Education Planning Group: Schools update... 20 January 2022

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In today's update:

dan barton serious

Dear Colleagues,

I start today's bulletin with the tremendously sad news of the death last week of Norman Street Primary School Headteacher, Mrs Carolyn Murray. 

Carolyn was a tireless champion for children and highly respected within the profession. In her role at Norman Street, and recently as Executive Head at Bewcastle School, she made a huge contribution.

She also played an important role supporting other schools and Headteachers in the local area through the CASPA cluster in Carlisle.

Her leadership of the school through the pandemic was first-class. The needs of families at the school and their children were always uppermost in her mind, in particular her support for key worker and vulnerable children was impressive.

It is clear from the conversations that we have had with colleagues in recent days that Carolyn, and her passion, determination, skill, and unwavering commitment to providing children with a high-quality education whatever their circumstances, will be sorely missed by many people.

We know that Carolyn’s work will leave a lasting legacy and that the team at Norman Street will long be inspired by her example.

Carolyn was such an inspiration and she will be missed by everyone that knew her.

Yours sincerely,

Dan Barton

COVID-19 vaccination hoax warning

We have been made aware that some schools have received an email threatening them with a "Criminal Investigation into Covid-19 Vaccines" along with some misinformation on vaccinations.

For the avoidance of doubt, this is a hoax email and should be ignored and deleted.

Public Health update

Changes to guidance regarding face coverings in secondary schools and colleges

From today, Thursday 20 January, face coverings are no longer recommended in classrooms and teaching spaces for staff, and pupils and students in year 7 and above. They were introduced in classrooms at the start of the spring term as a temporary measure.

From Thursday 27 January, face coverings are no longer recommended in communal areas for staff, and pupils and students in year 7 and above.

DfE have confirmed the contingency framework, which allows local areas to recommend specific protections where needed (e.g. in outbreak conditions) to keep schools open as safely as possible, will continue for this term. Therefore, the Education IPC team will continue to advise on a school by school basis if face coverings are recommended. Information on face coverings will also be updated in the COVID-19 outbreak threshold framework.

Primary Schools – applying the local enhanced guidance for household contacts of positive cases.

In Cumbria, we still have in place local enhanced guidance to support schools in managing cases of COVID-19. For primary schools, this means that parents can be encouraged to keep children who are household contacts of a positive case at home for 5 days and then PCR test on day 5 (as an alternative to following the national guidance to ‘LFD test daily for 7 days’).

Our local enhanced guidance is not mandated, so parents can choose not to keep household close contact children at home if they would rather do daily LFD testing.

However, we do recognise that when a primary school is experiencing in-setting transmission, for outbreak management purposes, they may strongly advise families to follow the enhanced guidance (stay at home), rather than encourage daily LFD testing for household contacts. In outbreak situations, this is entirely acceptable, but to avoid confusion amongst parents, we recommend schools do the following:

  • Write to parents and carers and explain that you are seeing in-setting transmission and for outbreak management purposes, please can parents support the school to remain open by following the enhanced guidance (and explain what this means).
  • Specify for parents the dates that this advice starts and ends on e.g. ‘we ask parents and carers to follow this advice wherever possible from 20th January for the next 10 days at which time we will review if it is still required’
  • Invite parents to contact you if they are concerned about keeping household contact children at home for 5 days (especially if the parents are key workers or the children are vulnerable) and discuss how daily LFD testing could be used instead to support attendance at school.

As always, if you have any queries, please contact the team via email:

COVID-19 Workforce Fund – update

The government have re-introduced the COVID-19 workforce fund to provide financial support to schools / PRUS with the greatest staffing and funding challenges. 

The fund helps eligible schools / PRUs cover the cost of workforce absences experienced from 22 November 2021 until the end of the term.  As before, there are strict criteria for accessing the fund.  Before making a claim schools should explore all other options available to manage absence but if these are exhausted schools can claim cover for teaching and support staff absences such as employing agency or supply staff and increasing hours of part-time staff. 

Certain costs not covered by the fund include training or other incidental staff-related costs, increasing pro-rata pay (unless there is a commensurate increase in responsibilities associated with the work), capital costs to support staff delivering education remotely and costs which enable schools to maintain their reserves above the 4% of annual limit set out in the criteria.  Schools must be experiencing absence above the following thresholds:

Mainstream schools must be experiencing either:

  • A total teacher and leader absence rate at or above 20% on a given day
  • A lower total support staff absence rate at or above 10% but have been experiencing this for 15 or more consecutive school days

Special and PRUs schools must be experiencing either:

  • A total teacher and leader absence rate at or above 15% on a given day
  • A lower teacher and leader absence rate at or above 10% but have been experiencing this for 15 or more consecutive school days

The same thresholds apply to support staff absence

Further details of the evidence required to provide assurance that claims are legitimate as well as examples of absence eligibility can be accessed here:

Schools will need to make the payments from their existing budgets and will able to make claims for costs eligible for reimbursement through the fund in Spring 2022.  Details of when the claim window opens have not yet been published

Reporting School Closures on the Schools Portal

If you have to close the school for any reason, please ensure that you complete the school closures information on the Schools Portal. 

Our IT team have applied a temporary fix to the app that will allow you to record partial closures. 

