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Education Bulletin - 1 October 2020

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Updated 1 October 2020

Important contact details

Children's Service general queries

General Covid-19 queries to the Local Authority


Message from Simon

Dear colleagues

With Judith away on leave, we have hopefully been able to maintain the level of support and communication that you may have required.

It remains a very busy time for us all and there are a number of important items included within the bulletin this week. We hope you find them helpful and informative.

Several schools have had bubbles of varying sizes at home this week, and this will have brought their own significant challenges. The feedback in daily Health briefings is really positive regarding the response by schools to confirmed or suspected COVID cases and there is clearly an effective multi agency approach to trying to provide support when it is required.

You may have picked up that Ofsted have commenced visits to schools this week. We will try to gather feedback from those Heads who have and will experience these over the next few weeks. We have been assured by our Local Lead HMI that these visits are opportunities for Ofsted to listen and understand the issues and challenges that you have experienced since formal inspections were suspended. They are not inspecting against any framework and therefore there are no judgements shared. The result of the visit will be a fairly standard letter acknowledging what they have learned from you.

In my daily contact with the DfE this week, we have been asked to thank schools for submitting daily attendance. It would be very much appreciated by them if the Covid Sections are also completed; more on this below. We will continue to have conversations with schools where attendance appears to be low; it was interesting to discover that some low figures were actually due to admin errors or misapprehensions and I very much appreciated the positive communication that we had over this.

DSLs will have received the first weekly report containing details of children with a social worker. There were some inevitable queries regarding children and hopefully most of these will have been addressed and consequently reduce over time. We must add the caveats that the report can only contain information about ages 4-16 and only those students who have a Plymouth social worker.

Wishing you all a good end to the week,


Head teacher teams meeting

The weekly Head teacher Teams meeting is an opportunity to discuss matters arising with colleagues or to address specific themes.  The next meeting is scheduled for Monday 5 October at 1pm.  If you wish to join the meeting or have an item for the agenda please contact by Monday 5 October at 12pm. 

Sessions will be recorded and a link will be made available in the bulletin to schools.

Agenda item:  Feedback from Ofsted visit - Heidi Price (Yealmpstone Farm Primary School)

School attendance reporting

Following questions from schools, we have now had confirmation from the DfE who should be recorded on the daily DfE portal return.

ALL pupils on the roll of a school should be being reported in the daily submission to the DfE portal.  Therefore should you have a nursery or sixth form registered at your school, these pupils should be being included. If you are a primary/junior/infant school, it also includes any children in your reception class/es who are not yet of statutory school age.

The DfE have asked LA's to emphasise with schools the importance of completing ALL the questions on the daily DfE portal.  Currently there are a number of schools who are not providing answers to the COVID questions.  If these questions are not applicable to your school at this current time, please can you enter zero.  We are hoping that if these questions are consistently answered on the portal, this will reduce the amount of times the LA will contact you.

We have been notified this week that the EY team at the DfE have decided to extend the collection past the end of September; it has been decided that a "weekly collection is necessary until at least the end of November 2020 (a month after the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme ends), when we will review the collection again."  Due to the increase in COVID 19 infections rates, there is concern around local sufficiency issues.  The Department is to review the data that it is going to collect, but until we know what this will be, please can we request that you continue to return your weekly nursery return on the template issued.

In addition to this, we have confirmed with the DfE that the request for additional nursery pupil information is a separate data collection; the daily school portal return and the weekly nursery return to the LA, run in parallel and do not inform each other. We are collecting the schools with nursery data on behalf of the LA EY team to avoid different teams within the LA contacting you. Therefore if you are a school with a nursery, we ask that you please continue to report your nursery numbers via the template issued and return it to, every Wednesday. 

Plym Bridge Nursery, Ham Drive Nursery and Independent schools with nurseries - As you already have established reporting links with the LA EY team that have been set up since the beginning of lockdown, please can you continue to report your nursery numbers directly to the EY team via the designated Early Years portal.

The EY return is aiming to look at the number of children attending a nursery provision, therefore please record the total number of children who have attended on that day.  If you operate on a session basis, and you have one child that attends in the morning and the afternoon, then that child would be recorded once.  If you are completing the return in the morning and have not yet begun your afternoon session, unless you have been notified that a child will be absent, then it is to be assumed that the children you are expecting to attend, will do so.

Influenza immunisation programme 2020 -21

Please see the letter attached to this bulletin form NHS England, which sets out details of the planned autumn 2020-21 influenza immunisation programme for children. Please read carefully as this letter outlines information and consent details that will be shared with parents, together with what schools need to be aware of regarding the process for inviting children for their vaccination.

Multilingual COVID information for parents

Please find attached to this bulletin information in a range of different languages, outlining steps to take if there is a suspected, or confirmed, case of Covid19 in a family. These will be helpful for schools to share with EAL families as appropriate.

