Education Planning Group: Schools update... 04 November

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Education Planning Group update from Cumbria County Council

In today's update:

dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to the first education planning group bulletin since the much needed half-term break. I sincerely hope that all of you used the break as a welcome opportunity to relax and to recharge your batteries after what was the hardest half term of the pandemic so far. 

So, now that you're getting back into the swing of things, let's dive into this week's bulletin.

First off, we have a response from DfE on the issue I raised about SATs, along with some updated advice on improving ventilation measures during COVID-19.

Next, we have some more information on the new electronic reporting system for cases of COVID-19 in Cumbria and some self-care resources for teachers (and students) from PHE.

Following that, we have a couple of short surveys from the Calvert Trust and from Dianne McSharry on the barriers facing the education of children with a social worker. 

A New ADHD referral form for North Cumbria and information regarding support for families in need have also been included in this week's bulletin.

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

Best wishes for the new term,

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

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

DfE response to SATs concerns

Having raised concerns with DfE in relation to KS2 testing and possible disapplications, I wanted to share with you all: a response from DfE about SATs in 2022. 

You'll have no doubt seen this before as part of a standard press release, so there's nothing especially new here.

There are some reassurances about regulators being cautioned not to draw conclusions, but no proper answer to the concern about children not having accessed the full programme of study, and the consequent knock on impact on mental health.

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

The response from DfE:

"Thank you for contacting the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) about statutory primary assessments in 2022. We recognise that pupils will have missed a critical period of their learning in the 2019/20 and 2020/21 academic years. Due to this, it is vital that we know the impact of coronavirus on this cohort of pupils nationally and can give support to schools that need it the most. Likewise, national curriculum assessments allow schools and parents to see what pupils have achieved in relation to the age-related attainment expectations outlined in the national curriculum and among other purposes will ensure teachers can identify individual pupils who need additional support. As such, we have confirmed that all existing statutory key stage 1 (KS1) and key stage 2 (KS2) assessments will return in 2021/22, following their usual timetable.

"The Department for Education has announced that, as primary school tests and assessments will be returning for the first time since 2019 without any adaptations, the results will not be published in KS2performance tables in the academic year 2021/22. The department will, however, produce the normal suite of KS1 and KS2 accountability measures at school-level and share these securely with primary schools, academy trusts, local authorities, and Ofsted for school improvement purposes and to help identify schools most in need of support. Primary schools will be able to access their own performance data via the schools checking exercise and Analyse School Performance (ASP). The department recognises the uneven impact of the pandemic on pupils and schools, and colleagues will ensure clear messages are included with all data we share and in Ofsted training, to advise caution when drawing conclusions from the 2021/22 data.

"While assessment is a fundamental part of a child’s education, it is not meant to cause them stress or anxiety. We trust schools to approach the assessments appropriately. While we would expect schools to encourage pupils, we do not recommend excessive preparation time for assessment, and certainly not at the expense of pupils’ wellbeing. The department is continuing to help schools support children and young people’s wellbeing during the pandemic, announcing in May more than £17 million of mental health funding to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges.

"This includes £7 million that has been provided to local authorities to fund the Wellbeing for Education Recovery programme as part of plans to support recovery from the impacts of the pandemic and to support schools and colleges during this time and £9.5m to enable up to a third of schools and colleges to train a senior mental health lead by March 2022, as part of the Government’s commitment to fund training for senior mental health leads in all schools and colleges by 2025. The department are also funding an adapted ‘Link' programme which is designed to improve partnerships between health and education leaders in local areas, raise awareness of mental health concerns and improve referrals to specialist help when needed."

Improving ventilation during COVID-19

Over the past few months we have shared information around improving ventilation as and when new guidance has been issued. 

As we are now approaching colder, and more inclement weather- now is a good time to revisit and update the advice to help you consider potential airborne transmission factors and look to improve ventilation measures where possible.

Download the updated advice below:

Improving ventilation during COVID-19 advice document.

New electronic reporting system

The new electronic reporting system for notifying the Education Infection Prevention and Control (EIPC) Team of COVID-19 cases in educational settings has now been tested with a number of primary and secondary schools and is ready to be rolled out.

It is anticipated that the new system will streamline the process of reporting cases and save time. It will also enable the EIPC team to concentrate on supporting those settings that need it.

Each educational setting will receive an email with instructions and a bespoke link that they can use to notify the EIPC team of COVID-19 cases and outbreaks. Settings that are currently seeing cases will be prioritised, and it is expected that all settings will receive their email by the end of November.

Until you receive this email, you should continue to report as normal, by emailing your notification forms to

Educational settings will continue to have the option to submit notification forms by email if they prefer, but are encouraged to use the new online reporting form where they can. Settings will also still be able to contact the EIPC team with queries or requests for support at the email address above.

Promoting the Education of Children with a Social Worker survey

Dianne McSharry, Education Officer for Children with a Social Worker, is asking schools to give their feedback on the barriers facing the education of children with a social worker. Dianne said:

"I hope you have had a chance to take a break over half term and are returning ready for the busy half term, in the run up to Christmas.

