Pupil and School Support offer a flexible service that can be customised to meet the exact requirements of your school or setting. The flexibility lies in both the delivery of the service as well as the ways in which you can choose to work with us.
All Birmingham mainstream schools receive a core allocation of support from their allocated Pupil and School Support Teacher. The school’s low prior attainment proxy measure is used to calculate the core allocation of hours. Birmingham grammar schools also receive a core offer each term which can be supplemented by purchasing additional services.
All Birmingham schools are invited to “top up” their core allocation of hours by purchasing additional blocks of time.
Out of Birmingham Schools:
The form below can be used to purchase a block of hours to be spread across the year according to the needs of your school/setting at a cost of £130 per hour. The form can also be used to purchased a one-off activity e.g. a School SEN Review which can be specified on the form.
The Core Package section below gives a sense of the work we can undertake during these blocks of time.
We are also able of offer a range of packages or one off services to nursery schools, free schools, independent schools, special schools and other settings. Based on our hourly rate we are happy to discuss your personal requirements and build a bespoke package.
Where applicable, our hourly rate is £130
Rates for training for Birmingham family of schools:
Full day: £765
Half day: £395
Rates for training provided to schools & settings outside of the authority area:
Full day: £825 + travel and resource expenses
Half day: £455 + travel and resource expenses
Twilight: £335 + travel & resource expenses
There additional trainers are required, rates will be negotiated separately.
Depending on the needs of your setting, you can access the support of a highly experienced PSS Teacher who will work with you to enhance provision for SEN/Underachievement across your organisation.
Following a needs analysis, the level and nature of support would be agreed and could range from casework with individual children and young people to strategic work.
A profile of an individual pupil’ s strengths and areas for development
Clear information which can be shared with parents
Accurate baseline assessment information to inform target setting
Information required to implement appropriate provision to support accelerated progress
Casework could include:
Detailed 1:1 assessments of the strengths and weakness of learners followed by a summary report with recommendations to support QFT planning. Areas covered – Literacy, Speech, Language and Communication, Dyslexia, Maths and EAL
Advice to SENCO and class/subject teacher following assessments and observations
Advice for parents
Identification of suitable interventions to implement within the school
Follow-up support for monitoring interventions an evaluating pupil progress
Enhance provision through the implementation of a range of interventions which could include: – Acceleread Accelewrite, Barrier Games, Cued Spelling, Direct Instruction, Direct Phonics, Hornet Literacy Primer, Metra, Paired Writing, Paired Reading, Phonological Awareness Training (PAT), Precision Teaching, Reciprocal Reading, Toe by Toe, Words First and Word Wasp.
Staff confident to lead on interventions
Provision reflects pupil need
Effective monitoring and evaluation of intervention
This is a one hour session designed to raise parents’ awareness and understanding of dyslexia. It will consider assessment and identification based on the staged, assessment overtime approach.
There will be an activity to look at the possible reasons for literacy difficulties where dyslexia may or may not be evident. Included will be practical suggestions and ideas for supporting their children at home.
Increased understanding of the assessment process
Increased knowledge of support strategies that can be used at home
Increased awareness of some of the issues surrounding dyslexia
PSS are pleased to offer a coaching model of specialist teaching, the aim of which is to train a member of school staff to deliver a recognised programme to pupils with dyslexia. This consists of a 6 week or 12 week programme of support from a PSS teacher with the British Dyslexia ATS or AMBDA accreditation. The PSS teacher will work alongside a member of school staff to deliver a specialist teaching approach to individuals or a small group of two pupils. By the end of the coaching period, the school staff member will be equipped to continue delivery to these and other pupils with dyslexia.
Skilled facilitators listen for themes and ideas contributed by participants and speakers. The graphic supports the group to identify gaps and make links, prompting new perspectives on current thinking and generating new ideas.
Meeting to plan – facilitators will meet with you before the event to learn about the aims and purpose of the session and your desired outcomes. Facilitators are experienced in using a range of planning frameworks and graphic formats that support you to structure a session.
