Education Planning Group: Schools update... 24 February 2022

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In today's update:


dan barton

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome back from what I hope has been a restful half-term break.

As we move into the second half of the Spring term we have heard announcements from government about the next stage of the COVID-19 response- the "Living with COVID-19" plan.

What this means for education, I'm glad to say, has been summarised by our Public Health team below.

Also in today's update is a final chance for you to complete the Barriers to School Attendance survey, and an updated risk model risk assessment.

So I'll leave you to digest the content of this update, and hope that you have all had a smooth first week back.

Best wishes,

Dan


COVID-19 update from Cumbria County Council’s Public Health Team

Please continue to report positive cases of COVID-19 to the Education IPC Team at Cumbria County Council via the online notification form or securely via email to educationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk

Support with queries, incidents and outbreaks continues to be available from the Education IPC Team. Please email if you have any queries: educationIPC@cumbria.gov.uk

Current outbreak threshold levels still apply and the threshold framework advice is currently being updated.


  1. Prime Minister’s announcement on the Living with COVID-19 plan

On Monday 21 February the Prime Minister set out the next phase of the government’s COVID-19 response ‘Living with COVID-19’.

Further information on what this means for education and childcare settings and children’s social care services is below.


  1. Changes to twice-weekly LFD testing from 21 February

From Monday 21 February, the Government removed the guidance for staff and students in most education and childcare settings to undertake twice-weekly asymptomatic testing.

These settings may however still be advised by the Local Authority Public Health Team to carry out LFD testing for a limited time period in the event of an outbreak (if this happens, see section 2.1 below for details of how to order tests).

Please note, if a setting orders LFD kits in an outbreak situation, it could take up to 3 days for delivery, therefore, if you currently have spare test kits, you may want to keep some in stock, so a supply is readily available if required.

Staff and students in SEND settings, alternative provision settings, and SEND units within mainstream settings or equivalent in further education colleges are advised to continue twice-weekly testing.

Staff in residential units in children’s social care (open and secure children’s homes) and children of secondary age and above in open children’s homes are also advised to continue twice-weekly testing. Children and young people arriving in secure children’s homes should test on arrival. Some changes are being made to the ordering process and settings should have been contacted about this directly.


2.1 How will mainstream settings place orders from 22 February onwards?

From 22 February, the online ordering solution and delivery processes will be changing to reflect the changes to regular asymptomatic testing. All education settings (nurseries, primary schools, secondary schools, FE colleges, ITPs and ACLPs) will continue to be able to order self-test kits for groups of staff, pupils and students in the event of an outbreak in their setting.

Education settings will be able to place an order and receive a delivery within 3 working days. An updated How to Guide for ordering test kits is available on the Testing in Education Settings document sharing platform.

Mainstream settings should use the following channels to access test kits in the event of an outbreak:

  • Use up existing supplies of self test kits prior to placing an order - If your setting is asked to undertake testing in the event of an outbreak, you should ask staff, pupils / students to use up any supplies of test kits they have at home first or issue them with a new box of test kits from your existing stock. You should check expiry dates before supplying these test kits.
  • Access test kits via the universal testing offer - Staff may prefer to access test kits from their local pharmacy or by ordering on uk, as this may be quicker and easier for them.
  • Place an order on the online ordering solution - If you have run out of stock you will be able to place an order through the online ordering system. You will be asked to enter the total number of staff, pupils/ students in your setting but you will receive a reduced proportion of test kits to cover the outbreak in your setting. Orders placed by 3pm each day will be processed and delivered within 3 working days. You will receive a delivery confirmation email, confirming the expected delivery date of your order.
  • Call 119 for further advice and support - If you need additional test kits but you are blocked from placing an order or you need more test kits than you can order through the online ordering system, you should contact NHS Test and Trace (UKHSA) on 119.

For more information, visit the frequently asked questions on the document sharing platform.


  1. Changes to self-isolation, daily testing of close contacts and local enhanced guidance

From today (Thursday 24 February), the Government will remove the legal requirement to self-isolate following a positive test.

Adults and children who develop one or more of the 3 main symptoms of COVID-19 will still be advised to get a PCR test and stay at home until the result is known.

Adults and children who test positive will continue to be advised to stay at home and avoid contact with other people for at least 5 full days, and then continue to follow the guidance until they have received 2 negative test results on consecutive days.

On health and safety grounds, settings should encourage staff and pupils to follow this advice. The Public Health team are currently drafting letter templates for settings to use to help share advice with staff, pupils, students and families.

In addition, the Government will:

  • No longer ask fully vaccinated close contacts and those aged under 18 to test daily for 7 days, and remove the legal requirement for close contacts who are not fully vaccinated to self-isolate.
  • End self-isolation support payments, national funding for practical support and the medicine delivery service will no longer be available.
  • Remove the COVID-19 provisions within the Statutory Sick Pay and Employment and Support Allowance regulations.
  • End routine contact tracing. Contacts will no longer be required to self-isolate or advised to take daily tests. Staff, children and young people should attend their education settings as usual. This includes staff who have been in close contact within their household, unless they are able to work from home.
  • End the legal obligation for individuals to tell their employers when they are required to self-isolate.

Please note, national guidance has been updated today. ‘Stay at home’ guidance and guidance for ‘close contacts of positive cases’ have been replaced by Guidance: COVID-19: people with COVID-19 and their contacts.

