Devon SLS Updates Newsletter: Working Group News and Feedback | 16 December 2020

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Autumn term  |  16 December 2020

Dear colleagues,

Here's a round up of this half term's key messages and updates from the various working groups and statutory boards. These meetings are attended by members of the Devon SLS Schools Executive Committee and other school reps from both the primary and secondary phases - you can find out who's representing schools via this link to the Working Group Representatives 2020-21 document

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DEF meeting  |  18 November 2020

Read more about DEF on the DCC website.

The minutes for the Devon Education Forum 18/11/20 meeting include details of:

  • 2021-22 Schools Funding Arrangements - outcome of consultation and agreed recommendation
  • SEND 100 Project
  • Finance update
  • Head of Education and Learning Update from Dawn Stabb
  • Election of Chair / Vice-Chair / DEF Membership
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SFG meeting  |  4 November 2020

Read more about SFG on the DCC website.

  • Read the minutes from SFG 4 November 2020
  • Next SFG meeting date - 6 January 2021

Feedback and key messages to schools following the latest SFG meeting include:

Devon SEND High Needs Block Funding Policy (November 2020)

The funding of SEND in all schools is managed through the systems outlined in the High Needs Block policy.

The policy explains how SEND funding works across mainstream schools and colleges, special schools, resource bases and in the Independent sector. Each sector is funded slightly differently and at different rates and these are explained as well as how the funding is allocated.

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SOCA meeting  |  1 December 2020

Read more about SOCA on the DCC website.

  • Minutes will be advertised on the DCC website
  • Next SOCA meeting - 2 March 2021

Feedback and key messages to schools from the December SOCA meeting include:

Message from Fran Butler, DCC Early Years and Childcare Sufficiency Lead

The DCC Early Years and Childcare Service work with governor or trustee run preschools, breakfast clubs, after school clubs or holiday schemes.

If your school's extended early years and childcare services are facing operational difficulties or you have concerns about any aspect of these services, please contact the Devon County Council Early Years and Childcare Service in the first instance. We know that demand for wraparound childcare for school aged children has reduced in some areas because more parents are working at home and friends and families are providing informal childcare again. As wraparound childcare relies almost entirely on parental fees, a drop in demand for places can have a huge impact on the viability of provision. Our team have knowledge and experience of childcare that they can share with you and your team to help you through these hard times.
Similarly, you may want to discuss your governor or trustee run preschool.  These services have the advantage of the early years entitlement funding coming in alongside parental fees and they also have flexibility in the way that they can operate that could make a significant difference to financial outgoings. We have been told that some of our smaller schools with governor and trustee run preschools are struggling because of the low numbers of children attending. There are 50 governor run preschools in Devon; 17 are in academies and the remainder in maintained schools. This early years provision can be key to ensuring the sustainability of the whole school so we understand that you may want to speak with us if you have noticed a drop in numbers or in the take up of the funded entitlements or the take up of bought hours.
Devon County Council has a statutory duty to ensure that there is enough high quality early years and childcare provision. With so much change and uncertainty business planning in the short and longer term presents a challenge for us all.
Please call the Early Years and Childcare Adviser from your locality for an informal discussion about your school.

Reminder  |  Admission Arrangements

A reminder of requirements and timescales as communicated by Dawn Stabb, Head of Education and Learning via email on 14/12/20

Admissions policies for 2022

The annual consultation on admission arrangements will end on Friday 8 January. A proposed policy was provided for all Devon schools for approval and consultation. A final policy must be determined by 28 February. This must be confirmed with the LA and published on the school / academy trust websites by 15 March. All schools have been requested to provide a date of a meeting of the admission authority and a contact name for enquiries to be included in the policy. Cabinet of DCC will determine the policy for each community and voluntary controlled school on 12 February.

A final version will be provided for schools in early January for approval and determination. Any further corrections or updates – contact details, ethos statements etc – should be flagged to the Policy Officer as soon as possible. A revised Admissions Code requiring priority for children adopted from state care abroad will not be in force before the end of February. Consequently, wording in school policies will be removed from these final versions. It is anticipated that it will be in force in the spring / summer term. This will require amendments to the newly determined policies. An updated version will be prepared for all schools by the Policy Officer.

Admissions policies for 2020 and 2021 - applications from abroad

New Guidance by the DfE emphasises a requirement to manage applications submitted from abroad in the same way as those submitted locally. To ensure compliance with this, references in these policies to applications from overseas should be removed and the change noted in the documents. This will be prepared for all schools as necessary by the Policy Officer over the coming weeks and confirmed with each school and Trust.

