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Education Bulletin - 3 February 2022

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Updated 3 February 2022

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

In the past couple of days, we have heard that Plymouth has been selected as an area to receive additional education investment from the Government as part of its Levelling Up plans to improve education across the country. The city has been chosen because we are one of the four national trailblazers for new model of education improvement partnership working. This is good news.

Education Investment Areas (EIA)

Plymouth place-based pilot was announced May 2020 when the city became one of four areas across the country taking part in a pilot that sees local authority, the DfE, MATs and schools collaborating with each other, working together to share priorities, expertise and experience. There has been a focus on school leadership, teaching and learning, curriculum and inclusion.

Recent performance data suggests that the pilot programme is starting to make a difference, with Key Stage 4 attainment improving to a level that is now better than the national average after many years' below the average performance. However, it is still very early days and we know that there is a long way to go. In order to drive improvements further, we are communication with the DfE officials and Ministers to reiterate the need of continued funding and support from Government, which is essential over the next few years for the programme to roll out to all phases and for the progress to be sustained and effective approach to be embedded.

In the meantime, we are finding out what are in the details of the new Education Investment Areas initiative, although we know from the published white paper that as part of the new EIA programme, the Department for Education will offer retention payments to help schools keep the best teachers in the highest priority subjects. We also know that the areas selected will be prioritised as the location for new specialist sixth-form free schools where there is limited provision to ensure talented children from disadvantaged backgrounds have access to the highest standard of education this country offers.

On the importance of the early years, the white paper says: "Potential is shaped from the very beginning of our lives, and all children and families need to be able to access high quality early years education, schools and support. This provides a strong base for subsequent investment in skills, ensuring that young people and adults can train to access job opportunities and move up the career ladder, regardless of their characteristics, background or where they live." We welcome Government's recognition of the importance of early years and will watch closely what the investment will be.

DLD Achievement in Plymouth

We all know the importance of being able to communicate and the impact of this on individuals, families and communities. Supporting children with particular barrier in doing this is part of our drive for better children's outcomes. To this end, I would like to share some very good news that the Early Years Speech and Language Support Team working within Plym Bridge Nursery School have been commended for their work with children struggling with Development Language Disorder (DLD). DLD affects 7.6 % of all children in the UK. This diagnosis is given to children and young people who have lifelong difficulties with language that are not associated with other biomedical conditions, such as cerebral palsy or autistic spectrum disorders (ICAN 2022). This team work closely with Livewell Southwest Speech and Language Service to support children across Plymouth. Some of you may have already benefited from their support for children, families and staff.

The RADLD International Committee this week acknowledged the immense impact of Plymouth team which "went above and beyond" inspiring the practitioner around the world. and Plymouth team was presented with a certificate of appreciation for their outstanding efforts in helping to raise awareness of DLD in 2021. Well done to Early Years Speech and Language Team and everyone involved.

Final DfE Deadline for Additional CO2 Monitor Requests

Although you may have already been contacted by the DfE to check whether you will want to make request for additional CO2 monitor, I would like to remind you that the final deadline for the request is Thursday 10 February 2022.

Latest feedback from Plymouth schools indicated that we still have one school that have not had CO2 monitors delivered. Every school should have received approximately one CO2 monitor for every two teaching rooms. If this is not the case or if you have not received your allocation of monitors, please contact the DfE COVID-19 helpline on 0800 046 8687 by Thursday 10 February with the following information about your setting:

  • number of pupils or children
  • number of teaching spaces
  • number of sites
  • your URN or setting reference number
  • full name of your setting

For any problems with deliveries, please contact the supplier, Rexel, directly on 0330 0450 606. Lines are open Monday to Friday from 7am to 7pm.

Kind regards.

COVID 19 updates

Planning tool updates

Another update for the Planning Tool. Please use the version attached to the bulletin V6.2 and delete all previous versions.

As of 2 February the rate in Plymouth (whole population) was 1378/100,000 compared to England 1066/100,000. For Plymouth this reflects two weeks of the rate increasing following a fall. It is likely that we may not peak for two to three weeks - up to half term. Rates remain very high among children and young people with those 11-16 over 3000/100,000 and younger children over 2000/100,000. For under 5s we are seeing rates around 700/100,000.

