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Education Bulletin - 30 June 2020

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Updated 2 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

Whatever happened to June? And the sunshine? No doubt sunny skies will return in due course.

Today's Bulletin includes a roundup of the guidance from the last week and you'll see this afternoon the Summer Food Fund scheme guidance has been published giving details of the application deadlines and process. Please note in particular that eligibility has been extended to families who have no recourse to public funds. We believe this is a large group in Plymouth and judging by the huge increase in applications for FSM many children will benefit from this temporary extension.

Please also be aware that some commercial bus routes affecting school pupils are being cut due to their viability once social distancing is applied, and the impact of COVID on transport providers. We have challenged this and asked the Secretary of State to consider this as a national issue as the protection of school routes that may be needed. If you want to know more about which routes please contact me.

No further guidance has been published yet regarding plans for September: we have all seen 'leaked' information in the media but the levels of accuracy are not verified.  The DfE will publish this guidance as soon as possible.

A short Foreword from me today: you will see here a message from our DCS, Alison Botham.

Have a good week and take care,



A Message from Alison Botham

As we approach the final weeks of this summer term, I am sure you will all welcome the break that the holidays will bring, as well as continuing to reflect on the last term and a half, and consider what lies ahead.

In Plymouth we have always valued partnership working to achieve the best for the city's children and young people. The demands of the COVID response arrangements have confirmed what we can achieve when we work together, when we are open about the issues we face, and when we share what is working well. I am confident that across the system, we will continue to support and demand the best from each other.

Earlier this year, when I returned to Plymouth as full-time DCS, I had planned to visit as many schools as possible, and I had started this. We will be in touch to restart this and book dates from September. I will very much look forward to seeing each of you and your schools throughout next year.

I have tried not to dwell on the 'best laid plans' that have been overtaken by events; there has been so much learning and so many reasons for hope as we look forward to the next academic year and beyond.

The challenges you have all faced were unimaginable as we began 2020, and I will keep repeating that your leadership and commitment during this period has been inspirational. I do not underestimate the personal costs for you and your staff and I do feel humbled in offering my heartfelt thanks.



Year 6 Teacher Assessments for secondary schools

As there will be no statutory assessment results for children in year 6 this year, secondary schools requested that primary colleagues share their most recent teacher assessments made for year 6 children in English and maths. It should be noted that these are not test results, or moderated teacher assessments; they are simply the most recent of the ongoing teacher assessments that year 6 teachers make regularly to inform progress monitoring and planning for learning, and furthermore, depending on when children were last in school, the assessments will have been made at different times. However, we are grateful to 94% of primary schools for sharing this data which will provide a helpful foundation to future planning for learning as children move into year 7.

From tomorrow, Wednesday 1 July, secondary schools will be able to download the most recent teacher assessments for September year 7 cohorts. The assessments have been uploaded to S2S as generic files, which can be accessed through your DfE Sign-In account

Assessments have been provided for year 6 children who on the 24 June were allocated a place to join your secondary school in September 2020.  Only children who are currently attending a Plymouth primary school are included in these files; teacher assessments for children who are joining you from outside Plymouth will need to be obtained by contacting their schools/LAs directly.

Should schools have any questions or queries regarding downloading the files or believe that there are Plymouth pupils missing who you think you should assessments for, please contact


Summer School activities

There is no requirement for schools to offer summer break activities in 2020. However, we know that there will be summer activities taking place in some schools, and the local authority plans to collate details of what, when and where so that we can signpost to keyworker parents who contact us looking for activities for their children. Although we understand that schools have already provided a considerable amount of information to the local authority, please can we request that if there are activities taking place in your school over the summer break you let us know the type of activity, when it will be happening and the name of the provider. Emails should be sent to before Friday 10 July.


Guidance on Emotionally Based School Avoidance

Members of the Educational Psychology Service (PCC) have consulted with a range of professionals including colleagues in CAMHS and schools to produce a set of guidance documents for schools and families (attached to today's Bulletin). This area of work is particularly relevant for children with social, emotional and mental health needs as well as those who are very anxious about returning to school following the COVID19 lockdown. The guidance will also be available as a resource on the Local Offer pages and can be discussed with schools' link educational psychologists. For further details please contact:


DfE webinar for schools: Supporting returning pupils' mental wellbeing

The DfE, in collaboration with NHS England and Public Health England, will be hosting a free webinar for school and college staff on 9 July focused on how to support returning pupils, with guidance from experts on the impacts of the COVID19 pandemic on children and young people's mental wellbeing and recovery techniques, and from education leaders about the actions they have been taking.

