Education Planning Group: Schools update... 3 February 2022

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In today's update:

dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

Albeit with some outliers, this week's statistics give a positive view on COVID related staff and student absence- with our pupil attendance above the national average on key measurements. 

This is of course good news, but from speaking with many of you yesterday and throughout the week, I know pressures are still extremely high on staff.

Again, I'd like to echo my sentiments as I do each week of my appreciation for the fantastic work you are all doing. I know it's such a trying period for us all, but I think you can be really proud that the work you are doing- helping to ensure young people in Cumbria get the education they deserve.

In this week's update we have a few Public Health updates, a reminder that you can now record partial closures on the schools portal and some important finance updates.

Best wishes,


Public Health update:

The use of face coverings in secondary schools

From 20th January 2022, the Department for Education removed their recommendation that face coverings should be worn by pupils, students, staff or adult visitors in classrooms and teaching spaces. From 27 January 2022, they also removed the recommendation that face coverings should be worn by pupils, students, staff or adult visitors in communal areas.

However, the Department for Education has confirmed that Directors of Public Health (DsPH) may continue to advise individual settings experiencing outbreaks to use face coverings in either communal areas or classrooms, as part of their responsibilities in outbreak management.

If individual schools are advised by the Education Infection Prevention Control (EIPC) team to re-instate face coverings for a short period of time in response to an outbreak, the team are able provide a letter from Colin Cox that can be sent out to parents and carers to encourage their support.

Further clarification on advice about leaving isolation to take children to school

In last week’s bulletin, we provided the following advice for parents about leaving isolation to take their children to school:

If a parent (or other adult) who normally transports a child to and from school tests positive for COVID-19, they will be advised by NHS Test & Trace to stay at home for the recommended period of time. When this happens, arrangements should be made for another trusted adult to transport the child to school or alternative options considered (e.g., walking if able to do so safely).

Very occasionally, an adult who has tested positive may report that there are no other options for getting the child to and from school and ask if they can transport them themselves. Where there is a genuine lack of other options, as a last resort, the adult can now be advised that they can transport a child to and from school as long as the following conditions are adhered to:

  • The adult does not leave the vehicle whilst away from home and does not stop to talk to anyone at close proximity whilst sat in the vehicle
  • The adult goes directly between home and school and does not go anywhere else
  • The adult only transports the agreed children to and from school
  • Good hygiene measures are taken whilst in the car e.g., the adult is advised the wear a face covering, and the windows should be opened enough to allow air to circulate in the vehicle

In response to queries over the past week, we would like to make it clear that leaving isolation to take a child to school should only be considered if all other options have been exhausted.

Adults who have tested positive should not walk their child to school (even if they don’t anticipate meeting anyone whilst doing so).

If they drive to school, they should not leave their vehicle to accompany their child onto school premises. If this causes problems, the parent/carer should arrange with school an earlier or later drop-off and pick up time for the child and a member of staff should collect the child from the car.

New online notification system

The new electronic reporting system for notifying the Education Infection Prevention and Control (EIPC) Team of COVID-19 cases in educational settings will start to be rolled out from next week.

Each education 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.

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.

COVID-19 Mass Testing – Exceptional Premises Costs Claim Form

The DfE have announced that the window for claiming unavoidable additional premises costs due to the national testing programme for the period 4 to 14 January 2022 has now opened. 

There is a very short window of opportunity to submit claims which closes on Sunday 20 February 2022.  Claims can be made for the following:

  • hire additional space at external premises (such as a church hall or community centre)
  • make temporary infrastructural changes (such as hiring a marquee, portacabin or similar temporary accommodation to create additional space on site)
  • adapt existing spaces (such as temporary flooring that is capable of being cleaned with appropriate products)

Schools must supply documentary evidence such as a copy of an invoice.  Exceptional costs that fall outside the above categories are no in scope and can’t be claimed.  The minimum amount is £250 per claim, claims below this level will not be paid. 

To make a claim you should email with the subject "Mass testing January 2022 claims" and provide your institution name and UKPRN and you will be issued with a form to complete and submit.

Schools Financial Value Standard (SFVS) – maintained schools only

This is a reminder that the deadline for submitting your SFVS Checklist return is fast approaching.  We realise that schools are under a lot of pressure at the moment however the standard is needed to provide assurance of good governance and financial management practice. 

