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Education Bulletin - 9 December 2021

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Updated 9 December 2021

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

You will have heard the Prime Minister's announcement of Plan B Covid rule yesterday evening. This morning, DfE issued an urgent update setting out the implications for schools. Working with our Public Health colleagues, we have put together the necessary information and advice in today's bulletin.

The DfE urgent update to the guidance clarified that teaching and learning should not be moved online as a result of the work from home guidance and the government continue to expect higher education students (unless distance learners) to receive an element of face-to-face tuition. Therapists and wider children's service professionals should continue to be invited into education and childcare settings. Ofsted inspections will be cancelled next week so schools can use the final days of term to consider Omicron contingency measures for January.

Covid Situation

The following is the situation in Plymouth at the dates set out in regard to each.

(1)Plymouth and region and national - 8 December 2021

Population Rate / 100,000 - Wednesday 8 December 2021



South West





(2)  Rates for children and young people

This reflects positive test outcomes between Nov 27 and Dec 3rd (this data is always about one week old from the date it is published).


0 to 4

5 to 9

10 to 14

15 to 19






South West






(3)  UHP (Derriford). You can find this information using the following link:

Healthcare in University Hospitals Plymouth NHS Trust | Coronavirus in the UK (

UHP (Derriford) - Latest daily

Patients Admitted

Patients in Hospital

Patients in ventilation beds

Latest Daily


Latest Available

Latest Available





Key points:

  • Plymouth continues to have significantly higher rates when compared to the England average and the South West
  • Plymouth rates have been rising and continue to rise. Only once, since the pandemic began have rates been higher than they currently are.
  • The highest rates across all age bands in the City remain among children and young people
  • The Hospital remains very busy with COVID19 patients and has been for an extended period of time.

Ruth Harrell, Plymouth's Director of Public Health draws our attention to the new DfE guidance and the toolkits on control measures. We know that you are doing a lot of these things already but please review and see if there is anything more you can do on the control measures and to make sure they are reinforced at every opportunity. 

In light of this new guidance and the current situation in Plymouth, we strongly suggest (if you haven't already done so) that you review your risk assessments for any planned end of term / Christmas activities and consider any additional measures including the need to limit / cancel. 

Vaccine remains a crucial element of our defence against COVID19 and we urge all staff, parents and pupils to take up the offer. 

Here are the links to the vaccine information and booking sites:

Covid Related Absence

I would like to bring to your attention that there was an update made on 7 December 2021 to the Educational Setting Status Form to reflect changes to the Covid guidance.

Reasons for pupil absence related to COVID-19 will be updated to reflect the self-isolation requirement after contact with a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant.

Pupils or students who are self-isolating after contact with a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant should be recorded under 'required to remain at home or isolate in line with government guidance'. Pupils or students required to isolate after returning from abroad or pupils or students required to isolate because they are over the age of 18 years and 6 months who are not fully vaccinated, should also be included in this category.

NB: Please also see the attached poster outlining what school/EY settings staff should do if they feel unwell, and the updated Outbreak Management Tool Kit attached here again FYI.

Best regards.



Education updates

Education, Participation & Skills - investigating complaints

The Council receives complaints and enquiries about both maintained and academy schools from various sources and we fulfil our responsibility in investigating these in an equitable, respectful manner. Attached with this issue of the bulletin is a briefing paper, December 2021 School Complaints Briefing,which outlines the Council's approach to different categories of complaint.  If you have any queries regarding how complaints are dealt with please contact: or

NQT reminder

A number of schools still have NQTs completing their one year induction, and these teachers need to be assessed under the old system in order to complete their induction and gain QTS. As per the previous reminders, if schools have any NQTs on your staff, please ensure that their termly assessments are completed and emailed to us by midday on Friday 10 December - or if in doubt, please contact us for advice.

NQT assessments should be emailed to 

Final reminder - upload Y2 phonics screening check data

All Y2 phonics screening check data must be reported to the local authority by the end of this term, and we remind all schools not to miss this deadline. For full guidance on reporting outcomes:

For any questions regarding data submission process, please contact


Health, wellbeing and safety updates

Free bystander intervention workshop

This workshop is provided in response to recent events in the city and aims to help citizens understand how they can be an active bystander and help prevent violence against women and girls.

Bystander intervention is an approach tested in Plymouth to support the strengths we have in our communities to promote pro-social norms. Bystander intervention provides reassurance that supports individuals to be the friend, work-colleague and team-mate that they simply want to be.

Plymouth has now secured funding from Safer Streets 3 to deliver awareness sessions on bystander intervention. The focus is on preventing sexual violence and harm to women and girls and the night-time economy.

We are incredibly lucky to have a renowned national and international trainer who has collaborated with us to ensure the training meets our city needs.

In addition, we have the opportunity to train 24 people in the city to be able to facilitate the training themselves. This will enable us to sustain this approach in the long-term across the city.

Please email to find out more and to book your place on this training.


Government updates

Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak

What all schools will need to do during the Covid-19) pandemic - as summarised above, full details of DfE updated guidance on tracing close contacts and isolation, ventilation, asymptomatic testing, mandatory certification, recommendation to work from home if you can and clinically extremely vulnerable children and adults.

Ofsted Annual Report: We must do all we can to make sure this generation is not denied its opportunities

The Chief Inspector's Annual Report outlining impact and recommendations in relation to the pandemic and subsequent recovery.

School admissions code

Statutory guidance that schools must follow when carrying out duties relating to school admissions. Following public consultation and the Parliamentary process, a new school admissions code came into force on 1 September 2021.

The statutory guidance has been updated - 'Admission of children of crown servants: explanatory note' to bring it in line with the new School Admissions Code 2021. Added information to help Crown servant families who have children with SEND.

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