COVID-19: Schools Update

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schools update

Latest update for all schools April 6

dan barton

Dear All,

I hope you have been able to find some time to rest and recharge over the weekend? 

Today's update includes the latest guidance on safeguarding  during the COVID-19 pandemic and also an update from the DfE on temporary school closures.

We can also share more information on what plans are in place to increase provision at hubs for our most vulnerable children after the Easter holidays. I would just like to thank all of you who are working with us (and individually) to ensure the support will be there for the children who need it. 

Take care. 


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

Guidance on schools temporarily closing

The DFE updated its guidance on temporary school closures on 3 April. The updated guidance provides some helpful questions and answers.

Key messages in the guidance include:

  • “While as many schools as possible should try to stay open for eligible pupils, this will not be possible for all settings, and the local authority should coordinate pooling of resources so pupils are able to access provision elsewhere.”
  • “We expect schools and local authorities should work together to ensure that different settings are supported to stay open wherever possible, taking into account their circumstances and cohort (for example, special settings and alternative provision). And, we want local authorities to help coordinate what this means, working with education settings to deliver the services required. That includes academies, the independent sector, and boarding schools.”

The key is the need for us to continue to work together to meet the expectations placed on all of us and to maintain our duty of care to each other.

Vulnerable children and SEND provision after Easter

Colleagues within Social Care, Special educational needs and disability (SEND) and the Learning Improvement Service (LIS) are working together to identify and risk assess those children and young people that will require provision within a hub.

Over the next few days, LIS Officers will be contacting our headteachers and our hubs to discuss these children and young people and to agree and the support the risk assessment and the right strategy.

The initial list of Cumbria’s vulnerable has been based on risk assessment by Social Care. We are very aware of the importance of school’s own intelligence and so any children and young people not communicated as a placement need for immediately after Easter can still be raised with link LIS officers and they can be followed up on an individual basis with Social Care. LIS is updating all contact details for the team and these will be provided to you tomorrow.  

I know a large number of you and your dedicated staff have already set up ways to touch base with your “hidden vulnerable.”  Again, this is really appreciated. A similar risk assessment for Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) pupils is also underway.

I am aware that a number of hubs have already taken action to expand hub provision and some have clear plans for opening more schools to meet demand after Easter. This is very much appreciated. An updated brief survey monkey will be made available this week to capture and then deploy the full capacity of school based staff not currently fully committed to rotas in hubs and with the capacity to assist and to support provision going forward after Easter.

School meals update

We are still working to seek clarification over meal contracts. Meetings are taking place to agree a way forward and we will update you as soon as possible. 

Authorisation to travel letter

We can now share with you an authorisation to travel letter which verifies that the person in possession of the letter is authorised to work on behalf of The Cumbria Resilience Forum to undertake activity which is critical to the delivery of the COVID-19 pandemic response.

We suggest you keep a log of who you issue these letters to at your school, in case the police contact you direct to verify that the letter-bearer is working at your hub. 

Safeguarding update

The NSPCC has pulled together some guidance and information about how schools should be working to keep children safe during the coronavirus pandemic.

This briefing summarises the latest guidance for UK schools on safeguarding during the COVID-19 pandemic and answers some of your most common questions. 

A reminder to complete our data collection form

Please note that, whilst the DfE data return is now live, and we will have access to this, we are aiming still to be working with our hubs schools on a Cumbria data return. This is something of a duplication, I know, but necessary. The DfE site will be feeding us information which is 24 hours out of date, and will not allow us to support and co-ordinate support for hubs in real time. Please do take the time to respond to it daily if you are opening as a hub.



Please click here to see answers to your most common questions. FAQs will be updated daily.