Education Planning Group: Schools update... 11 November

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Education Planning Group update from Cumbria County Council

In today's update:

dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

A very warm welcome to this week's education planning group bulletin. Now that you're all getting back into the swing of things, let's give you a run-down of what we've got for you in this week's edition.

First is an update from our Public Health colleagues on the local enhanced COVID-19 guidance, then we have a government consultation on reforming how Local Authorities’ School Improvement Functions are funded. 

Next, we have got a few updates from DfE, which includes information surrounding the School Governance Programme, information about a School Led Tutoring Grant and an update to the Educational Setting Status form. 

Following that, we would very much value your input into a survey to develop Early Help in Cumbria.

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

Best wishes,

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills

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

Local enhanced COVID-19 guidance remains unchanged

You will be aware that we currently have enhanced guidance in place for education settings in Cumbria. This is guidance provided by Colin Cox, Director of Public Health as part of local COVID-19 management arrangements and supplements both the national guidance and contingency plan.

When Directors of Public Health put enhanced guidance in place, it is good practice to formally review the arrangements every 2 weeks.

Consultation has taken place this week with the Cumbria Primary Headteachers Association, Cumbria Association for Secondary Headteachers and members of the Education Planning Group. We have also taken into account feedback from Union representatives and the Outbreak Control Team.

The consultation has concluded that the current enhanced guidance should remain in place unchanged, due to increased reporting of cases and outbreaks to the Education Outbreak Control Team over the past week. The guidance will be reviewed again in two weeks’ time.

Download the full Public Health Update document here.

Reforming how Local Authorities’ School Improvement Functions are funded – Government Consultation

The DfE have recently launched a consultation seeking views from local authorities, maintained schools and other interested organisations and individuals. 

The consultation seeks input on the impact of removing the local authority school improvement monitoring and brokering grant which funds local authorities’ core improvement activities and replacing it with de-delegation from maintained school budget shares.   

The DfE are proposing to phase the removal of the grant from 2022/23 financial year and remove it entirely from April 2023. 

Maintained schools are encouraged to respond to the consultation- which closes on Friday 26 November- and can be accessed here:

Reforming how local authority school improvement functions are funded.

School Led Tutoring Grant

The DfE have published guidance in relation to the School Led Tutoring Grant which forms the third route in the National Tutoring Program.

The guidance can be accessed here:

School-led tutoring grant

Educational Setting Status form

Connected to the introduction of the School Led Tutoring Grant, the DFE have also announced that from the 3rd November the educational setting status form will be changed to include questions about school led tutoring every 3-6 weeks.

The guidance can be accessed here:

Educational setting status form

School Governance Programme

Baroness Barron has been appointed as the minister with responsibility for governance and as such, a new guidance document has been issued which can be accessed here:

School governance update: November 2021

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

Supporting children's sensory differences

The new ‘Supporting Children with Sensory Processing Needs in the Early Years’ booklet explores each of the eight different sensory systems and provides detailed information and practical ideas of ways to support children with sensory processing differences.

Supporting children with sensory processing needs

Maths toolkit - updated

The Maths Toolkit has been updated in line with the revised EYFS 2021 and is intended to support all early years’ practitioners with teaching mathematics.

It aims to provide information and guidance about how to help young children develop some of the key mathematical ideas and skills that they will use throughout their lives. The toolkit has a strong focus on ‘Number’, particularly counting, and developing an understanding of number patterns. This is in line with current research which suggests that a key focus for early mathematics should be developing ‘Number Sense’. The toolkit also highlights the five recommendations of the Education Endowment Foundation ‘Improving Mathematics in the Early Years and Key Stage 1’.

The emphasis throughout the toolkit is on stimulating and engaging children’s interest and enjoyment in learning about mathematics in a way that is relevant and meaningful to their lives.

The toolkit can be found on the Early Years website or accessed here

New referral routes to access a Health and Wellbeing Coach/Officer

Health and Wellbeing Coaches (HAWC), are a team of 28 staff across the county who adopt a coaching approach to support individuals focusing on improving their health, wellbeing and personal resilience. Health and Wellbeing Coaches work with individuals over the age of 16, who can present with multiple and/or complex needs, and who want to, and are able to, take the lead on making positive changes to their lives. Part of their role is to provide complex or crisis support in ways that keep people away from other services, reduce dependence on forms of care, and thus reduce demand on statutory services.

At some time, most people will face challenges yet are fortunate to have the support of family, friends and neighbours to help. HAWCs support individuals who do not have the support networks or life experiences to address these challenges, and for whom the impact can be immense for the individual, their family and those around them.

From 1st November 2021 the referral process to this service has changed. To find out more, see

New referral process for accessing a health and wellbeing coach

Home Learning

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

Chat Play Share - Pop Goes the Weasel

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

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