Education Planning Group: Schools update... 30 September

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dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

Lots to unpack in this week's update so I'll be brief. After the fake vaccine letter which was circulated earlier this week, a reminder that all official information regarding the vaccination programme will come via this bulletin, or via North Cumbria Integrated Care (NCIC) NHS Foundation Trust. 

Thank you all again for your continued efforts in this extremely stressful period.

Best wishes,

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Warning: Fake vaccine consent email

We have been made aware that some schools have received a letter claiming to be from the NHS "Childhood Vaccines Team" along with an additional "Consent Checklist" to be shared with parents. The checklist contains false or misleading information about the vaccine.

The email address this is being sent from in the example we have seen is: 

For the avoidance of any doubt, this is fake and part of efforts by anti-vaccination groups to disrupt the vaccine roll out programme.

Official information regarding the programme will come via this bulletin, or via North Cumbria Integrated Care (NCIC) NHS Foundation Trust.

Schools Model COVID-19 risk assessment

An updated Schools Model COVID-19 risk assessment has been issued which can be found in the link below:

Schools Model COVID-19 risk assessment 

Public Health Updates for Schools in Cumbria

Responding to Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Do we have to send completed COVID-19 case notification forms to if we only have a few cases or do we wait until we have met a threshold?

Wherever possible, please do send back forms when you see any positive cases (and if you see further cases, add to the original form and re-send). This is because we monitor the data provided and aim where possible to proactively call settings that are nearing thresholds to discuss next steps.

Having a complete picture of positive cases across the County also helps us to assess if local Public Health policy needs to be reviewed, for example, we used the data over the past couple of weeks to inform decision-making around sibling close-contacts.

  1. Do we need to re-write our risk assessments to align to the threshold framework that was sent out?

No, the framework was shared with schools to inform you about the type of infection-prevention measures the public health team may advise depending on the COVID-19 situation within your setting. It aimed to build more detail around the national Contingency Framework (which did not describe how measures could be stepped-up and down). There is no need to update risk assessments unless you want to.

  1. Should secondary schools be contact tracing when they see positive cases in the setting?

National guidance states that schools are no longer required to contact trace and that NHS Test and Trace will carry out contact tracing. However, what we have found to date is that NHS Test and Trace have not routinely asked positive cases about school-based close contacts and have not followed-up school-based close contacts if identified. We have been informed that work is underway to improve this.

The absence of contact from NHS Test and Trace has resulted in many schools receiving feedback from parents that they are disappointed they have not been made aware that their child has been a close contact of a positive case in the setting.

We are very aware that it is incredibly difficult for secondary schools to contact trace pupils, given the way pupils move between different lessons and areas of the school (especially now bubble arrangements have been stood down). Therefore, we advise the following – for secondary schools reaching the threshold of 20% positive cases in a group or class, consider reintroducing seating plans in classrooms (for the affected groups). If a pupil tests positive, send a close contact letter to the parents / carers of any children who have been sat within 2 metres of the positive case (during the positive case’s infectious period).

For schools who have not met the threshold, consider sending a generic ‘warn and inform’ letter to parents / carers making them aware that there are positive cases in their child’s year group. We would also recommend doing this for school transport as well where appropriate.

Schools were sent template letters at the start of term, but please contact if you require further copies.

Face coverings for secondary schools (For staff and student use in communal areas NOT for PPE use)

We have received some feedback from schools stating that where face coverings are reintroduced in schools on the advice of Cumbria’s Public Health team, in some cases pupils are not remembering to bring their own or there are other issues with access to face coverings. 

As such, over the next seven days the County Council will be delivering a free supply of face coverings to all secondary schools, special schools and PRUs. 

Each educational setting will receive either 2,000 or 500 face coverings, depending on the size of your school. Please note, these are Type II face coverings , not Type IIR (fluid repellent PPE grade) so this stock is NOT suitable for wider use as PPE during LFT testing or similar close contact interventions.

The delivery will clearly state the coverings are not for PPE purposes, but can be used as face coverings in communal areas. It would be helpful if these coverings are stored in separate location to PPE masks to avoid any potential confusion.

If there are any issues with your order please contact the distribution team on

Keeping your child safe in sport

The NSPCC Child Protection in Sport Unit have launched a free e-learning course for parents, designed to help them understand their role in keeping children safe in sport and to let them know who to turn to if they have any worries.

More details can be found on the NSPCC website

Schools Financial Value Standard 2021/22 – Maintained Schools Only

The updated SFVS template for financial year 2021/22 is now available to download here

The SFVS Checklist should be completed and signed-off by governors before submitting to the LA via the Portal returns folder by Monday 28 February 2022.

In a change from previous years a copy of the Dashboard is no longer required to be submitted with the Checklist. The Dashboard, which still forms an integral part of the SFVS assurance, has now been pre-populated with your school’s data (2019/20) and is available to download from the DfE’s financial benchmarking website.

The only other major change to the SFVS Checklist is that there is now a requirement to report on the number and value of Related Party Transactions (RPTs). Further details on what constitutes an RPT can be found in the guidance see Question 26. 

Recovery Premium

The DfE have recently announced the one-off Recovery Premium allocations for academic year 2021/22, see details here

The recovery premium has been allocated using the same data as the pupil premium to provide further support to disadvantaged pupils. Mainstream schools will receive £145 and specials/pupil referral units £290 per eligible pupil. 

As the premium spans 2 financial years, 50% of the premium will be allocated in financial year 2021/22 with the remaining balance in financial year 2022/23.   

