PEP (Schools) Bulletin w/c 30 March 2020

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portsmouth city council
Portsmouth Education Partnership

PEP Bulletin

3 April 2020

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COVID-19 FAQs for schools

Dear colleagues

I am conscious that the council has sent out numerous communications, including FAQs covering a range of areas from free school meals to traded services. To help make better sense of what’s going on, Portsmouth Education Partnership has put together a set of FAQs from all sources. 

The FAQs are partly based on a similar set produced by Hampshire County Council for schools, which have been shared with us. These FAQs will be regularly updated, sometimes daily - so please refer to the latest information which can be found here. The password was provided in the daily communication sent to schools yesterday (Thursday 2 March).

As agreed, we will continue to arrange weekly teleconferences with headteachers based on the current arrangement of five meetings which cover secondary, special and primary (north, central and south) schools. 

We have found these to be enormously beneficial and the feedback from headteachers has been very positive.

Thank you again for all of your efforts to provide care for the limited number of children of critical workers and vulnerable learners who are in school, and the resources and support you are providing for children and young people who are being cared for at home.

And as always, please do not hesitate to get back to me or Mike, with any questions or concerns you might have, at any time.

Alison Jeffery
Director of Children, Families and Education

Latest updates from Alison Jeffery

The latest communications for headteachers from Alison Jeffery are available to read on the Senior stakeholder hub.

Recent emails include information on:

  • Easter holiday provision and FAQs
  • Request to secondary schools for PPE
  • Free school meals

  • Covid-19 - Tracking Vulnerable Children and Families
  • Year 11s: preparing for post-16 education
  • Admissions

School Library Service update

The School Library Service is committed to supporting teachers, staff and pupils in schools and at home to maintain a sense of continuity in these extremely challenging and unprecedented times.

We are continuing to support schools through the following resources:

  • the SLS eBook and eAudio platform
  • The Day and The Day Explorer online news
  • the SLS Twitter account keeping staff informed of resources available from authors, publishers and reading related resources
  • continuing to support schools in the Book Awards process to enable these to reach completion for pupils
  • providing book reviews and recommendations for pupils and staff.

If you require any further information or assistance with any of the above please contact or

EMAS update

EMAS staff continue to offer a full support service to schools. However, accessing this support obviously looks a little different at the moment. Full details of the support service can be found here.

Please continue to contact us should you need any help with interpreting, especially in a safeguarding situation, using the EMAS mobile number 07769368770.

Full details

School governance update

The DfE have recently published a March 2020 school governance update which includes guidance in relation to coronavirus (COVID-19). This update reiterates the key messages and guidance published by the department in the last week, especially around school closures, and seeks to provide some clarity on specific issues that will be at the forefront of governors’ minds.

Read the update

Supporting wellbeing

Information about managing mental health during these challenging times has been published on the council's website. You may wish to share this with your staff, parents and wider school community.

Schools that buy into the council or alternative Employee Assistance Programmes may also wish to remind colleagues that they can access support online or by telephone. The freephone number for staff in schools subscribing to the PCC scheme is 0800 1116 387.

Headteacher support and wellbeing

We said at the conference calls last week that we would set up a line for school leaders to ring for support with their own emotional wellbeing, recognising how much anxiety they are holding for their communities as well as staff groups. Rather than a single line, the colleagues below have all offered to take calls from headteachers, or indeed other senior staff who are stepping up at this time. We know you will all have your own sources of support and advice but we are keen to make sure support is available. In addition to listening and supporting emotionally the colleagues below are happy to help in terms of clarifying issues, weighing up risk assessments, deciding on next steps etc if that is useful. You can also continue to contact me (Alison Jeffery) or Mike Stoneman about issues big or small, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

The colleagues below are available to be contacted, by headteachers and senior leaders, in confidence.

Alison Jeffery
Director of Children, Families and Education

Liz Robinson - 07961 135119
Sarah Christopher - 07825 420519
Caitriona Scully - 07764 616271 (not Fridays)
Lisa Caine - 07740 747743 (not Thursday)

Cleaning supplies

During the phone conferences with schools last week a small number of colleagues mentioned that they were starting to struggle for supplies of essential items such as cleaning materials, hand towels and gloves. The council is working to ensure that we can provide these essential items across the range of settings that need them.

If you are having difficulty securing cleaning and associated items please let know what you need and we will explore whether these can be secured as part of wider council purchasing. The government's advice on cleaning in educational settings is that everyone should wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or hand sanitiser more often than normal, and including:

  • On arrival at school
  • After coughing or sneezing
  • Before handling food.  

Schools are advised to clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces more often than usual using standard cleaning products.

Ofqual guidance on summer 2020 grades

Guidance was released today by Ofqual setting out the method by which GCSEs, AS and A levels, Extended Project Qualifications and Advanced Extension Awards will be graded.

To find out more click here.

Free RE resources

RE Today is working hard to support NATRE by producing resources that ALL teachers can use and share with pupils and parents in order to support with home learning. A range of free resources are available to download for key stages 1-4.

Access resources

Milton Park Primary decorate school with messages of support

Pupils from Milton Park Primary School have been busy decorating the school yard with paintings of rainbows, positive words and images to help people get through the coronavirus crisis.

Full story

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