PEP (Schools) Bulletin w/c 13 April 2020

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portsmouth city council
Portsmouth Education Partnership

PEP Bulletin

16 April 2020


On behalf of the Portsmouth Education Partnership, welcome to the latest edition of the PEP bulletin which is again dominated by COVID-19 articles and summarises a lot of the information that has gone out to schools in recent days.

We would really welcome stories and articles from early years settings, schools and colleges giving examples of how you are adapting to the challenge and the contribution you are making to support the local community and the NHS. In this week's bulletin we have stories from Admiral Lord Nelson, Priory, Mayfield, Wimborne Junior, Victory Primary, Beacon View Primary, St Paul's Catholic Primary, Meredith Infant and Isambard Brunel Junior schools.

Good luck for the summer term. We will be working with you to support the current arrangements but will now start work in earnest on recovery and transition ahead of the 2020/21 academic year.

Mike Stoneman
Deputy Director, Education

COVID-19 recent government updates

Keeping children safe online

Whilst there are huge benefits to being online in order to stay connected to family and friends during this period, the government recognises many parents may feel concerned about the activities and content their children are accessing. This guidance outlines resources to help keep children safe from different risks online and where to go to receive support and advice.

Learn more

School governance

Updated information about video or teleconferencing applications in ‘School governance update March 2020: advice for governing bodies’.

Learn more

School complaints procedures

The government's guidance for local-authority-maintained schools on school complaints procedures has been updated with best practice guidance about handling complaints during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Read now

Induction for newly qualified teachers

Dear All - Please find a link here to the recently published DfE guidance regarding NQT induction in the light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Any further updates will be shared with you as soon as they are made available. How this will affect individual cases of NQT induction in Portsmouth will be discussed in the course of next term with schools and NQTs directly. Please be assured that you can continue to contact me anytime:

Financial support for schools

Guidance has been published today on financial support for schools and the exceptional costs associated with coronavirus for the period March to July 2020. It confirms that funding will be made available relating to specific items that fall within three identified areas: increased premises costs; support for free school meals for eligible children not attending school; and additional cleaning. If a school faces other, extraordinary costs to deliver appropriate support to pupils through this period that are not covered by the above and cannot be met by existing budgets, they should contact

Learn more

Social distancing in education and childcare settings

Please note the updated Q&A section on guidance for education and childcare settings on how to implement social distancing.

Please note also that additional advice for settings caring for children and young people with complex needs will be published shortly.

Read guidance

Extra support for schools and parents to help cope with coronavirus

The Government has announced a package of support, including additional funding and high-quality resources, to help schools deal with the challenges posed by coronavirus.

Learn more

Updated guidance on early years and childcare closures

The government has updated the guidance on early years and childcare closures for local authorities, early years settings and childminders. This update provides additional information on funding, staying open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children, the Early Years Foundation Stage statutory framework and opening over academic holidays.

The guidance can be found here.

School admission appeals

The government has confirmed it will be making regulatory changes that, subject to legislation, will come into force on 24 April 2020. The new regulations will relax some of the current requirements set out in the School Admission Appeals Code 2012 including:

  • Disapply the requirement that appeals panels must be held in person and instead give flexibility for panel hearings to take place either in person, by telephone, video conference or through a paper-based appeal where all parties can make representations in writing
  • Relax the rules with regard to what happens if one of the three panel members withdraws to make it permissible for the panel to continue with and conclude as a panel of two
  • Amend the deadlines relating to appeals for the time that the new regulations are in force.

The government will publish guidance to admission authorities and local authorities in carrying out admission appeals to provide further details on these regulations. Once this guidance is published we will communicate the detail of how these appeals will be carried out in Portsmouth.

Find out more

COVID-19 stories from Portsmouth

Admiral Lord Nelson School: Helping the heroes of the NHS

With the school building closed to most students, some of our fabulous Design Department (Miss Owenson, Miss Thornley and Miss Merckel) have turned our idle laser cutter to good use - making protective visors for workers of the NHS!

