Education Planning Group: Schools update... 15 April

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dan barton

Dear Colleague

I hope you are managing to find time to relax and recharge your batteries over the Easter Holiday?

I know many of you will also be busy preparing for the summer term and we have a number of updates in today's bulletin which may assist with this. 

Thank you, as always, for all your hard work.

Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

In today's update:

Free School Meals Additional Costs

Schools are now able to claim for eligible costs related to free school meals and free meal additional costs during the period 4 January up to the start of the Easter holidays but cannot include half term. 

The deadline for submission is 23:59 on 4 May 2021.  The online claim form can be found at:

LFT Funding

Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) will publish funding allocations for COVID-19 testing carried out in schools and colleges from 4 January to 5 March 2021. Payment for this funding will be made to non-maintained special schools in mid April 2021, to local authorities at the end of April 2021 to pass on to maintained schools, and directly to academies at the beginning of May 2021.

For testing between 5 March and 2 April, payments are expected to be made to local authorities at the end of May 2021 to pass on to maintained schools and directly to non-maintained special schools in mid-May and academies at the beginning of June 2021.

ESFA are also launching an online claims process for exceptional costs incurred in the preparations for full testing ahead of the announcement on 4 January that schools and colleges would be closed to all but vulnerable children and the children of critical workers. It will also be possible to submit claims relating to temporary premises costs. Further info and a link will be provided when the process is launched. 

Stress Awareness and Staff Mental Health Hour

During Stress Awareness Month Barnardos has published a calendar with helpful daily tips on managing stress which you can access here

There is also another episode of the Lancashire & South Cumbria Foundation Trust's Mental Health Staff Hour available to watch here. The focus of the episode is resilience and the hosts were joined by Andy Hesketh, the Organisational Development Business Partner for LSCFT. 

Some of the key talking points covered in the webinar are:

  • Resilience and happiness is there a connection?
  • How do we define resilience? What is it?
  • What can we do to help build resilience?
  • How do we maintain the resilience we have built up?

Watch this space for details of the final episode of Staff Hour which will focus on bereavement and will be released towards the end of April.

New job application form available online

A reminder for schools who might be advertising staff vacancies that there is a new job application form (along with guidance) on the Cumbria County Council website here.

This new form needs to be used as it meets changes to Criminal Disclosure legislation introduced in November 2020.

Home learning for early years age group

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'Humpty Dumpty’. Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share - Humpty Dumpty

For a range of fun activity ideas, please share What Can I Do This Week? Remember that the activities included in the Wednesday Communication will be for the activities beginning the Monday of the following week.

This week the theme is toys.

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday

EYFS Briefing Paper 3 - Early Years Child Development Webinars

Please look out for the third briefing paper coming out on Monday 19 April 2021 either through CFIS or on the school portal. This briefing paper will give access to a series of recorded webinar presentations to support the implementation of the revised EYFS 2021.

These are part of a range of resources to support all early years providers and schools to prepare for implementing the necessary changes. The webinars focus on the three prime areas of learning and are a refresher of basic child development and pedagogy. It is important that you watch the short introduction first.

These could support your in-house training on the changes that need to be made for September 2021.  Please follow the link on the briefing paper which will take you to the Early Years Foundations Stage webinar page. You will need to enter the password on the briefing paper to access the webinars.