Building Schools for the Future. Communications and Engagement Plan

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1 Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan 1.0 Project Background BSF is a unique transformational project that will transform teaching and learning for young people, teachers and the wider community within Walsall. Building on the progress made so far, BSF will continue to support Walsall s vision for its children and young people which is: To make growing up in Walsall as good as it can be Our mission is: To ensure all children and young people achieve the best possible levels of education, health and development and to support those who are most vulnerable. We will encourage children and young people to build on their achievements, to develop and improve their confidence, resilience and self-esteem, to participate in their communities and achieve economic wellbeing. One key aspect of our service delivery model will integrate services in localities through Children s Centres, extended schools and other appropriate venues, focusing on providing early multi-agency support to families. We will safeguard children by early recognition of risks and the provision of local support, with specialist intervention when needed. Walsall will specifically use the BSF investment to achieve learning transformation: Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan Jan 09 Page 1 of 29

2 1. To ensure that we raise attainment and achievement for all learners. (Learners meet challenging targets, more top quartile performance, more good and outstanding schools, greater participation in sport, NEET reductions, greater aspiration to go to university or higher education, Support for families Think family, adult skills development, National Challenge) 2. To ensure we narrow performance gaps. (Looked After Children, Ethnic Minorities, Gender, FSM, Black Country Challenge) 3. To develop good Walsall citizens (improve attendance, reduce persistent absence, reduce exclusions, improve behaviour, increased residential opportunities, community work and charity work) 4. To ensure effective learning pathways for all children and young people (agreed diploma delivery, shared facilities, sixth form some common timetabling, greater use of IT solutions, young apprenticeship schemes) 5. To develop skills that will meet future employer needs (e.g. Languages, IT, Business Administration, Finance, Teamwork, Leadership, enterprise, work ready, learning to learn, self reliance, flexibility, Work experience programmes) 6. To ensure that Every Child in Walsall Matters (Reduce Child Protection referrals, Reduce Teenage Pregnancy, Looked After Children reduction, reduce obesity, reduce drugs and alcohol abuse, ensure children are safe from bullying) 7. To develop our approach for personalised learning (iplan, Learning Platform, Virtual School, Aim Higher Programme, Connexions advisers) 8. To ensure all young people, particularly those with learning difficulties and disabilities, develop alongside young people of their own age (improved progress by Special Education Needs pupils, co-location of services, outreach programmes, Children Area Partnerships, Aiming High for Disabled Children programme, integrated youth support programmes) 9. To ensure that every learner experiences a curriculum that is exciting and challenging (Enrichment programmes, thinking skills, virtual learning, problem solving) 10. To develop our workforce so that they have the required skills and abilities to implement our ambitions (transformation programmes, action research, accredited training University/College etc Academies/Trusts/Capacity building) Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan Jan 09 Page 2 of 29

3 To deliver the overall objectives, the processes to be followed are outlined below: Strategy for Change The Strategy for Change (SfC) is the first formal component of the BSF approvals process. It is designed to capture both the local authority s strategy for education and the requirements that strategy places upon the physical school estate. In addition, to secure coherent capital investment to support the reforms, it formally extends BSF and the SfC development to include all settings in which young people learn, including Further Education (FE). Development State (Pre Procurement) The preparation of an Outline Business Case will require: the provision of suitability survey information from the Asset Management Plan (AMP), condition surveys of existing buildings, ground condition surveys with the benefit of collateral warranties, warranted certificate of title and searches related to the proposed site(s), site plans etc Procurement Stage The procurement process will require: preparation of the PQQ, the long-listing process, the preparation of the Invitation to Participate in Dialogue (ITPD), the evaluation of the ITPD, the short-listing process, preparation of the Invitation to Continue Dialogue and invitation to submit final bids (ITSFB), selection of the Preferred Partner, the preparation of the Final Business Case (FBC) and contract monitoring. Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan Jan 09 Page 3 of 29

4 10-Point Plan 1. Situation Analysis What s Happening Now? Strengths Cash available to upgrade / rebuild school buildings Solid project team / leadership Strong political support Opportunity to learn from Wolverhampton Opportunities Opportunity to improve educational achievement through improved learning environments More flexible approach to learning with cross-campus working, pooling of expertise Make people think differently about learning / education / qualifications Schools as part of regeneration opportunities maximise ops for libraries. sports facilities etc Weaknesses Long process/timescales before public see new schools or refurbished ones Focus will be on new build and major refurbishment only five schools what about the rest Manage expectations council financial position Threats Possible negative media / public response to programme Possible delays / slippage in programme implementation Future change of political leadership during programme Lack of support from heads / governors Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan Jan 09 Page 4 of 29

5 2. Communication and engagement objectives The communication and engagement plan will support the vision and objectives of the BSF programme. Specifically to:- Promote this once in a lifetime opportunity for Walsall to transform learning in Walsall. Ensure transparency in its communications throughout the life of the programme. Ensure accurate, effective, and timely communications between all parties with direct and/or indirect involvement with Walsall s Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme. Ensure that Headteachers understand the recommended Waves identified by the BSF programme. Engage with all of its stakeholders to ensure that the programme developed is innovative, reflects the changing needs of local people and truly transforms learning in Walsall. Communicate clear, concise, and consistent messages to all relevant parties. Information will be tailored to the audience to support clarity and promote understanding. Ensure those schools not in receipt of funding in the first wave are still engaged in the transformation agenda especially those at the very back of the programme Provide communications plans for all BSF programme work streams. Promote positive messages to the market place to generate interest by potential strategic partners Promote the wider transformational aspect to BSF, not purely its improvements to the school estate Minimise negative publicity that may arise from any school closures as part of BSF Minimise the risk of publicity being leaked by press instead of project channels. Ensure that communications and engagement activity aligns with Walsall s Sustainable Community Strategy. Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan Jan 09 Page 5 of 29

