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Education Bulletin - 30 September 2021

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Updated 30 September 2021

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

Yesterday, on a beautiful sunny day, I visited Oreston Community Academy and was delighted to see a thriving learning community with happy and engaged children both in the classrooms and on the playgrounds. The commitment and the efforts made by the school leadership to support inclusion and the local community is both strong and impressive, upholding the school's drive to improve outcomes for all children. Thank you for hosting my visit Esther.

In today's bulletin, I would like to highlight Ofqual's announcement of its approach to grading secondary school exams and assessments in autumn 2021 and summer 2022. Setting out the plan to get back to pre-pandemic grading, but in the interests of fairness, Ofqual have stated that it "won't do so in one jump". While many colleagues would agree with me that exam mitigations as announced are 'sensible', the decision to wait until February to give advance notice of next year's exam topics may cause some anxiety.

I will keep school leaders updated once I have further information from the regular catch up with the DfE. In the meantime, please read Ofqual's official announcement today: Ofqual's approach to grading exams and assessments in summer 2022 and autumn 2021.

Colleagues will note within this bulletin, details outlining the planned return to normal statutory assessments in the primary phase in 2022; again we will keep school leaders updated and ask that you share the bulletin with members of your staff teams.




Education updates

IMPORTANT: KS1-2 statutory assessments 2022

Whilst we await publication of the 2022 KS1 and KS2 Assessment & Reporting Arrangements guidance, we understand from the Standards & Testing Agency that statutory assessment is expected to return in 2022. In order to prepare for this, we have written to all primary academy headteachers and MAT CEOs this week, outlining the Plymouth local authority assessment support package for 2022.

Please read and respond to communications concerning statutory assessments. Should any primary academy headteachers feel that they may have not been included in this mailing, please email for a copy of this important communication.

Autumn Y2 phonics screening check

Cancellation of the phonics screening check in June 2021 means that Y2 pupils did not take the check in Y1. Therefore, in the second half of this autumn term it is statutory for schools to administer a past version of the phonics screening check to Y2 pupils and return results to their local authority.

Online briefing sessions will be held for Y2 teachers administering the check at 3.30pm on either:

Tuesday 19 October OR Wednesday 20 October. Please email for meeting link.

The deadline for results to be submitted to the local authority is Friday 17 December, however we request that schools endeavour to submit data to by Friday 10 December - this will enable us to follow up any discrepancies and avoid the Christmas rush. Please note: academies that have selected another local authority for their statutory assessment support must still submit their data to Plymouth.

All maintained schools and those academies registered with Plymouth local authority for statutory assessment support can access this session free of charge and should contact Lucinda Ross with any concerns related to the phonics check. 

2022 statutory assessment training

Please see the attached flier outlining details of all 2022 KS1 & 2 statutory assessment courses and online booking arrangements. Further reminders will be shared via the bulletin for specific courses closer to each course delivery date.

DfE updates on ECF training

Access to the DfE-accredited materials for schools delivering an ECF-based induction

From Monday 11 October, the temporary website that currently hosts the DfE-accredited materials (sometimes referred to as 'core induction programmes,' developed by Ambition Institute, Education Development Trust, Teach First, and UCL Early Career Teacher Consortium) will close. After this time, access to these materials will only be via the new service which can be accessed by schools -

DfE are aware some schools designing and delivering their own school-based induction programmes may wish to refer to the DfE-accredited materials. To access materials via the service, schools should register for a Core Induction Programme (CIP) regardless of whether they intend to deliver a CIP induction, or to use the materials to support their school-based induction programme. Please note that there is no requirement for schools to register on the service for a CIP induction if they are delivering a school-based induction and do not require access to the accredited materials.

Schools must still inform their Appropriate Body on whether they are offering a fully CIP-based induction (using a CIP's materials and sequence as the only basis for your programme) or school-based route (where schools plan the induction and materials, drawing on the CIP as far as they choose).

Each CIP has been carefully designed to be accessed as a complete programme, offering full coverage of the ECF and has not been designed to be used in combination with other CIPs, so it is recommended that schools access or reference their plans to only one CIP. However, where schools have already devised their own induction programmes referencing materials from more than one CIP they are able to download the resources from the website Early Career Framework - Core Induction Programme before 11 October.  

For any queries relating to new service please contact:

Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) 2021 - Autumn Briefings

The Plymouth Early Years Improvement team are delighted to announce that Her Majesty's Inspectors for Ofsted will be joining us for our next EYFS Quality Improvement online briefings on Tuesday 19th October 2021via Microsoft Teams.

