COVID-19: Update

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Latest update for all schools March 25

dan barton

Dear All,

As ever, I must extend my thanks and appreciation to everyone for everything they are doing to support our children and families in the most difficult of circumstances. The way in which we have pulled together is a source of great comfort to me personally, and I know that this will ultimately result in lives saved.

The establishment of Priority Childcare Hubs has moved on significantly over the week, and you will find a number of updates and appendices relating to this below – it is very information heavy, but please take some time to read through. We’re aiming to be up and running at the start of next week.

It’s important to note that, although very low numbers have been attending this week, as the epidemic curve steepens, demand for place in hubs is likely to increase. We are developing systems for verifying key workers so that we can speak directly to hub leaders to confirm identities as necessary.

Please take some time, if you have not already done so, to reflect with your teams on the need for rest. Many of you will have been working without a break for the last two weeks (not uncommon for educators!), but this is not sustainable. Rotas which will be in place in hubs going forward will help with this, but I would encourage all of you to take active steps to rest your colleagues, and yourselves, in the coming days.

Take care, and thank you all. 


Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills
Cumbria County Council

Table of contents

Childcare hub locations confirmed

Following yesterday’s update regarding the development of Childcare Hubs, the following locations have now been confirmed. There may be further locations and updates tomorrow and we will be working to ensure that all hubs feel confident and are fully prepared before final confirmation and communication with parents. This update is for school leaders and staff only. The intention is to develop a single access page for parents on our council website regarding hubs and to also publish updates for parents/carers on social media. A huge thank you to everyone who has worked to achieve this so quickly for the children and young people of Cumbria.

We have developed a guidance document for hubs, together with some exemplar forms to support planning arrangements. We know that some hubs have already developed some logistical plans and we will seek to work with you to avoid duplication. The guidance can be used as an aid to cross check against progress made to date. The LIS will continue to work with you and partners in Social Care, SEND, and health to ensure we meet the needs of both providers and families. The table below outlines the hubs currently confirmed. We will complete further work tomorrow to show and communicate which schools link with which hubs in the first instance.




Warwick Bridge




Nelson Thomlinson

Eden Rural

Appleby Grammar



Beaconside (inc UCC)

Rural Carlisle


Raughton Head CE

Kirkbampton CE


Robert Ferguson



Pennine Way



Alston Moor Federation (From 14.4.20)

Rural Penrith



Netherton Infants

Solway and Wigton

Silloth Primary School

Thomlinson Juniors




St Michael’s Bothel






St Herbert’s



Seascale (after Easter)


Sedbergh Primary

SLRP-Kirkby Lonsdale


St Mary’s





Milnthorpe Primary


Lindale CE










St Pius X





Vulnerable pupils

Are you worried about a child? We are all living in unprecedented times, it is really important that we look out for each other and support each other in our communities.

This will be a difficult time for lots of families, and families may be making different care arrangements for their children. Families may experience added stress and pressure at this time, this may be do with added financial pressure or isolation from support networks. These issues can add a great burden onto families and children and young people could be at increased risk of harm during these times.

If you are concerned or worried about a child or young person who you believe might be at risk of harm, please contact:

  • Cumbria safeguarding Children’s Partnership multi agency hub on 0333 240 1727 or NSPCC 0808 800 5000. 
  • If you see a child at imminent harm please ring the police on 101 or 999. 

Pupil Referral Units closure

Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) are currently closed due to staff absence in relation to COVID-19.  The intention is to resume provision for priority pupils on 14 April 2020.

Headteachers are contacting parents/carers to discuss this, which will likely be on a reduced timetable basis.

Should it not be possible for a PRU student to directly access provision, a member of the PRU staff will be in contact with the student and family to provide support throughout this period.  At the current time, it is the expectation that parents/carers will transport their child to the Pupil Referral Unit.

Children with an EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan)

Most children should remain at home where they are safest. This includes children who have an EHCP. However some children may have needs that are best met by them continuing to access some school provision. Your staff are working with us on identifying those children and parents will be contacted when arrangements are in place. All parents who wish to keep them children at home will do so.

Some children with an EHCP access Independent Special Schools. The Local Authority is in daily contact with those schools. At present where children are placed residentially, they are able to continue to stay at school. Some schools are ending their day provision and Local Authority staff are checking to see which children may need some provision. Those schools have written to parents to let them know the situation and what support they are able to offer.

Cumbria’s maintained Special Schools are currently closed. The Local Authority is working with the Headteachers to identify which children would be best supported by accessing a Special School during this period. Special Schools are planning to have some provision available for the start of the new term and those families will be contacted with an offer of support.

In addition the Local Authority is working with our partners in Health to ensure that all necessary arrangements are in place to support the health needs of any children with an EHCP who do continue to access school, are met and to ensure school staff know how to maintain a safe environment for them in changed circumstances.

We are also working with School Transport to identify ways of enabling those children to access schools, where families are not able to transport them. 

The Educational Psychology Service and the Specialist Teaching Service are identifying online resources to make available via the Local Offer to support the majority of children who will remain at home.

Where schools have a child with an EHCP attending their school that they are unfamiliar with in the current situation there are a number of sources of information and advice available to them. It they contact their local Inclusion team with the child’s name and date of birth they will be able to put them in contact with the child’s EHCP co-ordinator and other relevant professionals:

In addition if require advice about a particular area of need they can contact who can put them in touch with the appropriate specialist teacher or for educational psychology advice.

Cumbria Music Service update

We’ve been working hard to prepare for on line support for young people who are in receipt of lessons from our teaching staff. We’ve tested out a number of video conference platforms as well as updating our policies and procedures to ensure safe provision. We will be more than likely be using Zoom and Google Classrooms. We aim to have a suite of options to support students which includes live remote lessons, on line tutorials as well as e- resources, lesson outlines and outcomes that can support and build upon previous learning.

We aim to begin sessions from April 20th and will initially be for instrumental and vocal students taught as individuals or in small groups (2 or 3’s) from  primary and secondary settings.

We will be in touch soon with details for parents which we’d appreciate you sharing with them via your own contact methods. We will of course be keeping in touch with you to report on progress.

Next steps – we’re working on whole class support for those who have instruments at home as well as those who don’t. We’d also like to be able to offer workshop/project support for schools who are open to key worker children and would welcome you contacting us so that we can explore options – please e-mail

A reminder to complete our data collection form

It is essential that we monitor demand for childcare on a daily basis. Please ensure you continue complete our attendance data form each day and return to Cumbria County Council:



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