"Earlier in the term I sent you a letter to introduce the role of the Virtual School in ‘promoting the education of children with a social worker’. I have been able to begin some conversations with people in different settings and with different responsibilities and now we feel it would be helpful to gain information from people working in schools about the barriers to learning these young people face on a daily basis.

"Please could you follow the link to a short questionnaire, that we hope will only take a few minutes to complete.

"The questionnaire will be available until Monday 15th November. We hope the information gathered will give us a clearer picture of the challenges and help us to identify areas we can support in the short term, but also it will inform more strategic conversations looking at longer term actions."

If you have any questions please contact Dianne on 07887 501 642.or via email 

Share your thoughts and win a £25 voucher!

The Calvert Trust, an outdoor adventure charity are keen to understand how Cumbrian School Groups Leaders are feeling about booking an outdoor residential visit in 2022 and 2023. They are therefore asking school decision-makers or residential visit leaders to complete their short questionnaire:

Cumbrian Schools Research Survey

This should take no more than 10 minutes, and will help ensure that their outdoor residential services are tailored to the current needs of schools.

As a thank you, everyone who completes the questionnaire before 23:59 on November 24 can choose to enter a draw to win one of 3x£25 vouchers for equipment or resources for their school.

New teaching resources available

In support of National Stress Awareness Day on 3 November, Public Health England have launched new self-care resources for teachers (and students) on the School Zone.

Read the October 2021 School Zone Newsletter for more information.

New ADHD referral form for North Cumbria

The ADHD team have been doing some work around the ADHD Pathway.

One of the changes they have made is to design their own referral form as it was felt the CAMHS referral form didn’t fully highlight what was required with regards to ADHD. Please use this form from 1st December 2021 for referrals in North Cumbria.

Any queries please contact the ADHD Team on 01228 603810 or email:

Please note that this not currently an online form. To make a referral, it should be printed off, completed and then emailed to the above address.

The new form can be found below:

ADHD service referral form

For South Cumbria please continue to use the CAMHS form at this time.

Support for families in need

When we surveyed families of young children through the ‘Cumbria Together – Have your Say’ survey, financial concerns as a result of the pandemic was one of the greatest areas of worry. We know that needs are likely to increase further as we go into winter. Here are some charity funds that may help (please check to see if they apply to your area):

CFM Mission Christmas

CFM Mission Christmas applications are now open, for families in the north of Cumbria (ie within broadcasting range of CFM). You can submit an application using the link below for families with a genuine need. Please check the eligibility criteria when applying.

After receiving your application, the team will be in touch closer to Christmas to arrange collection of gifts. Please do not contact them regarding an update as they are an extremely small team and they will, as always be working through the applications as quickly as possible.

Support for families in the Barrow Area

Barrow Local Resilience Forum is a partnership of community, voluntary and statutory agencies set up in response to COVID-19 to support local communities in the recovery from Covid-19

An emergency items and financial support (in exceptional circumstances) pilot process for families and individuals has been set up. This is facilitated through the Community COVID Recovery Group with Walney Community Trust co-ordinating the process and support.

School/Voluntary/Community Organisation/Charity/Statutory Agency can apply using the attached referral form and criteria –

CCRG Emergency Items Emergency Finance Pilot General Criteria Guide

CCRG Emergency Items & Emergency Finance Pilot Referral Form

Tesco Little Helps

Tesco ‘Little Helps’ can provide mobile phones to vulnerable families. They work through charities and organisations that work with families and young people who need support with connectivity.

For more information please see -

Early Help Practice and Approaches in School Survey

As part of our plans to develop Early Help in Cumbria, we want to identify and share best practice across schools and settings. The basis of this process is for us to understand all the things that you do in your practice as a school in regards to Early Help.

Please can you complete the following short survey by Tuesday 30th November 2021:

Early Help Practice and Approaches in School Survey

Early Years update

Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge awards

We are really pleased to announce that following the panel meeting on 12th October, the following settings have been awarded the Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge:

  • Fairfield Primary School
  • Home From Home Nursery
  • Lisa Swift @ Koala Kids
  • Natalie Greenwood
  • Howgill Family Centre
  • Barnardo' s Eden 0-19 Child and Family Support Service

The panel members were really impressed by the commitment to supporting families to be happy and healthy especially important during these difficult times. We now have 28 settings from across the County who have been awarded the pledge. If you are interested in becoming a pledge setting please go onto our website to find out how you can take part. The next panel meeting will be held after Christmas. Please submit your completed pledge workbooks before 14th January to be considered at this meeting. We look forward to hearing how you are supporting our early years children and their families to be happy and healthy.

Home Learning

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

Chat Play Share: I'm a Little Firework

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

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday  Saturday  Sunday  


The Wordsworth Grasmere Early Years Sessions

Wordsworth Grasmere work with children in the foundation stage to bring William Wordsworth’s poetry alive though songs, games, play and exploration, either in the setting or at their base in Grasmere. For more information please email

Early Education West Cumbria

The West Cumbria branch have restarted some CPD sessions, starting with Kickstart Calm with Relax Kids. For more information please visit