Schools interested are advised to book early as places are limited. For further information and to sign-up:

DfE is also hosting a free webinar for schools on 7 July on delivering the new RSHE curriculum for pupils with SEND, including supporting their mental wellbeing. For registration go to:


COVID-19 SECURE Site Visits to maintained school 6 - 17 July 2020

As part of EPS commitment to supporting our maintained schools to be COVID-19 secure, we previously advised that site visits would be undertaken before the end of the summer term to observe the risk controls identified in your risk assessments in practice.

To this end you will be contacted by one of our Health and Safety Professionals on 2 or 3 July, to book in a visit between 6 to 17 July. The visit will be no longer than an hour and will include observations around the school and short discussions with staff. All activities will be undertaken observing the arrangements in place at each school to manage the risk of COVID-19 transmission, in particular frequent hand washing and observing the 2 metre social distancing guidelines. There will be no disruption to classes required; brief observations can take place through windows / window panel in doors.

This will also be an opportunity for you to discuss plans in place for September, and to seek advice on the updating of your risk assessments where required. The school signed and dated RA should now be published on the school website, and can be replaced as the RA is updated to take account of any changes made as per Government guidelines. Please ensure this is made available prior to your site visit.

The names of our Health and Safety Professionals are: Shaun Badmin, Mal Fieldsend and Bill Blower. Any email communications will be coming from and schools should use this email to communicate with the team if needed.


Remembering Srebrenica - a resource for secondary schools

Remembering Srebrenica is a charitable organisation funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, and supported by the Foreign Office, which aims to raise awareness of the genocide in Bosnia and bring people together to tackle hatred and help build safer, stronger communities here in the UK. Since its creation in 2013, Remembering Srebrenica has educated 100,000 young people on the lessons from Srebrenica, organised close to 7,500 memorial events and activities right across the country and created 1,450 Community Champions who pledge to stand up to hatred and intolerance in their communities. 

Each year during Srebrenica Memorial Week in July, the charity liaises with a range of partners to commemorate the anniversary of the genocide, where over 8,000 Bosnian Muslim men and boys were murdered, simply because of their faith. Although special events have been cancelled this year due to COVID 19, the charity has produced a range of education resources, suitable for secondary age pupils, and would welcome secondary schools in Plymouth engaging with this project.

Resources include:

  • Lesson plans for PSHE, History, form time and RE; 
  • Assemblies
  • Arts and crafts activities
  • Videos of survivor testimony on our website
  • A mini-documentary explaining the Srebrenica genocide in 7 minutes
  • The Personal Challenge - 11 Actions of Remembrance for Srebrenica
  • A Virtual Museum (Launching the week commencing 6th July)
  • Podcast (Launching the week commencing 6th July, Weekly Episodes drop in September)

All resources and further information available at:


Latest Government updates

COVID-19 security in schools - due this week

The DfE is expected to publish the results of a review of COVID-19 security in schools this week, alongside a further announcement in relation to the full re-opening of schools in September.

Transformative school re-building programme

The Prime Minister has set out a transformative ten year rebuilding programme for schools across England. The programme, the first rebuilding programme to be launched since 2014, will start in 2020-21 with the first 50 projects, supported by over £1bn in funding. Schools will also receive £560m, and colleges £200m for refurbishment and upgrades this year. This brings forward plans announced in the Spring Budget of a £1.5bn investment over the next five years to transform further education.

Investment will be targeted at school buildings in the worst condition, including substantial investment in the North and the Midlands. Further details of the multi-wave ten-year construction programme will be set out at the next Spending Review.

COVID Summer Food Fund

This guidance for schools and local authorities on providing vouchers to support pupils eligible for free school meals over the summer holiday period has been updated to now include the Company Shop Group and Iceland and The Food Warehouse Stores, to list of supermarkets you can order eGift cards for. They have also added an example to show how you could schedule smaller gift cards.

Vulnerable children to get better support when moving school

Link to the press release which sets out the proposals to reduce time vulnerable children spend out of the classroom, with consultation launched on changes to the School Admissions Code.

