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Education Bulletin - 27 January 2022

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Updated 27 January 2022

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

Wearing another hat as the lead officer for the Child Poverty Working Group, which is chaired by Cllr. Vivien Pengelly, I am delighted to let you know that the city as a whole is working together to move forward this agenda with a high level of commitment from businesses, schools, voluntary organisation and religious bodies. In the past couple of weeks, the city's partners in the Child Poverty Working Group have had some productive and exciting discussions, reviewing our city-wide actions and mapping next steps to realising our aspiration to end child poverty. In Plymouth, one in five of our children are living in poverty. They are likely to remain in poverty and so will their children unless we address the fundamental causes that make thousands of our children have the worst start in life. Therefore, fighting child poverty and raising aspirations are a key priority for Plymouth. Ending child poverty means tackling a wide range of complex issues to improve children's chances in life and empower families to move themselves out of poverty for good; this includes increasing every child's chance to have a good education.

Children Reading Project & World Book Day

As many of you are aware, one of the exciting Child Poverty projects that we have in the City is to recruit supportive, experienced and engaging readers to read to children in our schools across Plymouth on World Book Day 3 March.

The project is led by Plymouth Children in Poverty (PCiP) with an aim to reach 9000 children on the World Book Day. So far almost 7000 children have signed up and will receive an in person read on 3 March. We have business executives, doctors, the Lord Mayor, Councillors, the City Council's Chief Executive, Tracey Lee, DCS Alison Botham and many more who have volunteered to take part as readers in this project. While many schools have already taken part, I would encourage all primary schools to join, so that your pupils can also benefit from PCiP's project. For details and booking a World Book Day event, please contact the Project Lead Kerry at

DfE Feedback on Air Cleaning Units

In this week's catch up with the DfE, we were told that up to 9,000 air cleaning units will now be provided to state-funded education and childcare settings for poorly ventilated classrooms or teaching spaces where there are no immediate solutions to otherwise improve ventilation. Unfortunately, the government currently has no plan to procure more air cleaning units for schools. The DfE stated that this reflects the findings of a survey of education settings published this week that 3% of settings using a CO2 monitor reported sustained high CO2 readings that could not be otherwise resolved.

However, the DfE agreed to our request to reveal the distribution of the air cleaning units by local authority areas. Special schools and alternative provision settings have already received the air cleaning units which they applied for in the autumn term. They will be in touch with other settings with eligible applications to arrange delivery from the start of February.

Update on the New SEN Free School

You will hopefully be aware of the exciting new partnership project that is taking place between Devon County Council, Plymouth City Council and The Special Partnership Trust to develop a new SEN Free School.

The school will provide 120 places for children aged from 5 to 16 and will become a centre of educational excellence for pupils who have a significant level of ASD and Social Emotional and Mental Health (SEMH) needs. All pupils who attend the school will be placed by Devon Council and Plymouth City Council equitably and have education, health and care (EHC) plans. The proposed site for the school is in Ivybridge and at present the timescale for opening is September 2024

On 19 January representatives from the three partner agencies held an online meeting with Plymouth Parent Carer Voice (PPCV) and provided an update on the current developments and gave an opportunity for parents and carers to ask questions. I am pleased that the feedback from PPCV has been extremely positive. For more details please contact Penny Whitell, Head of SEND via

Best regards.



Health, wellbeing and safety updates

COVID 19 updates

We have had a further update of the Outbreak Management Planning Tool (attached) new version 6.1. Please delete previous version and use this one from now on.

Please also find attached with Bulletin latest SW Consensus statement for schools. This is an agreed statement by all Directors of Public Health in the SW region.

NCMP - Primary Schools

Currently Government is still expecting the NCMP to be delivered to all eligible schools though delay in delivery was recognised as an option given the current impact of COVID19.

A joint letter from the Director of Public Health and Director of Children's Services will be sent to headteachers by early next week. From the week commencing 31 January, the School Nursing Service will start to make contact with schools in order to book dates for the NCMP to take place. Dates for schools to have the school nurses come in to do the weighing and measuring will be available from after half term.

Given that we will not be able to start until after half term the number of days available to reach all eligible schools will have been reduced from a 'normal' year. This means that for this year each school will have one date and there will be no follow-up for any children who miss the agreed day for the school.

COVID-19 clearly remains a significant challenge. Because of this we recognise that there may remain a risk to delivery of NCMP in your school. So at this time we ask that when contacted by the School Nursing Service it will be great to agree a date that works and do so on the basis that the weighing and measurements will take place. Your on-going collaboration in this is very much valued and appreciated.

IMPORTANT: Please find attached with Bulletin latest SW Consensus statement for schools. This is an agreed statement by all Directors of Public Health in the SW region.

Schools of Sanctuary - Welcoming refugee children

This online training session offered by the Bell Foundation will provide schools with practical advice about how to best welcome and support newly arrived learners who are refugees.

As more Afghan families are moved out of temporary accommodation and into longer term housing, schools continue to welcome new arrivals who may be asylum seeker/refugees (ASR). This webinar will provide schools and practitioners with useful information, as well as practical guidance to help ensure a smooth induction period for learners and their families.

For full details and booking for this online session 4-5pm, 9 February 2022 please view  


Government updates

More support for schools and students as plan B comes to an end

New multi-million-pound funding from NHS England will enable all schools to fully support the in-school vaccination programme, and air cleaning units will be provided in all classrooms and teaching spaces that need them, the Education Secretary has announced.

The Department for Education is to distribute a total of £8 million in funding from NHS England to support secondary schools with the vitally important in-school vaccination programme for young people - hosting NHS vaccination teams and passing on materials about vaccination to further boost protection. This comes as over 50% of 12-15-year-olds - over 1.5 million people - have now had at least one dose of the vaccine. The government is also committing to deliver up to 9,000 air cleaning units to early years, schools and colleges across the country to improve ventilation in classrooms - up to 1,000 more than originally promised.

School attendance: improving consistency of support

The Department for Education have launched a new consultation on proposals to improve the consistency of school attendance. They are seeking views on the following measures:

  • Requiring schools to have an attendance policy, and have regard to statutory guidance on the expectations of schools, academy trusts and governing bodies of maintained schools on attendance management and improvement.
  • Guidance on the expectations of LA attendance services.
  • A clearer more consistent national framework for the use of attendance legal intervention, including a new regulatory framework for issuing fixed penalty notices for absence.
  • Bringing the rules for granting leaves of absence in academies in line with other state funded schools.

The consultation closes at 11.45pm on the 28 February 2022. Full press release can be found here.

94% of secondary schools provide free period products to students

New data on the government's free period product scheme shows schools and colleges stepping up to make sure no student has to miss lessons because of their period. The data shows the value of products being ordered increased by almost a quarter (23%) in 2021 to £3.4 million compared with £2.8 million in 2020. The number of environmentally friendly or reusable products ordered increased from less than a third in 2020 (30%) to almost half (48%) of all products in 2021.


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