Nursery schools or sixth form provision (unless a maintained Priority school has a sixth form provision within it)
The working definition of ‘Priority Schools’ will be:
All maintained schools that are rated by Ofsted as Special Measures, 2 x Requiring Improvement, and Requiring Improvement, and:
- Other maintained schools agreed to be ‘vulnerable’ (1)
- Other maintained schools agreed to be ‘in crisis’ (2)
1. Vulnerable schools are those maintained schools that do not have one of the Ofsted judgements above, but are believed to be vulnerable (as indicated by performance data, and/or intelligence regarding to leadership and management, and have an imminent Ofsted Inspection due).
2. Schools in crisis are those maintained schools identified to be in need of urgent support to stabilise a crisis in relation to leadership and management. This working definition extends the DfE’s guidance regarding Priority Schools to include other maintained schools identified jointly by BCC and BEP to be in need of support.
BEP would establish systems and undertake activity, that enables the following Ofsted LASSI questions to be answered effectively:
- Where a school is defined as Priority
- How well does the Local Authority understand the school’s strengths and weaknesses, its performance and the standards pupils achieve?
- What measures are in place to support and challenge the school and how well do these meet the needs of the school?
- What is the impact of the Local Authority’s support and challenge over time to bring about school improvement?
- Action Plan
BEP will visit all schools judged as requiring support, to meet with the Headteacher and Chair of Governors to discuss the rationale and determine appropriate support. In all cases, BEP will agree with the school a School Plan that details the work to be undertaken to improve school performance, who is to be responsible for each action, the time scale within which the action is to be completed and the resources that are available to support this. The support identified will be brokered by BEP and progress monitored.
- Ofsted Inspections
BEP will attend Ofsted inspection feedback meetings, for maintained schools.