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Education Bulletin - 16 July 2020

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Updated 16 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

Hello, and good bye, to those of you who are finishing imminently for the summer break. As ever I want to thank you for your tireless commitment and the work you have done over the last academic year. In addition I'd like to extend thanks to all colleagues working across Children's Services and amongst our partners. Part of the effective response to COVID has been the collaboration, hard work and perseverance of all staff who get up in the morning with the intention of improving things for children and families. Clearly I should polish my crystal ball as I don't recall predicting COVID when I said adieu for the summer last year!

Best wishes and farewell too, to colleagues who are retiring, moving on to new jobs or changing roles. I know we all wish you well and we look forward to working with those of you who will be returning with a new task ahead of them in September. The LA is launching its 'reset' this week and when consultation ends (towards the end of September) I will update you. Many of you know we have talked for some time about the LA being clear about its role, how it discharges its functions and duties, how it is that champion for all children, working with schools to improve outcomes, and how we will work in partnership to commission or co-commission support. We will continue to work with schools and other partners on the priorities for children and families in the city (inclusion, SEND, disadvantage, attainment). Those of you in primary schools know there have been many discussions about the 'blended' offer through MAST, and this week PLP indicated that they do not intend to purchase LA EP staff in the new academic year. We will ensure there is a smooth transition and look forward to working positively with PLP and the opportunity to develop a model for strong partnership working.

The work goes on to prepare for September with regard to opening, and also to make sure we start the new academic year with some policy work planned and ready to discuss with you as early as possible. The DfE have signalled there may be further guidance over the summer and as I write we're also still waiting for the guidance on catch up and tuition funding. Things usually come out 10 minutes after we've sent you the Bulletin and it is expected imminently.

Other things in the pipeline are:

  • Further information about mandatory attendance for pupils from September. The DfE are saying that it is up to the local area to decide at what point penalties will be issued. We know that parents should not be penalised initially but should be encouraged to attend. It would seem the local area can decide, dependent on the circumstances, if a PN or other intervention should be made. We need to work this through so we are consistent across the city.
  • The expectation that clinically vulnerable staff and pupils should return is still a live issue. We continue to urge schools to update RAs and encourage staff to return if safe to do so (the RA should detail what mitigations are in place). Schools will not know definitively if there's a further view on this until August as the DfE will decide based on the science at the time and the R rates. There may also be further guidance on BAME and pregnant staff.
  • EHE is rising nationally and the SW could have a higher rate of increase than other parts of the country. I have picked up some good ideas from other LAs about using social media to publicise why EHE is different to home learning. We will also work with you to make sure that parents know at the point of applying that EHE is not supported in the way home learning was.
  • The DfE intend to hold to the view that masks are not required in mainstream schools. If pupils are taught in bubbles and held in same pupil groupings, they feel it is unnecessary. This may change subject to the PH view. They have not made a final decision on special schools and masks.
  • There will be no extension to FSM claims or funding claims after the end of term. Please submit your requests for vouchers (including for Y6, Y11 and Y13) before the end of term. You also need to submit your COVID costs by 21st July if you feel there are legitimate costs you can recoup from the DFE.

This Bulletin includes important links for you over the summer and beyond. This is the final Bulletin until September but the Handbook is online and will be updated regularly with FAQs and helpful advice as well as current guidance. If you're a CATERed member you will also note today that you have received a bit of a bonus: the CATERed Board have decided to issue a rebate to schools following discussion about UIFSM costs and spend. You will receive a message from Brad Pearce with your allocation of funding.

Again, thank you colleagues and have a fabulous well-earned break. Please do not hesitate to contact us if required.

he next!



Plymouth Guidance for Schools September Opening

You will be aware that local authority officers, together with representative head teachers and a MAT CEO have been working on information for schools for the return to school in September.  

The work completed so far can be found at

The guidance from the local authority will provide assistance in interpreting Government publications, together with practical support and exemplars for the many aspects of school opening in September.  Topics include COVID-19 specific advice, behaviour, mental health and wellbeing, vulnerable children, SEND, Ethnic Minority Achievement, school transport, Safeguarding, risk assessments, the recovery curriculum, and assessment, to name just a few; and include links to key documents and advice from specialists, dedicated organisations and support mechanisms, including Public Health England.  The site will also offer wider information that is useful for your school community, such a links to the Plymouth Skills Launchpad who provide advice, guidance and brokering of education, training and employment for school leavers, young people and adults.

The information on these pages will be updated on an ongoing basis in line with changing advice and guidance at a national and local level.

