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Education Bulletin - 07 October 2021

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Updated 07 October 2021

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

This week we have had the World Teachers' Day on 5 October. A big thank you from me to all teachers and school staff for their amazing role in supporting children and young people during the challenging times of the pandemic and for helping pupils catch up with their learning.

I am sure some of you may have done the same as I did on Monday this week, listening tentatively into the new Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi's first policy speech made at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester.

Secretary of State's Education Policy Speech

While colleagues need to refer to the full text of the speech, the key take-away of what the new Secretary of State wants to take forward includes:

  • In his speech, Nadhim Zahawi announced that the government will bring forward a Schools White Paper in the New Year outlining plans to tackle innumeracy and illiteracy, relentlessly driving up standards and "building back a better and fairer school system".
  • The Secretary of State recognised the transformative impact that great teaching makes, and he is committed to unleashing the potential of all children and young people in this country.
  • School attendance is important for children to benefit fully from education. Mr Zahawi said one of his first tasks as new SoS for education was to ask DfE to do a "deep dive into absenteeism".
  • The new Education Secretary recognised the crucial role early years plays in children's longer term learning, stating that "40 per cent of education inequality is baked in by the age of five" and that 'great early education can change that'. He announces the Government's plans to invest in early years staff.
  • SoS stated that, as the foundation of the next decade of education reform during this parliament, the Government will overhaul teacher training, delivering 500,000 teacher training opportunities while carrying out a fundamental overhaul that will make this country the best in the world to train and learn as a teacher. "And that means investing in our outstanding early years staff too".

The SoS will attend the national conference of the largest union for school leaders, NAHT this Saturday (9 October), where he will be addressing school leaders directly for the first time since taking up his new role.

COVID and Public Health Updates

It appears that the incidence of COVID-19 in Plymouth is currently similar compared to England. The Enhanced Response Area status on Plymouth has been lifted:



Plymouth total

Plymouth 7-day

Plymouth rate

Southwest rate

England rate









  • As at 4 October, across Plymouth there have been 10,719 Pillar 2 tests (PCR) carried out with a 8.2% positivity rate (in the last 7 days) compared to 7.4% for England.
  • There have been 25,879 confirmed cases to date. The daily confirmed cases in Plymouth have increased to around 120 to 130 cases in a rolling seven-day average. 
  • There have been 197,372 residents (12+) receiving one doses of the vaccine, around 80% have had one dose of the vaccine. 181,248 residents receiving two doses of the vaccine, around 74% of the population have had two doses.
  • There have been 264 deaths. There are currently 34 active cases at Derriford with 6 in ICU.

Public Health England (PHE) has now ended. The key organisation responding to COVID now is the United Kingdom Health Security Agency (UKHSA). They have the same staff that was part of the PHE SW HPT team. From now on settings should not contact UKHSA direct but go through DfE (0800 046 8687) in the first instance.

Only Special Schools and Residential settings should contact UKHSA direct using the same number as previous for PHE SW HPT i.e. 0300 303 8162 or be referred via DfE helpline.

Schools should continue to inform DfE of cases. 

Any difficulties getting through to DfE or if you have any queries use and we will aim to respond as soon as possible. Remember we are here if required.

We continue to strongly advise that schools remain vigilant and utilise the outbreak management planning tool (circulated in school bulletin 2 Sept and 9 Sept) to review measures in place and consider new measures. Be aware of the options on escalating measures and how they could be used in your setting if required.

Information on the Allocations for School-led Tutoring

Schools should have received an update from the DfE via email on the allocation for school-led tutoring.

On Friday 1 October, the Department published the allocations for school-led tutoring. All state-funded schools and academy trusts can use this information to look up how much funding they will shortly receive to deliver school-led tutoring. The programme went live at the beginning of September and detailed guidance and conditions of grant are available here.

Best regards.



Education updates

Autumn Y2 phonics screening check

Reminder for Y2 teachers administering the Y2 autumn phonics check during the second half of this term: online briefing sessions will be held at 3.30 - 5pm on either: Tuesday 19 OR Wednesday 20 October. Teachers in maintained schools or those academies that have an annual assessment agreement with Plymouth please email,uk for meeting link, stating which date you prefer.

