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Education Bulletin - 25 March 2021

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Updated 25 March 2021

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

In this week's bulletin, I would like to share with you an exciting project that has been led by schools and supported by the LA - The Edison Centre Primary Nurture Group.

As part of the inclusion strategy to reduce exclusion and pupil mobility, three MATs in Plymouth have initiated and developed a pilot project that will support primary schools in the city to offer outreach advice or a place for a child who is finding it difficult to engage with education and so reduce pupil mobility and exclusions. I am impressed with some distinctive strengths in this project, although there are examples nationally and regionally of good practice for the use of nurture provision as a means of

  • effective inclusion advice for home schools;
  • providing good and preventative alternative to exclusion;
  • improving behaviour for learning;
  • supporting pupils to remain in mainstream provision; and
  • supporting the development of resilience and positive relationships with both teachers and peers.

The strengths that I would like to highlight include:

  • it is school-led;
  • it is not only for the three MATs and will be accessible to all primary schools in the city, with a development of the model to provide wider opportunities for support across the City - breadth and depth;
  • home school's TAs can come in to the project to work with their pupils so that the nurture group practice can continue when children returns to home school;
  • it is developing the options of offering outreach support at home schools as well as short-term placement. 

For more details, I attached to this message a recent presentation made by Alison Nettleship at the Inclusion Strategy Board on this exciting development. Thank you, Alison and the teams.

In my recent conversation with Ofsted they have informed me that they will be scrutinising school websites to ensure the information shows catch up arrangements and online learning arrangements before visits. Therefore please ensure the following documents are available on school websites:

  • Catch Up Funding plans (with costing)
  • Remote Learning Policies

While attendance continues to be good and the reopening is successful in Plymouth, I would like to update you on the City's Covid situation which indicates that we still need to be vigilant.

During the week 13 March to 19 March there were 94 new cases confirmed in Plymouth, an increase on the previous week total of 84. This is a rate of 35.9 per 100,000 people. Today's rate is 37.4 with 98 cases. Although this is below the current rate for England, which is 55.3 per 100,000 people, your continued vigilance is greatly appreciated. Your efforts to reduce the spread of infection over the last twelve months, facing one unprecedented challenge after another, have been commendable. Thank you again.

Best regards.


Essential Information Weekly Headteachers meeting

The Essential Info. Headteacher Teams meetings were set up to ensure weekly catch-up on the latest updates linked to Covid management. As we have now seen a full return to schools, and an easing of both instances and restrictions, the meeting on Monday 29 March will be the final weekly meeting of this type.

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 29 March: matters arising

COVID-19 information

Essential Info. Headteacher Teams meetings

As noted above, these meetings were set up to ensure weekly catch-up on the latest updates linked to Covid management. As we have now seen a full return to schools, and an easing of both instances and restrictions, the meeting on Monday 29 March will be the final weekly meeting of this type.

Education information

Statutory Assessment updates

Primary schools have this week received a reminder from STA that there are no formal assessments in summer 2021, and schools should not be asked to provide assessment data to Ofsted or local authorities. As last year, we will be happy to collect Y6 teacher assessment to pass to receiving secondary schools for any primary schools who wish to use this service, however, schools are free to share data directly with secondary schools if they prefer. The local authority will not collect or use 2021 data for analysis or comparison.

STA also reminded schools of the optional multiplication tables check (MTC) digital assessment intended to support teachers in ensuring that all pupils know their multiplication tables by the end of primary school, or those who may need more support with their times tables. Schools can choose to administer the optional MTC to year 4 pupils, between Monday 7 June and Friday 25 June and the check will take most pupils no longer than 5 minutes to complete. Full details at: Information: optional multiplication tables check in June 2021

EYFS reforms information session

From September 2021 the EYFS reforms become statutory. In order to help prepare for the changes, the Early Years team are offering an information session via Microsoft Teams on Tuesday 6 July 2021, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm. The session is open to all schools and is aimed at EYFS teachers. Senior Leaders wishing to know more about the EYFS reforms are very welcome to join too.