We welcome:

  • contributions from school leaders, particularly sharing good practice
  • your comments about navigation as well as strengths and weaknesses in the information offer
  • your questions about September, your school and your community (which will added to the FAQs)

In the first instance, please contact This 'inbox' will be manned by the EP&S team throughout the summer break and questions will be answered promptly, and shared as part of the Frequently Asked Questions, if appropriate.  There is no such thing as an unnecessary question, as it is likely that many others share the same difficulties.  The Frequently Asked Questions will be updated by subject specialists throughout the summer break, so if you don't find the answer you are seeking, please ask the question. When you log on, you will see that some areas of the site are more populated than others. This reflects the changing local and national picture.  In the coming weeks, we expect to have consistent information across each of the sections. This site is focused on supporting you, and will develop to meet your needs.


Reminder - claiming financial support linked to COVID19

Just a reminder to schools that the end of term marks the deadline for submitting claims for financial support linked to COVID19. Full details and application forms online at


Monitoring, support and points of contact for Vulnerable Groups over the summer break

Over the COVID period there has been significant monitoring, oversight and support for Vulnerable Children by schools and LA teams, and the commitment made by all to keep them 'in mind' and knowing that people are still there for them has been much appreciated; thank you.

Many children will of course remain 'vulnerable' across the school summer holiday, when the capacity of LA teams is significantly reduced, due to term time working and requirement to take annual leave at this time. There will continue to be management cover in EPS to pick up and respond to any emerging issues or requests for support. Many LA teams, including EPs, have devised a rota to ensure we can respond so please get in touch if necessary. We are not shut!

We will continue to use Twitter and the Council's platforms to advise parents how they can get in touch but it would be really helpful if schools could also share the following contact links with parents via websites, social media and newsletters.

After 24 July, parents should be directed to a number of different points of contact, depending on need:

Colleagues at MAST will maintain cover and some level of support over the summer break, and they have been in touch with schools to share contact information.

As schools are closed, there will be no requirement to gather and monitor attendance. If schools have organised holiday play schemes etc., attendance information is not required by the LA. Where contact information is received by the LA, a courtesy call will be made to these providers and any key information shared with them. Children at EY settings will have daily attendance collected on an agreed template. This will include any information relating to children with COVID symptoms and confirmed cases. It is a requirement by the DFE to continue this collection until the end of September. Further information has been shared on the Early Years Bulletin.    


Announcing the new Skills Launchpad Plymouth

Resurgam, Plymouth's Covid-19 Economic Recovery Programme, includes a strategic pillar for Skills4Plymouth, which is focused on helping both adults facing redundancy, and young people whose first career steps are compromised, to get the right skills to improve their chances of getting employment. Our approach was approved at Cabinet this week - see press release

Together with city wide partners adopting a multi-agency approach, we are planning for 'Skills Launchpad Plymouth' - a single front door helping those facing redundancy, and supporting young people through the new Youth Hub. Demand led: informed by employers and economic development, and working with DWP in alignment with skills delivery and support partners, we will enable local people to access an inclusive one-stop response service. This will match real opportunities to pathways into employment, apprenticeships and traineeships, work experience, training, education, volunteering and self-employment.

As part of Skills Launchpad Plymouth DWP and PCC are taking on the role as lead accountable body to deliver a new Youth Hub with the immediate priority of creating an inspiring city-wide campaign to support 16-24 year olds (including those with Education, Health and Care Plans and care leavers), their parents and schools. We have a Youth Hub working group with representatives from the city career leads and the Careers Hub who are helping us shape this fast moving plan. We need all hands on deck to help us get this set up and do the right thing for our young people who will be most affected by the impact of this economic crisis.

During August we will be launching a new online platform for Skills Launchpad Plymouth and the Youth Hub to give access to a helpful resources and a supporting enquiry service, with a range of marketing communication activities planned to promote the new service, especially aligning with the exam results period. Initially the Skills Launchpad will be in virtual format with enquiry support, and within the parameters of government guidance we are planning to move to a physical space with community outreach to engage with those who are likely to suffer most at these exceptional times.

Attached to this Bulletin is our School End of Terms Asset pack, this will be sent to all schools ahead of exam results  - please share this important information with Year 11, 12 and 13 students before the end of term. 

Further details of the Skills Launchpad and Youth Hub will be available from 20 July at

Email enquiries from parents/ guardians and young people can be directed to the Skills Launchpad Plymouth via

We also attach the DWP Virtual Careers Fair flier, promoting a virtual careers fair targeted at 16-24 year olds taking place on 23 July - again, please help to promote this event so that our young people and parents understand the opportunities available with local employers and providers.

For further information contact: or:


Statutory assessment 2020-21: administering the phonics to incoming Y2 pupils

Yesterday schools received information from STA outlining the return to normal assessment arrangements in Early Years, KS1 & KS2, including that cancellation of the phonics screening check in June 2020 means incoming Y2 pupils did not take the check in Y1, and under the existing arrangements, all Y2 pupils would have been required to take the statutory check in June 2021.

STA propose that, subject to necessary legislation being made, (for 2020/21 only) schools will administer a past version of the check to Y2 pupils during the second half of the 2020 autumn term. Y2 pupils who meet the expected standard in the autumn check will not be required to complete any further statutory assessments in phonics. Y2 pupils who do not meet the expected standard in the autumn check will be expected to take the statutory check in June 2021.

To support teachers in Y2 with administering the phonics check the local authority will offer the usual Phonics Screening Check Briefing Sessionas an online session via Microsoft Teams in September. On account of the extraordinary circumstances this will free for one Y2 teacher in each Plymouth school and academy. Sessions will run on 21 and 22 September, 4 - 5 pm. To book places Y2 teachers should email no later than Tuesday 15 September stating which session they wish to attend (invitations to join the meeting will come with email replies). A further reminder will be sent to schools in September.


Collective Worship Guidance from Plymouth SACRE

Plymouth SACRE are pleased to provide schools with the attached guidance that sets out the statutory duty to hold acts of collective worship and provides ideas for content and an example policy for schools to consider. The guidance has been drawn together by specialists in collective worship from Plymouth, Devon and Torbay. It aims to support schools to meet their statutory duty, with regard to daily acts of worship, whilst remaining mindful of the need to consider all pupils, whether from families of faith or those with none. The guidance is respectful of all faiths and beliefs and provides opportunities for acts of collective worship to enable pupils to better understand each other and the world around them. For further information contact:


Supporting NQT induction from September

A huge 'well done' to all those NQTs who have successfully completed their induction this year (despite the challenges) and many thanks to all those NQT mentors in schools who have submitted NQT assessments over the past few weeks - our paper-free system with assessments shared electronically is making life far easier for us all! We are in the process of putting together an updated NQT induction package, offering flexible support and training at best value, and will send out details to all schools during the first week of term in September. If you haven't already done so, please email with the names of your NQT mentor and any NQTs starting in school next term. 

Government have published updated guidance aimed at NQTs preparing for induction and NQT mentors, explaining how schools can support NQTs from September, available at: NQT support and inductions from September 2020


The Community Youth Service Summer Mix Up 2020

As we all know things are a bit of a challenge at the moment in relation to delivering any form of provision for young people, resulting in us having to adapt the Summer Programme. So here we have it the 2020 Summer Mix-up.

We are aiming to reach as many targeted/ vulnerable young people age 11-19 within the city with activity boxes.  Please see the further information and nomination form attached. There will be 200 places available on a first come first serve basis.  There will also be a universal offer open to all young people aged 11-19 via virtual tutorials and workshops accessible through our Facebook: plymouthyouthservice, Tutorials online include cooking, making a functioning car from scrap, photography and more.

Our Pop-up offering will consist of pop-up provision across citywide neighbourhoods and hot spot areas that are identified to us.  The aim is to have some diversionary activities also, however we are waiting Covid guideline approval so watch this space. For further details please contact:


Support for Young Carers over the summer

Barnardo's, Hamoaze House and Plymouth City Council will continue to work in the Time4U partnership to support young carers over the summer holidays. The Time4U page on the Plymouth Online Directory (POD) contains the Time4U leaflet which includes contact details, the request for service process and the pre-Covid service information which has predominantly shifted to a digital offer for group and 1-2-1 work due the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic. Please contact Time4U if you would like to talk through what support may be available for your young carer over the summer.


Mayflower 400 film Series: Dorking and the story of the Mullins Alden family

The film will explore 17th century Dorking, the picturesque Surrey town once home to the shoemaker William Mullins and his family, and features a visit to the original home of the Mullins family - the only surviving home of a Mayflower passenger in England. In addition, the film will visit Chorley in Lancashire - home to Myles Standish who was also a passenger on board.

Released on Saturday 18th July at 5pm on the Mayflower website and Facebook page, please do feel free to share across your channels or re-share from @Mayflower400uk.


Latest Government updates

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

The guidance and application form for FSM has been updated to reflect the temporary extension of free school meals eligibility to NRPF groups. This includes the increase in the income threshold from £16,190 per annum to £31,500 per annum for London and £28,200 for areas outside of London.


Next Bulletin: we'll be back with a weekly issue in September 2020, happy holidays!

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