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Education Bulletin - 9 July 2020

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Updated 10 July 2020

Important contact details

Daily attendance returns by 1.00pm each day

Children's Service general queries

General Covid-19 queries to the Local Authority


Message from Judith

Dear colleagues

Following a few questions and a meeting with the RSC and Ofsted, it seems timely to flag again the Ofsted announcement made on Monday 6th July. In the autumn Ofsted will be visiting schools and although these will not be classified as an 'inspection', once there can use their regulatory powers should they need to although the visit is not an inspection. We will include in the September planning handbook (we must find a name for this document we all recognise!) the guidance as far as we know it about these visits. I think schools need to recognise as a minimum that the visit will not be observing teaching and learning; the intention is to support the school in effective re-opening and practice being implemented to aid the achievement, rapid catch up and inclusion of all pupils. We know Ofsted intend to visit schools graded 4 and will 'sample' other grades too particularly, for example, if there seem to be issues with the attendance of vulnerable pupils or re-opening plans are delayed. One question which seems to be at the heart of the Ofsted visit will be 'what are school leaders doing to make up for lost time?' I would consider this question not just from the perspective of what the school has done, but also how school leaders have drawn on (and will draw on) support networks and multi-agency resource.

We are committed to working collaboratively on this agenda and Ofsted have acknowledged they see collaboration at the heart of resolving issues for vulnerable learners or those for whom catch up is going to be especially challenging. They reference that they will be looking for strong health and well-being support as well as safeguarding. In addition to maintaining the collective conversations and networking, we are offering to dedicate resource to support you through the teams in the LA who engage with support children and families most directly. In addition to the weekly Bulletin and 'handbook' we will also offer from September a weekly surgery type meeting where schools can dial into a Teams meeting to pose questions and talk to one of us face to face. The inbox will be maintained throughout the summer and most senior officers are working through July and August. Please continue to use the inbox though as I can then pick enquiries up and either answer them or direct them appropriately.

Thank you to the planning group who joined Jim and Bev to start to put together the 'handbook'. This is now taking shape well and will remain a live document so it can be updated and you can raise a question when you need to. The information will be hosted on POD because regular updates will be really important.  The sections will include:

  • Frequently asked questions
  • Transport issues (bearing in mind that the Department for Transport have requested local areas reduce reliance on public transport)
  • Vulnerable children
  • SEND and Inclusion  
  • Risk assessments
  • Example schools' opening guidance. As time moves on we all want to be interpreting DFE guidance in our local context so we're hoping to share models that will allow you to be confident about developing the one that is right for your setting.

Between now and the end of term I will repeat some of these messages. Apologies now if I start to sound like a stuck record but we need to conclude this chapter confident and clear about how we move on to the next!



Children & Young People (CYP) Speech and Language Service

The CYP Speech and Language Service is currently accepting Request for Help calls from anyone who has concerns about a child or young person's speech, language and communication needs.  On completion of a Request for Help conversation with a Speech and Language Therapist, we are offering early help, advice and information; we are also accepting CYP for any Specialist level assessment and following intervention if appropriate.   We aim to see children within 18 weeks; we currently have a longer wait due to changes in service from the impact of Covid-19.

If you have concerns with regards to any child or young person with speech, language and communication needs, please contact the service on 01752 434844.



NHS numbers for swabs

It has been brought to our attention by local health partners that to support the rapid turnaround and accuracy of COVID-19 tests it is essential that NHS numbers are provided. It would be helpful to ask all staff to make sure they know their NHS number and can produce it if a test is needed. It might also be useful to ask families to ensure they are aware of the NHS numbers for their children, so that these are to hand if needed. There is no requirement for schools and settings to hold this information on behalf of staff or families.


Final preparations for ordering Free School Meals vouchers over the summer holidays

DfE guidance explaining the procedures for accessing the national voucher scheme and making alternative arrangements if eligible families are unable to use the vouchers provided, under the national voucher scheme can be found at:

Deadline for ordering - schools must order vouchers from at least one week before the school term ends. Schools should have already received an email from Edenred, the national voucher scheme provider, which contains an activation code and a step by step guide to using the online ordering portal step-by-step guide. If you are experiencing difficulties inputting information on the portal, the Edenred help-line number is 0333 400 5932 or enquiries can be made via email at   

If your school has not used the national voucher scheme before, you will need to activate an Edenred account, as indicated in the step by step guide. We recommend that those schools who have yet to register, do so at your earliest opportunity, as demand on the website can be high.  

The full DfE guidance for free school meals provision during Covid 19 can be found at:


The Mayflower Virtual Voyage

The latest film, in this series for the Mayflower 400 year, explores some of the places in Plymouth connected to the Mayflower story and the 17th century waterfront. It also showcases a mixture of the diverse cultural activity taking place in the city of Plymouth when the new Mayflower 400 programme re-starts from the anniversary date of September 16, running into 2021. This week's Virtual Voyage features interviews with artists, producers, community volunteers and performers about their involvement and how they are telling different aspects of the journey and its' impacts within the commemoration. There will also be an exclusive sneak peek inside The Box, Plymouth's ambitious new heritage attraction, and an insight into how The Box team have been working closely with Wampanoag colleagues to deliver two key exhibitions within the commemoration.

This short film will play on the Mayflower 400 UK website and Facebook page at 5pm UK time and midday EST on Saturday 11 July 2020. Watch via Facebook and the website and click here to discover other films in the Mayflower 400 digital series.


Latest government updates

Local lock downs: guidance for education and childcare settings 
This guidance provides information on what schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders, early years and other educational settings need to do if there's a local lockdown during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The guidance has been updated and now confirms the circumstances in which holiday, after school clubs, and other out of school settings, can operate in Leicester, and the affected surrounding areas, during the lockdown period.

Ofqual Personal Information Charter 
This privacy notice explains how Ofqual uses personal information to enable it to put in place exceptional arrangements for grading in 2020 due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. As a result, Ofqual has made some changes to the way it processes some personal data and this article explains more about this.

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