All policy documents will be uploaded, as they are amended, to the LA’s Sharepoint folders at

Any queries or updates with the above, please contact the Policy Officer at

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Do you receive the latest news and updates from the Early Years and Childcare Service?

Subscribe to the Early Years and Childcare Service newsletter, a weekly email digest of new updates (sent every Friday morning). Please encourage all those who are working with young children to subscribe - this is for anyone who works in early years and childcare.

For the latest news, visit the Early Years and Childcare pages on the DCC website.

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Babcock Safeguarding Newsletter  |  November 2020

Read the latest safeguarding news and updates from the Babcock team including:

  • Staff Supervision
  • S175 Audit update (see reminder below)
  • Adolescent Safety Framework
  • Safeguarding Posters.
  • Babcock YouTube and Facebook
  • Resources & Training information

Reminder: S175 Safeguarding Audit

A reminder for schools to undertake the S175 audit for this year, noting that the deadline for completion is Friday 18 December 2020.  To complete the audit, please follow the link to the smart survey: Devon County Council School Safeguarding Audit 2020/2021


Devon Children and Families Partnership

Read the latest DCFP news here  |

The advice to anyone in Devon who may have suspicions of child abuse or neglect is to contact Devon’s Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH).

Read the Children & Young People's Plan 2019-2023.

DCFP Education Advisory Group meeting  |  2 November 2020

Elective Home Education - expectations around reporting and recording all safeguarding concerns

A reminder to schools that when completing an EHE please ensure that any safeguarding concerns are recorded. Note that 'hearsay' and 3rd party concerns should also be recorded (please indicate that this is how the information has been received).

DCFP Child Sexual Abuse Group  meeting  |  9 December 2020

Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool

Brook’s nationally recognised Sexual Behaviours Traffic Light Tool and training provides a highly visible, multi-agency response that helps professionals to identify, understand and respond appropriately to sexual behaviours in young people. For more information about the tool, visit

Issues with the tool itself were discussed at the CSA meeting as some schools who have identified CSE as an issue for further training in their S175 safeguarding audit have since received a survey asking about awareness and use of the Brook tool although the link isn’t working. This problem has been escalated and further details will be included in the January Safeguarding newsletter from Babcock LDP.

Safeguarding Improvement Hub

The new Safeguarding Improvement Hub is a strategic group and will provide wide coordination and monitoring of themes (children at risk, FGM and arranged marriages) and gain an overview on whether there are connections between incidences. Schools should hope to see impact of new hub in cohesion across Devon with monitoring and improving safeguarding.

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NSPCC Speak Out Stay Safe Programme

Message from Colette Hudson, Devon & Torbay Area Co-ordinator


School Service

Due to the effects of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, we’ve changed the way our Speak out. Stay safe. programme is delivered and therefore our staff and volunteers won’t be delivering the programme in schools at the moment.

We are delighted however, that with the amazing support of Ant and Dec we have launched a virtual version of our safeguarding programme for the autumn term – Speak out. Stay safe. online.

This offer, available for children aged 5 to 11, includes access to video assemblies and supporting resources for use in the classroom.  A BSL version is also available for D/deaf children, and our specially adapted SEND version of Speak out. Stay safe. remains available as usual.

Visit the NSPCC Learning website for more information and resources for schools, parents and carers.

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Operation Encompass teachers’ helpline

Received an Operation Encompass call about a child in your school? For FREE advice from an Education Psychologist about how best to support them, call the OE Teachers' National Helpline on 0204 513 9990

The founders of Operation Encompass, an information sharing, safeguarding initiative between police and schools, have set up a teachers’ helpline to assist school staff supporting children who may be experiencing domestic abuse.

Funded by the Home Office, the helpline will be available weekdays from 8.00am to 11.00am throughout term-time and will provide school staff with the opportunity for guidance, information and support from educational psychologists.

For more information and resources, please visit the Operation Encompass website.

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Prevent Partnership Briefing  |   November 2020

Updates from the Safer Devon Partnership Team

Here's a link to the Winter 2020 edition of the Devon and Torbay Prevent Partnership briefing. The briefing is intended for sharing with managers and frontline staff within your organisations to equip them with a greater understanding of Prevent, the local picture of threat and risk relating to violent extremism and radicalisation, and information about identifying and reporting radicalisation and signs of extremism. The briefing also includes an update on the current impacts of COVID-19 on Prevent, radicalisation and extremism within our communities.

We would encourage you to share this will any staff groups who you think could benefit from this information.

