Education Planning Group: Schools update... 1 July

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In today's update:


dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

Outbreaks

An unprecedented number of schools have been dealing with covid incidents and outbreaks this week and I know this has caused disruption and frustration and resilience is being stretched extremely thin. The end of term is nearly with us and we just need to stay the course for a while longer. We will of course then need to wait and see what the advice from Government will be for the new term.

Vision for Education

Given the pressures from covid right now I don't want to add to them unnecessarily, but I do want to draw your attention to the draft Vision for Education in Cumbria which we are collectively developing, and the update from Greta Ellis and Judith Schafer, the CASL co-chairs, below.

Safeguarding, self-isolation and holidays

I know you will be doing this anyway, but with so many children now at home self-isolating I just wanted to remind colleagues how important it to stay in touch with children and families who are vulnerable. We know that existing vulnerabilities can be made worse in these circumstances.

Some questions have arisen about safeguarding arrangements over the summer holidays and schools' role. I would stress that there is no expectation that schools do anything differently to a normal year. The county has well established safeguarding arrangements through the multi-agency hub that operate year round.

Summer schools

Schools have asked about recompense should planned activity have to be cancelled as a result of national covid restrictions. DfE have responded that:

"... any reasonable, unrecoverable costs incurred by schools as a result of a direct local or national order from the government, such as COVID measures, will be honoured (up to the maximum of their published funding allocation)."

And on a related note, thank you for your support in promoting the county's Holiday Activity Programme.

SEND inspection

Just a reminder that our local area SEND reinspection by Ofsted could come at any point now. We're ready, but would of course prefer if inspectors didn't arrive until the autumn term!

So, that's all from me. Thank you as ever, this is turning out to be one of the most challenging periods of the pandemic and schools continue to respond magnificently.

Yours,

Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills


Cumbria's Education Vision - a message from the CASL co-chairs

As you know, over the course of an incredibly busy year, we have seized the opportunity to build on our strengths and positive relationships as a system, and have embarked on the development of Cumbria’s Vision for Education and System Plan. We have continued our planning work on this and CASL is leading on the development of Strand 1 – Improving Standards for All.

At such a busy time, it feels like too big an ask to pull people into a series of planning meetings. Instead, we’ve worked with the Learning Improvement Service to develop a simple Google Form to capture your thoughts. If you can spare one hour, or one minute, your thoughts about which actions will help us to deliver against this priority will be much appreciated. We think, on reflection, that this makes the process more democratic, and will enable the resultant action plan to reflect the diversity of our school system.

There is no pressure at all to contribute to this piece of work, you all have a huge amount to be getting on with, but we wanted to open this up as widely as possible and to give you the option to feed-in your thoughts.

With thanks in advance,

Greta Ellis and Judith Schafer – CASL co-chairs


Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen

The Education (School Day and School Year) (England) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 came into force on 1 June 2021.

One of the provisions of the regulations is to enable relevant schools to close for the additional bank holiday to take place on 3 June 2022 to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty The Queen.

The effect of this is to reduce the minimum number of sessions which must be held in the school year 2021-22 from 380 to 378. 

The changes are similar to previous amendments eg. the Diamond Jubilee (5 June 2012) and the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (29 April 2011) when schools took a day off in lieu of the additional bank holiday if the bank holiday fell within a school holiday period.

The DfE have indicated that The School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) will be amended to reflect the changes and allow for an additional day off.  It is expected that there will be a reduction in the number of days a teacher employed full time must be required to work from 195 to 194 days, and a reduction in the number of days they may be required to teach pupils and perform other duties from 190 to 189 days.  The STPCD will address matters related to the payment of staff. 

Any changes/guidance from the local authority will be conditional upon the amendment of the STPCD (which is unlikely to be confirmed until September)

As the employer for community and voluntary controlled schools, community special and maintained nursery schools, the LA will issue revised school term and holiday dates for 2021-22.  It is proposed that the additional day will be added to the end of the summer 2022 half term break resulting in schools returning on Tuesday, 7 June 2022 instead of Monday, 6 June 2022 but other options can be put forward for consideration.

For voluntary aided, foundation, free schools and academies, the governing body or academy trust is the employer and as such are responsible for determining school term and holiday dates.  Dates that have been previously agreed and published for 2021-22 will therefore need to be updated.  Any changes should be shared with staff, parents, TU representatives and any other stakeholders.

It is suggested that schools should alert parents to the potential changes to the2021-22 school term dates before the end of this academic year with revised dates to be agreed, published and circulated following the publication of the STPCD in September.  This will allow for a short period of consultation on the proposed changes.

The Regulations relating to these changes can be found as follows: 

The Education (School Day and School Year) (England) (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (legislation.gov.uk)

Any enquires can be directed by e-mail to Nicola Shiels: nicola.shiels@cumbria.gov.uk

A further update will be issued in September.


Cumbria Holiday Activity Programme now live

Cumbria Holiday Activity Programme banner

Thank you to all schools who have been helping us promote the Cumbria Holiday Activity Programme to parents of children receiving benefits-related Free School Meals.

More new activities are being added daily, with an additional 70 now on the system since Tuesday's launch.

Please encourage parents to keep looking to make sure they don't miss out.

+ VISIT cumbria.gov.uk/holidays

+ DOWNLOAD promotional flyer


EYFS update

New resources on the early years website - Revised EYFS subject leader guidance for schools

The EYFS statutory framework has been updated and the revised document will need to be used in all early years’ settings and schools from September 2021. It is important that subject leaders in schools understand what their specialist subject looks like in early years; how key knowledge and skills are taught and what progression through these may look like.

In support of this we are writing a range of documents linking each national curriculum area to the early years curriculum with reference to the statutory framework and non-statutory support documents (Birth to 5 Matters and Development Matters). These will be added to and updated over time and may also be a useful reference for early years teachers, senior leaders and governors.

The first set of these documents have been added to our website.

These documents are not intended to be used as a tick list for assessment or planning purposes. Their aim is to support with understanding the revised Statutory Framework and accompanying non-statutory guidance documents.

These documents are available on the Early Years website protected page. 

Please scroll down to ‘Revised EYFS subject leader guidance for schools’ and enter Cumbria’s unique password.

Our early adopter schools have shared some of their thoughts and learning on their experiences in Briefing Paper 9 which has now gone to education settings and is also available on the website. 


Royal Foundation for the early years

On Friday The Duchess of Cambridge announced that she has set up an early childhood research centre with the ambition of changing the way society thinks about the first five years of a child’s life and transforming the lives of future generations.

The inaugural report ‘Big Change Starts Small’ is available here. 

Alongside the launch of the centre and the publication of the report, the Duchess has launched a new website, which will publish the centre’s latest research and initiatives, and to help to raise awareness of the importance of early childhood, laying out the scientific, economic and social opportunity for change. 


Funding for outdoor areas

Early years providers in England, Wales and Scotland who employ at least five members of staff and have a physical building – either stand alone or part of a school – are eligible to apply for £500 worth of equipment for outdoor learning and a two-hour outdoor training session.

Further information available here - https://naturegrants.ltl.org.uk/


Home learning - Chat, Play, Share

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

Chat Play Share - The Wheels on the Bus