Devon SLS Updates Newsletter: Autumn Term | 17 December 2020 | Issue 5

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Autumn term  |  17 December 2020  |  Issue 5

Covid-19 banner
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Staggered rollout of coronavirus testing for secondary schools and colleges

Testing offered to schools and colleges to minimise cases and transmission of the virus with return of students after Christmas. Read the press release on GOV.UK.

Guidance  |  Coronavirus (COVID-19) workforce fund for schools

Funding to support schools facing significant staff absences and financial pressures with the costs of staff cover for the period from 1 November to 31 December 2020. Read the guidance on GOV.UK.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) asymptomatic testing in schools and colleges

Information for schools and colleges about how they can start to test pupils and students from January. Read the guidance on GOV.UK.

Stay up to date with GOV.UK

Sign up to receive emails when there are changes to any coronavirus information on the GOV.UK website.

Free School Meals Lists and Children on Transitional Protection

The free school meals team will no longer be sending you lists of your free school meal cohorts by email on a termly basis.

The team have implemented a new solution which we hope you will find a lot more effective and efficient.  Read more on the DCC website - note that the cut-off date for vouchers is today 17 December 2020.

COVID Winter Fund Scheme Early Help Application

Please share this communication to staff working with families.

A COVID Winter Grant Fund has been made available to local authorities and district councils to support families experiencing financial hardship over the 2020-21 winter. Children eligible for free school meals will be issued with food vouchers and district councils will be able to support families through their hardship grants. Early Help will also be able to help families in this situation with a grant of up to £100 per family to support them to buy food and pay utility bills over the winter.

If you are working with families that are experiencing financial hardship this winter then please contact Early Help so that they receive this and other financial support to improve their situation. Their hardship does not need to be COVID related or recently acquired but repeat requests for help may be best supported through Early Help partners to sustainably improve the families financial situation.

The criteria set by Early Help is as follows:

  • You are a family (at least 2 people where at least 1 person is either pre-birth or up to 18 yrs old)
  • You are not eligible for hardship grant funding through your district council or you have not yet applied
  • You are experiencing financial hardship linked to or independent of COVID (e.g. unemployed, furloughed, being made redundant)
  • You need financial help to pay utility bills or buy food and essential items for your family

N.B: In the event that the full grant you are applying for is to support with winter fuel/utilities – after approval of your application, we request that your organisation provides the funding directly to the family from your organisations own resources and this amount will then be re-imbursed to you by Early Help.

Download and complete the Covid Winter Fund Application Form Proforma.

You can contact Early Help via the following mailboxes:

Northern Devon:
Southern Devon:
Mid and East Devon:

If you are not sure which locality your family is located in please contact any one of these email addresses and include their location in your opening email.

Reminder  |  Claims for Exceptional COVID-19 Costs – Claim window closes 22 December 2020

Posted on 15 December 2020 by

Read details of the second claim form for schools and academies to claim eligible exceptional costs relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) for the period March to July 2020 (claim window closes 22/12/20) and is the final opportunity to submit a claim  |  READ MORE

Reminder  |  Notification of Covid-19 cases to Public Health England AND the Local Authority

It is imperative that the local authority is notified of any confirmed positive Covid-19 cases (staff or pupils) in your school via the SmartSurvey online link:

COVID 19 - Education Provision/School Notification of COVID 19 Test Results

Read the full news item on the DCC website.

DCC Devon Schools Key Information Website

Visit the private Education (staff only) website which hosts all the key information and guidance in one place so it can easily be referred to by Headteachers and other senior staff. Here is the link to the website - schools are to log in via their usual DCC account.

Leadership Support
aHead logo

aHead Service

Headship can be isolating and overwhelming, particularly during these challenging times. We wanted to remind you that the team of aHead Professional Partners are here to provide confidential support and guidance to school leaders and can be contacted via email or phone:       t  01392 380518 / 07970 905511   w

Working Groups

Working Group updates - Autumn 2020

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  |  READ MORE

Department for Education V3

Guidance  |  Providing remote education information to parents: template

New DfE Guidance issued 15/12/20 confirms that schools must publish information for pupils, parents and carers about their remote education provision on their website by 25 January 2021see GOV.UK for an optional template available to support schools with this expectation.

The template is not mandatory, and schools should feel free to adapt it to suit their context. For example, while it has been designed to be used at the whole-school level, some schools might find it helpful to provide different information for different key stages or subjects.

Events V3
Devon SLS Catch up meetings

Primary & Secondary Meetings

February 2021

Join colleagues for a chance to catch up on all things Covid-19 related (and other topics) - share your experiences and keep up to date with the latest information, both locally and nationally. Sessions hosted by members of Devon SLS Schools Executive Committee.

Primary Area Meeting:

  • Tuesday 9 February 2021 (North & East, 1.30pm - 2.30pm)
  • Wednesday 10 February 2021 (Central, South & West, 1.30pm - 2.30pm)

Book your February primary area meeting here

Secondary Meeting:

Look out for calendar invites which will be sent directly to secondary colleagues for the following dates:

  • Friday 5 February 2021 (all areas) 2.30pm - 3.30pm (calendar invite sent)

Leaders Together image

Reminder  |  register for the weekly Leaders Together sessions

A new informal, weekly support group for School and Trust Leaders from Devon and beyond. Find out more and register here.

  • Thursday's 3.45pm - 4.30pm for primary colleagues
  • Friday's 3.00pm - 3.45pm for secondary colleagues

DAPH Kite String Conference 2015

Annual School Leadership Conference

NEW dates 14 & 15 October 2021 at Saunton Sands Hotel

Due to the current arrangements and the uncertainty with how government guidelines will look in the Spring term, we have recently made the decision to cancel the 11 & 12 March 2021 event and move the dates to the original October dates.

Important: bookings for the previously advertised dates will not be automatically carried over to the new 2021 dates - delegates will need to re-book. Further details and a new online booking form will follow in the Spring term 2021. Question? Contact

Reminders banner

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

Ofsted V3

Ofsted: phased return to inspections

Ofsted’s return to inspection in 2021 will happen in phases, with no graded inspections for education or social care providers planned before the summer term. Read the press release here.

Devon SLS Recommended Reading bannerDIAS newsletter

Read the pre-Christmas issue of the DiAS newsletter which includes the usual round up of SEND news from us, and from across Devon and England.

Early Years V3

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

Visit this page to SUBSCRIBE to the Early Years and Childcare Service newsletter, a weekly email digest of new updates (sent every Friday morning). 

School Governance V3

Visit the DAG website

Read the latest DAG newsletter Issue 203 (14/12/20) HERE 

Visit the DAG website to subscribe to newsletters and register for DAG membership.

And finally... V3

Devon SLS would like to say farewell and best wishes to the following colleagues who recently retired or are retiring at the end of this term:

  • Caren Brooks - Headteacher, Bowhill Primary School
  • Karen Hadley - Executive Headteacher, Connect Federation
  • Daryll Chapman - CEO, Dartmoor Multi Academy Trust

Devon SLS Christmas baubles 2020

On behalf of the Devon SLS Schools Executive Committee and office team, we would like to thank you for your continued support during 2020 and wish you all a very happy and restful Christmas break.

Note that the Devon SLS Office closes on Thursday 17 December 2020, re-opening on Monday 4 January 2021.


Devon Schools Leadership Services CIO

Read more about Devon SLS

Contact: E     T  01392 380518     W    

Registered office:
Venture House, One Capital Court, Bittern Road, Sowton, Exeter, Devon EX2 7FW

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Devon SLS (formally DAPH and DASH - read more details about our new CIO Devon SLS in the July 2020 newsletter)