135 have been made using the initial materials, with more to come once supplies arrive. 


Priory and Mayfield schools support local NHS nurses

Priory staff Mrs Chapman and Mrs Mundy have been busy working on an additional project to help support local NHS nurses. In conjunction with Maths teacher Mrs Fairley from Mayfield School, they have all been busy sewing scrubs bags for the nurses at QA hospital. These fabric bags will help nurses to transport used scrubs and uniform home and can go directly in the wash without the need to handle them, thereby helping to reduce any contamination. Mrs Coghlan has also produced over 100 visors yesterday, some of which have already been delivered to local care homes that requested them.

Read more

Wimborne Junior School

Georgia Hamilton Primary Teacher at Wimborne Junior School (Ex Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance School Direct Trainee)
At Wimborne, we have been providing our key-worker children with enriched learning opportunities. Staff have been planning and teaching week long topics such as ‘Space Camp’, ‘Super Heroes’ and ‘Plastic Pollution’ etc. where children can be exposed to many different experiences. The children are also being given cooking opportunities as well as PE lessons daily to ensure they are keeping active and that we are promoting their well-being in school. The children have been incredibly responsive and positive during these tricky times and have amazed us with their resilience.

We are also sending home-learning packs weekly to each year group for those children isolating at home and have encouraged them to continue to email us with any work or activities they have achieved and are proud of. Staff are rotating in and out of school throughout this closure period and including Easter holidays. Everyone has been really positive, the teamwork has been incredible and our leadership team and headteacher have been amazing through these difficult times.

Wimborne School

Fun Easter activities at The Victory Primary School

Pupils at The Victory Primary School have been having fun in school this week, making hot cross buns and 3D rainbow mobiles. Click the links to see more photos of their fantastic creations!

The Victory Primary School

Portsmouth pupils answer birthday celebration rallying call for D-Day hero

Pupils from three Portsmouth primary schools were among those in the community who rallied to help a D-Day veteran celebrate his birthday during lockdown.

Children from The Victory Primary School, Beacon View Primary Academy and St Paul's Catholic Primary School wrote cards and drew pictures following a rallying call from the Portsmouth Parachute Regimental Association.

Read more

Window displays created to show gratitude for key workers

Pupils at Meredith Infant School and Isambard Brunel Junior School have created a brilliant window display on the school hall to say thank you and show our key workers how grateful they are for everything they are doing in the community.

Meredith/Isambard Schools

Praise for teachers and school staff

A letter from a local resident thanking all teachers and school staff currently caring for the children of critical workers has been published in a Portsmouth newspaper. The letter also thanks "those lovely children who are attending school, when their friends are at home, to enable their mums and dads to keep us all safe and well-fed."

Click the image to view a larger version.

News article

Leadership, recruitment and retention

Share your inspirational stories for new recruitment campaign

Teach Portsmouth

Teach Portsmouth will be launching a new campaign at the start of May called 'your time to teach' to promote initial teacher training for September. To encourage those interested in teaching, we would like to share your inspirational stories about supporting keyworker children in the city. Simply email with a completed photo consent form with your stories and we'll share them as part of our campaign. Please ensure suitable permission has been sought alongside any images you have.

Download consent form

Curriculum and CPD

Portsmouth SACRE Annual Report 2018-19

A copy of the 2018-19 Portsmouth SACRE annual report is now available to read here. Further information about SACRE and previous annual reports can be found on the PEP website.

Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance home school hub


At the Portsmouth Teaching School Alliance, we are aware that parents are having to support their children’s learning while still doing their own work. Whilst there are thousands of brilliant resources out there, it can be overwhelming trying to decide what is helpful, relevant and appropriate for different aged children.

We hope to help get rid of this additional worry by posting a weekly update of THREE amazing resources per week for each age group. We will give you clear and helpful directions: What is it? Who is it for? Parental Supervision Required? The resources will be selected by our practicing Specialist Leaders in Education so you can be sure they are the most useful possible ideas. We hope you love these resources and come back every week for more!