We are therefore likely to see continuing numbers of positive case in settings and rapid surges in numbers is possible. We are also aware of settings where staff sickness linked to COVID is very high.

Reinfection - it is worth noting that up to December 2021 Delta was the main variant and during December and since this has shifted to Omicron. It is therefore very possible that individuals tha have had delta could become re-infected with Omicron. There is evidence that being unvaccinated increases the chances of reinfection but also being vaccinated does not eliminate the possibility of reinfection. The key effectiveness of the vaccine is in regard to reducing serious illness and then admission to hospital.

Remember you can use the inbox where individual setting discussion can help clarify measures required and support shared decision making including on use of masks in your setting. We would remind colleagues if they have not already done so recently to review their risk assessments and refer to the Outbreak Planning Management Tool (latest version) when doing so.

School Health Related Behaviour Survey (2022)

Thank you to all schools who have started the Survey. A reminder - the survey if undertaken needs to be completed by 30 June 2022. Secondary schools focus for the survey is on years 8 and 10. Primary focus is on year 6.

With respect to primary schools, as has been noted before, you received information from the School Health Education Unit in regard to the Survey. This allows you take part but this decision is clearly down to you. It would be great for you to do that but there is no assumption that you must.

Any queries or questions in regard to the survey please contact: or from Plymouth City Council Public Health Team

Health, wellbeing and safety updates

National Dental Epidemiology Programme

The Community Dental Service (from Livewell Southwest) has been commissioned to support the National Dental Epidemiology Programme. This programme involves an oral health (dental) survey of a sample of five-year-old children being carried out in 23 mainstream primary schools that have been randomly selected to take part in the survey across the City. The survey will take place between January and June 2022. Further information is included in the attached document.

TISUK Training

Thank-you to those of you who have attended and booked onto the TISUK training so far. There are still places available on the Senior Lead Team Training in the Spring and Summer terms. Please follow the links on the Senior Lead flyer to book.

Dates are now live for the Practitioner training in the Spring and Summer terms. Please see the attached flyer for all information and booking links. Places are limited to one member of staff per school. If you would like to know more about TISUK Training, please book onto one of our free information briefings

New Young Carers service

Caring for Carers are excited to announce our new project aimed at identifying, supporting and engaging young adult carers aged between 18 and 25 years old. We are a part of a nationwide project called 'Making Carers Count'. As part of this project, we have designed a programme of engagement to help us to hear, support and promote young adult carers voices. This programme includes a face-to-face forum where carers can express their interests, thoughts and opinions, a free activity agenda targeted towards giving them experiences, information and advice and a monthly drop in session where food, fun and a bit of respite time away from their caring role is available. Please see the attached flier for details.

If you know of a young adult carer who is in need of further support or you want to find out more about our service please don't hesitate to get into contact with one of our young adult carers support coordinators Nicolle Ormston - 07305 043634 / Alex Swabey - 07496 641182 or email us using

The Children's Society - Child Exploitation Appropriate Language Guide

The document seeks to provide guidance to professionals on the appropriate use of language when discussing children and their experience of exploitation in a range of contexts. These include when speaking directly with or discussing children, within recording and case management systems and when delivering relevant training or other learning interventions.
The document can inform and help frame discussions during child protection and multi- agency meetings, or other settings where professionals are discussing children and young people who are at risk of or subjected to exploitation or any activity an agency undertakes to disrupt and tackle child exploitation.

We hope this guidance will influence both the direct practice of professionals who are responding to children subjected to exploitation as well as wider organisational culture across safeguarding partnerships.

Safeguarding Case Review Webinar - Arthur Labinjo-Hughes

The Safeguarding Network has produced a webinar which tells Arthur's story and sets out the learning from the Safeguarding Practice Review:

Safeguarding children at risk

The police have developed a number of videos used among officers and staff as training material to raise awareness of the signs of child abuse. These videos explain how all those involved in safeguarding children must look beyond the obvious and recognise signs that may indicate something more sinister is going on with that child. The videos were created for police officers, however they have been reviewed and adapted slightly to make them suitable for wider sharing with partner agencies.

Partners could also use these videos with their staff; maybe as part of their CPD or at a training event. Each film is only a few minutes long but will hopefully be really useful in supporting staff with recognising signs by digging a little deeper and not relying on initial impressions.

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