Education Planning Group: Schools Update... 22 April

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In today's update:

Mass Testing – Exceptional costs claim

The online claims process is now live 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 children of critical workers.

Claims can be made in respect of premises related costs such as hire of additional space at external premises e.g. a church hall, hire of temporary accommodation on site e.g. marquee, adaptation of existing premises.

Premises claims cannot be made for:

  • Costs incurred as a result of testing exceeding the recommended level;
  • Workforce costs;
  • Cleaning, waste disposal or incidental materials covered by the allocation as stated in the coronavirus (COVID-19) National testing Programme: conditions of grant.

Reasonable costs can be claimed where these were incurred prior to the announcement on 4 January regarding restricting school and college attendance.

Claims can include:

  • recruitment of temporary staff at a level above that required for the period from 4 January, where costs had been committed to and could not be cancelled;
  • costs incurred for premises but which are not required and could not be cancelled or refunded by 4 January;
  • temporary hire of additional equipment for period from 4 January which will be unused but could not be returned or refunded;
  • cancellation costs where temporary staff, premises or equipment were cancelled.

Costs cannot be claimed for commitments entered into after 4 January except for vulnerable children and the children of key workers.

The minimum claim for each category is £250 and claims below that amount will not be paid.  For example, for a claim for premises costs of £300 and reasonable costs of £200, only the premises claim of £300 will be paid.

The link to the claim form is here:

Guidance has also been published here:

The deadline for claiming is 23:59 12 May 2021.

Psychological First Aid Training

Public Health England has launched a new Psychological First Aid training to help support children and young people affected by COVID-19. The free online course teaches how to provide practical and emotional support to children and young people affected by COVID-19 and related issues such as lockdown, bereavement or isolation.

The course is aimed at parents, caregivers, teachers, health and social workers, charity and community volunteers and anyone who regularly comes into contact with children and young people aged between zero and 25. It is free, takes up to two hours to complete (split into three sessions that the learner can complete at their own pace and no previous qualifications are required.)

This follows the training launched last summer for adults - Psychological First Aid in Emergencies Training - for frontline staff and volunteers to equip them to provide support and recognise people at risk of distress.

Mental Health at Work - Our Frontline new support service

Mental Health at Work have launched a new support service for teachers called Our Frontline

Find out more

Children's Commissioner launches The Big Ask

the Children's Commissioner Rachel de Souza has this week launched The Big Ask, the largest ever survey of children and young people to find out about their concerns and aspirations for the future.

The Commissioner is asking for school's help in promoting the survey to get as many children involved as possible.

There are lots of resources available for schools to help promote the survey.

Find out more

Early Years update for school

Home learning

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

Chat Play Share - Poppy put the pizza in

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 Kitchen roll.

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday

Support for transition to school

As school places are confirmed many of us will be thinking about the process of Transition. Transition is not a one-off event but how we adapt to change. There are many things that we can do to help children become ready for starting school and indeed there are many things that we can do to support schools to be ready for our children.
This year things may be a little different again and we need to consider how we can adapt our transition plans.
We have gathered some ideas to support transitions that can be used by Parents, Settings and Schools (see below). Please consider them and your current plans and practices to ensure our children can continue their learning journey with confidence and resilience.

Transition ideas for parents

Transition ideas for schools

For some children transition is a particularly challenging time. For those who may need additional support please consider our ‘Getting it right for every child’ document. This is not intended to be used for every child, but may guide thinking or discussions to plan for additionally supported transitions:

Getting it right for every child

Cumbria Together 0-5 feedback

The Early Years Team and our 0 – 19 Child and Family Support Service providers have been following up the engagement survey with some online focus groups. The survey report is now available for you to share with families - Cumbria Together - Family report

Further updates on how we will be acting on the feedback that families gave us are being posted on the County Council Facebook feed.

A national survey has now been launched by the Children’s Commissioner, called The Big Ask. The survey will be live from today until Monday 19 May and asks children across England to share their priorities for improving childhood post-Covid.
Children and young people can take part in the survey at

Parents and carers of younger children are invited to help their child to complete it.