There was an excellent ‘virtual’ attendance at the Chairs’ briefing on Wednesday 13th January 2021.

Interim Assistant Director Julien Kramer opened the meeting and asked Chairs to extend his thanks to all governors for the time they dedicate to supporting Bury schools and children. He offered apologies on behalf of Councillow Tariq, CE Geoff Little and DSC Sheila Durr and explained that they were engaged in the process of appointing a new Director for Education and Learning for Bury. He then provided some historical context of how Bury’s reputation was seen to be improving through the prism of Ofsted, the DfE and the RSC. He highlighted that the recent decision to impose a lockdown had cleraly impacted on Bury schools, but that the positive relationship with the local CCG gave Bury a strong position to remain ahead of the curve with implementing risk mitigation measures. He mentioned that scrutiny was being given to the quality of FSM and in ensuring that Government funded laptops were being made available to schools.

In relation to other areas of work Julien shared that good feedback was being received on the local provision of services for SEMH/SEND children and that the investment in hubs was proving to be fruitful with fewer children requiring out of borough placements. He also extended his thanks to the governors at Millwood school for their work and support whilst the roof at the school was being repaired. He also outlined that there was no news yet on the application for the new free school in Radcliffe but that consultation with other local high schools was taking place. He ended by reiterating his thanks to governors.

Rachael Stirk and Wendy Jackson then provided an update of the work of the staff welfare working group and guidance on remote learning. The presntation they used to support their briefing can be accessed below:

Chairs Briefing – Spring 2021.pdf

Paul Cooke closed the briefing with an update on the current Bury context in relation to covid-19. He described the impact of the revised definitions of vulnerable children and key workers and the impact this was having on pupil numbers in Bury schools. The council has drafted a model letter to parents to reiterate that where possible childen of key workers should not attend their school. He outlined that the national FSM voucher scheme was being resurrected and outlined that there had been local debate about the quality of provision. He also outlined the emerginhg plans around mass testing of staff and children. More detail is provided in the council’s regular briefings to school leaders which also go out to Chairs.