In the morning Sarah Dimsdale, Early Years Senior Officer for Ofsted, will presenting at the EYFS briefing for Early Years Providers, 9.30-11.00am

Join the meeting

Phil Minns, HMI and Specialist Adviser for Early Years and Primary Education Ofsted, will be joining us in the afternoon for the EYFS briefing for Schools, 1.00 to 2.00pm

Join the meeting


  • Ofsted inspections in the EYFS 2021: How do Ofsted judge the quality of EYFS provision? - Her Majesty's Inspectors for Ofsted (Sarah Dimsdale / Phil Minns)
  • Assessment in the EYFS: Key Principles - Plymouth Early Years Improvement Officers
  • EYFS curriculum design: Key Principles - Plymouth Early Years Improvement Officers
  • Our experiences as an Early Adopter school - Assistant Head Teacher & EYFS lead

October is Black History Month

As schools across the UK look forward to celebrating Black History Month this October, there are numerous resources available online that we draw your attention to. Whilst ensuring a diverse curriculum is important all year round, this month provides an opportunity for schools to be part of the national celebrations and events to honour the too-often unheralded accomplishments of BAME Britons in every area of endeavour throughout our history.


Health, wellbeing and safety in education

Trauma Informed Schools UK - training opportunity

TISUK is delighted to be working with education leaders in Plymouth to offer Senior Lead and Practitioner level training to settings across the city. Please see the attached flyer for links to book onto the Senior Lead Training. 

The Practitioner training is a Level 5 Diploma which provides practitioners with key insights into the psychology and neuroscience of trauma, mental ill-health and challenging behaviour alongside vital tools and techniques responding to a child's narrative of painful life events. Practitioners will also be trained in ways to increase protective factors and 'safety cues' in the school culture to prevent adverse childhood experiences from becoming long term mental, physical and societal health problems. The course will support targeted intervention with individual children but also focus on changing whole school cultures to be mentally healthy for all. The curriculum covers interventions designed specifically to address teacher stress, teacher absence and poor staff retention. Practitioners will also be equipped to support, communicate learning and develop and challenge the practice of other staff within the organisation, providing a forum for safe, reflective dialogue for staff.

The Practitioner training will take place in the Spring and Summer term 2022 and will be a combination of online and face to face training. Please register your interest to attend this training by the 15 October 2021 by following the link below. Places will be limited to one person per school and will be allocated once the registration of interest has taken place.

Message from Jane Parmenter, LADO

Please could I remind all DSL's and headteachers of the LADO process, and the need to report any allegations within one working day of them coming to your attention. Here is a link to the online procedures for PCC:

Please note that the alleged perpetrator should not be made aware of the nature of the allegation prior to consultation with the LADO. A referral form and an advice form are available on the partnership website, or contact me and I will send a copy by email -

Annual Young Carers Survey

The annual Young Carers survey is intended to help us to identify and understand the needs of young carers in Plymouth. Please complete one survey per school before the deadline 31 October 2021.

Complete the survey

Online Young Carer Assessment & Transition Assessment Launch

The new online Young Carers Assessment & Transition Assessment templates have been launched on the Professional Portal. The Time4U service information is available on the Plymouth Online Directory.  The new Time4U contact details are or call 07899 950 155.

If you would like to request support from Time4U then please follow the new process. Please note that these requests no longer go through the Gateway.

Hate Crime Awareness Week

As part of this year's Hate Crime Awareness Week the Police Diverse Communities Team have arranged for renowned extremism expert Nigel Bromage to deliver a two hour presentation on the dangers of extremism in communities at 10.00am on 11 October 2021. Nigel Bromage is a former far-right activist who spent 20 years engaged with a number of movements and organisations including the National Front and Combat 18 before leaving and embarking on a pathway to warn others of the dangers of such extremist groups, helping train schools, community and faith groups, frontline workers and governmental departments. The event may be of interest to school DSLs.

Join the meeting


Government updates

Government launches £500m support for vulnerable households over winter

The Government has announced the launch of the £500m Household Support Fund, which will support vulnerable households with essentials, such as food, clothing and utilities, over the coming months as the country continues its recovery from the pandemic. The new funding comes as the Job Retention Scheme ends today (30.09.21). The Fund will support millions of households and will be distributed by councils in England. The money will be made available to councils in October.

Proposal for mandatory COVID certification in a Plan B scenario

This document fulfils the commitment, set out in the Government Autumn and Winter Plan, to provide organisations with more detail about the proposed certification regime that would be introduced as part of Plan B.  The government is also inviting responses on the detail through a call for evidence which closes on 11 October. 

