Education Planning Group: Schools update... 13 January 2022

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In today's update:


dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

A very warm welcome to this week's education planning group bulletin.

In today's bulletin, we have a Public Health update regarding the changes to the national guidance on the 11th January 2022 accompanied by some helpful FAQ's, an update on the asylum seeker accommodation in Barrow and much more.

So without further ado, let's get into today's update.

Best wishes,

Dan Barton, Assistant Director - Education and Skills


Public Health update

Changes to the national guidance on the 11th January 2022.

On the 11th of January, there were several changes to the national stay at home guidance in England.

There is now no requirement for people to get a confirmatory PCR test after receiving a positive lateral flow (LFD) test, unless:

  • they wish to claim the Test and Trace Support Payment
  • have received an email or letterfrom the NHS because of a health condition that means they may be suitable for new COVID-19 treatments
  • they are taking LFD tests as part of research or surveillance programmes, and the programme asks them to get a PCR test
  • they have a positive day 2 LFD test after arriving in England

Anyone who tests positive on an LFD test should immediately isolate and follow the stay at home guidance. Their self-isolation period starts immediately from when their symptoms started, or, if they do not have any symptoms, from when their positive LFD was taken. 

People should report the LFD test result on the national website (or by calling 119 if they cannot use the online service).

People who are self-isolating because of a positive LFD test, who did not have any symptoms when they were tested, no longer need to re-start a new self-isolation period if they develop symptoms within the isolation period. They are also not required to get a PCR test (unless they need to get one because of one of the reasons listed above).

Anyone who develops one of the three main symptoms of COVID-19 should still get a PCR test (unless they have already taken an LFD test and the result was positive).

We have provided examples of several scenarios to illustrate this guidance.

 Scenario

 PCR   needed?

 LFD is positive. Person has no symptoms of COVID-19

 No*

 LFD is positive. Person did not have symptoms of COVID-19 when   the LFD was taken, but then symptoms develop during the isolation   period

 No*

 LFD is positive. Person had symptoms of COVID-19 when the LFD   was taken.

 No*

 LFD is negative. Person had symptoms of COVID-19 when the LFD   was taken.

 Yes

 Person has symptoms of COVID-19 (no LFD taken)

 Yes

*unless needed for one of the four reasons listed above

Frequently Asked Questions

A set of Frequently Asked Questions have been produced relating to the changes to the national guidance on the 11th January 2022. These can be found below:


Asylum seeker update

Asylum seeker accommodation in Barrow

Following a decision by the Home Office a hotel in Barrow is now being used as ‘contingency accommodation’ for asylum seekers. The hotel will accommodate people very recently arrived in the UK before they are moved into longer term ‘dispersal accommodation’ outside of Cumbria. Up to 74 people can be accommodated, with people expected to stay for around 6-8 weeks. There is no expectation that children or families will be accommodated at this time, hence no demand on school places. While Cumbria has for several years welcomed people who have already been granted refugee status as part of Government resettlement programmes, this is the first time asylum seekers have been placed in the county.

Local schools have been briefed on these arrangements and an FAQ list published on the county council website.

The news has prompted quite extensive local media coverage and also questions and comments from pupils and the wider community. A range of useful teaching resources are available from the UNHCR (the United Nations Refugee Agency) to help schools explain more about how the refugee and asylum seeker system works and the experiences people may have had. 

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children

Separately, a small number of Unaccompanied Asylum Seeker Children have been placed in Cumbria through the current Government programme. The children have Looked After status and are attending local schools.

We are working via the Learning Improvement Service, and with support from colleagues in Kent and Southwark to develop a resource pack to support schools in accommodating and educating these young people, and will share these once they are ready.


Changes to the way local authority School Improvement functions are funded

Last October the DFE launched a consultation seeking views on removing the LA level School Improvement Monitoring and Brokering grant which enables local authorities to carry out their core school improvement functions for maintained schools and instead allowing local authorities to deduct funding for this function from maintained school budget shares.

The outcome of the consultation was published this week here

The DfE have decided to proceed with their proposal to remove the grant from local authorities on a phased basis by reducing it by 50% in financial year 2022/23 and removing it entirely from 2023/24.  Changes will be made to the Schools and Early Years Finance Regulations that allow local authorities to request funding for school improvement to be deducted from maintained school budget shares from 2022/23. 