Statutory assessment support for primary academies

Last week primary academies received details of the 2020-21 statutory assessment support package provided by Plymouth local authority, including monitoring, moderation, training and data collection. Many thanks to those academies that have already responded; we understand that Academy Trusts may wish to discuss and respond as one. Please feel free to contact to discuss if necessary. We have also sent out an easy, 'all in one' booking form for the online assessment training package; we hope this helps to make booking simple and efficient.

Who's who in EP&S

As promised in Judith's foreword to the bulletin last week, we attach with this issue a flier showing who's who in the Education, Participation & Skills team.

Heads of Sixth Form - participation in the young people's working group to decolonise the curriculum

In last week's bulletin we shared details of resources available to schools exploring Black History Month this October. In addition, we shared that the Ethnic Minority Achievement Team are leading a research based working group of sixth form students, looking at ways to positively develop the school curriculum, decolonising learning to ensure an anti-racist approach. There are still places remaining on this working group so if you have students who care passionately about the issues highlighted by the Black Lives Matters campaign and would like to get involved in this research and planning group, please email: 

Naval Families Federation Family Resources Project

The Naval Families Federation (NFF) are keen to share some resources with you to support Royal Navy and Royal Marine families in your school.

Their Family Book resource project has been running for the past 2 years, to provide serving personnel and their families with book resources to help them during periods of separation and deployment. This project has been extended, and the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC) have agreed to fund the continuation with additional resources that are relevant to the current Covid-19 situation. The project includes resources to assist with times of parental absence, relationships, parenting, anxiety and bereavement.

If you have children from serving RN/RM families, the NFF is looking to supply your setting with a small number of books, through a books for schools initiative. The books on separation and resilience may be particularly useful at the moment. If you are interested in receiving this package please contact Pete Hawley, the NFF officer for Plymouth and the South West at: 

Wellbeing for Education Return

Please see the information sheet attached to this bulletin for full details of the Wellbeing for Education Return project, aimed at assisting education settings in supporting children and young people's wellbeing, resilience and recovery in the context of COVID-19 and associated measures. Useful contacts needed to engage with the project also included in the information sheet.

The Story of the Mayflower told by Kat Cawkwell

At 8-9pm on Saturday 10 Oct "The Story of the Mayflower" will be told by Katy Cawkwell (online live event using Zoom). Katy is an experienced storyteller, who has worked with many Plymouth schools through our Mayflower 400 programme. The theme will be history told as story, focusing on some of the lesser-known narratives, including the extraordinary story of Squanto and the devastation wrought by another global virus, this one travelling the world on European ships. This is a specific version of the schools performance, supported by Plymouth Mayflower400, and is aimed at adults and older children (suitable for 8+).  It would also be an ideal way for teachers to learn more about this event in order to share it with their class.  Part of the Romsey Storytelling Festival. 

Government updates

Teaching during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Updated guidance - 25 Sept 2020

Information, guidance and support for teachers and leaders on educating children during the coronavirus outbreak. Updated with information on remote education expectations and remote education webinars.

New million-pound programme to get more students and their families physically active in time for Bike to School Week.

News story - 28 Sept 2020

Schools across England are set to benefit from new funding to get more children riding their bike or walking to school, Cycling Minister Chris Heaton-Harris announced (28 September 2020), as Bike to School Week gears up across the country. A new million-pound programme will see cycle repair workshops set up in primary schools and local neighbourhoods to make sure students' bikes are fit for the road. 'Doctor Bike' clinics will be rolled out next month, targeting areas where children, including those with disabilities, are more likely to need support in getting their bikes roadworthy for regular use on the school run.

A further £1 million has also been announced to boost the number of children walking to school. The Walk to School Outreach Programme - which has already generated 4 million new walking trips - is being extended to roll out further measures to support walking.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): school and college performance measures

Updated guidance - 28 Sept 2020

Our approach to school and college accountability, performance tables and data during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. A link has been added link to how the Regional Schools Commissioners will make decisions without summer 2020 data.

Changes to accountability arrangements -The RSC will not hold schools and colleges to account 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.

Critical workers who can access schools or educational settings

Updated guidance - 28 Sept 2020

List of critical workers (key workers) who can send their children to school or other educational settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. This information has been updated to reflect that all pupils can now return to education full-time and that further information has been published about possible local interventions.

Protective measures for holiday or after-school clubs and other out-of-school settings for children during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Updated guidance - 28 Sept 2020

Updated to remove out of date summer references, added a section of links to venue-specific guidance and updated Test and Trace section to reflect launch of the NHS COVID-19 app.

Disapplication notice: school inspections legislation changes

Modification notice: school registration legislation changes

Published - 29 Sept 2020
Secretary of State for Education issues a sixth notice about changes to state-funded school inspections requirements and pupil registration requirements for temporary pupils during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Updated attendance data - 29 Sept 2020

Responsibility for autumn exams (Updated)

Updated guidance - 29 Sept 2020

This guidance provides information for schools and colleges on who should enter students for autumn exams, the health arrangements for exams and the support DfE is providing. The information has been updated with additional information on public health arrangements for autumn exams which includes information on autumn exam contingencies, candidate health and reasonable adjustments.

Next Bulletin: 8 October 2020

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