Education Planning Group: Schools update... 26 August

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In today's update:

dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

I won’t say ‘welcome back’ yet, because I am really keen that colleagues continue to feel in holiday mode as far as is possible with all of the work you are inevitably doing at the moment. That said, I hope you have had a wonderful break away during the summer, and feel as ready as you can be for another year.

We promised that we’d meet before the end of the summer holidays to give members of the Education Planning Group a chance to meet and consider any key questions and communication needed before the beginning of the new term in September. What follows are the key messages and most up to date Health and Safety advice for your school.

We will continue to meet regularly each week and will revert to the regular Thursday communications slot starting from today.

Wishing you all the very best for the term ahead, and reminding you that we are here to support at all times.

Best wishes,

Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Model premises and model operations risk assesments

Model risk assessments (School Operations and School Premises) and supporting guidance on operating procedures have been developed for maintained schools and settings in consultation with our trade union colleagues and relevant service areas. 

Each maintained setting should undertake their own risk assessment following this format and Cumbria County Council, as the employer in the above settings, will support and guide governing bodies and school leaders to manage a planned and safe return to school this autumn term. Other types of schools are welcome to use these models to help their own planning and risk assessment approach but must ensure that they prioritise their own employer’s health and safety management procedures.

Both risk assessments are on the Schools’ Portal in the Covid-19 risk assessments folder or can be downloaded here:



Help and support with the development of your risk assessment is available through the County Council’s Corporate Health and Safety Team at .

Autumn term health & safety briefing note

Welcome to the Cumbria schools’ health and safety briefing note which will be produced termly to keep you updated with the latest news and facts:


Attendance data collection update

The daily educational setting status form, which has provided the government with information about attendance and Covid-related absences throughout the pandemic, will reopen for the autumn term. 

However, from Friday, October 1, the form will move from daily reporting to weekly. The DfE said this would reduce the time schools and colleges spend completing it.

Schools are currently asked to complete the form by 2pm each day.

Secondary Schools: Return to school LFD testing

As pupils will potentially mix with lots of other people during the summer holidays, all secondary school pupils (year 7 and above) should receive 2 on-site lateral flow device tests, 3 to 5 days apart, on their return in the autumn term.

The public health advice remains that if someone has tested positive with a PCR test, they should not be tested using either PCR or rapid lateral flow tests for 90 days, unless they develop new symptoms during this time – in which case they should be retested immediately using PCR. This 90-day period is from the initial onset of symptoms or, if asymptomatic when tested, their positive test result.

Therefore we recommend wherever possible secondary schools exclude individuals who have tested positive via PCR during the past 90 days from the return to school LFD testing.

Identifying staff contacts if threshold is met

If cases amongst staff mean a school meets the threshold, employers will need to call the Self Isolation Service Hub on 020 3743 6715 and provide the 8-digit NHS Test and Trace Account ID (sometimes referred to as a CTAS number) of the person who tested positive, alongside the names of co-workers identified as close contacts.

This will ensure that all workplace contacts are registered with NHS Test and Trace and can receive the necessary public health advice, including the support available to help people to self-isolate if necessary.

SEND annual review: Mandatory training – September 2021

The Cumbria SEND Team have developed new annual review paperwork and guidance which will come into effect from the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year. 

To support this implementation, a number of training sessions will be delivered in September 2021.  At least one representative from your school/setting is required to access the training to ensure effective roll out and implementation of the process.

Sessions will be delivered on Microsoft Teams from 3.00pm to 5.00pm on the following dates (click on date required to book):

Tuesday 14 September 2021                    

Wednesday 15 September 2021              

Tuesday 21 September 2021 

Wednesday 22 September 2021              

Tuesday 28 September 2021                    

Wednesday 29 September 2021 

Please book onto one of the sessions as soon possible. Joining details will be issued prior to each session.

Mental health grant funding and training for schools and colleges

The Department for Education (DfE) is offering a senior member of school or college staff the opportunity to get a grant for training to develop the knowledge and skills to implement an effective whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing in their setting.

Training could be for:

  • headteachers
  • deputy headteachers
  • members of senior leadership teams (SLT)
  • if not a senior leader, an appropriate member of staff, working with colleagues, who is empowered to develop and oversee the setting’s whole school or college approach

Grants will be offered to around a third of all state schools and colleges between September 2021 and March 2022. Full details are found on the link and schools can sign up from September here.

DfE mental health resources for schools, teachers and leaders

As schools start to prepare for the new academic year, new DfE signposting of mental health resources and support for teachers and leaders, to promote and support mental health and wellbeing can be found in the links below:

There is also information for schools and colleges where they can find out what help they can get to develop a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing  here.

Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen

It is proposed that the additional school closure in respect of the bank holiday to take place on 3 June 2022 to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Her Majesty the Queen will be taken at the end of the autumn term meaning that last day of the term will be Thursday, 16 December 2021.

Revised LA term dates for 2021-22 will be sent to all schools and will be available on the CCC website.

Ofsted extends statutory inspection by two years

Ofsted is to extend its statutory inspection window from five years to seven years in order to ensure Covid disruption doesn’t result in a breach of its legal obligations.

Under previous legislation, the watchdog was obliged to inspect schools within five years of the end of the academic year in which their previous inspection took place.

Early years updates

Revised EYFS

With the 1st September rapidly approaching, we are sure that you will be planning to support your children from the perspective of the revised framework.

Please remember that you can access a wide range of support, including recorded webinars, on the early years website.

Home learning - What can I do this week?

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

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday