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Education Bulletin - 17 February 2022

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Updated 17 February 2022

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

The storm Eunice is set to hit parts of the UK tomorrow (February 18) with the Met Office warning.

Storm Eunice

The Met Office has issued an Amber warning for Plymouth area. The City Council's advice to the residents is to travel as little as possible. Schools need to follow their Severe Weather Policy, taking into account their own circumstances and carrying out a risk assessment in deciding their own protection measures. This is because schools' circumstances are different from one another. Schools should also have a plan in place to change their arrangement if the current Amber warning changes to Red warning.

The Box - Opportunities for Learners

Last week, I visited The Box and following this excellent experience, I had the good feeling that there was so much to take away and to share with education leaders in the city. Although it was not my first visit to the venue, it was the first time I met with the team there and explored with them what opportunities this brilliant venue of cultural and arts can provide for our learners, particularly the most vulnerable and disadvantaged cohorts.

The team of the venue are willing to work with all schools and settings and to be part of a city-wide approach to eliminating child poverty and raising aspiration among the groups who are facing not only the challenge of material poverty but also poverty of cultural and art experience.

The Box's team told me that they would love to share more about what is coming up at The Box by presenting at a possible future Head Teachers' meeting, which I would like to facilitate. In the meantime I would recommend the opportunities that I have heard from the team of the museum.

2022 features a packed programme of exhibitions at The Box with unmissable offers linked to the British Art Show (arriving in Autumn 2022) as well as a fully funded design project for secondary schools to work with the V&A. Find out more about how your school can get involved on You Tube

To enrich children and young people's learning with their visits to The Box, there are over 20 sessions to choose from across the curriculum covering a range of STEAM topics suitable from EYFS, Primary, Secondary, FE, HE and SEN Provisions alongside free online resources available on the website to use in the classroom. To book a visit, check out their resources on offer or learn more by visiting The Box website.

If you want to make contact directly, drop them a line at to speak to a member of the team of The Box.

Child Poverty and Aspiration

On a different but related note, it was raised at this week's Child Poverty Working Group that there was an opportunity for schools to link with a charitable organisation called Zarach, who supply beds and basics to families in poverty. They have delivered 1,600 Bed Bundles working with 200+ Partner Schools in their referral network, with up to 20 referrals received a week.

This is potentially a useful help that some of our disadvantaged learners may need. However, we are short of information and intelligence around children in early years or schools being short of beds in Plymouth. At this stage this is just a fact finding message to see if schools have any intelligence to share with me about this being a particular issue in Plymouth at the moment. You may email me directly if you have such intelligence.

For more information, this is the link to the charity's website Skills and Further Education Ofsted Inspection

Further to last week's good news on the improvement in secondary schools' attainment outcomes and Early Years' increase in the % of Good and Outstanding settings, this week I would like to share with you another excellent report confirming the progress we have made in improving the Council's Skills and Adult Education quality. A full Ofsted inspection carried out in January resulted in judgement of Good across the board in Quality of Education, Behaviour and Attitudes, Personal Development and Leadership and Management. This is a marked improvement on the previous judgement of Requires Improvement.

I would like to congratulate all staff and learners of the city's adult education service and the education partners for this excellent achievement.

Best regards.



COVID 19 updates

School Settings (Primary Age Children) - Anti-vaccination communications

This week school settings for primary aged children received an email communication reflecting anti- vaccine activity and views. An email from Ming was sent to all settings that received this with information. This was provided by our area System Vaccination Operation Centre, which is part of the CCG, and who work very closely with Devon and Cornwall Police and provided a factual response and advise on what to do.

The driver for this activity is the recent commencement of vaccinating 5- 11 year olds who are clinically vulnerable or who are a household contact of someone who is immunosuppressed. An expected decision on the extension of the programme to all 5-11 year olds was made yesterday. This indicated that the wider roll-out will be taking place from April.

JCVI statement on vaccination of children aged 5 to 11 years old - GOV.UK (

Planning for the delivery of the 5-11 year old vaccine programme is initially focusing on GP Practices, current vaccination sites e.g. Home Park and the use of 'pop up' sites in the community. Infant and Primary Schools are not going to be asked to be vaccination sites.

Reporting anti-vaccination communications or related concerns

Attached to the school bulletin today is an SBAR template. If you receive any email, phone call or if there is any physical demonstration at your setting please use this template to report this - the email address for where you send this is on the template. Use of the template will ensure that the issues can be reported both nationally and locally. It will support the Devon wide intelligence gathering and also ensure that Devon CCG / PCC can work with Devon and Cornwall Constabulary to provide local support where needed. Also attached is a guide covering protest security guidance which has very helpful advice.


Education updates

Important reminder for NQTs

Across the city we still have fifteen NQTs, part way through the old one year induction system who must complete their induction this academic year. All these NQTs have varying deadlines for their remaining assessments as many work part time, and several assessments are overdue. We have sent out reminders to schools with NQTs, and urge you to check when their assessments are due to be authorised by the local authority. Schools can submit these to us at any time by emailing to

It is essential that schools complete induction for this final cohort of NQTs this year; should you have any problems in making assessments please let us know so we can provide support.