This virtual session will provide an opportunity to:

  • Discuss the early years curriculum and consider which opportunities are needed throughout the year for all children to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to attain the expected level of development.
  • Consider the new Early Learning Goals and explore the changes.
  • Hear about the first hand experiences in a school which has been an early adopter of the EYFS.

The session will be held using Microsoft Teams on Tuesday 6 July 2021, from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

Click here to join the meeting

National Tutoring Programme - Data Protection

There are two aspects to the data being collected for the National Tutoring Programme.

1)    The data collected for the purposes of the evaluation and

2)    The data collected for the purposes of delivering the tuition.

Both are collected by the Tuition Partner from schools. (Tuition partners will add progress and evaluators will match with the National Pupil Database and collect additional information).

Although the National Tutoring Programme have an approved list of Tuition Partners, the tuition is commissioned by schools and the contract for those services are between schools and the Tuition Partners. In order to deliver tuition services in schools, Tuition Partners will collect additional (and sometimes overlapping) personal data about participating pupils. This personal data is not covered by data sharing agreements that are in place between the EEF, DfE, Evaluator consortium and Tuition Partners, which only cover the evaluation data. Tuition Partners are responsible for ensuring they have appropriate provisions in place for such processing.

Schools are the data controllers for the information they share with Tuition Partners. Therefore schools are required to complete their own data protection due diligence before processing commences, this includes a Data Protection Impact Assessment for the systems and processes for sharing and using personal data. The school is responsible for ensuring that the contracts for services have the usual data protection clauses and information about data sharing.

The National Tutoring Programme did obtain Data Protection Impact Assessments from the Tuition Partners. Schools can obtain a copy from their selected Tuition Partner to review against their usual Impact Assessments, to ensure they are satisfied with data protection compliance.

Schools should seek guidance and support from their own Data Protection Officer to ensure that they have met their data protection obligations.

Keeping children safe in education

REMINDER: Annual Survey of Emotional Health and Wellbeing Services

We would like to gain your views on the commissioned Emotional Health and Wellbeing Services delivered in your schools. This survey is to be completed by secondary schools, special schools and alternative provision.

These are delivered by Kooth Digital Health Services Ltd (Kooth), Young Devon (counselling), The Zone (Progeny) and Livewell Southwest (CAMHS).

The online survey is available here and will close at midnight on 31st March 2021. The findings will be shared with the schools and relevant partners to make improvements to services.

Government updates

Asymptomatic testing: early years staff in different settings

New guidance on how staff in early years settings can access regular rapid coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

The following guidance on asymptomatic testing has also been updated:

Asymptomatic testing: primary and maintained nursery school staff

Asymptomatic testing: secondary schools and colleges

Induction for early career teachers (England)

Guidance for appropriate bodies, headteachers, school staff and governing bodies. This guidance comes into force from 1 September 2021. It updates and replaces the induction for newly qualified teachers (NQTs).

Appropriate bodies guidance: induction and the early career framework

Guidance on the roles and responsibilities of appropriate bodies. This guidance is for the following appropriate bodies: local authorities, teaching school hubs, other organisations which the Secretary of State has determined can act in this role. It outlines the updated statutory roles and responsibilities, an appropriate body's role in checking that the induction is based on the early career framework and good practice.

Frameworks for awarding qualifications in 2021: consultation outcomes

Ofqual has published its rules for awarding GCSE, AS, A levels, and vocational and technical qualifications this academic year

Remote education good practice  

Guidance on good practice to support school leaders in developing their remote education contingency plans. Updated for the return of pupils to schools from 08 March including sections on physical education, remote teaching for very young pupils and supporting pupils with special educational needs and disabilities. Added a new section on safeguarding and online safety.

Area SEND inspections to restart

Revisits to areas with a written statement of action will start from April 2021. Full inspection will resume from June 2021.

Use of free early education entitlements funding during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Funding for local authorities and early years providers through the early years dedicated schools grant (DSG). Updated with the government's plans for funding local authorities in the 2021 spring term and for the financial year 2021 to 2022.

Responsibility for exams

Guidance for schools and colleges on who should enter students for exams, the health arrangements for exams and the support DfE is providing. 'Public health guidance to support exams from January 2021' has been updated to confirm the types of scheduled assessments that can still go ahead.

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