The deadline to submit your SFVS return via the Returns folder on the School Portal is Monday 28 February 2022

The SFVS Checklist and accompanying guidance can be downloaded below:

REMINDER: 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:

  • Partial closure example

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

REMINDER: 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:

Barriers to School Attendance: Schools Survey (

REMINDER: Sign-up: Cyber Prevent presentations

Cumbria Police logo

Cumbria Police’s Cyber and Digital Crime Unit are wanting to provide presentations to schools in Cumbria around Cyber prevent.

Cyber prevent is a UK police initiative designed to prevent young people from getting into cybercrime by informing them of the laws and consequences. Also informing students of opportunities in the world of cyber.

These presentations can also be done in conjunction with online safety presentations.

If you are interested in taking part, please give us your details by completing this short survey:

Thank you to the 25 schools who have registered an interest in Cumbria Police's Cyber Prevent presentations.

Apprenticeships - kick start a new career!

Apprenticeships Week graphic

National Apprenticeship Week 2022 is taking place between 7 to 13 February and the Apprenticeship Team are hosting a series of live online events to share career tips and advice and spread the word about the up and coming apprenticeship opportunities that go live on 1 March.

Come along to these free events to find out more about what an apprenticeship with Cumbria County Council can do for you. The events will also be a great opportunity for parents and carers to chat direct to the team about how their young person will be supported through an apprenticeship with us.

The Apprenticeship Team has also launched a fantastic new website filled with lots of great content to show prospective new starters what’s on offer.

Take a look at the event schedule and find out more at

Subscribe here to get the latest apprenticeship news straight to your inbox.

What's new in the Schools Portal?

School Portal updates since Thursday 27 January 2022.

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

 Document name

 Dated added

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

 Thursday 3   February

 Appendix B Form 20k

 Wednesday 2   February

 20K Devolved Formula Capital Reminder Drawdown

 Wednesday 2   February

 Letter re Recovery Funding and School-led Tutoring Grant

 Wednesday 2   February

 Info re events for National Apprenticeship Week 2022

 Tuesday 1 February

 System-Led SEND Review Process

 Tuesday 1 February

 Working Scientifically in the Primary Curriculum

 Tuesday 1 February

 Leading a Positive Behaviour Approach

 Tuesday 1 February

 Leading and Improving Modern Foreign Languages in the   Primary Curriculm

 Tuesday 1 February

 Leading and Embedding Careers Education

 Tuesday 1 February

 Exclusion Training Flyer

 Tuesday 1 February

 Admission Appeal Training Flyer

 Tuesday 1 February

 Free Family Learning Courses Brochure 2021-22

 Monday 31 January

 FSM Offer for Feb Half-Term Holidays

 Monday 31 January

Early Years update:


The Early Years team still have some spaces left on our Music Matters and Physical Development Training.  These sessions are face to face and in person so if you want to have the chance to meet up with other Early Years practitioners and take part in an interactive training session please book on using the link below. 

Cumbria School Development (

For further information on these courses, please see the Early Years training brochure 2021-22 available on our website.

Let's Connect

Let’s Connect is a six-week programme run by Family Action for parents of pre-school aged children with SEND living in the Barrow and Low Furness area. It is designed to give parents information and strategies to help support their child. The programme is delivered by Family Action in collaboration with Speech and Language Therapy, Occupational Therapy, the Early Years team and Children’s Learning Disabilities team.

Let’s connect is for pre-school children who have been identified as needing this group by one of the above services.

If you know of a child and parent who may benefit from this programme they can contact Michelle Walker for further details, please see contact details below.  

A request for service form will need to be completed and returned by mid February, with the parents’ permission and adherence to Data Protection.

Home Learning

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'Whether the Weather’. Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share - Whether the Weather



Household Support Grant – Eden

Barnardo's are administering this grant in Eden and are looking for applications to support families in need.

If you know of a vulnerable family living in Eden who would benefit with help buying food, paying bills or purchasing essential household items, please find the application form here 

Family Action – Any Man Can

Family Action are introducing a new 12-week early intervention group programme for Dads, Dads-to-be or young men to prevent dysfunctional or problematic behaviour from escalating to domestic violence or abuse.

If you work within the areas of Allerdale, Copeland, Carlisle or Barrow and would like more information regarding this course please join the Virtual Meetings via Teams on:

  • Wednesday 9th February, 11 am – 12 noon
  • Wednesday 9th February, 6 pm – 7 pm

To book a place email, the link will then be forwarded.