Education Planning Group: Schools update... 10 December

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In today's update:

Use of 18 December for INSET purposes

In response to recent debate around this issue, the decision lies with schools. The Local Authority recognises that schools have different pressures and will support whichever decision schools take. 

Free Schools Meals over Christmas

Over 180 schools, including 16 secondary schools, have now ordered vouchers.

Please note when you have ‘assigned’ your vouchers WONDE generate an invoice for your school, this should be kept for your school records. When you ‘assign’, the LA also receives an invoice, for legal and financial auditing. Please ensure your admin teams are aware of this, we have had many queries on ‘what to do with the invoice’. As long as the invoice you receive, at bottom right, shows Cumbria County Council as the ‘Customer Invoice Number’, your vouchers are already paid for. If you need to contact WONDE, you will find the details in the FAQs.

Schools can continue to order vouchers as long as is necessary to the 18th; the 14th was suggested to ensure schools had time to address any anomalies arising from the process, prior to the end of term. If you have anomalies based on the letter sent to schools last Friday, in the ‘private’ section of the portal, please contact Jason Spedding This is essential to ensure the vouchers the council has paid for is consistent with the numbers you need to order

Public Health outbreak control arrangements over Christmas period - action for schools

The Public Health team at Cumbria County Council is ensuring that a member of the team is available everyday over the Christmas Holidays to support educational settings in case of any queries or emergencies related to COVID-19.


After the end of term, there will be a short period of time when the Public Health team may need to contact schools for COVID-19 purposes. We will ONLY contact schools when a pupil or member of staff tests positive and we identify that the individual has been in school during their infectious period (because we will need to work with the school to identify the individual’s close contacts and ask them to isolate).

Given the timescales for a person to develop symptoms, get tested and receive their test result, the Public Health team will need an emergency contact number for all schools for the 6 days following the last day of term. For most schools this will be the 19 – 24 December.  We will not contact you during the holidays after this time unless you ask us to.

  • Primary Schools – we will use the emergency contact details for your school held by Primary Heads Association unless you email alternative details to by Thursday 17 December
  • Secondary Schools – we will use the emergency contact details for your school held by the CCC Learning and Improvement Team unless you email alternative details to by Thursday 17 December
  • Other settings, including academies – please email emergency contact details to by Thursday 17 December

Some schools may wish to organize a rota, one contact does not have to cover all 6 days.

Lateral Flow Testing in secondary schools

For awareness, the Local Authority is currently working directly with some secondary schools on plans to offer a Lateral Flow COVID-19 testing pilot scheme for pupils returning to school in January. 

Utilising this rapid type of testing on a precautionary basis could help 'screen out' any COVID positive pupils before they come into classrooms in the first week, significantly reducing the potential for outbreaks.

This is a live discussion and plans are not finalised. There are significant logistical challenges that are not yet resolved.

The scale of the challenges involved means that implementing the programme with primary schools would not currently be possible.

This is being shared with you for awareness, no wider communication is required at the moment.