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Education Bulletin - 18 March 2021

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Updated 18 March 2021

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

As we are having another week's success in wider reopening, I would like to start this message by sharing with you some welcome news related to education in Plymouth:

Success of Wider Reopening
It is encouraging that we have seen a higher % of Plymouth children returning to schools, significantly better than the national averages. Thank you and your staff again for continuing to make schools Covid safe and for supporting your pupils and parents to ensure their confidence in returning to schools. The following table summarises the latest attendance figures with a breakdown of Academy/maintained, vulnerable learners/all pupils and FSM, etc.

Total attendance35595
PLYMOUTH % ATTENDANCE (using school submitted NOR and Jan NOR when no response)99.00%
DfE return total with EHCPs954
Non responder total with EHCPs341
EHCP total1295
Total with social worker785
Total of children eligible for FSM6998
PLYMOUTH % of those in attendance eligible for FSM91.80%
NATIONAL % of those in attendance eligible for FSMN/A
Total attendance in PLYMOUTH Maintained4758
PLYMOUTH % attendance in maintained schools95.00%
Total attendance in PLYMOUTH Academy26780
PLYMOUTH % attendance in academy schools92.00%


Little Troopers
With the active support of schools, colleges and wider education community in Plymouth, we are recognised nationally for the work we do in championing and supporting the needs of service and veterans children and young people. This is a long standing commitment that has developed over the last decade. Service children represent approximately 10% of pupils in Plymouth. Little Troopers has been commissioned by the DfE to offer a number of projects to all schools that have children of Armed Forces personnel within their setting. Little Troopers is a registered charity supporting service children who have parent(s) serving in the British Armed Forces, regular or reserve and ensuring that British Armed Forces children and their families have access to child- focused support wherever they are in the world. The latest Tri-Service research shows that half of military parents still worry about the impact of service life on their children and our own research also shows that 96% of forces parents would like to see schools offer more specific support for their children, and I would urge you to make use of these targeted resources.

Secondary Place Offers
This year, 85.3% of children in Plymouth got their 1st preference offers, up by 2.08% on the previous year; 96.37% overall got one of their preferences, national average is about 95%, in some areas of the country it is as low as 66%. This is a welcome development. I would like to thank Secondary schools for making more places the preferred ones for Plymouth children and parents.

Local COVID Situation
Plymouth's infection rate today is 30.9, this is close to the SW average of 31.0.  We are well below the national average of 57.7%. However, we all still need to be vigilant regarding Covid 19 controls to prevent transmission particularly now that the majority of children are now back at school. Please can I encourage you all to review the effectiveness of your control measures, particularly in regards to Hands, Face, Space and Ventilation. If you need any advice please speak to your Health and Safety experts.

Kind regards.



Essential information weekly headteachers meeting

The Essential Info. Headteacher Teams meetings take place every Monday during term time at 1pm and covers a range of topical issues and updates. Those of you who join the meeting regularly will already have the link in your diary. The meeting is open to all Plymouth headteachers; if you wish to join please use the link below:

Join Microsoft Teams Meeting

Sessions are recorded and can be found on the 'Essential information for schools' web page

Agenda Monday 22 March:

  1. Information governance, John Finch (Information Governance manager)
  2. Opportunity to feedback on items in this Bulletin issue: Offer of informal moderation KS1& 2; expressions of interest in primary schools working group focused on decolonising the curriculum, Lucinda Ross
  3. Discussion around Y6 transition: information requests from secondary schools, can we support a consistent system, Lucinda Ross.


COVID information

Lateral flow testing for households of children at school

Anyone who has sustained contact with school children will be eligible, including households of school children, members of support bubbles, childcare and those in related occupations, to access lateral flow tests. Further information can be found here:

How will I get these tests?

Getting these test kits is easy and there are a number of ways you can obtain tests:

  1. If you already test through your employer based testing programme you can continue to use that
  2. Collect self-test kits for home use from a collection site; find your nearest site
  3. Order a self-test kit online to be delivered to your home

Tests are free, fast and easy to use and you can easily report test results online.

Where do I need to go to collect self-test kits in Plymouth? Local tests sites in Plymouth are located at

  • Plymouth Marjon University Local Test Site, Derriford Road, Plymouth, PL6 8BH (this centre is in the lower car park outside the gymnasium)
  • The Guildhall, Armada Way, Guildhall Square, Plymouth PL1 2BJ (go to the Lower Guildhall)
  • Former Seaton Barracks, William Prance Road, Plymouth, PL65ZD

Sites are open for collection 1.00pm - 8.00pm, 7 days per week. Please check the website for the most up to date information for the site you intend to visit - you do not need to book.

Over time further sites where tests can be collected may become available and they will be shown on the website and local information will also be updated on the Plymouth City Council website

Please note that schools are not able to supply testing kits for households of school children, members of support bubbles, childcare and those in related occupations and you will need to use the methods above.


Education information

Supporting end of KS1 & KS2 teacher assessments

Over recent weeks years 2 and 6 teachers from maintained schools and those MATs who purchase statutory assessment support from PCC have participated in training to support accurate end of key stage teacher assessments. Whilst we are all clear that there will be no reported or published end of key stage assessments in 2021, schools will continue to require accurate end of KS1 TA to support progression into KS2 and internal progress monitoring, and secondary schools will once again, greatly benefit from reliable end of KS2 TA for children leaving year 6.

At recent training sessions teachers have been asked whether they would find it helpful and supportive to be offered a drop-in informal moderation day, where they might talk through their TA with experienced members of the LA/STA external moderation team, and be offered non-binding advice. The Local Authority will be happy to offer this service, if schools would find it useful. Teachers have been invited to share their thoughts with the LA Assessment manager, and we invite headteachers of maintained schools and academies who secure their annual signed, written agreement with Plymouth to also let us hear your thoughts. Please email or drop in to the Monday Essential Info Teams meeting where we will discuss.

EYFS profile assessments summer 2021

You will be aware that for the academic year 2020 to 2021, the Secretary of State for Education has decided that the Early Years Foundation Stage Profile (EYFSP) assessment will not be mandatory.

However, schools will be required to use their "best endeavours" to complete the EYFSP and provide the information to year 1 teachers and to parents where possible.

The Early Years team will be offering FREE virtual EYFSP agreement trialling sessions which will provide an opportunity to discuss EYFSP assessment given the challenging circumstances presented by the COVID 19 pandemic and establish a common understanding of Early Learning Goals through sharing evidence and professional dialogue. There will be a separate session for any schools who are Early Adopters of the revised EYFS. See attached fliers for more detail.

EYFS Reforms - Sept 2021

The EYFS reforms become statutory as from this September 2021. The Early Years team will be providing an Introduction to the reformed EYFS information session for schools on 6 July,repeated on 9 Sept 2021.Further details to follow.

Decolonising the Curriculum - primary working group

In response to issues highlighted last year by the Black Lives Matter campaign and requests from young people in the city, the Ethnic Minority Achievement Team (EMAT) have been working with secondary school students to begin developing teaching resources to be made available on the PCC Education portal at the start of the new academic year. These resources, together with links to further materials, activities, etc. from a range of partners both locally and nationally, will be provided together with new CPD, to support schools in creating a curriculum which challenges systemic racism and is representative of diversity in modern British society.

EMAT are now seeking to establish a primary working group, made up of teachers with a passion for promoting racial equality, to develop a further set of inspiring and engaging teaching resources. If you or a member of your school staff would like to be involved please contact or drop in to the Monday Essential Info Teams meeting where there will be an opportunity to hear more.


Keeping children safe in education

Free Resources for schools - Supporting Service Children

Little Troopers is a registered charity supporting service children who have parent(s) serving in the British Armed Forces, regular or reserve. As a charity, Little Troopers ensures British Armed Forces children and their families have access to child-focused support wherever they are in the world. Little Troopers has been commissioned by the DfE to offer the following projects to all schools that have children of Armed Forces personnel within their setting

These projects are:

Whether a school has one service pupil or two hundred, these workshops and resources could really help to bolster some of the early intervention and wellbeing strategies that schools have in place, with added focus on service children's needs and experiences.

