Education Planning Group: Schools update... 23 September

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dan barton

Dear Colleagues, 

Please accept my apologies for the late email this week. 

The core information in this week’s update is the latest guidance from our Public Health team surrounding an updated local framework and guidance to deal with the rapid rise of COVID case rates in schools across Cumbria.

The updated local framework and guidance is designed to give you more resilience in fighting rising case numbers, ensuring (as far as possible) less disruption to the classroom.

Finally, I know that many of you are feeling the pressures of this extraordinary situation we all find ourselves in. So, I would just like to take this opportunity to reiterate my appreciation to all of you for the vitally important work you all do. 

Best wishes,

Dan Barton

Assistant Director - Education and Skills

IMPORTANT: New self-isolation guidance for schools

Managing COVID-19 cases is becoming increasingly challenging for educational settings in Cumbria, so Cumbria’s Director of Public Health, Colin Cox and education leaders have agreed the following local additional advice measures to be implemented from Thursday 23 September.

Children and young people aged between the ages of 5 and 16, (unless exempt – see below) should now be advised to stay at home when a sibling tests positive for COVID-19 (via either a PCR or Lateral Flow test).

3-5 days following the onset of symptoms in the sibling who has tested positive (or test date if the positive case had no symptoms), the close contact child should get a PCR test. If this is negative, they can return to the setting, but should isolate again immediately and get another test if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 at a later date.

The groups exempt from this advice and able to continue to attend the setting when identified as a close contact of a sibling positive case are:

  • 12-18 year-olds who have had at least one dose of the vaccine more than 14 days ago
  • Any child aged between 5 – 16 who has tested positive for COVID-19 themselves via a PCR test within the past 90 days.

Why is this guidance being issued now? 

In the week ending 17 September 2021, the 12-18 age group accounted for the greatest number of new cases in Cumbria followed by the 5-11 age group (+524 and +412 new cases respectively).

The 12-18 and 5-11 age groups also accounted for by far the greatest rates of new cases in Cumbria (1,431 and 1,106 new cases per 100k population respectively).

The 5-9 age group experienced the greatest numerical and proportional increase in new cases (+53%).


Several resources to support schools implement this new guidance can be found on the Cumbria County Council website:

Additional important advice

Any parents or carers who still want their child to continue to attend school have the right to send their child into the setting. In these situations, we strongly advise the child or young person identified as a sibling close contact to get a PCR test before attending the setting.

Anyone who develops symptoms of COVID-19 should continue to get a PCR test and stay at home. Individuals informed by Test & Trace to isolate should stay at home for the time advised.

Update on school age vaccination programme roll-out

from Lynn Durrant, Assistant Director of Nursing Children and Young People

Firstly, can I again thank you all for your help and support with the covid vaccination programme; as I have previously alluded to the timescales have been imposed upon us and this is not the way we would normally wish to work with you.

I am also aware that the turnaround time for the consents has become increasingly difficult to meet so with the exception of the schools we will be vaccinating in next week I am happy to extend the date to Monday the 27th September for return of the consents and we will collect them on Tuesday morning.

For clarity the following schools we will still need to have the returned forms back to us by the end of Thursday the 23rd/First thing Friday 24th September:

  • William Howard
  • Samuel Kings
  • Kirby Moor
  • Windermere
  • Cartmel Priory
  • The Lakes
  • John Ruskin
  • Dowdales
  • Over Sands

Following further feedback from yourselves can I also explain our consent form and the screening questions.

The consent element is on the front of the form and stands alone in terms of the requirements for legal consent.

The screening questions on the back of the form are to make sure it is safe to administer the vaccination to the child; these questions will be repeated on the day so recent illnesses or vaccinations will be picked up then and there is no need to align the consents being returned to the date we will be in school.

If you have further queries please do get in touch at

Fair School Funding for all

In July the DfE launched a consultation setting out their proposals for how they move the current national funding formula (NFF) for mainstream schools towards a hard NFF.  It seeks views on the approach to moving to a direct hard NFF whereby individual school budgets will be set directly by the Education Skills and Funding Agency rather than independently through a local agreed funding formula.  In 2022/23 local authorities will continue to have flexibility to set a local funding formula however from 2023/24 the department proposes reduce local flexibility as it smooths the transition to a hard NFF.

The consultation also seeks views on how to allocate the premises factor, their approach to funding schools experiencing growth and falling rolls, multi-academy trusts ability to pool their funding and reforming the approach for funding central school services delivered by local authorities.  Finally, it also seeks views on the value of moving the funding year for LA maintained schools to an academic year and the future role of the Schools Forum.

The deadline for responses to the consultation which can be accessed here is 30 September and all schools and academies are encouraged to respond.

Training launched for mental health leads in schools and colleges

The Department for Education (DfE) has announced that pupils in up to 7,800 schools will benefit from a trained senior mental health lead to identify those who need support and improve access to specialist services.

Eligible schools and colleges will be able to apply for a grant of £1,200, to access DfE quality assured training to help develop a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing.

The Children’s Commissioner for England, Dame Rachel de Souza, has also published the result of her ‘Big Ask’ survey, which accounts for the views of over half a million children in England.

The full report has been made available as well as resources which schools can use to share the results with pupils and students in their local area.





Contextual Safeguarding: Addressing Extremism, Exploitation & Youth Violence

The Lancashire Prevent team are hosting a series of interactive online training sessions to up-skill staff in contextual and complex safeguarding to address extremism, violence and exploitation. 

The up-skilling session are two hour workshops consisting of slides, activities, presentation materials, staff feedback and an online portal for resources post-delivery.

To register for a free workshop, click here

For more information read the full leaflet or contact the Lancashire Prevent team by email: or by phone: 01254 585260

Early Years Update

Revised EYFS - Early Years Curriculum briefing paper

This briefing paper offers guidance on –

  • What is curriculum?
  • What do we need to change?
  • Planning your curriculum
  • How do you decide what you want ‘your’ children to learn?

Briefing paper 14 - Early years curriculum

Information for school governors

The Early Years team have developed a document on the Revised EYFS to support school governors with the changes.

Revised EYFS - information for governors

Integrated 2 year old review

It is a requirement of the EYFS that a child’s progress between two and three years of age must be reviewed and a short written summary of the child’s development in the three prime areas reported upon. Providers will celebrate the child’s successes and also include any actions they will take to help a child develop in areas where they are doing less well. The child’s report may be shared with other professionals who can help support a child but they will only do this with parent/carer permission, set out on the report template

Cumbria’s guidance for using the integrated 2YO review progress check and the updated 2YO review template can be found below:

Integrated 2 year old review guidance

Integrated 2 year old review template

Home Learning

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

Chat Play Share: I Hear Thunder

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

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday