Education Planning Group: Schools Update... 13 May

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In today's update:


Increase in numbers of incorrectly recorded Lateral Flow Device results

This week the Education Outbreak Control Team has reviewed 12 positive LFD cases in pupils aged 11-17 that we were made aware of via the data we receive from the national COVID-19 case monitoring system.

They were all recorded as ‘home school LFD’ tests and were reported between 9 to 11 May. Most had no details regarding follow-up PCR tests and schools had not reported the cases through to the COVID-19 call centre.

Having followed up on these cases, we’ve been able to determine that the majority were incorrectly recorded as positive LFD results. Most of the individuals who had recorded the test result were unaware that they had incorrectly recorded the wrong result.

Since 25 March 2021, in Cumbria, we have had 74 pupils and adults (linked to schools) listed with a positive LFD test result where the individual has taken no further action. Therefore, the Public Health team would be grateful if school staff and pupils carrying out LFD testing could be reminded of the following:

  • Take care when recording your LFD test result online. Ensure you click the correct option.
  • Check the confirmation screen and any follow up emails or texts to ensure they are confirming the test result you think you have entered.
  • If you incorrectly record a positive LFD test result, take another LFD test straight away and record the negative test result as you normally would. This will ‘cancel out’ the previously recorded incorrect result.
  • If your LFD test is positive, isolate along with other members of your household and get a PCR COVID-19 test as soon as possible (the PCR test must be taken within 2 days of the LFD result). Inform your school so they can identify and isolate close contacts pending the PCR result.

Variants of concern (VOCs) and Variants under Investigation (VUIs)

As you will be aware the North West and London are currently the regions significantly impacted by VOCs/VUIs, particularly with the variant B.1.617, which was first identified in India. Some areas of the North West, including parts of Lancashire now have confirmed community transmission linked to this variant and additional measures, including targeted testing, case finding, and vaccination are being implemented.

At present, we are not aware of any cases in Cumbria linked to this variant, however we remain vigilant and have plans in place should we see any cases that are not directly linked to overseas travel.

Whilst the B.1.617 variant is thought to be highly transmissible, to offer reassurance, there is no indication at this stage that it is resistant to vaccines. At the same time, we remain mindful that children, young people and many younger members of staff in our school communities are yet to be vaccinated.

The COVID-19 infection rate in Cumbria is currently very low (5/100,000), but please remain cautious and continue to email the Public Health team on EducationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk if you have any concerns about COVID-19 cases.


May Half-Term ‘Free School Meal’ Voucher Offer

The county council has again committed to ensuring every benefits-eligible FSM young person is able to access a FSM meal voucher over the May Half-Term holiday.

The vouchers will have a value of £15 for each eligible child and are fully funded by Cumbria County Council using Winter Grant Fund monies.

The WONDE system ‘LA window’ [where the LA can be selected on the WONDE system to pay for your order] will open at 8 am Wednesday 19 May and close at 5pm on Tuesday 1 June.

Full details on how to access the vouchers, frequently asked questions and a template letter for parents is attached here

Please ensure your admin team/person is aware of the process and has sight of this communication so they can manage the process on your behalf.


Health and Safety news and updated risk assessment

The latest news from our Health & Safety team including updates on:

  • School Covid-19 risk assessments
  • Face coverings guidance from May 17
  • Maintaining social distancing 
  • Lateral flow testing
  • School workforce
  • Pregnancy
  • Supporting staff
  • Ventilation
  • Fire Safety
  • First Aid
  • Educational visits
  • Wraparound care
  • Performances 

+ DOWNLOAD UPDATE

The latest version of the Model COVID-19 risk assessments dated May 2021 can be found here.