Online COVID-19 vaccine booking service for 16 and 17-year-olds

On 24 September, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced that all 16 and 17-year-olds can now book their first COVID-19 vaccination appointment online or find a walk-in COVID-19 vaccination site to get vaccinated, without needing an appointment.

Fake vaccination consent forms

The DfE is aware that a fake consent form for COVID-19 vaccinations has been sent to some schools for onward circulation to parents. This contains misleading information and should not be circulated. The only consent form that should be shared by schools can be found on GOV.​UK. All official information will be shared through each school's School Age Immunisation Service (SAIS) provider in the usual way. Schools should get in touch with their local SAIS provider if in doubt or if they receive a form that they think may not be genuine. Further guidance can be found in the COVID-19 vaccination programme for children and young people guidance for schools.

COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey, England: Prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in school pupils and staff

Initial estimates of prevalence of ongoing symptoms following coronavirus (COVID-19) infection in staff and pupils from the COVID-19 Schools Infection Survey across a sample of schools, within selected local authority areas in England. This Schools Infection Survey (SIS) is jointly led by the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, Public Health England and the Office for National Statistics.

Ofsted to carry out survey of effectiveness of Skills Bootcamps

Ofsted has been asked by the government to carry out a thematic survey of how well providers are developing and delivering Skills Bootcamps programmes.

Actions for schools during COVID-19

The government has updated the guidance on the actions school leaders should take to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in their school. The update includes information on asymptomatic testing and accountability arrangements for this academic year. The DfE has also updated the advice around clinically extremely vulnerable pupils and staff and added information on the vaccination of children and young people aged 12 to 17. The Department for Education (DfE) has also updated the guidance for parents and carers about attending schools, nurseries and colleges in 2021. The update includes information on universal vaccinations for children aged 12 to 15, updated sections on self-isolation, education recovery and guidance for critically extremely vulnerable children and young people to reflect that no under-18s are now considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable.

Special schools and other specialist settings: coronavirus (COVID-19)

What all special schools and other specialist settings will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Updated SEND and specialist settings guidance to align with changes to advice for those who were previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable, add advice on vaccines, and update information about remote education, dedicated transport, the contingency framework, testing, and the temporary education directive. Updated information on asymptomatic testing and contact tracing in the 'rapid asymptomatic testing in specialist settings' guidance.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): assessment processes for selective school admissions

Guidance on entry testing for admission to state-funded selective schools during the COVID-19 pandemic. This guidance has been updated to reflect the September Review and ensure it is consistent with the changes to advice relating to those previously considered to be clinically extremely vulnerable. Removed out of date information relating to the 2020 to 2021 academic year, and updated references from the 2014 School Admissions Code to the 2021 School Admissions Code.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) test kits for children's homes

Guidance on when to test children and staff, type of test that should be used, and how to order more tests. Updated to confirm that staff and secondary school pupils should continue LFD testing at home, the actions settings should take following PCR test results, and that children who were previously considered clinically extremely vulnerable are no longer considered clinically extremely vulnerable.

Responsibility for exams

Guidance for schools, colleges and exam centres on who should enter students for exams, the health arrangements for exams and the support DfE is providing. Updated 'public health guidance to support exams for 2021 to 2022' to remove content related to summer term 2021 exams and add information on the exam support service for autumn exams (including spring 2022 VTQ exams).

Contingency arrangements: GCSE, AS, A level, Project and AEA

Consultation proposals for contingency arrangements for the award of GCSE, AS, A level, Project and AEA qualifications in 2022. This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 13 October 2021.

Proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022

A joint consultation published by Ofqual and the Department for Education on proposed changes to the assessment of GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2022. Outcome and analysis documents added to conclude this consultation.

Ofqual's approach to grading exams and assessments in summer 2022 and autumn 2021

Ofqual's approach to grading for GCSE, AS and A levels to be fair to students: a transition year in 2022.

Students will sit GCSE, A & AS level exams next year with adaptations to recognise the disruption to their education. Updated: 30 September 2021

Exams and other formal assessments will go ahead for vocational and technical qualifications and other general qualifications. Updated: 30 September 2021

Ofqual's approach to grading for GCSE, AS and A levels to be fair to students: a transition year in 2022. Updated: 30 September 2021

Admission appeals for school places

These guides will help admission authorities advise those involved with school admission appeals to understand their roles and responsibilities. Updated 'changes to school admission appeals due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic' to reflect that the temporary regulations have been extended until 30 September 2022.

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