The Spring Term Chair’s Briefing was held in the Town Hall’s Peel Room on Tuesday 14th January 2020 and it was excellent that so many Chairs attended the session.

Assistant Director Julien Kramer welcomed attendees and talked about the positive developments that are taking place in Bury currently. He described the work that is taking place in relation to school improvement and outlined how he had sought to simplify the governance structure around school improvement. There is work underway on some major service developments andthese include work around SEND, SEMH, Early Help, Locality Based Resources and Attendance. Bringing some children back from out of borough placements will save approximately £0.5 million that can be invested back into schools

The work around the secondary hubs has progressed well with provision being delivered from the Elms Bank Hub (the former St Monica’s 6th Form centre), Elton and Phillips High schools. Work is now being planned to develop a similar primary based resource. As part of the Associate Headteacher programme, Fiona Robinson, is leading on work on improving attendance.

There has been a positive meeting with the office of the Regional Schools Commissioner who accepts that the work is moving Bury in the right direction. Vincent Ashworth, our Chief HMI, will meet with Bury Headteachers which is again a positive move. Moreover a peer review has also indicated that improvements are being realised.Julien outlined that the Ofsted inspections that had takenplace in Bury following the inception of the new framework had been positive.

The School Forum had met prior to the briefing and the very positive news was that the new national funding formula would see at least an additional £7.8 million being allocated to Bury schools.

Julien is working through the Associate Heads programme to reflect on what a true school-led system will look like for Bury. He is also working with Ian Young to develop a ‘helicopter’ view of the current capacity in Bury. He then took questions relating to funding and behaviour in schools.

Rebecca Hoyle annonuced that the Whole School Pay Policy has now been through the consulation process with unions and that should schools have questions relating to it, they should be addressed to Sue Roberts in HR.

Paul Cooke then gave a more detailed overview on resourcing. He indicated that Steve Goodwin should have the indicative budgets out to schools at the end of January.He thenwent on to talk about capital funding and some changes in the landscape, but was cautious about raising expectations that there may be additional capital funding in the pipeline.

In relation to the authority’s statutory responsibility for pupil places,Paul gave an overview of his current considerations in relation to pupil place planning. He outlined that an application would be going for a free school in Radcliffe, based on anticipated additional demand, and that a sponsor partner had been identified. He reassured Chairs that planning for additional places should not be to the detriment of other Bury schools. In relation to specialist provision,Paul outlined developments of the secondary hubs, the additional provision at Mill Wood and the special free school planned for Elton.

Paul provided an update on the current governance landscape in Bury and outlined that Trusts that are now working in partnership with the authority with Bury based academies. Finally,he talked about the vision and principles of a 21st Century education service in Bury. The authority will undertake a review in consultation with schools about the services it currently provides.

Damian Kay closed the briefing with an update on quality standards and performance. He reported that the general concensus following inspections was that the new framework has been well received. Curriculum is clearly of significant interest although anemerging common thread is reading.In relation to being ready for an inspection Damain strongly recommended that governors should ensure that their school websites are up to date with the statutory information required and that all current governor details should be recorded on the Get Information About Schools database. Section 128 checks for governors should also be undertaken and the Single Central Record updated to the effect that this had taken place.

The PowerPoint slides that accompanied the presentation can be accessed via the link below:

Chairs Briefing Presentation (Spring 2020)