Devon SLS Updates Newsletter: Summer Term | 21 May 2021 | Issue 4

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Summer term  |  21 May 2021  |  Issue 4

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Primary & Secondary Leadership Hub Meetings - June 2021

(MS Teams)

Join colleagues at the next round of Leadership Hub meetings - a chance to catch up online, share your experiences and keep up to date with the latest information, both locally and nationally. Sessions are hosted by members of the Devon SLS Schools Executive Committee.

For Primary school leaders:

  • Monday 14 June 2021 (2.00pm - 3.00pm) BOOK HERE

A calendar invite has already been sent to those who have booked and should show in your Outlook / MS Teams calendar if the invite has been accepted.

For Secondary school leaders:

  • Thursday 17 June 2021 (2.00pm - 3.00pm)

Note that a calendar invite has been sent directly to secondary school leaders (no need to book).

Question? Contact us at

Devon SLS Summer Briefing

Summer School Leadership Briefing on 8 July 2021

All-day event at Exeter Racecourse

The next Devon SLS School Leadership Briefing is on Thursday 8 July and we hope you will be able to join us. Subject to the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions, we hope to hold the event at Exeter Racecourse. This all-day event will have local updates and a curriculum focus - agenda to follow, in the meantime online booking now available on the Devon SLS website.

Who's booked already? Check the current delegate list.

The Briefing is fully subsidised and open to all members of Devon SLS i.e. school leaders within Devon primary and secondary schools, one delegate place per school – other colleagues are also welcome to attend (note charges apply). For full details please see the terms and conditions on the booking form.

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Reminder  |  Notification of confirmed positive Covid cases to the LA

Reporting of positive COVID-19 results through the Schools Smart Survey remains a priority as it provides more timely and vital local information to support the overall response to the pandemic.

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 school leaders and other senior staff. Here is the link to the website - schools are to log in via their usual DCC account.

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.

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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.

Additionally, Devon SLS member schools have access to the Devon SLS Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) - free individual access to confidential information, support and counselling service plus the option of purchasing for the whole school at a discounted price.

Question or need support? Contact us:

E       T   01392 380518 / 07970 905511

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Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak

What all schools will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

(last updated 10/05/21)

Note the updated DfE guidance in line with Step 3 of the roadmap and in relation to the easing of Covid-19 measures in schools (from Monday 17 May 2021), information on face coverings, attendance, pupils travelling to the UK from abroad, educational visits, wraparound provision and extra-curricular activity, music, dance and drama, pupil wellbeing and state-funded school inspection. We have also added further guidance on domestic residential educational visits and a section on transitional, taster and open days.

Face coverings in education

Guidance on the use of face coverings for schools and other education institutions that teach people in years 7 and above in England

A reminder to schools to advise pupils and parents of the ongoing requirement to wear face coverings on school transport as the measures currently in place have not been lifted.

The updated DfE guidance reflects that from 17 May face coverings will no longer be recommended for pupils and students in classrooms or communal areas, in all schools and FE providers. Face coverings will also no longer be recommended for staff in classrooms. In all schools and FE providers, we continue to recommend that face coverings should be worn by staff and visitors in situations outside of classrooms where social distancing is not possible.

Schools who are using the DCC Risk Assessment should update their existing RA100 with the new information (highlighted in blue), and must make sure that the version number is changed. It is also important that schools have subscribed to the DfE updates and regularly check these for updates and changes.

Press release  |  Schools and colleges to benefit from boost in expert mental health support

17 million in mental health funding for schools and colleges to help them recover from the challenges of the pandemic:

  • More than £17 million announced to improve mental health and wellbeing support in schools and colleges, part of Government’s commitment to build back better for every young person
  • New funding to train thousands of senior mental health leads, for school and college staff and to provide helpful resources
  • Builds on Government’s commitment to making mental health and wellbeing a central part of education recovery work

Read the press release on GOV.UK

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Arrangements for non-exam assessment for qualifications in 2022

Ofqual consultation on arrangements for non-exam assessment and fieldwork requirements for students entering GCSEs, AS and A level qualifications in 2022.  This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 28 May 2021.

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Devon SLS  |  NEW Finance and Audit Trustee

We are delighted to welcome Georgina Myles as the new Finance & Audit Portfolio Trustee on the Devon SLS Trust Board.

Georgina is an Audit Executive at Bishop Fleming, which has given her the opportunity to work on many academy school audits to review financial controls, financial statements and compliance. Part of her Trustee role will ensure that effective financial measures, controls and procedures are put in place and are appropriate for the charity.

Read more about the Board of Trustees on the Devon SLS website.

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Focused Assurance Visit of Local Authority Children’s Services (ILACS) – 26 & 27 May 2021

Message from Dawn Stabb, Head of Education and Learning, DCC

We have been notified that we will receive an Ofsted 2 day assurance visit in children’s services on 26 and 27 next week.

