COVID-19: Schools Update - 29 April

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schools update

Latest update for all schools - 29 April

dan barton

Dear All,

Thanks for your feedback on the communications you have been receiving and also for highlighting some of the issues you have experienced this week.

We have addressed many of these in today's bulletin and also include the latest updates on laptops and PPE. 

As always I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you for everything you are doing and to remind you to also make time for self-care at this challenging time.


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

PPE requests update

Cumbria County Council has established a Covid-19 Emergency Support Call Centre which is manned from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday and 10am to 2pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Requests for PPE by Hub Schools, Standalones, Pupil Referral Units and Special Schools should now be made to the call centre on 0800 783 1967. This will assist the Council to deliver PPE more effectively, subject to availability.

A weekly request for the following week should be made every Wednesday, starting from next week. Details to be provided to the call centre include:

1.Stock required for the following week: please see attached table to assist with this. 
2. Delivery Instructions - where the stock should be delivered to providing contact numbers in case of any issues or queries.

The Council PPE team will then seek to deliver the requested PPE on Thursday of Friday of that week.

The Council continues to have a very limited supply of PPE to distribute across adult and children’s services, GPs, special schools, PRUs and school/early years hubs. As such colleagues should continue to arrange pooling/sharing of PPE within local clusters and to contact alternative suppliers to source PPE directly where possible.

Laptop coordination

On Friday, we made clear that we had received from DfE information about how the LA could register for and organise delivery of the new laptops which had been announced for vulnerable children and disadvantaged Year 10 pupils. The LA has received notional allocation figures and we will shortly be receiving a survey to complete.

Over the last day or two, we’ve been made aware of further allocation notifications being sent directly to Academies and Multi Academy Trusts. Each one is being provided with a notional allocation together with details of a follow up survey. We think that this, once received, will be the totality of Cumbria’s allocation. We will be working with Social Care colleagues and our school partners over the next few days to evaluate any potential risk that deployment of this resource could be duplicated, with some families receiving double, and others in most need being left without.

We appreciate that some of you will have already received and completed follow up surveys, but if  any Academies or MATs have not yet returned their surveys, it would be helpful if they refrain from doing so until we have had a chance to ensure that the  Cumbria approach is coordinated, and that the possible duplication is avoided. A task group has been established and we will provide further updates through PHA and CASH as soon as possible.

Early Years Foundation Stage

Temporary disapplications to the EYFS are now in place to support settings which are remaining open for the children of critical workers and vulnerable children. The detailed guidance is available here.

Early Years Alliance have provided a very helpful summary of the main changes here.

Working with colleagues across the system

Just a reminder that both social care and health staff across the children’s system in Cumbria may get in touch with schools to share information or clarify the position with regard to individual children.

This is because they are also risk assessing and making sure that they follow their own organisational policies with regard to keeping in touch with children and families and being part of that ‘team around the child’ approach which includes sharing and passing on information.

Families can present different pictures to different professionals so it is important that information continues to be shared between agencies as appropriate to keep everyone safe.

We have updated our EHCP risk assessment with return email addresses and you can find it here

Early Help Covid-19 RAG Rating

During this challenging time we would like to remind you that the Early Help Team are still working to support Children and Families through the Early Help Process.

Are you working with a child in need of early help that you think would benefit from the help of one or more other agencies? Then raise an Early Help Assessment.

Early Help is everyone's responsibility and any professional working with a child can initiate an assessment.

We value the work you as Co-ordinators and supporting agencies are putting in and the efforts to work more creatively with families to the challenges faced. As an Early Help Team we have been considering how the Early Help processes can be adapted to meet the current needs.

To support you to do this we have:

  • Issued guidance on holding virtual Team Around the Family meetings - here
  • Issued guidance on virtual Early Help and Family Support Panels - here
  • Identified named Early Help Officers allocated as a point of contact to all Education Hubs - here 

You may remember some weeks ago, we requested you to look at your registered Early Help Assessments and send us information on those families who you were most worried about.

Moving forward to gain a true picture of Early Help Assessments across the county please look at all registered Early Help Assessments that you are coordinating, RAG rate them using the table below. The Early Help Assessment action plans need to be revisited on a monthly basis. Scale your worries on a Red/ Amber/ Green basis depending on the support provided by the Team around the Family.

This month’s return needs to be completed to the Early Help Mailbox by tomorrow, Thursday 30 April.

We will send you notification for the month of May return.

To support you with this we have:

  • Developed a table and guidance to be sent out monthly for you to complete. The table and guidance can be found here
  • Please complete this information where you are the Early Help Co-ordinator and return to the Early Help Mailbox

If you need any advice or guidance please contact one of the local Early Help Officers. 

  • Maggie Williams - 07768 753541
  • Rosamund Rowecroft - 07920 296122
  • Karen Ross - 07885 405708
  • Steph Smithson - 07812 972905
  • Steve Kemp - 07557 210979

We have also provided guidance and a template for the schools

The Early Help Assessment Covid-19 RAG Guidance and template can also be found on the CSCP website.

A reminder to complete our data collection form

Please complete and submit the survey each day before 11am. Please only complete this survey if you are open and providing provision. If you are working as part of a schools hub, the lead hub should complete the survey and report all children that attend. Do not submit a survey if you are closed, or the children from your school now attend another Childcare and Learning Hub.

Due to a steady increase in demand and context of those attending, we appreciate that the hub and stand-alone structures will change. This does place some challenge in updating the survey. If you cannot find your details in a drop down menu or feel that the drop down does not include your correct details, please use the standalone section to submit your return and use the comments to clarify. Please be assured, these are read each day and LIS General Advisers will follow up with you. We ask for your patience if the form is not accurately showing the context of your own hub/school immediately after your return.

Please continue to complete the DfE data return alongside our own form. We are  not providing data to the DfE. 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. 



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