Access the hub

School improvement

Primary schools: moderation and assessment

Message from Sarah Hilditch, Lead Moderator

We hope you are keeping safe and well and coping during these difficult times. We just
wanted to email you to give you an update on assessment as it stands so far in these strange circumstances.

As you are aware, all testing has been cancelled in primary schools this academic year. There will be no published results for 2020. Schools will not be held accountable on the basis of exams and assessment data from summer 2020 and that data will not be used by others, such as Ofsted and local authorities, to hold schools and colleges to account.

Read full letter

Ofqual seeks views on GCSE and A level grading proposals for 2020

Ofqual has published a consultation on the exceptional arrangements for awarding GCSE and A/AS levels in summer 2020. The deadline for responses is 29 April 2020.

Further information on this consultation can be found here.

It has been confirmed that A Level students will get their results on 13 August, and GCSE students will get theirs on 20 August as previously published.

Special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND)

School attendance risk assessment for children and young people with an EHCP

Headteachers and SENCOs will have received a letter from Julia Katherine which gives guidance and details about a risk assessment template which should be completed for all children with an EHCP in order to determine whether they can safely remain at home, in line with the government guidance that was previously issued.

The risk assessment should be shared with the family, your school's LA Link Co-ordinator, any other professionals involved with the child (e.g. Social Worker, Virtual School Caseholder) and the LA's SEN team.

Download guidance

Annual reviews

There is still a requirement that EHCPs are reviewed annually, although we appreciate that due to social distancing requirements, it may not be possible to hold annual review meetings in the usual way. We will be writing to SENCos with further guidance about this after Easter. We are aware that some schools are trialling virtual annual review meetings through Skype, Zoom, phone calls, etc. We would encourage schools to use their best endeavours in relation to annual reviews as our statutory responsibility in regard to reviewing EHCPs remains the same.

Emotional health and wellbeing

Solent NHS update: health visiting and school nursing

An update from Solent NHS on changes to Health Visiting and School Nursing (and the Family Nurse Partnership) is available here. Also attached is a letter to parents and carers confirming that routine home visiting, child health clinics and telephone contacts are being reduced on a temporary basis but also emphasising that parents can and should continue to make contact if they need to discuss any concerns about their child's health and development.

NHS advice for parents on COVID-19 and other childhood illnesses and injuries

A helpful national one page summary of guidance for parents to help them determine when to call the GP, NHS 111 or go to the Accident and Emergency Department can be found here. It is really important that parents and carers understand that they should continue to seek medical help for children during the COVID-19 crisis.

Local parenting telephone surgeries

Parents can book a session at a "parenting surgery". These 30 minutes slot offer an opportunity to discuss specific behaviour issues and understand what is on offer in the city. See the  attached flyer for details of how to book.

Simon Says bereavement policy and guidelines

Simon Says

If your school does not already have a bereavement policy in place, Simon Says (the child bereavement charity) has a bereavement policy and guidelines available to download. This will help you to consider how to support pupils when they are bereaved and the ongoing support you need to consider.

These guidelines are intended to be used to assist you in creating your own bereavement policy which is relevant for your educational setting.

View document

Think Ninja app: mental health support for young people aged 11 - 17

There is a free app called Think Ninja now available for young people aged 11 - 17 in Portsmouth that can help with mental health education and coping strategies and has recently been updated to include support for use during the COVID-19 outbreak.

You can use it on smartphones or tablets - just search for 'ThinkNinja' in the IOS or Android app store from a mobile device to download the app and put in your home postcode to activate it.

Think Ninja

Nacoa helpline

Nacoa was set up in 1990 to provide information, advice and support to children affected by their parent’s alcohol problems. Nacoa anticipate that, given the insecurity and dislocation of current events, children and young people living with parents who drink too much will be especially burdened during the forced closure of public services and social isolation.

The Nacoa helpline will be open throughout the closure period:

A link to Nacoa's Covid Online Resource Pack can be found here. You might want to include signposting to this in your resources for children and young people.