In order for this to work you will need to start your comments with ‘partial closure’, an example can be found below:

If you have any problems with this, please contact the health and safety team and we will enter the closure on your behalf:

Barriers to School Attendance: Schools Survey

Cumbria Educational Psychology Service are currently exploring the issue of barriers to school attendance and 'emotionally-based school avoidance' for children and young people in Cumbria.

Emotionally-based school avoidance (EBSA) is a broad umbrella term used to describe a group of children and young people who have severe difficulty in attending school due to emotional factors, often resulting in prolonged absences from school. 

We would like to know more about schools' perceptions and experiences of this issue so that we can better support schools to help pupils who experience these difficulties. 

Take part in the survey using the link below:

Education job updates

Education job e-bulletin revamp

Following a review into our education job vacancy e-bulletin alerts, we have decided to change our approach to make the job updates more effective.

We currently have 11,939 people subscribed across our education job vacancy alerts, hence the e-bulletins represent a significant tool for Cumbrian schools to recruit staff.

To best utilise this tool, job vacancy e-bulletins will now come in the form of a consistent twice weekly email update on a Monday and Thursday, giving prospective job applicants a clearer picture of the latest jobs being offered by schools in Cumbria.

If you have any comments or suggestions, please complete the survey below:

The first "Latest Education Vacancies" e-bulletin will be coming out on Monday 24 January 2022.

Reminder of how to advertise a vacancy on the CCC website

If you have a vacancy which you need to be advertised on the Cumbria County Council website you should email your advert and the job description to Capita and they will upload your advert. You should give a least 4 weeks for an advert to be live.

Pro-rata salary reminder

In line with changes to the term time working section of the Green Book in 2018, you must advertise the pro-rata salary for term time only roles. An example is shown below:

Pro-Rata Salary: £15,414 - £15,722 (plus Annual Leave based on continuous years’ service)

The advertised salary includes a supplement (JWC) to the base grade of the post. JWC supplements are conditional on the physical demands and /or working conditions of the role.

Hours: 37 hours per week (Term time only – 40 weeks)

To calculate the pro-rata salary, divide the full time salary by 52.14 weeks, then by 37 hours. Multiply by hours worked per week then by number of weeks to be worked. An example is detailed below:

  • Full time salary / 52.14= weekly salary / 37 = hourly rate x contracted hours = actual weekly gross salary x number of weeks to be worked = pro-rata salary
  • £20,092/52.14 = £385.35/37 = £10.41 x 20 hours = £208.29 x 38 weeks = £7,915.24 + annual leave
  • £20,493/52.14 = £393.03/37 = £10.62 x 20 hours = £212.45 x 38 weeks = £8,073.10 + annual leave

If you have any queries please contact Kerry Anderson, HR Business Partner at

The recruitment procedure for schools based staff will be updated in due course to include this and will also include a calculator for ease of use.

Making a Difference in Education in Cumbria (MADE in Cumbria)

The Well Project is proud to support "Making a Difference in Education in Cumbria" (MADE in Cumbria), a programme of high quality Professional Development, put together by talented national and local expertise.

The MADE programme will be virtual and live sessions will be available throughout February 2022.

For more information, download the documents below:

What's new in the Schools Portal?

School Portal updates since Thursday 13 January 2022.

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

 Name of document

 Date added

 January School Census (Spring) 2022 Letter

 Thursday 20 January   2022

 Year End Letter and Guidance 2021-22

 Wednesday 19 January   2022

 Excel Year End Proformae 2021-22

 Wednesday 19 January   2022

 January 2022 Instal Letter 2022

 Tuesday 18 January   2022

 Fieldwork and Map Skills in Primary Geography

 Monday 17 January   2022

 Assessment in Primary Geography

 Monday 17 January   2022

 Designing Your Geography Curriculum

 Monday 17 January   2022

 Governor Support Team Newsletter 4

 Monday 17 January   2022

 Primary Science, Design and Food Technology Risk   Assessment

 Monday 17 January   2022

 Emotional Health and Wellbeing Team and Virtual   School Training 2022

 Friday 14 January 2022

 HAF programme letter

 Thursday 13 January   2022

 Firefighter Recruitment Now Open

 Thursday 13 January   2022

Early Years

Family Action Information Session for Professionals

Are you a professional that works with children, young people or families and are you based in Allerdale, Copeland, Carlisle or Barrow?

Family Action would like to invite you to a short information session on the work that they do and how to refer into their services on Wednesday 26th January 5:00pm – 6:00pm via Microsoft Teams

For more information or to book a place, please contact Katrina on 07816 087116 or

EYSEND Partnership training

The EYSEND Partnership have a number of specialist seminars coming up in the next few weeks. Please see their events Calendar for details of all events taking place and keep an eye on this calendar as new dates will be added. For any queries about any aspect of the EYSEND Partnership please check the website or email -

The Importance of High Quality Interactions

The Education Endowment Foundation have published an article on the importance of high quality interactions for young children in the wake of a pandemic entitled ‘What happens early can matter for a lifetime’.

Home Learning

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'The North Wind Doth Blow’. Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share -  'The North Wind Doth Blow’

Upcoming events

Remember to log into SLA online to view upcoming training events -

A Feast of Books 2nd February