COVID-19: Schools update... Important message

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schools update

Important message regarding education planning

This message is sent on behalf of:

  • Councillor Sue Sanderson, Cabinet Member for Schools and Learning, Cumbria County Council
  • John Readman, Executive Director - People, Cumbria County Council
  • Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills, Cumbria County Council
  • Sue Blair, Chair of Cumbria Primary Headteachers Association
  • Judith Schafer, Chair of Cumbria Association of Secondary Headteachers

Cumbrian schools have done incredible work in recent months responding to the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19. There is a huge amount to be proud of and we thank you for your work and the leadership and the creativity you have shown in ensuring that children and young people have continued to be supported in their learning and development.

As we approach the end of term much discussion has inevitably turned to what expectations there will be on schools through the summer break.  We have discussed this matter extensively with a wide range of systems leaders in the county in order to reach a clear position for Cumbria.

While we understand that in different localities across the county schools may be making plans for summer schools or holiday clubs, and that is entirely appropriate, we do not feel that the additional demands created by remaining open to the current cohort of pupils would be beneficial. Colleagues in schools have been working, in many cases, without a proper break since February, and the planning required ahead of September will be significant.

In addition, we welcome today’s announcement from the DfE about funding for catch-up learning which will of course require further consideration and planning once the detailed guidance is made available. So there will be much to consider.    

Our priority is to really focus our collective energies across all schools on planning for September and the autumn term, whilst continuing to support schools to cater for the current year groups over the last four weeks of term. As such, we are working with system leaders within the county to establish strategic locality planning groups which will support you to carry out this essential work, and we will update you all very soon.

For these reasons, although schools may wish to make arrangements locally, we have no expectation that schools remain open over the summer holidays.

We have explained our approach to the DfE and will continue to engage with them proactively.     

In the short term, the Local Authority Learning and Improvement Service, supported by the Children’s Trust, are also working with partners and districts to map and communicate the summer holiday opportunities for children in each area to support families in the county.

Finally, thanks to you and all your staff once again for the innovation, diligence and commitment of the last four months and we look forward to working with you all on this next stage of education in Cumbria.