STA statutory assessment update sent to schools

Reminder of the following information sent to schools by the Standards & Testing Agency this week:

  • Action: complete key stage 2 pupil registration tests by Friday 11 March
  • Information: key stage 2 access arrangements applications now open
  • Reminder: access the primary assessment gateway

STA information also includes an assessments update from the Education Standards Minister which addresses school leaders' concerns around use of assessment data, in this year when we will no doubt see progress and attainment impacted by Covid. The update explains that outcomes, whilst used for normal accountability measures, will not be published in the form of KS2 performance tables.

The report makes clear that all users of school performance data need to consider the wider circumstances of an individual school, and that conclusions should not be drawn based on a single piece of data alone, this being particularly important in relation to 2022 data, and states that this will be made clear to all users of assessment data, and will inform Ofsted inspector training.

Getting the new EYFS and EYFS profile right in schools

We are delighted to announce three free Learn, Explore, Debate events in March 2022 aimed at school-based Early Years practitioners. These events are likely to fill up quickly so make sure to book your place now.

Join the DfE and the National Children's Bureau (NCB) to Learn - Explore - Debatethe key Early Years policy and practice development issues that matter to school-based staff.

The agenda has been developed in partnership with the DfE and will include a focus on:

  • Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP)
  • Early Years Education Recovery Programme
  • Ofsted inspections under the revised framework

These events are aimed at school-based EY practitioners in England, including those working in nursery and reception classes, as well as headteachers, school leaders and governors. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis. In order to offer the opportunity to attend to as many as schools as possible, with bookings initially restricted to one per school so please check with colleagues before booking.

Events to take place on the following dates:

Wednesday 23 March

4pm - 6pm

Book here

Thursday 24 March

4pm - 6pm

Book here

Tuesday 29 March

4pm - 6pm

Book here


Early Childhood Music training sessions: Tuning into Babies and Very Young Children

A series of 6 online Early Childhood Music evening training sessions with Jane Parker. All sessions are 7.30pm-9pm via Zoom: Tuesday 1 March, Tuesday 8 March, Tuesday 15 March, Tuesday 22 March, Tuesday 29 March, and Tuesday 5 April. For more information and to book in: Tuning Into Babies & Very Young Children | Take Art If you are not able to attend on a Tuesday evening, this course is also being run on a Monday evening - see link above.

This practical and interactive online Zoom course is for anyone who wants to improve their skills and knowledge in early childhood music education. The course is led by Jane Parker from Take Art and is part of an Early Childhood music programme SoundWaves SW,funded by Youth Music.

This course will provide an opportunity to develop your skills and confidence in delivering simple singing games, rhymes and instrumental work for babies and very young children, we will also look at ways of encouraging musical play, supporting it through adult interactions with children, and ways settings can celebrate children's musical achievements.

Who is this course for?

  • EY practitioners/EYFS teachers/childminders
  • Students
  • Music teachers/music practitioners Training Course Details and Prices

£35 - Early Years practitioners/EYFS teachers/childminders/ music teachers/music practitioners

New children's adventure book: Gaia's Energy Adventure

Gaia's Energy Adventure, a new children's adventure book in offshore renewable energy (ORE), has been launched by the Supergen ORE Hub. The Hub consists of 10 leading UK Universities, and is led by the University of Plymouth.

The book aims to communicate the often complex subject of offshore wind, wave and tidal energy to 4-6 year olds and those reading with them, as well as encouraging girls and those from other underrepresented groups to consider a career in engineering. The book follows Gaia, a young girl who is worried about our changing climate. When her toy bear Ursa comes to life, he takes her on an exciting adventure to show her ways we can make clean energy from the wind and oceans, giving Gaia and her friends and family a better, brighter future.

If you'd like to register your interest in receiving a free copy of Gaia's Energy Adventure for your class or school, please contact:

Find out more about the book on the Supergen ORE Hub website


Health, wellbeing and safety updates

Harmful Sexual Behaviour Training Courses in March 2022

Research tells us that anywhere from one fifth to two thirds of child sexual abuse is committed by children and young people. Therefore, understanding, responding to and supporting young people who display harmful sexual behaviour is an area of practice that professionals need to consider. So, during March 2022 we are running two Understanding Harmful Sexual Behaviour multi-agency courses.

The following interactive, online sessions are free to all professionals:

  1. Monday 7 March 2022 9.30am - 4pm via Microsoft Teams.
  2. Thursday 31 March 2022 9.30am - 4pm via Microsoft Teams.

To book online:


Government updates

800 families facing tough times to be offered holidays

Families struggling financially, or facing illness, isolation or bereavement, will have an opportunity for a weekend break thanks to a new government fund. More than 800 holidays and trips for families over the next few months will be funded by the £600,000 'England for Everyone' fund. The fund will support parents, carers, and young people experiencing difficult times to get away, relax and enjoy themselves on a weekend break in England.

First aid in schools, early years and colleges

Guidance for employers in early years, schools and colleges on first aid provision. Updated first aid guidance throughout, including adding information for Early Years providers.

This guidance is for:

  • employers in early years providers, schools and colleges
  • governing bodies, management committees and trustees of early years providers, schools and colleges
  • senior management teams in early years providers, schools and colleges It applies to:
  • maintained schools
  • non-maintained schools
  • independent schools (including academies and free schools)
  • all providers on the early years register
  • all providers registered with an early years childminder agency

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