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Education Bulletin - 20 May 2022

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Updated 20 May 2022

Important contact details

From Ming Zhang
Service Director of Education, Participation and Skills

Dear colleagues,

This week some students from the city's secondary schools have started sitting "in-person" assessments for the first time in two years, with GCSE exams beginning this week and A-Levels starting next week. I would like to start this message by wishing all Plymouth students involved every success in their exams and thank their teachers and parents for their excellent support to ensure learners are well prepared to achieve in different ways, not just in exams. In the meantime, I have just received a confirmation from the DfE that Plymouth was successful in our bid to become one of the seven local areas in the country to pilot the SEND Innovation initiatives to support young people with profound learning needs. The other six areas in the Innovation Programme include: Camden, Cambridgeshire, Walsall, Sunderland, Gloucestershire and Wakefield. Fantastic news!

SEND Respite Innovation Pilot

With the city's successful bid to be one of the seven pilot LA areas, we are now working with the partners to deliver year-long projects for 14-18 year olds with profound learning difficulties but not transitioning into adult social care to prepare them for adulthood - offering college courses, youth groups, evening, weekend and holiday discussion groups and overnight stays. Parenting courses will also be available.

Coincidently, two weeks ago I visited Routeways project and had the opportunity to talk with the staff who run some of the most innovative and interactive activities for children and young people with a range of abilities, specialising in Autism, ADHD and/or mental health. Young people I met with all spoke of the great time and experience they were having in the project and the various benefits they gained from the activities that they took part in, including horticulture, outdoor education, creative play, music, cooking and personal development. There are also self-funded activities, which support the development of the children as they move towards adulthood.

White Paper Roundtable Discussions

With the wider discussions of Schools White Paper taking place with the DfE, I have been informed that Hannah Woodhouse, the DfE Regional Director will be holding a roundtable for all LA maintained schools on the Schools White Paper on

Wednesday 25th May, 1.30 - 3pm. Please sign up via

Please note that this event is for maintained schools only and there are similar roundtables for MAT leaders.

I would encourage all school leaders to sign up and take part in the discussion so that the DfE have a fuller feedback to inform the implementation planning.

Bobbi-Anne McLeod - Plymouth Support Offer - Information for schools

In November 2021 the murder of Bobbi-Anne McLeod shocked Plymouth. On Thursday 19 May 2022 sentencing will take place at Plymouth Crown Court and it is possible that some of the details shared will affect children, young people and their families, as well as school staff.

The city's partners are available to provide support if needed, with a range of services and advice for children and adults. Details are available via

And there is more information about the ongoing work that is taking place to help keep Plymouth safe via

National Tutoring Programme

In last week's bulletin, we shared with you our wish to gain an understanding of our local schools' tutoring delivery by carrying out a simple online survey. We noticed that the link included in last week's bulletin was for internal users, so please use the updated link to access the questionnaire - Education - National Tutoring Programme - questionnaire

Kind regards



Education updates

2022 Statutory assessment update

Following completion of last week's SATs, preparations for further statutory assessment across the primary phase is well underway. All schools to be externally moderated at KS1 or KS2 have been informed, EYFS agreement trialling has been completed, and schools are well prepared to administer the phonics and multiplication checks after the half term break.

Attendance at training events for both KS1 and 2 has thus far been extremely well attended, and there are still places available for any year 1 or year 4 teachers not already booked onto the following online courses:

  • Y4 MTC briefing 4 - 5pm 23 May;
  • Y1 phonics check briefing, 4 - 5pm 24 OR 25 May.

To book places teachers should email

Schools are advised to keep up to date with STA weekly email updates and regularly check all guidance via

Plymouth Place-Based Strategy - Leadership Training Three important Place-Based Leadership opportunities.

1. World Class Leaders Programme

There is one last chance to sign up to this programme. The deadline for applying is 23rd May and we will confirm all applicants' place on 26th. It would be great to have every school represented. 

2. Leadership Event 3

We are delighted to launch our final leadership event of the academic year and invite you to register (for free) now! This will take place on 15th June between 09.30-12.30 at the Crowne Plaza, Plymouth.

Building on the Plymouth leadership diagnostic, the theme of this leadership event is Endurance and Expertise. Achieving and sustaining excellence in our leadership and recognising that we are all continually learning is crucial to our success.