2022 statutory assessment training

Please see the attached updated flier outlining details of all 2022 EY, KS1 and 2 statutory assessment courses and online booking arrangements (we apologise for a date error on the original sheet). In response to your requests we have added an EY statutory assessment session next spring. Also, any Trusts signing up with Plymouth can arrange a statutory assessment briefing online/in person for the MAT CEO and headteachers - simply email to arrange a date. Further reminders will be shared via the bulletin for specific courses closer to each course delivery date. For all statutory assessment queries and bookings please email

EYFS profile handbook published

This week the DfE has published the 2021/22 EYFS profile handbook to provide guidance for teachers on assessing children's development at the end of reception year. As part of the EYFS reforms, the DfE has streamlined all guidance on the EYFS profile into one document. The Assessment and Reporting Arrangements (ARA) will no longer be published for the EYFS profile, with all guidance and information now in the handbook.

As noted above, we will be offering an EY statutory assessment briefing session as part of our overall 2022 assessment training package - full details in the attached flier. 

Plymouth Music Hub

Plymouth Music Hub are delighted to present our refreshed offer for schools for the 2021-2022 academic year. Alongside our regular programmes: First Access, ensemble provision, Individual and Small Group tuition, we also continue to roll out our SAM (Simple Accessible Music) music technology offer to three primary schools per term. Training for teachers is built into our delivery and we also offer regular termly training on activities requested by schools including: composing, song-writing, curriculum planning, exam support, singing, Focus on Sound, and music technology.

One exciting new offer is our Plymouth Pop-Ups, reminding children and adults alike what we have been missing over the last academic year - some seemingly spontaneous live music in the school (although of course meticulously planned by school and musicians)!

We will again be running our three Carol Services at St Andrew's Minster this year and letters have gone out to all schools across the city about this.

We have a broad and diverse team of tutors and instruments and we are always up for a new idea, so we ask schools to consider what you have engaged with in the past and perhaps think about a new direction you would like to explore - perhaps something you have always wanted to introduce at your school - and contact us for a conversation. For more details please see the attachment accompanying this bulletin issue.


Health, wellbeing and safety in education

Early Years speech and language support

The CIT Language Team, Early Years Speech and Language Support (EYSLS) Team together with the Specialist Language Support provisions at Thornbury and Tor Bridge High have joined the campaign to raise awareness of Developmental Language Disorder (DLD).

DLD awareness day is on Friday 15 October and Smeaton's Tower is being lit up in purple and yellow to raise awareness as part of the RADLD charity's 'light up' event. The professionals who support children and young people with DLD in Plymouth will be there to mark the occasion!

DLD is a hidden disability and affects 1 in 14 children so there are likely to be 2 children with DLD in every classroom. Please see the attached factsheet for more information.

The RADLD website has lots of resources for schools to use on 15 October including a PowerPoint presentation, activity packs, quizzes and factsheets:

Schools can also download a free DLD guide for teachers, funded by the DfE and produced jointly by ICAN, NASEN and Whole School SEND.


Government updates

Essay mills to be banned under plans to reform post-16 education

Services offering to provide students with essays for money, known as essay mills, are to be made illegal under plans announced by the government this week. The move is one of a number of measures being introduced to the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill.

Salary boosts for new maths, science and computing teachers

Early career teachers (ECTs) will be able to get a salary boost of up to £3,000 tax-free to teach maths, physics, chemistry and computing. This will support recruitment and retention of specialist teachers in these subjects and in the schools and areas that need them most.

Recovery premium funding

Additional funding in the 2021 to 2022 academic year to support schools with education recovery following COVID-19. The link to the guidance has been added. This guidance is for:

  • school leaders and teachers
  • governors and academy trustees
  • virtual school heads

Guidance applies to local-authority-maintained schools, academies, non-maintained special schools and independent special schools.

Implementing the early years foundation stage reforms

Case study videos for practitioners assessing children's development at the end of the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

  • Chapter 1: curriculum and the EYFS Profile under the new EYFS - a summary of the reforms and the new expectations for EYFS assessment.
  • Chapter 2: implementing the new EYFS as a school - School leaders from early adopter schools share their experiences of the EYFS reforms and how they implemented the reforms in their school.
  • Chapter 3: assessment under the new EYFS - Reception teachers from early adopter schools share how the reforms have impacted their assessment practices and what has been important in their assessments during the early adopter year.

Behaviour hubs

Find out how the behaviour hubs programme will enable schools with exemplary pupil behaviour to work with other schools to improve their behaviour culture. Updated to extend the application date deadline to become a lead school or MAT to midnight on 31 October 2021.

Providing school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Guidance for schools and local authorities on school meals arrangements during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Updated 'Providing school meals during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak' to provide information on the Household Support Fund.

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