Education Planning Group: Schools update... 27 May

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In today's update:

Cumbria’s Vision for Education and Plan

dan barton

Dear All

Colleagues will have been made aware by LASLs, PHA and CASH recently of the progress that has been made since December of last year on the development of a Vision for Education in Cumbria, and our proposal to develop an action plan to deliver on that vision.

Over the course of a few months, colleagues from right across the education sector in the county have come together to discuss and deliberate on a strategic vision for education – I attach the most recent draft of that plan for reference.

Before half term, I’m keen to update as to where we are with our joint work translating our Education Vision document into a more concrete two-year action plan to begin in the new academic year.

Currently colleagues are continuing to socialise the draft vision document with partners across the education system and, whilst there will be lots of comments and feedback, it’s fair to say that the broad strategic priorities are not likely to change materially. With this in mind, leads allocated to each priority work stream are beginning to pull together ‘writing teams’ for each area, designed to ensure that the voice of the wider system is visible in the resultant plan, and some groups have already developed a draft plan on a page to work from.

Whilst colleagues are pulling ‘writing teams’ together now, we want to hear from you if you think you have capacity and ideas to contribute to the content of the action plan. Have a look at the priorities, writing leads and likely make-up of the writing teams below and let us know if you can represent one of the constituencies identified.

If you can help, please let Judith Gore know, and she’ll collate a list of willing contributors (, and for secondary, please contact Sandy Todd (

Group 1 (PHA/CASH/CASL) - Improving standards, increasing opportunities and raising aspirations for all children and young people

Learning Improvement Service
Diocese of Carlisle – school improvement lead
Lancaster Diocese – school improvement lead
ONE Cumbria
LA data and intelligence
Special Schools
Early Years (provider/advisor delegate)

Group 2 (ONE Cumbria) Attracting and retaining the most talented practitioners, developing expertise through an exceptional workforce offer

University of Cumbria
Diocese of Carlisle
Lancaster Diocese
Local Enterprise Partnership
Learning Improvement Service
PHA delegate
CASH delegate
FE delegate
Early Years (LA delegate)

Group 3 (County Council Infrastructure Team) - Grasping every opportunity to diversify our shared estate for the 21st century, to meet the needs of communities in the future

LA data and intelligence
DfE/RSC delegate
Diocesan property leads x 2
CCC property lead

With thanks, as ever, for your continued commitment, hard work and goodwill.

Yours sincerely
Dan Barton
Assistant Director - Education and Skills

All close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases should now be advised to get a PCR test

We have been advised by Public Health England North West that with immediate effect, all close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases in educational settings in the North West should get a PCR test. This guidance applies to all settings – early years, schools, FE colleges and universities. It applies to all children, young people and adults.

This change in guidance is being made to provide an additional measure to help stop the spread of the B.1.617.2 variant of COVID-19 (which was originally detected in India).

There is currently no known community transmission of this variant within Cumbria, however the variant is now circulating in a number of Local Authority areas across the North West. As a result, any PCR-confirmed COVID-19 case identified in the North West of England will now be assumed to be the B.1.617.2 variant until/unless proven otherwise.


Please also find attached a new COVID-19 model operations risk assessment for schools, updated to reflect the changes above.

Public Health contacts during half-term

Contacts for accessing Public Health support  re: COVID-19 over the half-term are available here:


Directed Time & Workload leadership seminars

Cumbria National Education Union has organised a couple of Leadership Seminars next month on Directed Time & Workload for school heads, deputies and other leaders. 

Participants must register in advance for one of these Zoom meetings: 

  • Tuesday 8 June at 5.30pm - click here to register
  • Thursday 10 Jun at 1.30pm - click here to register

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Please note that the sessions will be recorded.


Emotional wellbeing and mental health service contacts

Covid-19 and repeated lockdowns have had an enormous effect on the mental health and wellbeing of all our children and young people. 

Please see below for a comprehensive list of contacts for emotional wellbeing and mental health support services available to schools across the county:


Radicalisation and the role of Prevent and Channel Panel

As we return to our new normal, I know that in schools you are working hard to support your children. I wanted to highlight that via the Home Office we have identified an increased risk in the potential for young people to become radicalised, primarily through electronic media. 

This risk coupled with a reduction in the number of referrals we are seeing from education establishments mean that I would like to take this opportunity to remind you all about our duties under Prevent and the role of Channel Panel in supporting Young People who may be vulnerable to being radicalised. 

Please can I encourage you to remind your staff about Prevent and Channel. If you have a prevent concern please contact

I am also aware that schools are being contacted to revisit the previous train the trainer programme and build on this to reference the latest threats.

An email has been sent to every SENCO in the county asking them the following questions:

  1. Is there anyone employed at your school that completed the original train the trainer events?
  2. Is there anything in particular that you would like to be considered in the development of the new sessions?

And if they cannot respond asking them to pass this onto the DSL within school.

In relation to future training, if you have any thoughts about what would be of use to your and your colleagues please contact so that they can be incorporated in future training programmes.

We have compiled some resources to aid in any conversations you may be having locally around the current conflict in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories:


Planning for transition

One of the issues that is being raised through the Education Planning Group is Year 6-7 transition. It’s clear from discussions that Headteachers have a range of views and different approaches are being taken around the county.

From a Local Authority perspective our view is that wherever possible children should have access to transition this term to help alleviate anxiety and have a positive experience that motivates and enthuses them for the change. The Government’s roadmap supports this and is clear that transitional, taster and open days in schools can now resume.

Ultimately the decision rests with the Headteacher and we understand that what is possible will differ.

Our Health and Safety team have produced a comprehensive guidance note and risk assessment template for schools to help you in your decision making and your planning.

EYFS update

SEND updates

Cumbria SEND Information, advice and support service (SEND IAS) have recently updated their information flyer. Please find the leaflet here and make sure that it is accessible to your parents and carers.

SEND IAS can now be found on Facebook @CumbriaSEND (, where you will also find a link to the Website

Please find the latest version of ‘Support for children with special educational needs or disabilities in Early Years’ in Cumbria here 

30 hours policy - opportunity to share your views

The Early Years Alliance is working with social mobility charity the Sutton Trust to gain an up-to-date understanding of school and early years provider views on the 30-hour funded entitlement policy and on any changes that you think should be made to the policy.

The survey is completely anonymous, and will close on Thursday 3 June. You can give your views here -

Home learning

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'Ten in a bed'.  Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share – Ten in a bed

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

Revised EYFS professional development opportunities

Please look out for the Revised EYFS briefing paper issue 5 that went out via the Portal last week.  The focus this time is comparing Development Matters and Birth to 5 Matters.  The briefings are also available on our website.

Early Years Foundation Stage 2021