CAMHs Single Point of Access is still available for schools to contact for advice and consultation regarding children and young people's mental health. The SPA can be contacted on 0300 123 6632. We are also considering how the Mental Health Support Teams may be able to work with children and families over the summer term.

Schools in Mind: Supporting the most vulnerable children and young people

Read the latest newsletter from the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families here. The newsletter includes information on live Facebook Q&A sessions, and useful guides for supporting the most vulnerable children and young people, and running an Alternative Provision during lockdown.

LA updates

Online payment refunds (LA maintained schools)

In response to the anticipated need for schools to refund large volumes of on-line payments as the restrictions imposed due to coronavirus take hold, the Council have reviewed the process for refunding payment made by parents via Tucasi on-line payments.

Whilst it remains best practice for refunds to be processed back on to the credit or debit card used to pay, this could lead to delays in refunding parents as the refund process is time consuming and requires schools to get the last four digits of the card number from parents.

To ease the administrative burden the Council is temporarily relaxing the requirement for all refunds to be processed back onto credit/debit cards.

Refunds can temporarily be refunded via EBS Accounts Payable as Sundry Creditors (or exceptionally smaller value transactions can be processed via the school petty cash imprest account). The process to make a payment as a Sundry Creditor is detailed below.

All refunds will need to be approved by the Headteacher or Finance Manager as appropriate. The school will need to make sure that there is an audit trail for all refunds and that adequate checks are in place to ensure a parent has made the payment. Where possible a single payment for all refunds owed to a parent should be processed (e.g. if a pupil was due to go on two trips which have both been cancelled a single refund payment could be processed or if a parent has two children at the schools and both were due to go on trips that were cancelled).

Further update on free school meals

The government's ever changing advice in this area, including the belated launch of the national voucher scheme and last week's further clarification of which costs will and will not be reimbursed by DFE, are leading us to the view that, for schools in the Caterlink contract at least, it is in the schools' interests to move towards giving parents of children who are not in school the option of receiving vouchers.

Read more

Free school meals vouchers: teething problems

During the course of the last week, orders placed within the Edenred system were higher than anticipated. This had an impact on the performance and experience. The expectation is that these early problems will have been ironed out by the end of the week. A note about this, sent by the RSC office, is attached for information.

Cleaners for care homes

We have received another plea from HR for cleaners to help in some of our Care Homes across the City. Thank you to those schools who have already responded. The criteria is that they need to be DBS checked and employed by PCC. If you have cleaners you are not currently using who would be willing to be redeployed in this way could you please discuss this with them and then forward their contact details to:  

In the email please provide their name, school and best way of contacting them i.e., phone number or email address. This information will be co-ordinated by the HR team and a Manager will call them to discuss further.

New children and families hub now open

Headteachers will have received a message from Hayden Ginns with a document setting out our arrangements for identifying and supporting vulnerable learners and families who may need help. These arrangements include new link co-ordinators who have supported schools through a shared list of vulnerable children. The new element of the arrangements which has started is the Children and Families Hub.

Feedback from colleagues show the process is working well and making a difference. The hub has been created to centralise information to ensure schools and lead professionals have what they need to support vulnerable children and their families.

To speak with a member of the team, please call 023 9261 6710 (8:30am - 4:30pm)

Read more

Vulnerable children and families - having 'safe and curious' conversations

Headteachers will have received details of the system we have set up to track vulnerable children and their families during COVID-19. Included in that document was some work we have started on how to have 'Safe and Curious' conversations with families over the phone which help identify and understand needs and risks for children and families. We are now following that up with these two documents:

  1. Some guidance for all practitioners, including colleagues in schools, on making welfare and check-in phone calls to families
  2. An opportunity, through the Safeguarding Children Partnership, to take part in some online professional development sessions with our training manager Sam Nesbit and her team. We would encourage staff to take this opportunity up as we all learn together how to continue to safeguard children and families whilst maintaining social distancing.  

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