Changes to the School Admissions Code

Consultation on a revised version of the School Admissions Code to support vulnerable children. The revised code seeks to clarify and improve the in-year school admissions process and will also provide additional information and details to assist admission authorities in discharging their duties effectively. These changes are primarily intended to support the most vulnerable children. Views are not currently being sought on wider changes to the admissions system or other elements of the code at this stage. The consultation closes at 11:59pm on 16 October 2020.

Summer-born children: school admission

This guidance provides non-statutory advice for local authorities, school admission authorities and parents of summer-born children. It provides advice and information about requests to delay the admission of summer born children to reception. This guidance should read it in conjunction with the School admissions code.

Get technology support for children and schools during coronavirus (COVID-19)

Guidance for local authorities, academy trusts and schools on how to get digital devices, internet access and support to provide remote education has been updated with various clarifications, including emphasising that devices are for education and social care and added information on protecting children and young people online, and linking to guidance on loaning or gifting devices.

Changes to the law on education, health and care needs assessments and plans due to coronavirus (COVID-19)

The guidance on temporary changes to special educational needs and disability legislation during the COVID-19 outbreak has been updated to reflect the issue by the Secretary of State of a further notice, relating to the month of July 2020.

The Secretary of State for Education has also issued new notices which apply from 01 July 2020 to 31 July 2020 on the following:

  • Pupil registration
  • Duty on local authorities to secure special educational provision and on health commissioning bodies to arrange health care provision in accordance with EHC plans, so that they can discharge this by using their 'reasonable endeavours'
  • Offences relating to the failure of parents to secure regular attendance at school of a registered pupil.
  • School inspections.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): reducing burdens on educational and care settings

A list of data collections, services or requests which will be cancelled, paused or will continue. Updated current status of data collections and services - full changes for this update are listed in the summary section of the document.

What parents and carers need to know about early years providers, schools and colleges during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Information for parents and carers about the opening of early years providers, schools and colleges, safety in schools, attendance, transport, school meals and exams.

The DfE has added content to this link on summer provision, school uniform and a package of support worth £1billion to support pupils to catch up. Content on school meals and the COVID Summer Food Fund has also be updated.

Attendance in education and early years settings during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak: 23 March to 25 June 2020


A new summary of attendance in education has been published;

  • We estimate that 15.6% of pupils (1,483,000) were attending schools and colleges on 25 June, up from 12.2% on 18 June.
  • Approximately 93% of schools and colleges in England were open in some capacity on 25 June, up from 92% on 18 June. This figure includes independent schools and further education colleges, a proportion of which continue to provide online teaching to students. We estimate that over 95% of state-funded primary and secondary schools were open in some capacity.
  • We estimate 89% of primary schools were open to nursery, reception, year 1 and/or year 6 on 25 June, up from 78% on 18 June.
  • Attendance was highest in year 6, with approximately 41% of all year 6 children in attendance on 25 June, up from 34% on 18 June. Attendance was around 34% in year 1, up from 26%, and 36% in reception, up from 29%.
  • We estimate 74% of secondary schools, excluding FE colleges and special post-16 institutions, were open to year 10 and/or year 12 on 25 June, up from 60% on 18 June.
  • Approximately 13% of year 10 and year 12 students were in attendance on 25 June, excluding students in further education (FE) colleges and special post-16 institutions, up from 10% of year 10 and year 12 students in attendance on 18 June. The Department's guidance states that schools and colleges are able to have a quarter of their year 10 and year 12 cohort in attendance at any one time to reduce the risk of transmission.
  • Around 23% of children with an Education, Health and Care Plan (EHCP) or a social worker were attending a school or college on 25 June, up from 22% on 18 June.
  • Early years settings were also asked to begin welcoming back all children from 1 June. We estimate that on 25 June, 320,000 children were attending early years setting - about 20% of children who usually attend in term time.

Ofqual publishes more details on appeals and confirms autumn exam arrangements

Students will be awarded calculated grades in GCSEs, AS and A levels this summer, giving them the opportunity to move on to further study or employment, despite the cancellation of exams. Students will be able to appeal - through their school or college - if they believe the process this summer was not followed correctly in their case; and centres themselves can appeal if they believe something systemic has gone wrong in relation to their results. Any student unable to receive a calculated result, and others who would like to improve their grades, will have an opportunity to take the full suite of GCSE, AS and A level exams in the autumn, Ofqual has confirmed today (Tuesday 30 June).

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