National Tutoring Programme providers

To support schools in their consideration of National Tutoring Programme (NTP) options, we have asked which providers have still have capacity in Cumbria, We have been informed that these are as follows:

  • Fresh Start in Education
  • Mannings
  • Pearson
  • PET-Xi
  • Professional Tutoring Partnership
  • Randstad
  • Conexus
  • Connex
  • Learn Solutions

More information on about providers and capacity, and specialist delivery is available here


Early Years Nursery Provider Survey - IMPORTANT

We are writing to ask you to tell us about your experiences since the majority of children returned to your nursery provision, we would value your opinions on a number of topics, including: child development - emerging needs, CPD, childcare sufficiency and the Early Years workforce.

It is our aim that we will collate the results and share them with you at a later date.

We would be grateful if you could complete this survey by the end of the day Thursday 20th May 2021 using the link below:

Early Years Provider Survey

Thank you in advance for completing the survey.


Publication of Reception Baseline Assessment and reporting arrangements

The Reception Baseline Assessment (RBA) will be statutory in schools from September 2021. The DfE have published the assessment and reporting arrangements to be used by headteachers and schools.  

On Monday 17 May, headteachers will receive a short online form to fill out. This form will capture key information about the school, and will allow headteachers to nominate an RBA lead to oversee the day-to-day running of the assessment.   Assessment resources will be delivered to schools from Tuesday 8 June.  

For general enquiries about the administration of the RBA, please phone 0330 088 4171 or email receptionbaseline@nfer.ac.uk.


Early Years Home Learning

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

Chat Play Share – Down at the station

For a range of fun activity ideas, please share What Can I Do This Week? Remember that the activities contained in this communication are for the week starting next Monday.

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday


Supporting young children through anxiety

Due to COVID 19 children may have been spending a lot of time at home and not seeing family, friends, and familiar adults. You may have noticed a change in their behaviour or sleep pattern. Returning to nursery, childminders or school may cause feelings of anxiety and stress for some children. Here are a few strategies that might help to support children with anxiety.

Supporting an Anxious Child


Mental health support for schools and colleges

The Department for Education (DfE) has, this week, announced more than £17 million to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges to help children and young people recover from the challenges of the coronavirus outbreak.

The funding will go towards training senior mental health leads, a new Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme and an adapted ‘Link’ programme, designed to improve partnerships between health and education leaders in local areas.

DfE has also refreshed their list of accessible and free mental health resources for all ages that councils can use during Mental Health Awareness Week which are available here

New resources are also available on Public Health England’s (PHE’s) Campaign Resource Centre for the ‘Better Health – Every Mind Matters’ campaign.

Answers to your most frequently asked questions are available here.

A range of free guides and resources tackling issues from anxiety, pupil wellbeing and staff wellbeing are also now available on the Creative Education website.


County Lines - would you know the signs?

Warwickshire Police has created a video to inform parents, carers and schools about the signs to look out for that a young person may be involved with 'county lines' drug traffickers. 

A young person’s involvement in county lines often leaves signs, below are some of the indicators of county lines involvement and exploitation:

• Has a child or young person gone missing from home or school?
• Have they acquired money, clothes or mobile phones they can’t account for?
• Are they meeting unfamiliar adults?
• Are they in excessive receipt of texts or phone calls?
• Are they in relationships with controlling, older individuals or gang association?
• Do you have suspicion of self-harm, physical assault or unexplained injuries?
• Has there been a significant decline in school performance and significant changes in emotional well-being?

Please share this video link with staff, parents and carers. 


Cumbria Children’s Trust photography competition

The Children's Trust Board are encouraging Cumbria’s young people to celebrate our beautiful county by taking a photo of Cumbria and sharing it in an exciting new competition.

The competition will show the perspective of our young people and support in planning for Cumbria’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

They want to see photographs that answer one of the questions below:

  • What has living in Cumbria meant to you over the last 12 months?
  • What does the recovery of Cumbria mean to you?

Photographs should be taken digitally and emailed to cicc@cumbria.gov.uk.

There will be three age categories:

  • 10yrs and under
  • 11yrs to 16yrs
  • 17yrs to 21yrs

Winners of each category will receive a £50 Amazon vouchers.

Please display the attached poster promoting the competition in your schools.