Education Planning Group: Schools update... 2 September

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In today's update:

dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

For all of you who have welcomed pupils back today I hope everything has gone well, and for those whose term starts tomorrow, good luck! I sincerely hope that all schools are able to get back to operating at close to normal as possible. Inevitably there will be bumps in the road, but fingers crossed that the huge disruption to pupil’s education over the last 18 months is now behind us.

The core information in this week’s update is the latest guidance from our Public Health team and I can reassure that the team remains ready and available to support schools through this new term. It’s important to note that the Government has been clear that schools should now operate as normal, but it is the case that Head Teachers have the discretion to put in place mitigation measures if deemed appropriate to reduce infection spread, following consultation with our Cumbria Public Health colleagues.

I also want to highlight some initial thinking coming out from Government about the potential for COVID-19 vaccinations to be offered to 12-15 year olds in secondary schools. There is no confirmation that Government will pursue this approach yet, so we have no further details. Clearly if this is their decision it will have significant operational implications for schools, so we wanted to ensure you were aware at this early stage. We are currently working with NHS colleagues in Cumbria to understand more about how this could work, and, as we have done previously with testing, we will aim to provide support to schools with logistics and implementation. We hope to know more next week and will provide a further update once the situation is clearer.

Best wishes for the new term.

Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Public Health update to COVID-19 guidance

Please find below information and advice from the Cumbria County Council Public Health team in relation to COVID-19.

PLEASE NOTE – from 1 September 2021, if you have any positive cases of COVID-19 amongst staff or pupils in your setting, please complete the attached ‘Positive case / outbreak assessment form’ and return to securely to You no longer need to call the Cumbria County Council COVID-19 call centre.

Also attached:

Living with COVID-19: Claire King, Cumbria County Council Consultant in Public Health

"This academic year is part of a new phase in the Government’s response to the pandemic. The focus is shifting to learning to live with the virus, as more of the population is vaccinated.

"As we move into the autumn term, we need to strike the right balance so that we can maximise the number of children and young people in face-to-face education and minimise any disruption to their education and learning.

"Schools and colleges have a range of measures in place to manage COVID-19, supported by national policy, including testing and good hygiene practices.

"Locally we will continue to support settings to implement these measures effectively. Given the benefit of children being in face-to-face education, Cumbria County Council will not routinely endorse any additional infection prevention measures, especially those that increase above what is absolutely necessary, the number of children who cannot attend school.

"However, the measures will of course need to be supported by a continued readiness for education settings to work with local public health colleagues to respond to outbreaks and worrying spikes in the virus whenever they arise. When this does happen, Public Health will work with schools to review risk assessments and put in place additional COVID-safe measures where appropriate."

Any education settings with questions about their system of control measures can continue to contact the CCC Education IPC team for support by emailing

Remote education for children self-isolating or with a positive result 

Schools should provide remote education for school-aged children who are unable to attend school due to following government guidance or law relating to COVID-19 (for example if they need to self-isolate, or if they have tested positive but are well enough to learn from home).

Where a child is off school due to illness (not COVID-19) schools are under no obligation to support their learning whilst at home. 

If parents choose to keep a child at home due to concerns about COVID-19 but without the child being symptomatic or having a positive LFD or PCR test, this will be classified as an unauthorised absence and the provision of work or remote learning for the child is at the discretion of the school.

Guidance on school open days and parents evenings

Under the new national guidance, there are no limitations on holding events such as open days or parents evening, however all schools are asked (as part of their risk assessments) to have in place a contingency plan in case they experience a number of COVID cases and are identified as being in an outbreak situation.

If your setting is in an outbreak please postpone any planned open days or parents evenings. However, if you are a larger setting and your outbreak is not affecting the rooms / groups of children who are going to be involved in the open day, you could consider holding your open day following thorough risk assessment and ensuring COVID-safe measures are in place.

If you have any questions about the guidance, please email

Inspira flyer to circulate to parents in need of support with employment

Employability skills experts, Inspira, has requested that schools circulate the  attached flyer to their parents, to ensure those who are in need of support with employment are aware of their services.

They have recognised that schools are playing a major part in supporting their local communities in dealing with the impact of Covid-19 and that there may be a significant number of parents who have lost jobs or been furloughed during the pandemic who may not be aware of Inspira's services.

As the delivery partner for The National Careers Service Cumbria and deliverer of an ESF funded program providing skills support for the unemployed, Inspira are in a position to provide free Careers Guidance to adults to help them find work or training. They are currently working with a large number of employers with live vacancies to ensure the adults they work with are aware of, and supported to apply for, appropriate employment opportunities.

Early years update

Revised EYFS

As the revised EYFS came into effect yesterday (2nd September) please remember that there are a wealth of resources to support you and your team on the Early Years website

Please also be aware that the EYFS disapplications have now come to an end. More information on the Early Years training programme will be coming soon.

Ofsted update

The revised inspection handbook for registered early years provision has been updated and also comes into effect from today (1st September)

You may find this document helpful to read alongside the handbook -

Early years foundation stage (EYFS) reforms (guidance updated 16 August 2021)

Home learning

Chat, Play, Share

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'Two little dickie birds'.  Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share: Two little dickie birds

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 dens. Remember that the activities contained in this communication are for the week starting next Monday.

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