More details about the projects:

Free Secondary School Resource Hub

Following the success of the primary school resource pack, the Secondary School Resource Hub has been created in collaboration with secondary school teachers and other education experts and features downloadable lesson plans, activity templates and other practical ideas to get 11-16 year olds talking about military life in school. It also includes details of how schools can set up and run their own Forces Life Club. 

Little Troopers Secondary School Military Child Wellbeing Course

The Little Troopers Secondary School Military Child Wellbeing Course is about to launch. This six- week interactive course template has been created alongside educational psychologists and mindfulness experts and is designed to be delivered to small groups of older military children and encourages them to explore some of the more challenging aspects of military life, as well as introducing them to positive tools they can use to cope with change and challenge, both now and in the future. This is not for children in crisis, but a course that can benefit all military children. Each week focuses on a different topic including separation, deployment, house moves and living abroad, as well as the personal themes of belonging, identity and mindfulness. 

Primary School Roadshow

In June 2021, Little Troopers will be running a virtual primary school roadshow involving twenty live workshops delivered to schools up and down the country.

The two-hour live workshop is completely free to attend and is open to all schools with military children aged 4 to 11. The interactive workshops will utilise existing Little Troopers lesson plans and activities from our Primary School Resource pack to explore some of the unique challenges and opportunities that service children experience as members of the British Armed Forces community. Children will leave the session feeling proud of their identity as a forces child, as well as feeling as though their unique circumstances and life experiences have been acknowledged and understood. 


Government updates

More than £50m to keep families warm and well-fed this Easter (New)

Families will receive a boost of over £50 million this Easter, with councils given additional funding to keep vulnerable children warm and well-fed. Holiday activities and food programme 2021 guidance has been updated.

Households and bubbles of pupils, students and staff of schools, nurseries and colleges: get rapid lateral flow tests (Updated)

Guidance as to who is eligible for twice-weekly testing and how to get tested if you do not have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19). This guidance is for people without symptoms. Removed "Do not order online if you can get a test through other methods. This frees up home delivery for those who need it most." Replaced with "You can order 1 pack of home test kits containing 7 tests for home delivery. Your tests should arrive within 2 days."

PE and sport premium for primary schools (Updated)

Guidance on how much PE and sport premium funding schools receive and advice on how it should be spent. Updated information about any PE and sport premium carried forward from the 2019 to 2020 academic year. The deadline to spend carried forward funding is now the end of the 2020 to 2021 academic year.

Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 23 March 2020 to 11 March 2021 (New)

Data on attendance in education settings since Monday 23 March 2020 and early years settings since Thursday 16 April 2020.

Laptops and tablets progress data as of 16 March 2021 (New)

Information about how many laptops and tablets that have been delivered or dispatched to local authorities and academy trusts.

Consultation on autumn series 2021

A 2-week consultation has started on how an autumn exam series for GCSEs, AS and A levels should run this year. The consultation follows the cancellation of GCSEs, AS and A level exams this summer because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. When the government set out its policy on how grades would be awarded it also confirmed it wanted students to have the opportunity to take exams in the autumn. The consultation will be open until 09 April 2021.

ESFA Update: 17 March 2021

Latest information and actions from the Education and Skills Funding Agency for academies, schools, colleges, local authorities and further education providers.

School census autumn 2020 to summer 2021: school summary report

These documents are for suppliers developing software for school management information systems (MIS). They explain what information software suppliers should include in school summary reports for the school census. Schools can then use the reports to check the accuracy of their termly school census data before sending it to their local authority or to us. More guidance on submitting data for the school census is available.

Teaching about relationships, sex and health

Support and training materials for schools to help train teachers on relationships, sex and health education. Added a link to the being safe training module which has now been published. DfE have also added a training module on teaching RSHE to pupils with SEND.

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