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Education Bulletin - 1 July 2021

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Updated 1 July 2021

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

We are all waiting for possible guidance updates from DfE on preparing schools for September. Although we do not yet have any official announcement, I can share with you what I am hearing from sources in the DfE and PHE:

School Guidance and Local Delta Situation

  • On 12 July, we are expecting guidance on what will happen in September;
  • Schools may be expected to run LFT testing sites in schools for September reopening;
  • There are concerns around the number of children self-isolating - the South West is very high now as it seems we have a population naïve to the virus. There are reports from other SW DsPH that transport in rural areas is causing the spread;
  • Settings are being asked to do as much as possible to reduce the size of bubbles.

As of this morning 1 July, in Plymouth we had 37 education settings with incidences of one or more cases, and just over 700 students having to self-isolate. The Delta variant is in the city and there are more opportunities for mixing amongst students/children taking place. Given these factors the opportunity for the virus to be transmitted remains a clear risk and schools need to consider their mitigations in order to help minimise the levels of increasing disruption we are seeing.

The advice is precautionary and in the end, it is up to the school to decide how to proceed. With regard to primary to secondary school transition arrangements, the advice from DfE and SW HPT PHE essentially states that it is possible for Year 7 induction days to continue but that traditional approaches may not be possible. A school may choose to go ahead only if they feel assured that they can mitigate risk. There is a checklist for schools to use, helping them determine whether they should go ahead.

Good News from Schools

In my continued effort to visit as many schools as possible, I have come across many exciting activities that our pupils are engaging in. When visiting Laira Green Primary School, I was watching Mr Glitch in action, a robot that pupils named, designed and programmed to take part in the FIRST ® LEGO ® League competition. This season's competition is called RePLAY℠ and is all about exploring how people can become more active in their local communities. The teams are tasked with designing solutions aimed at encouraging people to be more active and make sure they have lots of fun in the process.

I observed the activity with great interest and was impressed with the skills and enthusiasm shown among children in robotics, computer programming and teamwork.

The exciting news is that pupils from Laira Green won the regional competition, being crowned overall champions, and will now go forward to the national heats. My congratulations to pupils and staff involved in this project.

Another brilliant piece of news that I would like to share with you is that teachers from both Ernesettle Community School and Mill Ford School have received Certificates of Excellence from Pearson National Teaching Awards.

Selected from thousands of nominations, Ryan Walters has been awarded a Silver Award for Teacher of the Year in a Primary School, for his outstanding commitment to changing the lives of children every day, and Bekki Jarvis has been awarded Outstanding Teacher of the Year, with all the staff team at Mill Ford being recognised for Excellence in Special Needs Education.

These are marvellous professional achievements for the teachers recognised, especially after such a challenging year in schools. Congratulations on behalf of the City Council.

The Local Authority are aware that school leaders nationally and locally remain concerned about safely managing Year 6 transition events to secondary schools. In yesterday's Bulletin we shared Government guidance with you; and this is again set out below.

In addition to this guidance, we would add that the collective recommendation made by the majority of schools is not to hold Year 6 physical induction or taster days in secondary schools this term. PCC support this collective decision.

At present, we are seeing an increase in incidences of the Delta variant in schools and across the city, and there remains a clear risk for increased pupil mixing to lead to higher infection. Schools need to consider their mitigations in order to help minimise levels of increasing disruption.

The advice is precautionary and in the end, it is up to the school to decide how to proceed, in line with Government guidance.

DfE guidance

Transition Events

DfE advice is 'complete thorough risk assessments before running transitional, taster and open days in your setting, to ensure that they are run in line with your system of controls and align with the advice contained within the guidance for your setting and the system of controls and the roadmap out of lockdown'

·         Traditional Y6 transition days are unlikely to be feasible this academic year as schools must maintain the integrity of bubbles/consistent groups.  PHE advice if they can't be delivered in this way is that they should not happen. However, for children with a EHCP plan etc. then schools should explore how transition appointments for individual children can take place by risk assessing and adhering to the system of controls

  • If a school can maintain existing y6 bubbles and adhere to the system of controls then please refer to the attached checklist developed by H&S and PH Devon
  • If either of the schools visiting or receiving are in an outbreak situation or have rising number of cases, then the event would not be able to go ahead
  • Y6 parents' evenings - the advice is to hold online/virtually in the first instance, if held indoors the rule of 6 or 2 households applies which is likely to make them unviable

Best regards.

