COVID-19: Schools update... 10 July

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In today's update:


dan barton

Dear Colleague,

The end of another week and the end of term is almost upon us. You'll note the change in branding at the top of this update to reflect the shift of focus to planning for September and development of the September Education Planning Group that brings systems leaders together with the LA to plan for the start of term. We'll have a full update on the group's membership and role next week.

In the update today we've included the first iteration of our summer activity mapping for your comment. Our intention is to start promoting it publicly from next week and we'd welcome your comments.

I'd also like to reassure you that we're hearing loud and clear the key issues that schools are raising, particularly around HR advice and school transport provision. Our teams are working hard on this and we'll be issuing guidance and information as soon as possible.

We'll be in touch again next week, thank you and please enjoy your weekend.

Yours

Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills


Summer activities listings

Recognising that many parents will be looking for childcare and activities for their children over the summer break, and that provision usually available may not be due to circumstances, the LA undertook a task to map summer activities available for parents to access. This is not normally an LA role and has been undertaken in a compressed period of time.

We are today sharing the first iteration of that mapping with you for immediate comment, with the intention of publicly releasing, and promoting, the information to parents on Monday.

This mapping takes the form of downloadable PDF ‘directories’ of activities and support for families available in each of the county’s six districts. These are activities that are generally accessible. The directories do not include activities being run by schools solely for their own pupils. We would reiterate that there is no expectation from the LA that schools open through the summer break, but that some schools may wish to do so.

Cumbria County Council are not the organiser of the advertised activities/events and the information contained in the directories is for information purposes only. Where we provide information about external organisations or services providers, the LA is not able to offer a guarantee on the quality of their services.

The directories can be found here: https://www.cumbria.gov.uk/childrensservices/childrenandfamilies/cfis/

We recognise that there will be activity happening that we are not yet aware of, and is therefore not included in the directories. We are continuing to gather information and have an open call for people and organisations to get in touch to inform us of additional activities.

Information about additional activities should be emailed to: childrens.information@cumbria.gov.uk

The directories will be updated on a weekly basis with the latest information received. 

The Children and Families Information Service Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/ChildrenandFamiliesInformationService) page will be used as the principal way of providing updates and signposting parents to the directories going forward. We would encourage schools to share content from this page on their own school social media pages. We will also share regular updates with schools via email for forwarding to families, as well as making use of the local media to promote opportunities and the LA’s main corporate social media accounts.


Digital Devices for disadvantaged and vulnerable children & young people

As many of you will be aware over the last few weeks the Council has taken delivery of its allocation of digital devices (laptops/tablets) and internet access units for disadvantaged and vulnerable children & young people through the DfE initiative, and arranged distribution to children & young people via individual schools and district social work teams.  This has resulted in over 800 laptops/tablets being provided for those eligible children & young people initially assessed as having a moderate (i.e. some access to equipment but limited, as shared or not suitable) or high (i.e. no access to equipment) level of need.  As a reminder, these devices are being provided to help children, families and care leavers with a social worker to access social care and other services to support their safety and wellbeing, and to support them, and disadvantaged year 10 pupils, to access remote education.  Thank you for your support in facilitating this process.

What do schools need to do now?

Where devices have been provided via the school, the Council’s project team would be grateful if you could return the ‘Transfer of Device Record’ which the delivery person should have handed you, and individual signed ‘User Agreements’ by the end of next week at the latest, to the dedicated e-mail address (COVID19.DigitalDevices@cumbria.gov.uk), so we have a record of which device was distributed to which child/young person and that the agreed terms of use have been accepted. The user agreements can be found on the School Portal under Libraries-General Documents.

Devices come with internet filtering and a mobile device management platform pre-installed – should you wish to install additional software, or configure to your school requirement, prior to issuing you will need to request a local admin password.  To do this, please email COVID19.DigitalDevices@cumbria.gov.uk confirming of the serial numbers of the devices that you require the password for. 

The Council does have a number of devices remaining from its allocation for eligible children & young people with a social worker after the initial phases of distribution.  As before, where a device has not been provided, but as a school you believe there is a strong case to provide a device (perhaps because the circumstances of a child or young person have changed over the last few weeks since the initial assessment was undertaken) please contact the child or young person’s social worker to discuss this, as they will need make an assessment and inform the project team if a device is to be provided.

The project team can be contacted via the dedicated e-mail address (COVID19.DigitalDevices@cumbria.gov.uk) which has been established for direct communication with individual schools, or if schools have any queries (this is not intended for children & young people, parents/carers, or the general public).


Risk Assessments update

We have received feedback that there are some formatting issues when trying to cut and paste the additional controls into your existing COVID 19 risk assessment. Therefore it is acceptable for you to refer to the new document as an addendum to your original, ensuring that you that you have reviewed the new controls and amended/removed any where necessary where necessary.

+ DOWNLOAD RISK ASSESSMENT GUIDANCE