We have a range of inspiring and experienced speakers ready to impart their knowledge and wisdom to us and we promise you will leave feeling energised and motivated. The conference will be full of practical strategies to take back to your school to support you, your members of staff, and your students. This will also be a fantastic opportunity to network with like-minded individuals, reflect on the year, and prepare for the next.

All school leaders are welcome to attend this free conference. We very much look forward to welcoming you and if you have any questions, please get in touch with Abi on

3. The Plymouth Leadership Community is up and running and can be found here.

Working together to improve attendance

Guidance to help schools, academy trusts, governing bodies, and local authorities maintain high levels of school attendance including roles and responsibilities.

On 6 May 2022, the DfE published new guidance on school attendance along with a summary table of responsibilities. The Secretary of State has committed to this guidance becoming statutory when parliamentary time allows (this will be no sooner than September 2023).

The guidance places expectations on:

  • All school and academy trust staff, headteachers, governors, academy trustees, and alternative provision providers.
  • Local authority attendance staff, early help lead practitioners, social workers, and virtual school heads.
  • Statutory safeguarding (including police and integrated care boards) and other local partners.

The guidance is intended to:

  • help schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authorities maintain high levels of school attendance;
  • summarise the roles and responsibilities of parents, schools, trusts, governing bodies and local authorities;
  • summarise the support that should be provided to families, including for pupils who are persistently or severely absent or at risk of becoming so;
  • provide details of attendance legal interventions available to schools and local authorities where support does not work, is not engaged with or is not appropriate; 
  • provide details of what schools are required to record in the attendance and admission registers;

There will be significant change to the way attendance is addressed nationally and we are at an early stage of planning a new attendance model. We plan to work in partnership with system leaders in schools and provide regular updates as developments progress. We will be publishing dates on new attendance network meetings soon to support with your developments.

The summary table is a good starting point to look at the changes to roles and responsibilities - Summary table of responsibilities for school attendance (

Full information can be found here Working together to improve school attendance - GOV.UK (

Webinars on New School Attendance Guidance

The DfE are running a series of webinars aimed at schools. The first session setting out what the new guidance means for schools is scheduled to run tomorrow between 4-4:45pm, which we would welcome you to join. I appreciate that joining tomorrow's session might not be possible given the short notice, so the sessions will be recorded and circulated afterwards.

DfE inspection data summary report (IDSR)

The DfE have updated the inspection data summary report (IDSR) with absence data from summer term 2021, based on the DfE published data. They have not included spring 2021 in the IDSR as this was heavily affected by the lockdown from 4 January 2021. They have also updated the finance data in the context section to 2020/21.

Ofsted | Inspection Data Summary Report

For further information please see the IDSR guidance:

If you have any questions, please email the team at

Message from Clare Scherer, Chief Executive Officer, Naval Children's

Charity Creating once-in-a-lifetime opportunities for Naval children

At the Naval Children's Charity, we believe it's our responsibility to support young people as they transition into adult life. Part of that commitment is providing opportunities that can teach them about themselves, and develop valuable interpersonal skills.

In collaboration with the Tall Ships Youth Trust, we're giving a small number of children and young adults aged 12-25 the chance to sail the coast of the British Isles on iconic 72-ft Challenger Yachts.

Subsidised by the NCC to cost just £75, this experience will teach our children the self-reliance, teamwork, communication and leadership they'll need to thrive in their future careers.

From the 16th to the 21st August, a group of younger children (aged 12-15) will sail from Liverpool to Greenock. The older cohort (aged 16-25), will be at sea for a full week, departing Greenock on the 24th August and arriving at Peterhead on the 31st.

This opportunity is open to the child of any parent or guardian who is serving or is a veteran of the Royal Navy. If you're worried about the cost of the voyage, we would still love to hear from you.

Please register your interest by filling in our interest form. Applications are open until the 30th June.


Health and wellbeing updates

Senior mental health lead training

The Department for Education (DfE) is offering a grant of £1,200 for eligible state-funded schools and colleges in England to train a senior mental health lead to develop and implement a whole school or college approach to mental health and wellbeing. This training is not compulsory, but it is part of the government's commitment to offer this training to all eligible schools and colleges by 2025.

Senior mental health lead training - GOV.UK (

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