COVID-19 Schools' Bulletin - 1 April 2021
Updated 1 April 2021
Important contact details
From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills
On the last day of the school term leading to Easter holidays, I am sure that we all feel 2021's Easter will be even more a hopeful time of year.
Some school leaders told us that the pandemic has held back many events and activities that mean so much to Plymouth City and our children and young people. We want to bring them back gradually whilst the nation is entering the cautious and gradual lifting of the Covid restrictions.
Mayflower 400 Choir
The international initiative Mayflower 400 is one of these important events that we do not want to give up. The celebration was postponed from last September and is now going to take place on July 11th 2021. The education community in the City will play a role in this event. Plymouth Music Education Hub are signposting the opportunity for schools' participation; teaching the music to schools, as well as acting as the education 'adviser' to the PCC Events Team. Plymouth City Council wishes to have as many schools as possible represented in the event. One of the opportunities for schools' participation is the Mayflower 400 choir which will be made up of a group of 15 children with 3 chaperone/teachers. We are asking for an expression of interest from schools to be involved in the Mayflower 400 choir. An expression of interest form has been sent out to each School Music Co‑ordinator. For your information, I attach the E.O.I form to this Bulletin. If you would like to be considered, please discuss with, or email the form back to, our Music Hub (email: email@example.com - Fiona Pendreigh, Head of Plymouth Music Hub).
Education Covid Testing over Easter
The Department for Education (DfE) is asking us to continue communicating to staff, parents and pupils the importance of continued coronavirus testing throughout the Easter holidays and into the summer term. Please use all school communication opportunities to emphasise that twice weekly coronavirus testing should continue at home throughout this time, with results reported as either positive, negative or void. Tests will need to be done before returning to school or college for the summer term, either the night before or morning of the first day back, to find and isolate any positive cases. (Guidance: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result)
GCSE Exam Fees Charged to Schools
Some school leaders have asked me to raise with the DfE the question of why schools are paying Awarding Bodies so much when schools continue to be responsible for the administration of GCSEs. I have raised this question and received the following advice:
"As in any other year, schools and colleges are expected to fund the qualifications awarded to students. Alongside the guidance that exam boards normally provide to schools and colleges, such as curriculum and assessment materials, this year exam boards will be providing a package of training and support materials to support teachers when making judgements, including assessment materials. The department (DfE) will work with Ofqual to review if rebates will be applicable and the value of those rebates."
I will keep you posted on the development of this issue.
Finally, thank you again for all your excellent work in this eventful school term and I hope you will all have some well-deserved rest during the Easter holidays.
Cheers to a hopefully renewed beginning and opportunities. Happy Easter!
Updated Public Health England South West Health Protection Team (PHE SW HPT) Flow Chart for Childcare and Education Settings and letter templates.
PHE SW HPT have this week updated the flow chart for childcare and education settings. They have also provided template letters that settings may choose to use covering various scenarios. Please familiarise yourself with these.
We have provided the flow chart here and you can also find this and the templates at:
From 7 April, please remember to let us know if you have any cases. If you require any clarification on LFD testing guidance or use of the letter templates; or any COVID query then contact the local PH Team through COVID19@plymouth.gov.uk
Winter Grant Scheme - Energy Support (data processing)
Earlier this year, schools were asked to signpost parents to information about the COVID Winter Grant Scheme to support people whose ability to pay for heating and electricity is impacted by Covid, putting them at risk of fuel poverty.
Residents were able to ask a professional to refer them to the scheme, if they thought they may qualify. A PSA or other school professional could make such a referral and therefore parents who you signposted to the scheme may have approached the school to make a referral. The application form for the referral had to be submitted by the school professional via email. If you did complete such a referral, please remember that you are processing personal data and therefore you need to ensure that your processes are compliant with GDPR and the DPA 2018. Please consult with your Data Protection Officer to ensure that you have met your obligations however, depending on how you have processed the information some things to consider are:
- Information must be kept secure at all times and access should be limited to only those that need this.
- Information must not be kept any longer than is necessary. You must determine how long you need this information for.
- You may end up with several copies of the same application form, e.g. hard copy, scanned copy, electronic version and an attachment to an email. When considering retention please ensure you apply this to all copies. We would suggest deleting hard copies, scanned copies and electronic versions immediately with the email and attachment being kept for a period of 2 months in case of any queries. The emails should be placed in a sub folder of the referrer's mailbox so they can be easily accessed for destruction at the retention date.
- You should add an entry for this processing to your data asset register.
Education Induction Framework - changes to NQT induction
The Local Authority act as Appropriate Body, overseeing and supporting the NQT Induction process for many schools in the city. To support schools in preparing for the September introduction of the new two year Education Induction Framework we will be offering an online briefing session via Microsoft Teams for school leaders and/or NQT mentors at 3.30 - 5.00 pm on Wednesday 21 April. This will be the first in a series of regular updates over the summer term. There is no need to book in advance, please use the link below to attend:
Microsoft Teams meeting
Plymouth Music Education Hub presents an exciting offer
As part of the Mayflower Four Nations Ceremony, Plymouth City Council is looking for children in Year 4, 5 or 6 from Plymouth Schools to take part in a unique event on the Hoe on Sunday 11 July 2021. This event offers a once-in-a-lifetime experience to perform as part of a 1000-strong choir of adults and children which will attract national and international attention. Teachers will be offered an online twilight session and associated resources through the music service so that they can teach it in their school.