Facilitators bring along their own graphic boards, paper and kit.
A lively colourful graphic created during a meeting.
A conference that engages participants, prompts creative thinking and captures key themes and ideas from the session
Electronic copies of the chart
In addition to the work outlined in the Core PSS package, PSS have a number of discrete training packages which can be delivered in your setting. These can be purchased separately or delivered as part of your allocated hours. (Mainstream/Academies)
All packages and the timings of these are flexible and can be tailor made to the needs of your setting.
Bespoke training – for whole school, departments, inclusion teams – can also be provided. In the first instance please discuss your requirements with your PSS teacher.
PSS also offer a variety of courses held in our training centres. These cover a variety of topics including Provision Management, EAL, Barrier Games and Person Centred Approaches. They range from ½ day sessions to more in depth diploma courses which run over several days.
SENCO Networks and Local Area Groups
Pupil and School Support organise termly SENCO network meetings which are opportunities for SENCOs from across Birmingham to meet together and network. The focus for these sessions is usually driven by the National Agenda and the Local Authority use them to provide information and support SENCOs to keep up to date with new developments and processes.
The same sessions are repeated at venues across the city and SENCOs from across all phases, as well as colleagues from Special Schools are encouraged to attend the meetings which are most convenient for them.
Recent agenda items have focussed on consultation around Birmingham’s Strategy for SEN and Inclusion; SEMH – Evidencing the Graduated Approach and Birmingham’s Dyslexia Assessment Pathway.
As well as these city-wide main SENCo Networks, Pupil and School Support continue to work with local SENCo Leaders to facilitate the running of local SENCo groups. These groups allow SENCOs to share good practice and offer school to school support within their local area. Many of the groups are lead by a Local SENCO Action Leader who has contacts with other leaders across the city.
A City-Wide Early Years Group is currently active within Birmingham
Pupil and School Support has considerable experience in working with a wide range of schools to support them to reflect on current practice around SEND provision and develop future action plans. We work within a strategic partnership model with individual schools, families of schools, multi-academy trusts, consortia and teaching alliances.
There are a number of ways in which Pupil and School Support can work with you on the SEND School Improvement Agenda. We can be commissioned by schools to carry out full or light touch SEND Reviews; this might be for good or outstanding schools who wish to maintain continuous improvement for the SEND and vulnerable cohorts. Additionally we can support schools where the data indicates that SEND and vulnerable pupils are not making required progress or attainment.
The Pupil and School Support offer includes:
Full SEND Reviews – 2 senior members of staff for a full day
Light touch SEND reviews – 1 senior member of staff for a half day
SEND Action Planning – more detailed planning resulting from the findings of a review / Ofsted
Following any of the above, bespoke packages can be designed in response to needs identified:
Recognition of strengths and identification of areas for development
Focused action planning
Increased staff confidence at removing barriers to learning
Shared vision of aspirational vision for SEND across the school
Impact measures in place to support monitoring of SEND pupil progress
Birmingham offers tools for supporting schools in the identification and tracking of pupils working below age related expectations of the NC in English and Maths, using the Language & Literacy Toolkit and Maths Toolkit. The Toolkits support schools to implement the SEND Code of Practice (2015) graduated approach for children and young people with cognition and learning needs. They support schools to identify gaps in learning to plan provision.
The Toolkits support schools to assess and report on pupils attainment and progress and include the Pre-Key Stage Standards.
Within these pages you will find all the information and documents you will need to use the A2E Birmingham Language and Literacy Toolkit and A2E Birmingham Maths Toolkit.
The Language and Literacy Toolkit
The Language and Literacy Toolkit focuses on attainment in speaking and listening, reading and writing. It is a tool that supports schools in identifying specific levels of need and ability for pupils with their literacy skills (including speaking and listening). The resource breaks down areas of reading, writing, speaking and listening into discrete skills on a continuum that enables schools to set appropriate and aspirational targets and to track progress, as well as supporting teachers with a range of teaching and learning ideas to develop skills alongside quality first teaching in the classroom.
The Maths Toolkit
The Maths Toolkit focuses on the identification of barriers to learning in Maths. The Maths Toolkit is split into the Core frameworks and Supplementary Frameworks. The Core focuses on the key areas of Number and Place Value, addition, subtraction, Multiplication and division. In the same way as the Language and Literacy continuum, the Maths Framework supports schools to identify gaps in knowledge, next steps and provides a range of teaching and learning ideas to support teachers to develop these skills alongside quality first teaching in the classroom.
The Toolkit Progress Tracker
In line with the Birmingham SEN Toolkits, PSS also provide an online tool to support schools in tracking the progress of pupils working below their year group expectations. The Toolkit Progress Tracker (TPT) is a tool based on the Birmingham SEN Language & Literacy Continuums and enables schools to track and analyse individual, group and whole school data. With TPT schools are given the tools to demonstrate and report progress for pupils working below their year group expectations and produce reports suitable to share with parents, SMT, Governors, Ofsted. Full training to use the Toolkit Progress Tracker is available.
PSS work with educational settings to:
Promote a shared understanding of dyslexia
Clarify the roles and responsibilities of all concerned whilst promoting the active participation of children/young people and their parents/carers in the learning process
Clarify terminology and use the term ‘dyslexia’ with confidence
Share current perspectives and definitions of dyslexia
Signpost sources of information
Provide advice on classroom strategies
Advise on adapting classroom practice, approaches and access strategies, waves of intervention and ‘dyslexia friendly’ learning environments
Provide assessment over time in line with the British Psychological Society and Rose definitions of dyslexia, as defined in the Access to Education Dyslexia Guidance
Explore an identification of dyslexia upon request in line with the Access to Education Dyslexia Guidance
Reflect on and improve current practice
Identify pupils strengths and areas for development
Advise and deliver training on appropriate targeted and specialist interventions
Birmingham Schools can access the A2E Dyslexia Guidance through the SENCO Zone area.
The outcomes of PSS involvement:
Increased staff confidence to support pupils
Increased awareness of dyslexia and associated issues
Knowledge of a range of practical strategies
Developing and embedding dyslexia friendly practice
Understanding of the assessment process – see Access to Education Dyslexia Guidance
Removal of barriers to learning
Packages of Support
Raising Awareness – can be delivered from school hours
Practical Strategies – can be delivered from school hours
Parent Workshop (additional charge)
Online Training Short Course
Supporting schools with applying for BDA dyslexia friendly quality mark (additional charge).
Effective Deployment and use of Teaching Assistants
The Deployment and Impact of Support Staff (DISS) study found that lower-achieving pupils receiving the most support from TAs made less progress than similar pupils receiving less TA support.
The research found that, after controlling for pupil characteristics, it was the decisions made by school leaders and teachers about TAs and not TAs’ own actions that best explained the findings.
The findings suggest that deploying, training and preparing TAs more effectively could reverse this effect.
Ofsted good practice indicators cite Teaching Assistant specialism as crucial in providing personalised support for pupils who need extra help and improving pupil outcomes by creating independent lifelong learners. As recorded in Ofsted’s school inspection update in November inspectors were asked to consider:
How do senior leaders ensure that TAs are deployed effectively in line with evidence?
Are TAs supplementing the work of teachers or replacing them?
Is there a well-planned programme of training and support for TAs who deliver out of class interventions?
PSS courses support this drive towards the more strategic employ of Teaching Assistants within schools to ensure they are an integral part in the drive to improve pupil achievement. It recognises the changing educational landscape and raised profile of Teaching Assistants in schools: with specific, more effective, high impact deployment as an essential in supporting children with individual learning needs; increasingly recognised by and included in a school’s strategic planning process to ensure pupils receive the best possible educational experience.
*Please note, that we require a minimum of 8 parents to make our programme viable; less than this will result in the start date being deferred.
The Parent Ambassador Programme supports the drive towards effective parental engagement in schools. This unique role bridges the gap between home and school through engaging parent representatives from current school communities in a structured learning programme. The programme aims to train and empower Parent Ambassadors with how to support other parents from within their local community, which in turn aims to lead to better outcomes for children.
