Education Planning Group: Schools update... 9 September

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dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

A short introduction from me this week, given how busy we all are at this time of year. Thank you all so much for giving Cumbrian young people such a good start back to school which, for the time being at least, will feel more ‘normal’ for the majority.

                                 Best wishes,

                                 Dan Barton

                                 Assistant Director - Education and Skills

12-15 Vaccinations Update

I mentioned last week that there were some proposals being mooted by government in relation to using secondary schools as sites for a potential ‘roll-out’ of Covid vaccinations for 12-15 year olds. Whilst no decision has formally been taken regarding this, and you will doubtless have followed this in the news, we are planning on the basis that we will be given the mandate to progress this work collectively. Already a great deal of planning and preparation has gone on behind the scenes relating to clinical issues, logistics and governance.

The government have made clear that the expectation is that we turn around implementation of this programme from decision to vaccination in five days. As a result of this imperative from central government, Cumbria NHS foundation trust has been instructed to put in place a shadow schedule. The intention was that this would happen subsequent to a discussion and countywide communication from me. I must apologise, therefore, on behalf of the system, to those of you who have received cold calls this week aiming to put this in place without forewarning.

We continue to work with the Director of Public Health, Colin Cox, and partners from across the health system to develop a coherent plan in anticipation of government’s decision, and will keep you apprised of any relevant details in the interim. Since this situation is very fast moving, we will aim to provide very regular briefings relating to this issue over the next few weeks, and will convene an extraordinary meeting of secondary heads or delegates to discuss very shortly.

Anti-Vaccination Protests

Some colleagues have expressed concerns about the possibility of public order disturbances from anti-vaccination protesters if and when the decision is taken to offer vaccinations in school. In response to this, we have worked with Cumbria Constabulary and the North of England health system vaccinations lead to develop a rapid response system which will allow schools to call-in any urgent concerns of this type to the police call centre with a priority number and code word. A flow diagram and explanation is in development and should be published to along with guidance next week.

Holding events such as open evenings

We know that many schools are planning open evenings and that these are an important part of helping families decide on future school placements.

The national guidance supports schools who wish to hold their open evenings face-to-face, but as COVID-19 rates in our communities remain high, it is important to risk assess the planned events beforehand and put in place any measures you can to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

In the event that your setting is experiencing multiple COVID-19 cases, and the Local Authority Education Infection Prevention and Control team advise a wider range of measures to help manage in-setting transmission, please be aware that one of the recommended actions may be to postpone open evening events.

Please email if you have any other questions about COVID-19 risk in relation to open evenings.

Health and Safety Update – Library Van school visits

We have received some enquiries regarding the return of Library vans to schools.  There is no reason why these visits cannot now resume as long as suitable hygiene precautions are taken.

It will be at the discretion of each Headteacher whether the visits can go ahead either with the children being able to go onto the van and choose their own books or having one teacher go on and choose books for the children.

The School Library Service have put in place measures that will allow for the children to board safely. Measures may include; limiting the number of children, asking children to place their returned books into a box rather than handing them to the driver and spacing out of groups to allow the driver to step outside for some fresh air and for the van to be ventilated. This might mean that it will take a little longer but at least it will allow the children to choose their own books and keep the driver safe as well.

Hand sanitiser will be available but we would recommend that you include in your operations risk assessment the controls you will put in place. For instance, no child will be permitted on the bus if they are showing symptoms and making sure they have sanitised their hands before and after their visit. 

School suspension and permanent exclusion guidance

The DFE introduced variations to the suspension and exclusion processes as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. These variations including the option to use remote technology for governing body meetings and IRP’s have been extended for exclusions which occur up to 24th March 2022.The full guidance can be found here. Please also note that the DFE have changed the terminology for fixed term exclusions and these should now be referred to as suspensions.

Recovery Premium Funding

In February 2021, the government announced a one-off recovery premium as part of its package of funding to support education recovery.

The recovery premium provides additional funding for state-funded schools in the 2021 to 2022 academic year. It is based on pupil premium eligibility to provide further support to disadvantaged pupils.

Ventilation and CO2 monitor delivery

On Saturday 21 August it was announced that CO2 monitors will be provided this term to state-funded education settings, including early years, schools and further education providers. The first deliveries will start this week. Special schools, alternative provision and residential schools have been prioritised to receive their monitors first, given their higher-than-average numbers of vulnerable pupils. For future reference, a ‘how to’ guide on using CO2 monitors in education and childcare settings is now available on the ventilation document sharing platform

Letter from the Secretary of State for Education

Gavin Williamson has written to those working in education settings to thank them for all their efforts over the last 18 months and to look ahead to a new academic year that brings a greater sense of normality. Read the full letter here

Early Years Update

Cumbria revised 2 year old review template 

With the introduction of the revised EYFS from 1st September 2021, the 2 Year Old Review template has been updated and refreshed in order to meet the requirements of the Statutory framework. The template has been shared with colleagues in the Early Years Reference Group who represent the sector and feedback has informed the new template.

The 2 Year Old Review remains a statutory assessment for all 2 Year Olds attending an early years setting including childminders, PVI’s and schools. The 2 Year Old Health Assessment remains a mandated contact for health between 2 and 2.5 years of age. Due to the current situation, some children may not have had their 2-2.5 year old visit, however if you have any concerns about the health or development of a child please contact your local health visiting service.

In the pilot of the revised template the providers included the completed template in the child’s red book rather than the summary slip and parents provided very positive feedback about the accessibility of this for their family and their health visitor. The use of the red book slip will be considered further in the revised Cumbrian model.

Over September we will be sharing with you resources and documents including a 2 Year Old Toolkit to support your practice and provision and also to enable early identification and intervention for our youngest children to ensure timely support is implemented where needed.

Over the coming weeks the Cumbrian model for the joint reviews between health and education is being refreshed and will be piloted in selected areas of the county. From this the county model will be finalised and shared with all providers.

The updated template can be found here if you wish to use it for your 2 year old mandatory assessments.

Cumbria 2 year old review template

Bereavement and trauma in young children

Thank you again to everyone who completed our Early Years Survey last term. Through it you told us that two of the top emerging areas of need for children as a result of the pandemic are for support with their emotional wellbeing and through bereavement.

The Anna Freud network recently ran a series of three live webinars for early years practitioners. The first looked at managing challenging behaviour, the second looked at attending to the needs of children affected by a bereavement, and the third advised on how nursery staff can help any children in their setting who may have experienced trauma or abuse. These events are free for you to watch via YouTube:

Webinar 1)  Supporting children in early years settings who may have experienced trauma or abuse

Webinar 2)   Supporting bereaved children in early years settings

Webinar 3) Managing challenging behaviour in an early years setting

Home Learning

Chat, Play, Share

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

Chat Play Share: Dingle Dangle Scarecrow

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

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