The recovery premium due in financial year 2021/22 will be allocated to maintained school budgets this month and those schools with their own bank accounts will receive payments in two instalments the first on 12 October and the second in December, date to be confirmed. Academies will receive their Recovery Premium direct from the ESFA. 

School-Led Tutoring Grant

The DfE have also recently announced details of the School-Led Tutoring grant for academic year 2021/22 which is ring-fenced for expenditure on providing tutoring intervention to support catch-up for lost education due to COVID-19, see details here

Mainstream schools will receive £202.50 and specials/pupil referral units £529 per pupils for 60% of pupil premium pupils.  Any funding not spent by the end of the academic year will be clawed back by the ESFA. All schools will be required to report expenditure via an online form direct to the ESFA towards the end of the academic year.   

The grant will be paid in three instalments for maintained schools (September 2021, December 2021 and April 2022) and academies (October 2021, January 2022 and May 2022) further details of budget allocations and payment dates will be published in due course.”

Cumbria Safeguarding Youth Voices forum

What is it?

The Cumbria Safeguarding Youth Voices (CSYV) forum is a place for young people to have a say in services that are there to keep them safe. It exists essentially as a youth shadow board for the adult CSCP, to advise and work together to give a young person’s perspective on issues surrounding safeguarding and to educate and inform other young people on safeguarding issues.

Cumbria Safeguarding Youth Voices' request:

The CSYV request that members of the KCSiE group identify young people to attend the CSYV. You know your young people, so know who may be interested or could benefit through their involvement in this forum. 

Please get in touch with  if you would like to discuss this further or have any young people interested in engaging with this forum.

An example of the CYSV's recent work is a toolkit which hopes to break down barriers for young people needing, or thinking about, accessing support and services for an issue that is worrying them.

Cumbria Outdoors has a new website!

Situated in the Lake District National Park, Cumbria Outdoors has more than 60 years of delivering high quality outdoor education, adventures, and experiences to people of all ages.

What’s more, they’re accepting school group bookings for the rest of 2021 and 2022 now.

Visit their new website to find out more, enquire or make a booking.

Cumbria Outdoors

Early Years Update

Share a book Every Day – Week commencing 11th October 2021

Invitation to get involved

During week commencing 11th October 2021 we are hoping to work with you to promote sharing a book with Early Years children every day, with their family and friends or whilst attending your provision.

Share a book every day- promotional poster

If you can be involved, we would be very keen to hear about what you are doing so that we can share it with other Early Years providers. Please send anything you would like to share to

Ideas could include:

Hold parents events, have a ‘guest’ storyteller, plan activities with your children, pick a book to have as a theme for the week, for example ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. If you can share any activities that you have done to celebrate ‘Sharing a book every day’ please let us know and we will add them to our web and Facebook pages.

For more information, please go to our Share a book every day web page which includes:

  • Information for parents and practitioners on the impact of sharing a book every day with children
  • Guidance on how to share a book with a child
  • An example ‘share a book every day’ record leaflet
  • Guidance on ‘reading areas’
  • Video link examples of sharing a book with a child
  • Links to other web sites for more information

Launch of Cumbria’s Speech, Language and Communication Pathway

We know that supporting young children’s early communication skills has always been a priority for early years practitioners as we are all aware of how this underpins all other aspects of their learning. The revised EYFS places a strong emphasis on the importance of developing key communication skills from birth and how practitioners understand child development and the importance of fostering children’s developing speech, language and communication skills at every opportunity.

We are very pleased to launch today Cumbria’s Speech, Language and Communication pathway.

This pathway has been developed for all professionals in Cumbria to use to:

  • Build knowledge of the resources that are available across Cumbria to support SLC
  • Work towards a more consistent and open approach for families

The pathway is divided into the following three sections:

  • Universal – describes what is available for all children and families from pregnancy onwards
  • Targeted - describes the support that can be offered where there are any early concerns about the way in which speech, language and communication are progressing and developing
  • Specialist - when a child receives support directly from a Speech Therapist, they will access this part of the pathway

Please cascade the pathway among your staff teams.

(Note the pathway references the ‘Cumbria Together Learning Readiness Messages and Website’. These are still under development and we will let you know when these are ready to launch).

Foundation years update 23.9.21

To reflect the EYFS reforms becoming statutory on 1st September, the Department for Education (DfE) has commissioned updates to two documents that are used widely across the early years sector to align with the changes.

What to expect in the EYFS (formerly ‘What to expect when’) guides parents through what to expect with their child’s development. This new document is produced by Sheringham Nursery School and Children’s Centre and aligns with the new Development Matters.

For the most up to date version of What to expect in the Early Years Foundation Stage: a guide for parents please access here

A Celebratory Approach to Working with Children with SEND

DfE has also published a new guide produced by Pen Green Children’s Centre, 'A Celebratory Approach to Working with Children with SEND – Giving additional support in the Early Years' (formerly 'A Celebratory Approach to SEND assessment in the Early Years') to help practitioners who may be supporting children who require additional help or children with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities.   

Home Learning

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

Chat Play Share: Nellie the Elephant

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

Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday


Effective Communication training – the first of this 3-part training is Wednesday 3rd November 4:00 – 5:30pm

Recorded Training for Early Years Practitioners and Teachers

School Development have 2 pre-recorded training courses listed below, which you can book and view via SLA Online:

Course Title

Course Code

Working with Babies to meet their Unique Needs to Support Practice and Provision

EY 100

Nurturing Wellbeing and Attachment in the Early Years

EY 101

This training is to be booked and viewed online on the bespoke booking system

SLA Online