“I love the course. It is has really made me and my Parent Ambassador reflect on systems and policies in school. She has really enjoyed the sessions.”
The programme is delivered by Pupil and School Support in partnership with Birmingham Adult Education Service, and includes partners such as the Police Service, Fire Service and local safeguarding bodies.
Parent Ambassadors have opportunity to gain one unit of a Level 2 Open College Network West Midlands qualification entitled: Becoming a Parent Ambassador.
The course is delivered over a 11 week period, which includes an Information and Assessment event and a final presentation event.
Each training session takes place on consecutive Monday mornings throughout the spring term.
Each session will be 3 hours in length and start at 9:30am so that parents have time to drop their children to school if necessary.
An initial written assessment must be completed to ensure candidates had the required level of written English to access the qualification criteria.
This programme will help learners to gain new skills, reflect on their practice and further develop participants as parent ambassadors.
All learners will be required to:
Complete an initial written assessment (15-20 minutes written statement outlining what they believe the role and duties of a Parent Ambassador are and what skills they feel they have to bring to the role and why they would like to become a Parent Ambassador.) This is completed at the PA Information and Assessment session on Tuesday 24th September. Examples of the required standard of written English are below.
Attend all of the nine taught sessions.
Complete homework tasks to build portfolio of evidence (the expectation is that parents will complete approximately 1-2 hours homework per week). .
Complete a voluntary placement within their school setting whilst undertaking the training.
Commit to a further two terms of employment (either paid or voluntary) following the training.
As this course is accredited, there will be elements of research and on-going assessment.
Select and recruit a suitable parent or parents (there is currently no limit with regards to the number of parents we will train but remember to consider how much capacity you have in school to support them)
Allocate a suitable school-based mentor (to oversee and support the work of the PA)
Mentors must attend the PA Information and Assessment event on Tuesday 24th September
Complete the necessary safeguarding checks required for the parent to complete voluntary work in schools (DBS)
Provide a placement and opportunities for parents to engage with other parents whilst the Parent Ambassador trains (10 weeks)
Provide a further two terms of voluntary or paid employment (approx. 3-5 hours per week recommended). It is school’s choice whether the Parent Ambassadors are paid or volunteers.
Support the Parent Ambassador with achieving their accreditation (i.e. provide witness testimonies or if necessary, provide support with completion of their portfolio. For example, one homework task is to bring in a sample of school policies—they may need their mentor to help them with this).
“We approached a parent helper, at the beginning of the Autumn term, to take part in the Parent Ambassador course because we could see the potential she had to make a difference to the children and parents in our school.
She was very excited to take part in the PSS course, which she found really useful. During this time she did voluntary work in school for 5 hours a week, supporting all parents but especially our non-English speaking parents at workshops, parent’s evening, coffee mornings and with homework. She also made herself available every morning and afternoon in the playground enabling her to network with a range of our parents. At the end of the term we could not afford to lose her so we decided to employ her for the 5 hours a week. She is now supporting the facilitation of Birmingham Adult Education English and Maths courses, in school, as well as all her other roles.
Encouraging her to complete the course and make the role her own is starting to make a real difference in connecting with our hard to reach parents, which in turn can only help their children to thrive. We have also seen her grow in the role with a new found confidence.”
Kate Wildman, Inclusion Leader / Birches Green Infants School
“Having a parent ambassador at our school has helped us build stronger relationships with our families and the local community. Parents have shared that they like having a someone who can bridge the gap between home and school when they are unsure of who to speak to and how to convey a message they may have.”
Deb Harvey, Inclusion Manager / Yardley Primary School
“The course is excellent; I have learnt so much.”
Paul / Parent Ambassador
“The content is very interesting and helping to improve practice. There is more homework than I thought previously however the tutor is fair and explains it very well.”
Laura / Parent Ambassador
“I really enjoyed this course with other like-minded parents who are all here to try and make a difference in their school.”