The focused visits will evaluate the quality and impact of key decision-making in the following practice areas:

  • help and protection
  • children in care and care leavers
  • impact of leaders

Inspectors will be talking to schools in relation to a selection of individual children they have chosen. As soon as DCC have information regarding which children or school we will make contact with the relevant headteacher to let them know that they may be contacted.

Holiday activities and food programme across Devon

The Holiday Activities and Food (HAF) programme provides healthy food and enriching activities during the summer and Christmas holidays to children who receive benefits-related free school meals. It offers valuable support to families on lower incomes, giving them the opportunity to access rewarding activities alongside healthy meals over the school holidays.

This programme has now been expanded to reach all areas in Devon over the summer and Christmas holidays during 2021 and as a result, Devon County Council will be receiving a substantial grant to develop and co-ordinate:

  • An activity and Food programme to all children (5 -16 years)
  • A programme that offers inclusive and accessible provision (for example, SEND, young carers, etc)
  • An offer that will consist of at least 4 hours, for 4 days a week, per child for 4 weeks in the summer, and for one week during the Christmas holidays.

Devon County Council is keen to work with a wide range of partners to maximise resources and opportunities in the development of a county-wide HAF programme. We aim to do this by publicising what’s already on offer, upscaling provision where needed and offering support to develop new provision where gaps have been identified.

If your organisation would like help DCC to deliver this programme in your area, or you know of an organisation or individual who may like to get involved, visit this page for more information and to complete an expression of interest form (note deadline 30 May 2021).

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Mind your Words: Children and young people's mental health

Mind Your Words is a free online course designed to support those working with children and young people with mental health needs.

The aim of this course is to improve understanding of children and young people who have both mental health needs (or social emotional and mental health needs - SEMH) and Speech, Language and Communication Needs (SLCN). This is made all the more important during the Covid-19 pandemic, as research suggests it has had an effect on everyone’s mental health, including children.

This online training highlights the links between mental health and communication and outlines how professionals can work together to remove communication barriers and help these children and young people achieve their potential. The course consists of 15 modules, of which the first five apply to all settings.

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ESFA Update  |  Latest news for academies

Read the latest update dated 12 May 2021 and includes information on the extended sign-up window for summer schools, with the form remaining in place until Friday 28 May 2021.

Schools can access their funding allocation before signing up for the programme to indicate they intend to run a summer school - further information is available (see Guidance - summer schools programme).

Question? Please contact

Keep up to date - the ESFA Update contains the latest information and actions from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) for academies, colleges, local authorities and further education providers.  Register for web alerts here.

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A statement from Devon County Council – Farmwise Update 2021

Sadly during 2020 it was not possible or appropriate to deliver any Farmwise events due to the Pandemic. The organisers have now made the tough decision that regrettably it is not appropriate to hold the Farmwise 2021 events.

The ethos of Farmwise has always been to give primary school children & teachers opportunity to engage in practical activities and ‘touch, feel and smell’ a range of tasks in a very hands on way. It is very unlikely the audience will have been vaccinated for several months.

At the two annual Farmwise events (at Westpoint in October and the County Show in July) Farmwise has attracted attendances of up to 3000 visitors; we consider there is no feasible way of socially distancing children or school group without drastically reducing admission numbers. There are also considerable challenges in terms of sanitising equipment and surfaces. We also consider that schools and parents may well be uncomfortable to allow children to attend events even if we could overcome the range of challenges.

We are looking forward to Spring 2022 when we expect that Farmwise will be in a position to resume in its old and improved format (subject to government guidance at the time in respect of Covid Restrictions).

Our intent will be (as it ever has been) to provide events of:

  • the best quality
  • provide high learning gain
  • safe to attend
  • provide a rich experience of farming & food production in Devon County Council

We look forward to seeing you in 2022 at Farmwise Events.

Best Wishes, The Farmwise Team    |   Visit the website - Farmwise Devon

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RNLI Lifeboats  |  Beach safety and training resources for schools

The summer is almost here!

More people than ever have been heading to the coast for local staycations. And, at the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), we've been busier too, launching to rescue more people in trouble by the water.

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With your support we can help everyone at your school keep themselves, their friends and their family safe in and around the water. To help schools talk to young people about water safety this summer the RNLI has created some amazing, free, curriculum linked activities and films.

You will find our activities via this link to the RNLI website.

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DfE Guidance  |  Supporting SEND

How children and young people's special educational needs (SEN) are met in mainstream schools  |  READ MORE

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DAG Newsletters

Read the latest Issue 220 (17/05/21) HERE 

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

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School Leadership changes and Headteacher email updates

We should be grateful if you would kindly bring to our attention any known forthcoming or impending changes to school leadership roles eg. Headteacher, Head of school etc. as it is not always possible to pick these up, particularly within MATs and Federations.

Please email

Additionally, to ensure that school leaders are well informed and kept up to date with important information from the Local Authority and the DfE, regular headteacher updates are being emailed directly to you via Dawn Stabb, Head of Education & Learning.

If you are not receiving these on a regular basis please let us know via email and we'll make sure you are added to the distribution list.

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E     T  01392 380518     W    

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

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