Education Planning Group: Schools update... 07 October

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Education Planning Group update from Cumbria County Council

In today's update:

dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

We’ve got a lot of information for you this week, so I will aim to keep this introduction very short. First off, an updated local guidance in relation to household contacts is being produced following consultation with schools and discussion at yesterday’s Education Planning Group meeting.

The updated guidance will be issued via this bulletin in a separate communication tomorrow, so keep your eyes peeled for that. 

There are also some key updates regarding developments in SEND practice. First, a series of Whole School SEND training sessions are being held this Autumn. Second, is an update regarding Cumbria’s Short Breaks Activities service. So, do take some time to have a look at this.

Next up we have our Early Years update, which contains some helpful updates for the Early Years teams.

Finally, I know that for many of you, this period is the most stressful since the beginning of the pandemic. So, I would just like to echo my immense gratitude to you all. Your hard work and perseverance in this trying time is recognised and is helping to ensure the best education possible for children / young people across Cumbria. 

Best wishes,

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

Image description: Head and shoulders photograph of Daniel Barton, the Assistant Director - Education and Skills.

Whole School SEND training

A new programme of SEND training and resources is being launched this Autumn.

The Whole School SEND Consortium is delivering a series of training sessions to support the development of SEND within the local authority.   

The programme is free to schools and will provide school leaders and SENCO’s with free training and useful tools to support SEND practice.

The project will run from October 2021 to December 2021 and will consist of six sessions. Details of which can be found in the Whole School SEND invite letter.

SEND Short Breaks Activities Service

Cumbria’s Short Breaks Activities service for children and young people with SEND is changing.

Parents and carers of children and young people with special educational needs and disabilities need to register by 1 November to access the service. Share the SEND Short Breaks Activities service message with parents to avoid confusion.

Please pass this on to any families you work with who have an EHCP for their child.

Absence & Wellbeing COVID guidance

There is a new guidance document to support the management of COVID related sickness absence- which can be found on the School Portal HR and Payroll

The guidance clarifies the approach to supporting staff and managing sickness absences arising from COVID-19 including supporting those that are recognised as clinically extremely vulnerable (CEV), managing short term and long term absence due to COVID-19 and Long COVID (Post-COVID Syndrome).

Early Years update

Please ensure that this update is forwarded to your Early Years Teams weekly.

Early Years Foundation Stage Profile Handbook

The Early Years Foundation Stage Profile remains a statutory requirement for schools in the 2021/22 academic year. The handbook has just been released to support you in making accurate assessments. Please share this with your EYFS and Year 1 teams – [add document]

For further information on the EYFS reforms, you can view the YouTube clips on the Department for Education YouTube channel

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.

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

What you have told us so far:

  • Going to provide a lending library for the children and families
  • We will be carrying out different activities throughout the week of the 11th and are excited to see what a difference we can make
  • We had already planned to encourage the sharing of books, so will include ‘Share a book every day’ in our planning
  • Setting up a reading challenge where parents are being asked to upload photos to tapestry of children reading in different places around the house and with different members of their family
  • Family members going into the setting to read/share their child’s favourite book

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

Tell us about what you are doing and see what others have told us:

Share a book every day - promotional poster

Food safety advice on choking hazards in settings

Tragically, a child dies in the UK every month from choking and hundreds more require hospital treatment. It can happen quickly and it can happen to anyone.

The Food Standards Agency have issued some useful resources in the form of two posters which can be displayed in your setting where food is prepared and served to children, as a helpful reminder of how to minimise the risk of choking.

Early Years choking hazards poster - food safety advice

Early Years food choking hazards table

The food safety page on the government Help for Early Years Providers website also outlines important messages and links to useful resources regarding keeping children safe whilst eating.

Food safety - Help for early years providers - GOV.UK (

Home Learning

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'Up the wooden hill to blanket fair'. Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share: Up the wooden hill to blanket fair

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

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