6 3. Audiences It is vital to the success of the BSF programme that all key audiences and stakeholders are identified and reviewed regularly through the Transforming Learning project team. 3.1 Walsall BSF Stakeholders A stakeholder mapping exercise was undertaken to identify main stakeholder groups to communicate and engage with during the programme. These have been grouped for the purpose of the plan and activity planner. The main objective for involving these stakeholder groups was to establish a common understanding of the objectives of the programme, improve awareness of the authority s plans and strategies and ensure that views and opinions are taken into account during the development of the programme. Local people across Walsall All Children and young people across Walsall to include schools, school councils, Youth Opinions Unite, youth groups, children with learning disabilities, looked after children, home taught children, Children s Area Partnerships (CAPS) and involve Walsall s Children s Trust. Teachers, Headteachers and Governors to include teachers, headteachers, governors, parent governors and specialist school staff (i.e. sports and drama teachers) in Walsall within all primary and secondary schools. Early Years service, Special schools, the Special Education Need (SEN) service, Integrated services and school unions will also be included. Parents and carers to include all parents and carers across Walsall (including parents of home taught children), Parent Partnership. Faith groups to include local Walsall faith groups, local diocese including Lichfield Diocese and Birmingham Archdiocese. Partner groups to include local neighbourhood partners, housing associations and resident groups, local community groups, key strategic partners (PCT, Police, NHS, Walsall Partnership), Further education partners, local government agencies, Trade Unions, Neighbouring local authorities and potential partners (including businesses). Local and Trade media -to disseminate good news stories, progress and promote the benefits of BSF. Council to include the core project team, Steering Group, Corporate Management team, Programme board, Stakeholder group, Sports and Leisure steering group, Councillors, MP s, MEP s, Heads of Service, Serco employees, HR officers Unions and all council employees. Children s services partners to include Department of Communities, Schools and Families, Partnership for Schools and 4PS. Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan Jan 09 Page 6 of 29

7 This more detailed list of stakeholders will be updated regularly. External Parents & carers (both inside Walsall and surrounding boroughs) Pupils (in schools and home tought) Headteachers (Heads group) Teachers School staff Youth groups Local colleges & universities Faith groups Lichfield Diocese Birmingham Archdiocese Governors Local communities Local Neighbourhood Partnerships Resident groups Black country consortium Key partners (PCT, Police, Fire, NHS, LSC) Early Years providers Young people Looked after children Children s Area Partnership Parent Partnership Potential partners Residents without children Over 50 s Groups General public Local & trade media Neighbouring local authorities Walsall Partnership Business community Walsall Chamber of Commerce/Urban Regeneration Company Internal Members of the programme/project team CMT Cabinet BSF programme board Heads of Service Council employees Councillors MPs, MEPs Department for Communities Schools & Families Office of the Schools Commissioner (OSC) Partnership for Schools 4 Ps Children s Trust HR officers Contractors / sub contractors Trade unions Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan Jan 09 Page 7 of 29

8 3.2 Channels of communication and community engagement An activity planner and detailed communications project plan support this plan and are reviewed and updated daily. An online survey will be sent to stakeholders to ensure that the most effective channels will be used during the programme (reviewed annually). The survey will ask what communication methods are used, preferences and the frequency of distribution. Communication channels Channels of communication to include BSF website, local media press releases, trade press, a regular dedicated newsletter (Transforming Learning in Walsall), school and partner newsletters, attendance at local events, conferences, text messaging and circulation lists, briefings at existing communication channels, presentations and individual meetings with stakeholder groups. Headteachers will receive regular communications. This started in 2008 with 1:1 visits from Children s Services Serco to support SFC1 and BSF visioning, briefings from the BSF director (supported by members of the project team) at Headteacher events and includes 1:1 visits from the School Education Advisor and BSF Communications manager in Jan/Feb 09. BSF is a standing item at Headteacher meetings. School news, the Transforming Learning in Walsall Newsletter and Governor News is used communicate progress of the programme further. The communication channels would listen and learn from the views of all its stakeholders and develop its communication plan to ensure that it communicated clear and transparent information, particularly to schools. During a Headteacher workshop in January one Headteacher demonstrated her concerns about the degree of communication and engagement prior to the announcement of the Waves. The vast majority of the Headteachers felt they were engaged with the process and positive about the future but wanted clear and regular communications. Stakeholder groups will be engaged throughout the programme to discuss appropriate channels, their effectiveness and reviewed regularly. A BSF stakeholder group and a Sports and Leisure stakeholder group will be used to communication progress within the programme, communicate within partner agencies and work together to develop innovative approaches to learning. These groups contain representatives from schools, the council, colleges, professionals, Children s Area partnerships, businesses and government agency representatives. Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan Jan 09 Page 8 of 29

9 The website will be developed to include information about the programme, upcoming events and frequently asked questions. Key documents will also be included on the website. Consultation methods Web surveys will be used to consult with stakeholder groups during the life of the programme. Locality consultation events will be used in each stage to engage with children, young people, teachers, their families, members, specialist and professional agencies and the local community. These will be developed in partnership with schools, children area partnerships and the Children s Trust. The first round of these events in May 2009 will focus on communications, vision and benefits of the programme, programme work stream objectives and support the School s own Strategy for Change. Workshops with stakeholder groups and officers involved with BSF workstreams. Meetings and existing events attend or participate at existing events to views and opinions to support the programme. 1:1 consultations with main stakeholders Customer insight collect consultation and intelligence data (outside of BSF) to support the development of the programme (using shared resource tools, Mosaic or GIS to present the information). Building Schools for the Future Communications and Engagement Plan Jan 09 Page 9 of 29

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