Ming

 

Education updates

IMPORTANT - Registering Early Career Teachers with PCC Appropriate Body by 16 July

Any schools that have recruited Early Career Teachers (ECTs) must register them with an Appropriate Body before they take up post. Failure to do so may delay the start of the induction period.

If your school is using Plymouth as the AB the deadline for registering your ECTs is Friday 16 July. To register ECTs please complete the attached ECT REG. FORM and send via email Kathryn.baines@plymouth.gov.uk

The Local Authority will inform the Teaching Regulation Agency of all ECTs and contact the ECT to outline the role of the AB named contact, with whom they may raise concerns about their induction programme that they are unable to resolve, and share DfE published guidance. 

NQT assessments deadline - 16 July

The deadline for all NQT assessments due this term is Friday 16 July. Assessments should be sent via email on the PCC standard assessment forms (NQT Mentor's Handbook). For NQTs working part-time please consult the ready reckoner in the NQT Mentors Handbook to calculate when assessments are due. Please send emailed assessments to Kathryn.baines@plymouth.gov.uk  no later than Friday 16 July.

If you have concerns about an NQT struggling to meet the Standards at their second of third/final assessment please email Lucinda.ross@plymuoth.gov.uk for advice and support.

DfE news - support for NQTs

In June the Prime Minister announced next steps in the government's plans to boost education recovery. In recognition of the challenging initial teacher training and induction NQTs have experienced, all state funded schools that currently have an NQT who is due to complete induction this summer will have access to a one-off payment to further support the development of this cohort.

Schools with NQTs due to complete induction this summer will have access to funding for the equivalent of an additional 5% off timetable for next academic year so these teachers have additional time to invest in their development. This time off timetable is not statutory but it has been designed to be used flexibly so that as many new teachers as possible can benefit from this additional support.

  • Time off timetable can be grouped together in different ways, for example, taken as whole days or half days.
  • Schools will be able to access DfE-accredited development materials based on the Early Career Framework for this cohort to use during this time off timetable.
  • Schools will receive this funding in summer term of 2022. Funding will be based on School Workforce Census returns.  

To find out more information on this additional funding, please visit our GOV.UK page

 

Government updates

New advertising rules to help tackle childhood obesity

The health of children across the UK will be improved as new restrictions will mean they are less exposed to advertising of unhealthy foods, the government has announced today. Following a public consultation, regulations will come into force at the end of next year to introduce a 9pm watershed for advertisements of foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS). The full government response to the consultation can be found here.

Inspections to look at how schools and colleges work to prevent sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence

Ofsted has published updated education inspection handbooks, clarifying how inspectors will assess how schools and colleges confront sexual harassment, abuse and violence among children and young people. The updates follow Ofsted's recent 'Review of sexual abuse in schools and colleges', which found that sexual harassment has become 'normalised' for children and young people. The changes to the handbooks will take effect when routine inspection resumes in September.

Terms of reference of Ofqual's 2021 committee

The terms of reference set out the membership of the committee, its governance and reporting arrangements as well as the scope of its purpose and role. The '2021 Committee' was established as a committee of the Ofqual Board to oversee the implementation of the policy decisions, taken by Ofqual and the Secretary of State for Education, about qualifications to be awarded in 2021.

Terms of Reference for EPRS in summer 2021

Proposed revisions to the way the Exam Procedures Review Service will operate for qualifications awarded in summer 2021. Due to a technical issue they have decided to extend the deadline for responses from the 28 June until 23:45 on Friday 02 July.

Education Secretary launches call for evidence on behaviour in schools

The Government is asking teachers and school leaders for views on managing good behaviour, including on the use of mobile phones in the school day. The six-week consultation seeks views on how schools maintain calm classrooms, the use of removal rooms and creating mobile phone-free school days, among other measures. The call for evidence asks for information about schools' behaviour strategies and practices, including questions on practices or interventions that have been effective in addressing low level disruptive behaviour. It will also gather responses from schools about how and when they might decide to transfer a pupil to another school in their best interest, known as managed moves.

EU Settlement Scheme: letter from Kevin Foster MP to Directors for Children's Services

Letter from Kevin Foster, Minister for Future Borders and Immigration, about applications for eligible looked-after children and care leavers.

Summer schools programme

Details of the summer schools programme for secondary schools including funding, requirements for running a summer school and best practice evidence. The COVID-secure summer school section has been updated to make it clear that schools should follow the protective measures for holiday and after-school clubs, and other out-of-school settings guidance.

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