In light of these changes, we are also stepping down the local enhanced guidance (because it no longer complements national guidance around self-isolation and testing in close contacts). This means as of today (Thursday 24 February):

  • There will no longer be local enhanced guidance giving Early Years settings the option to ask that children who are household close contacts of a positive case stay at home for 5 days.
  • There will no longer be local enhanced guidance giving primary schools the option to ask that children who are household close contacts of a positive case stay at home for 5 days and then PCR test on day 5.

  1. Update for schools on recording attendance

The position on recording school attendance in the register has not changed. Where a pupil is following advice to self-isolate prior to a confirmed case of COVID-19 they should be recorded as code X (not attending in circumstances related to coronavirus). Where a pupil has a confirmed case of COVID-19 they should be recorded as code I (illness).


  1. Further changes coming into effect from 1 April

From Friday 1 April, the Government will:

  • Update guidance setting out the ongoing steps that people with COVID-19 should take to minimise contact with other people. This will align with the changes to testing and is likely to describe action that people should take when they experience specific symptoms of illness.
  • No longer provide free to order universal symptomatic and asymptomatic testing for the general public in England. This means LFD tests and PCR tests will no longer be available to the public. People will be able to purchase LFD tests.
  • Consolidate guidance to the public and businesses, in line with public health advice.

A Word document containing the above information can also be downloaded below:


Updated model risk assessment

The Schools IPC Model Operations Risk Assessment has been updated.

Download the updated risk assessment below:


CLOSING SOON: 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:

Please note, this survey is closing on Monday 28th February 2022.


West Cumbria Wellbeing Conference

Former NAHT National President Andy Mellor has organised a free to attend conference on teacher wellbeing.

The conference will be held at Whitehaven Golf Club on Monday 28 February 2022.

For more information, download the West Cumbria Wellbeing Conference itinerary:

To book a place please email: robyn@uk-sas.co.uk


What's new in the Schools Portal?

School Portal updates since Thursday 10 February 2022.

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

Name of document

Date added

CCC Letter to All Maintained Non-Chequebook Schools - Provision of TABS Charge for 2021-22

Thursday 24 February

Schools Guidance on Teachers Pension Indexation

Monday 21 February

Letter re. 2022-23 H&S services

Friday 18 February

Effective Subject Leadership - Leading PE

Friday 18 February

SACRE Conference

Friday 18 February

Year End accounts 21/22 Digital Green Slips

Friday 18 February

December 2021 instal letter 2021

Tuesday 15 February


Early Years update

Supporting and enhancing early education for two year olds - toolkit for practitioners

We have updated the “Supporting and enhancing early education for two year olds - toolkit for practitioners” and it is now available on our website.

Document available here

We also have a dedicated webpage for the toolkit. On here you can click on the areas that you are interested in, the areas that are covered are; Brain development, Attachment/Key person, Working with parents and home learning, Enabling environments and characteristics of effective teaching and learning, Schematic play and common patterns of play, Managing behaviour, The 7 areas of learning and development, Children with additional needs, Progress check at age 2, Ratios and mixed age provision, Free Early Education for 2 year olds and Frequently Asked Questions.

Find the webpage here


Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge

There is still time to submit your pledge workbook before the next panel meeting is held. Here are some examples of the brilliant things our pledge settings are doing to help our early years families be healthy and happy.

“Within the garden we have an enclosed area which is reserved for woodwork.  There is a huge amount of learning that happens in the wood workshop.  In this area, children will develop their physical coordination, fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination”

“In each room there is drinking water available for children to help themselves to (where age appropriate) as well as a fruit bowl should children get hungry in between mealtimes.”

“Children are involved in food preparation where appropriate and often engage in baking experiences. All mealtimes and food experiences are the perfect opportunity to engage children in conversations about the importance of healthy food choices.”

“Every day we go out for a walk. My curriculum is based around nature. We spend most of the time outdoors exploring. We start the day with wake up, shake up. We love being active, yoga and dancing are a daily activity.”

We would love to hear about the fabulous things you are doing, here is a link to our Healthy Families Cumbria Pledge webpage where you can find out more and download the workbook. We also have a private Facebook page, where we share ideas.

Website and Facebook pages:


Internet safety

The DfE have published some information on screen time in the early years and information on how to keep children safe online. Online safety is also highlighted in the Early Years Foundation Stage

Ghislaine Bombusa, Head of Digital at Internet Matters works closely with online safety experts to develop advice and guidance that helps to educate and inform parents about online safety issues.


Learn- Explore- Debate free EYFS events for Schools

National Children’s Bureau are a strategic Early Years Partner with DfE, and host Learn- Explore - Debate events (currently online via Microsoft Teams). The next round of events is specifically aimed at Schools and will focus on the EYFS reforms, Early Years Foundation Stage Profile and Ofsted inspections under the new framework.  The events are also suitable for any early years provider who will be completing the EYFSP due to children who have deferred Year Reception

If you’re not already signed up to get our Foundation Years newsletters you can sign up here and for now details on registration links for the LED events are in the link below:

Register now: Learn - Explore - Debate - FOR SCHOOLS | From pregnancy to children aged 5 (foundationyears.org.uk)


Free online lecture – Nancy Stewart

Cherishing the growth of young children: what early years education can be Monday 14 March 2022 at 4.45pm. Please see flyer for more information and how to book.


Home Learning

This week our focus is on the rhyme 'When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears'.  Please share with parents to support home learning around the development of speech, language and communication.

Chat Play Share - When Goldilocks went to the house of the bears