Lorraine / Parent Ambassador
Placements in schools
“We have implemented drop-ins every Tuesday and Thursday.”
Paul / Parent Ambassador
“The PA role is still yet undefined in our school. We are working on what areas she will have most impact. Once our new building is completed her role will be paramount in school.”
“Examples of the work I have done: introducing myself to school staff at a staff meeting; producing a questionnaire for parents to complete online and supporting parents at drop-in session. I have also signposted parents to websites and local organisations.”
Rachel /Parent Ambassador
Would you recommend this course?
“Yes I would. Already we have introduced our PA to parents and they are keen to pass on concerns and worries to her. She then feeds back in weekly meeting and we try to resolve or communicate a clearer response to the concerns.”
In Practice in Wolverhampton
The Parent Ambassador programme has been established at West Park Primary School in Wolverhampton for over 18 months.
“The work of the Parent Ambassadors has grown and grown. It’s working better than I ever could have imagined.”
Briony Jones / Head teacher
The Parent Ambassadors have been integral to shifting our mindset as a school towards improved parental engagement. Their work is now fundamental to our aims and values.
They are flexible with their hours and support the school in so many ways; their role continues to grow and develop, as well as their own knowledge and skills.
We have even developed a person specification and job description to raise their status (these are available on the A2E website).
Now they are established, which didn’t take as long as we thought, I communicate with the Parent Ambassadors through email and informal conversations—we now only meet half termly.
We have trained two Parent Ambassadors who:
Organise and deliver training to parents including ESOL language and health classes
Provide weekly drop-in sessions
Led training for our teachers, who will now signpost our parents to them
Communicate key messages to parents
Meet and greet parents at the start and end of the day
Reduced SLTs workload by leading on events such as our Christmas Fayre
Lead training for our teachers, who will now signpost parents to our Parent Ambassadors
“None of the concerns I initially had have happened. There are no negatives. Only positives.”
PSS work with educational settings to:
Share current perspectives and definitions of EAL
Promote a shared understanding of the needs of EAL learners
Support the identification of language needs of EAL learners
Signpost sources of information
Provide advice on classroom strategies
Advise on adapting classroom practice, approaches and access strategies, waves of intervention and ‘EAL friendly’ learning environments
Reflect on and improve current practice
Identify pupils strengths and areas for development
Raising Awareness– (school-based) – 1 hour twilight session for schools, focusing on identification of need, EAL vs SEN, stages of language acquisition, and includes generic strategies to support learning in the classroom.
Supporting Newly Arrived Learners– (school-based) – two twilights or half day session for settings where the raising awareness package has not already been delivered. This training focuses on identification of need, EAL vs SEN, stages of language acquisition, and also includes specific strategies to support reading, writing and language development in the classroom. This will also include materials to support the school with the induction of newly arrived pupils, initial identification of needs and top tips for staff on good practice. Where schools have previously had the raising awareness training delivered in school, a bespoke training package focusing on practical strategies to support EAL learners can be delivered. EAL Co-ordinator Training – this is a centre based course
Training for EAL Co-ordinators in developing their role(centre-based) – full day session to familiarise EAL Co-ordinators with the process of identification, assessment and tracking. This will include support on induction, identification of EAL and the pupil’s primary needs, using assessments to support initial language targets and tracking progress. There will also be generic strategies for supporting speaking and listening, reading and writing. Course participants will also be provided with the PSS EAL Toolkit at a reduced price.
In addition PSS have also produced an EAL toolkit. This is made up of:
School Assessment Pack
Newly Arrived Vocabulary Intervention Pack
This EAL toolkit is included at a reduced cost in the EAL co-ordinator training but can also be purchased separately. For further details of this please contact either you PSS teacher or the PSS Service Lead.
Pupil and School Support facilitate termly EAL network meetings. These are half day session aimed at EAL co-ordinators and others working with pupils where English is an additional language. These networks aim to:
• Identify best practice around EAL provision
• Provide support to build an inclusive classroom
• Share tools to develop a strategic approach around EAL provision