ACT Early Campaign

Counter Terrorism Policing recently launched a new ACT Early campaign and website to raise awareness of radicalisation and encourage reporting from family and friends.

The Prevent and Education Task and Finish Group is in the process of developing a comms strategy for Prevent. This will include establishing channels for reaching parents and carers of children and young people, including those who are not currently attending an education setting. The group is exploring opportunities to use Safer Devon’s online radicalisation campaign to share key messages around Prevent with parents and carers that are contextualised to the vulnerabilities and risks we are seeing locally.

Contact Safer Devon Partnership  |  e

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SEND Improvement Board Updates

Reminders from the DCC SEND Improvement Board:

  • SEND Strategy video for children and young people for feedback (deadline 16/12/20)
  • SEND Transformation Design options survey (deadline 06/01/21)

SEND Strategy video for children and young people for feedback

Here's a link to a short video about Devon’s draft strategy for Special Education Needs and Disability (SEND) provision across the county. It includes a newly developed vision and priorities for us to support children and young people with SEND, and their families in the best way possible, and has been written by staff at Devon County Council in partnership with NHS Devon CCG, the Parent Carer Forum Devon and with input from children and young people with SEND.

Feedback from children and young people with SEND, and their families, is really important to us to make sure we get our strategy right so we’re able to give them the help and support they need in a way that suits them.  We would be grateful if you could share this with your networks and discuss this with your pupils, and ask them to answer the questions at the end of the video to let us know their views.

Share your views with us by 16 December 2020 - send your replies to:

We will be able to analyse their feedback and ensure it’s taken into consideration when we finalise the strategy.

SEND Transformation Design options survey

Here's a link to the SEND service design options PowerPoint, noting that this survey is for professionals only (a survey for parent/carers will be sent out separately).

The PowerPoint provides an overview of the current SEND service, and three potential options with their advantages and disadvantages. You will also find the SEND vision and priorities which are in the draft SEND Strategy (which is also out for consultation - see above) and the SEND design principles.

Please look at the three service design options either in the PowerPoint or in the survey before answering four questions at the end of the survey. Here is a link to the survey.

The deadline for this survey is 6 January 2021.

The SEND Transformation Design Workstream will analyse your responses and incorporate them into the final service design.

Question? email the SEND Improvement Programme mailbox

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Devon Norse Liaison Board - 19 November 2020

Feedback to schools on:

  • Furlough payments
  • Catering and cleaning services
  • Safeguarding procedures

Furlough payments

Statement from Matt Wilby (Managing Director, Devon Norse) regarding furlough payments:

“Devon Norse have during the Covid pandemic provided periodic updates to customers around changes to services, assessment of risks and furloughing of staff.   We have continued to ensure all staff work within a safe environment at a very worrying time.    
As advised by the government and Devon County Council, customers have been requested to continue to pay their invoices in full to enable the business to continue with services.   We are very thankful to those that did so.  With the anticipated end of furlough at the end of October Devon Norse have been working towards providing final clarity around customers’ invoices at this time.    Although the furlough scheme has been extended it is still the intention for Devon Norse to do this.   We are now beginning to communicate with schools detailing the furlough payments we have received to enable us to provide any credits for a reduction in service.  
As you can appreciate we have had considerable numbers of staff that were on furlough and due to the HMRC being able to audit furlough payments for a 5 year period from receipt we are ensuring this information is correct.    We would appreciate your patience as we work through this.”

Catering and cleaning

Cleaning – Devon Norse has supported schools during Covid Pandemic in providing additional consumables e.g. gloves, sanitiser etc. They have also purchased electrostatic fogging ‘guns’ to ensure thorough sanitising of areas where there has been a positive case. It is important that schools realise that this ‘fogs’ the areas with sanitiser which lays on the affected surface, rather than staff members physically cleaning each surface area. Devon Norse can be contacted to support the ‘deep clean’ process if a positive case is confirmed. 

Catering – Devon Norse Catering has also adapted its offer during the Covid Pandemic. They have provided individually hot boxed meals. They have also supported schools who are usually with other providers who have required cover due to staff absences etc.  because of the current situation.

Safeguarding procedures

Safeguarding - new safeguarding procedures have recently been put into place and Devon Norse have written to schools who have a Norse contract to advise that there is now a clear Norse Safeguarding Policy, annual update training, a dedicated phone line, flowcharts for Norse staff, Level 3 qualified Norse Management and regular safeguarding reminders on staff newsletters (similar to One Minute Guides).


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