Youth, Ocean, Climate Summit
Environmental charity Surfers Against Sewage are searching for the next generation of activists to come together at the Youth, Ocean and Climate Summit, on 8 June 2021 for World Ocean Day.
With world leaders congregating in the UK this year, for two of the most substantial talks on the climate crisis, the G7 Summit and COP26, this is a chance for people aged 11-18 years old to project their voice of power to the people in power.
Over the last two years, young people have driven the climate movement, building incredible momentum and initiating necessary change. The 2021 Summit will provide a platform for young people to combine passions, experiences and ideas on the most pressing issues of our time; an action packed, one-day virtual event, that will cover a range of exciting and engaging activities, driven by some of the nation's leading, influential youth activists, who will make up the Summit Advisory Panel and Keynote Speakers.
Secondary schools interested in getting involved can access full detail and application forms at: https://www.sas.org.uk/news/youth-ocean-climate-summit/ Applications must be submitted by 2 May 2021.
Keeping children safe in education
Public Health England School Resources - Every Mind Matters
The PHE web-based resources will help schools to teach PSHE, RHE and RSHE to Upper KS2, KS3 and KS4 students, with flexible, ready-to-use content co-created with teachers, and young people.
Every Mind Matters is here to support schools by providing simple, practical advice for a healthier mind.
The following guidance has been updated to reflect the DHSC announcement that a confirmatory PCR test is required following a positive LFD test result in England.
- What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during COVID-19
- Transport to school and other places of education: 2020 to 2021 academic year
- Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak
- Special schools and other specialist settings: coronavirus (COVID-19)
A new helpline to support potential victims of sexual harassment and abuse in education settings has been announced today by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson. The government has also asked Ofsted to undertake an immediate review of safeguarding policies in state and independent schools.
The government is giving schools extra funding to help improve outcomes for disadvantaged children and other pupils who need extra support. From 2021 to 2022 onwards, we will be basing pupil premium funding on the October census for mainstream and special schools. Pupil premium funding for the financial year starting on 01 April 2021 will therefore be based on the October 2020 census instead of the January census as would have previously been the case. This change brings the pupil premium in line with how the rest of the core schools' budget is calculated and will provide both schools and DfE with greater certainty around future funding levels earlier in the year.
Per pupil funding rates will be the same as in 2020 to 2021. Total pupil premium funding is expected to increase to more than £2.5 billion in 2021 to 2022 as more children have become eligible for free school meals as a result of the impact of the pandemic.
The Education Secretary has confirmed his request that Ofsted step up its inspection programme over the summer term, with a view to returning to a full programme of inspections from September 2021. During the summer term, the majority of Ofsted's activity will continue to be lighter-touch monitoring inspections, as have been in place since January, with a fuller inspection only taking place where there has been a clear improvement from a current Inadequate or Requires Improvement rating, or where there are serious concerns, particularly in relation to safeguarding. Ofsted has set out further detail of its plans for the summer term here. The Ofsted: coronavirus (COVID-19) rolling update has been updated to reflect changes.
From April, Ofsted will publish a series of subject reviews and reports, taking a 'state of the nation' look at curriculum quality across primary and secondary schools. The documents will be published in two phases, beginning with the research reviews in the summer term. The reviews will set out the literature that informs the way we think about high-quality education in each subject. The subject reports will follow in the autumn, and will be based on evidence from our subject 'deep dives' in EIF (education inspection framework) inspections as well as additional research visits.
Read more about the principles behind our curriculum work over the next year and beyond.
The government has published new guidance for secondary schools to help progress plans for summer schools once they return from the Easter break, using the £200 million funding announced in February. Summer schools will help pupils who have experienced the most disruption as a result of the pandemic. Guidance will provide advice ranging from academic support to sports and activities, mental health and wellbeing advice, and guidance for accessing premises.
An update on (ONS) approach to measuring education output in the UK during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Includes a summary of our approach to measuring changes in teaching from March 2020, and the data used to inform our estimates of education output in the UK National Accounts.
This guidance is for people without symptoms. The guidance has been updated to state that you can collect tests from local pharmacies. Collection site opening hours have also been updated to 2.30pm to 8pm.
This information is for further education and sixth-form colleges when directly enrolling 14 to 16 year olds for academic year 2021 to 2022. The guidance has been updated for 2021 to 2022 academic year.
The standards that school and childcare providers must meet for the learning, development and care of children from birth to 5. The guidance has been updated with a new statutory framework for the early years foundation stage which applies from 01 September 2021. Until then, the current framework applies.
A new Model Music Curriculum has been published to support all children to have access to high-quality music education. To support the Government's ambitious plan for all children to have access to an excellent music education, the Department for Education has published a new music curriculum for Key Stages 1, 2 and 3. The plans to refresh music lessons follow the full return to school for all pupils this month, and alongside wider plans to help pupils recover time out of the classroom.