Education Planning Group: Important updates... 28 August

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In today's update:

The new term is almost here!

dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

Ahead of the start of term next week, a huge thank you from me, on behalf of all the children and young people in the county who will benefit from the hard work and dedication of you and your teams over the course of the summer, as they make a return to school next week. There have been twists and turns over the course of the break, and there will doubtless be more to come. Our strength in all of this has been in the quality of our response to a rapidly changing and difficult situation. Thank you.

Amidst all the excitement and anxiety from parents, pupils and staff alike next week, I’m very keen to draw out and help to celebrate the dedication and innovation that is going on in Cumbrian schools to get open and to welcome children back. Probably the easiest way we can do that is via social media. It would be fantastic if you could publish images, stories and updates on your social media accounts using the hashtag #backtoschoolcumbria. This way the we will be able to search for and find your content and share it with a much wider audience via CCC's social media.

Over the summer, the September Planning Group has been meeting and we've been issuing this weekly update (View back issues). Colleagues feel that a continuation of this approach would be beneficial, and so, albeit with a different name (of course!), the planning group will continue to meet throughout the autumn, to support our colleagues across the County, as we manage the challenges to come. 

I hope that you all get some time for rest over the long weekend, before returning next week to welcome back our many thousands of eager and excited pupils.


Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Face coverings in educational settings

The Government has issued new guidance regarding the use of Face Coverings in Secondary School settings.

Chief Medical Officers from the whole of the UK are very clear that the overall risk to children from Coronavirus (COVID-19) in relation to education settings is low.  However, guidance has now been issued that from September 1st face coverings should be used in secondary schools where certain circumstances apply. 

Schools, colleges and other educational settings will have the discretion to require face coverings in communal areas where social distancing cannot be safely managed and they believe it is right in their particular circumstances.  Additional precautionary measures are required in areas where the transmission is high and are subject to local lockdown.  In this case, face coverings should be worn by adults and pupils whilst moving around such as in corridors and communal areas where social distancing is difficult to maintain.  There is still no general requirement for wearing face coverings in the classroom where other protective measures are already in place.

Some people will be exempt from wearing face coverings and further information regarding exemptions can be found here

NOTE: This is guidance and is not currently a mandatory requirement.  All schools have already put in place control measures that should be sufficient mitigation to negate the additional requirement of using face coverings.  Your risk assessment should be amended to include the use of face coverings as a control measure if applicable.

COVID-19 test kits for schools

  • The Department for Health and Social Care are sending schools and further education institutions an initial supply of ten test kitsDeliveries will arrive via Royal Mail special delivery
  • The provisional date for schools and FE institutions in Cumbria to receive their delivery is Tuesday 1st September
  • Schools and FE institutions should only offer a test kit to individuals who:
    • Have developed symptoms whilst in the setting and
    • In exceptional circumstances when schools believe there may a barrier to a family accessing a test elsewhere, and that by giving them a test kit directly, you will significantly increase the likelihood of them getting tested and
    • There is a belief that if the individuals is sent home without a kit, they will not receive a test at all
  • Further guidance for schools and further education providers on the initial supply of coronavirus test kits for pupils, teachers and staff can be found in the attached or here:


Cumbria Public Health resource pack for schools

Cumbria County Council's Public Health team has produced a comprehensive resource pack for schools and Early Years settings, including a one page COVID-19 summary flow chart.

The resource pack will be updated regularly as guidance changes.

From tomorrow the latest version of the pack will always be available from



Letter for parents and carers - reminder

Cumbria County Council, CASH and PHA have written a joint letter to parents and carers in advance of the new term starting.

If you have not already, please could all schools forward this letter to their parents and carers.

The letter provides an overview of the current situation and makes clear that arrangements will differ between schools.

It is part of the work underway to promote the #backtoschoolsafely message. has also been created with further information for parents and carers. Please help by sharing the page on your school social media.


New Education Endowment Foundation guidance published

The EEF have published an updated version of their reopening guidance: Supporting School Planning: A Tiered Approach to 2020-21

This contains practical, evidence-based guidance to support schools in the busy and unpredictable year ahead. It proposes a tiered model that focuses upon (1) high-quality teaching, (2) targeted academic support and (3) wider strategies.

It has been developed in partnership with expert school leaders from across the country. It includes a useful one-page overview and checklist for the tiered model. There is also a Research Schools guest blog: ‘Back to School’ - Meaningful and Manageable Assessment. This  is an extended case study about the value of diagnostic assessment in the primary phase over the forthcoming autumn term. 

Previous education and schools updates and key resources

All previous COVID-19 schools updates since March are available at

We appreciate that finding what you need from the back catalogue is not always easy. If you let us know which documents and information is most important for you we will publish it separately at the top of the page, as we have done with the Public Health guidance.