A paper will be presented at Schools Forum next week (18 January) requesting approval from the Schools Forum maintained representatives to de-delegate funding back to the LA for school improvement.

It should be noted that only maintained schools are impacted by the changes.


Portable Appliance Testing for work equipment used for working from home

As the pandemic continues to shape the way we work it is important to remember that there are still a number of school staff working from home, using electrical equipment that has been provided by the school (laptops etc).  When organising your PAT testing please ensure that staff are reminded to make whatever work equipment they have at home available to be tested at the same time. 

The HSE has produced guidance regarding Maintaining portable equipment in low risk environments  which explains simple and sensible precautions that need to be taken to ensure that any electrical equipment is maintained in good order. 

Also for further advice regarding Electrical Safety please see SIGN 15 Electrical safety.pdf


How to apply for a DfE funded air cleaning unit

Applications are now open for schools to apply for a DfE funded air cleaning unit. Find out more about the application process, including the eligibility criteria. Applications close at 9am on Monday 17 January.

Read more on how good ventilation can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in schools.

Access resources on how to apply for and use air cleaning units and CO2 monitors.


Support with remote education

DfE wanted to remind you of some useful resources and support available to deliver remote and/or hybrid learning:  


What's new in the Schools Portal?

School Portal updates since Thursday 6 January 2022.

Simply click the name of the document to open the file.

 Name of document

 Date added

 Letter to infant schools - 7+ applications received 12012022

 Wednesday 12   January 2022

 Letter to All Chequebook Schools - VAT Quarter 3 reminder

 Wednesday 12   January 2022

 Model COVID-19 Risk Assessment for specialist visits to   educational and other settings Jan 2022

 Tuesday 11 January   2022

 Appendix 2- Special Sch & PRUs School Led Tutoring Dec   Allocation 2021-22Mainstream School

 Tuesday 11 January   2022

 Appendix 1- School Led Tutoring Dec Allocation           2021-22 Mainstream School

 Tuesday 11 January   2022

 School-Led Tutoring Grant Dec 2021-22 Academic Year 

 Tuesday 11 January   2022

 Letter to All Maintained Schools and PRUs - SFVS       2021-22 Reminder

 Monday 10 January   2022

 Appendix 2 Recovery Premium Grant 2021-22 Academic   year- Revised Dec21

 Friday 7 January   2022

  Appendix 1_Recovery Premium 2021-22- Portal- Revised    Dec21 

 Friday 7 January   2022

 Recovery Premium Grant 2021-22 Academic Year-   Revised Dec 21

 Friday 7 January   2022


NHS launch Better Health Food Scanner app to tackle childhood obesity

Better Health poster

Research shows that nearly 28% of pupils in Reception are overweight or obese, rising to over 40% of pupils in Year 6.

The NHS Better Health Food Scanner app is a handy health hack to make it easier for families to find healthier food and drink options

Here are a list of resources schools can use to get involved:


Early Years

Early Years information

Supporting Children’s Speech, Language and Communication Development in Early Years Settings and Schools has recently been revised and contains links to the Speech and Language Pathway and new documents from Speech Therapy. 

This document can now be found on our website:

Support for Early Years and Childcare Provision

DfE update on Childcare Ratios – exceptional circumstances

"It remains a priority to continue providing face to face education and childcare, but we know that COVID-19 continues to put early years settings under significant pressure, particularly in relation to workforce absence.

"Government considers COVID-19 to be an exceptional circumstance in which the staff-to-child ratios set out in the EYFS can temporarily be changed if necessary, for example to respond to COVID-related workforce absences. This relates to paragraph 3.31 in the EYFS.

"In some cases, providers may choose to respond to staff and child absences by temporarily mixing age groups of children who would otherwise be educated or cared for separately. Ratios should be guided by all relevant requirements and by the needs of individual children within the group. For the purposes of meeting EYFS ratio and qualification requirements, all staff educating or caring for a mixed age group of children can be considered ‘available to work directly with’ all the children who have been grouped together. 

"In all circumstances, settings remain responsible for maintaining the quality of care, safety and security of children."

Home Learning

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'Frosty Snowman’.

Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share - Frosty Snowman